Symmetry Group P6m — Perfect Snowflakes

It’s been a year last week, since I started drawing with the KaleidoPaint iPad app. I was avoiding this P6m symmetry group because of the tight space for drawing within and the abundance of mirrors. A spoke of 12 mirrors at 30 degrees — a spoke of 6 and one of 4 — how do you ever fit anything in there? Very challenging. Kept putting it off. Till now. It snowed.

This is the perfect app to draw snowflakes. This one took like 30 seconds to draw. Not a true tessellation in my definition, but still cool ( no pun intended).

Symmetry Group P6m — Perfect for drawing Snowflakes

Symmetry Group P6m — Perfect for drawing Snowflakes

Symmetry Group P6m — Perfect for drawing Snowflakes

Symmetry Group P6m — Perfect for drawing Snowflakes

The sketch below illustrates how you can achieve a true tessellation, one where all space is occupied with the figures. There is no negative space, i.e., no background visible between the various elements (like the dark blue behind the snowflakes). Everything interlocks perfectly. Not easy with this system. To get a true tessellation, draw 3 lines, from each of the triangle’s corners (A, B, and C), to an arbitrary point somewhere inside the triangle (the green dot). You end up with 3 figures that tessellate the plane, perfectly.

Symmetry Group P6m — 3 mirrors around a 30-60-90 degree triangle

Symmetry Group P6m — 3 mirrors around a 30-60-90 degree triangle

The above 3 lines were elaborated into the tessellation below. In the best of worlds we would all grow our own food (the gardener), bike and not drive vehicles (the mountain biker), and our ecology would be in balance (the frog).

Symmetry Group P6m — In the Best of Worlds

Symmetry Group P6m — In the Best of Worlds

Lots of software out there to help you accomplish this type of design.

An iPad app is available, which is what I have used here to create these images: KaleidoPaint by Jeff Weeks.

There is also a java-based program “Escher Web Sketch”  at the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne. Make sure Java is enabled and not blocked by your security software.

Also, another screen-based software by Anselm Levskaya Escher Sketch v2.

Or a pair of scissors and a piece of cardboard works quite well. That’s how I learned.

Comments are always welcome!

2015-11-19 I’ve since undertaken the study of Islamic Geometric Patterns, Eric Broug’s wonderful teaching book. Most of these beautiful patterns are based on this symmetry system. Once you start drawing following these strict rules, it is amazing the results. I am an absolute beginner at this! Most of them below have construction lines in a faded grey with the resultant final lines in a broader, brighter stroke. More later.

Herat 2


Kharraquan third attempt

Kharraquan third attempt

Mustansiriya Madrasa

Mustansiriya Madrasa

Mustansiriyinspired (F)

Mustansiriyan inspired

P6m deux tessons

P6m deux tessons


P6m 12 point

Skewed p6

Skewed p6

Whatever (F)

p3 over construction lines

Abd al-Samad 2

Abd al-Samad



If you’re a “Learn by Seeing” “Learn by Doing” kind of person, I’ve started creating videos on “how-to” create tessellations. I’ll be covering each of the 17 symmetry groups, one class at a time. And like all artists, we need to make a living. So. I’ve uploaded these to the Skillshare platform. I’ll get paid by minutes watched.

You can take the classes for free. Skillshare offers anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for free if you sign up, even temporarily.

You can register for just a month and cancel anytime. It’s less than the cost of a Netflix subscription! And you can still stay put on the couch. There are over 40,000 classes on topics for creative persons just like you. Join my mailing list, either here on my blog (in the sidebar), or a at this link for a specific list I use to announce new classes.

I’d love for you to join me on this wonderful learning adventure.

If you prefer, you can follow my progress on social media, I always announce my new class:
Facebook: Franc Champagne, and Vancouver Island Tessellation Artist
Instagram: champagne.francine
Twitter: FChampagne1
Linkedin: Graphic Design, PowerPoint and tessellations
Youtube: Video animations and class intros

My classes have received an independent rating of 9.7/10, placing these Skillshare classes in the TOP 2% of classes reviewed by CourseMarks!


Rekindle your Love of M.C. Escher Tessellations, draw your own tessellations using a free iPad App rating

Here is a list of the classes up so far:

  1. Rekindle your Love of M.C. Escher Tessellations, draw your own tessellations using a free iPad App. In this class I introduce the concept of tessellations, show you the work of M.C. Escher as well as other artists. Then we dive into a first symmetry method, P4g, accomplished by drawing only one line to create the perimeter of your tessellation.
  2. Just like M. C. Escher’s Tessellations: Draw Using a New Symmetry Method and Your iPad. We tackle the Mirrored Triplets symmetry group, aka P3m1.
  3. This UP/DOWN, LEFT/RIGHT Tessellation method was M. C. Escher’s favorite. It is also the symmetry method, P1, most taught in schools. Probably the only way most artists have tried to accomplish a nested shape. We will push it a tad farther, but also easier than scissors and cardboard.
  4. M. C. Escher Tessellations: The Three Cozy Buddies Symmetry Group, know as symmetry group P3. Lots of examples, from many different tessellation artists. One of my favorite ways of creating tessellations.
  5. Digital Patterns: Super Simple Quickie Patterns. 20 patterns in 30 minutes! I will show you how to draw and assemble your pattern design elements in four different and unusual ways. Come explore the possibilities, from a different point of view using your iPad and the free KaleidoPaint app. There is more to symmetry than rigid repeats, half-drops and tossed layouts.
  6. My next class with deal with a symmetry group I have named: “This way — that way”, aka crystallographic notation Pg. That Koloman Moser video above, is part of the series.

4 thoughts on “Symmetry Group P6m — Perfect Snowflakes

  1. Pingback: Symmetry Group P6m — Perfect Snowflakes | champagnedesign

  2. Pingback: Sharing the walls with M.C.Escher in Italy | Tessellations, images in regular division of the plane

  3. Pingback: Starburst – I’m just not disciplined enough for IGD! | Tessellations by Francine Champagne

  4. Pingback: KaleidoPaint iPad App Help | Tessellations by Francine Champagne

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