Re-Creating M.C. Escher’s Lizard #Tessellation

M.C. Escher’s Lizards are by far the most popular of Escher’s tessellations. It can be seen gracing many multitudes of surfaces, legally or illegally. From tattoos, puzzles, belt buckles, car wraps, flooring or landscaping stones… My initial introduction to tessellations was through redrawing this lizard in its nested shape during a class on crystallography at Carleton U. That was a few decades ago, in 1988. But, as I keep on repeating (no pun), to draw a tessellation or to truly understand the structure behind it are two different things.

This is the sketch I started with.

Below, in slideshow format, I’ve placed a succession of 27 images recreating the progressive morphing of two lines. If you read my post about the technique to create a tessellation in symmetry group P3, you will note that only two lines are required to draw the perimeter of this type of pattern. Three different 3-way rotation points under group P3 are the starting points. Two lines drawing a Louis Cube design is the first goal. Now starts the fun — modify those two lines, however complex you want, to encapsulate your creature creation. Here, we are trying the lizards.

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In the above series of images, I have used the KaleidoPaint app on my tablet. It is by far the best app out there to accomplish nested shape tessellations. I have been using this app for five years — it’s perfect. To edit the lines you have added to the P3 symmetry grid,

  1. tap the “edit” button on the bottom bar;
  2. zoom-in with two fingers,
  3. tap the line;
  4. there will appear a fly-out menu;
  5. choose “split point”, it adds an identical type of point to the line (either a curved node or a corner node)
  6. move the point to your liking
  7. choose “convert” if you want to change your nodes from either curve point or corner point
  8. repeat!

Here is a sampling of the graphic appropriation done with M.C.Escher’s Lizards. Some funny, some spectacular, some legal, some not.

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I will eventually complete my own version of MCE’s Lizards. Till then, click follow, Cheers! Et homages à Escher.

Et voilà, a few weeks later, des lézards à la Escher!

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.

3 thoughts on “Re-Creating M.C. Escher’s Lizard #Tessellation

    • To be fair, that works for those of us who speak English as a primary language. Since he was a native Dutch speaker, it would be Reptiel (reptile) and Herhalende tegel (repeating tile).

  1. Pingback: Pentagonal Derivative #Tessellations | Vancouver Island Tessellation Artist

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