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!


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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