Colour Methods for Tessellations

For the longest time, I resisted the need to add more colour, different colours, to my tessellations. I wrote before about this need, Recolouring a tessellation. Here are a few samples of my newly transformed prints. And some notes about my findings on the topic of colour in tessellations.

The original style: where all repeating characters are identical. This colouring system forces you to really think about your colour choices, based on the character’s adjoining elements. A blue shoe nested next to a blue shirt does not work. You also need to make sure that the colours go well together, and do not end up as a messy mass of limbs and clothing. The example below contains three characters; there is absolutely no need for the repeated units to vary in colour, its comprehension is quite easy: a girl in a sky blue dress, a purple clothed teen and the grey batman kid.

Prissy Groovy and Cool tessellation by Francine Champagne ©2013

Prissy Groovy and Cool tessellation by Francine Champagne ©2013

The need to recolour a tessellation is quite evident in the image below, where a mass of similar characters cannot easily be deciphered – where does one dog starts and where the other one ends can be a mystery for some. Therefore the need to vary the colours.

Poopers with Purple and Pink Polkadot Bandanas tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

Poopers with Purple and Pink Polkadot Bandanas tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

Poopers with Purple and Pink Polkadot Bandanas tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

Poopers with Purple and Pink Polkadot Bandanas tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

The MCE style: where the characters are coloured differently depending on their rotation, mirror or repetition. As an example all those characters facing left are yellow, those facing right are green and so on. This makes for very easy reading and comprehension of the tessellation. Below, one Brainiac in yellow, the other one is glide reflected to face up, this second one a bit more peachy.

Bird Brainiac tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

Bird Brainiac tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

Or Push Back, where all characters face the same way, but the colours alternate, simply for comprehension.

Push Back tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

Push Back tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

The Jewel Thief, greatly benefits from the new colours.

Jewel Thief tessellation recoloured version by Francine Champagne, ©2017— Symétruc de cambrioleur

Whereas the newly recoloured Kevin Lumsey, seems to become even more overwhelming if it uses this system of colour coding.

Kevin Lumsey tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

Kevin Lumsey tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

The alternating wheels: some characters retain their original colour scheme and some with alternative colours. This style brings out the structure behind the tessellation quite well. Looks like a series of stamps in some instances. Have a look at the Sock Puppets below, one wheel is original, the other is made up of six different colours. If I had recoloured them all it would not really help with comprehension.

Sock Puppet tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

Sock Puppet tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2014

The single greyed-out character: this method works well when the option of recolouring would completely destroy an easy comprehension of the tessellation. I’m thinking about Otto the Grocer and Hannah the Shopper – there would be a million colours in this print! The solution is to grey-out one character, one Hannah, and somewhere else on the print, grey-out one Otto. Or, as in the example below, one of the Carnaval characters simply greyed-out.

Carnaval tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

Carnaval tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

I had used a similar method in the nineties, the Grenouilles print had all green frogs, except a lone pink frog.

Frogs tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©1988 — Symétruc de grenouilles

Frogs tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©1988 — Symétruc de grenouilles

 

The no need to recolour: where there are more characters than one within the repeating perimeter, where they surround each other and delineate their borders quite well. An example would be, Mmmm Cookies, there is absolutely no need to recolour alternate instances, it is quite easy to see each character.

Mmmm Cookies, a dog tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

Mmmm Cookies, a dog tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©2013

The singled-out character: which I have only ever used once, up to now. It is a good option and does make the point of explaining the character quite well. The Canada Goose character is evident.

Canada Geese tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©1994 — Symétruc d'outardes

Canada Geese tessellation by Francine Champagne, ©1994 — Symétruc d’outardes

 

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