The Elements of Pattern and Design

by Jollyon Hooley
(Fort Collins)

Checker Board for Drawing Exercise

Checker Board for Drawing Exercise

What is a repeat pattern? Some form or shape that can be repetitive or recurring frequently.

An all-over design or pattern repeated at regular intervals. A motif is the basic unit of a pattern which can be geometric or abstract in form.

An unregular pattern is one in which each motif is randomly placed but preserves a unity between all the shapes.

Patterns and designs are usually preserved for the printed fabric industry (dresses, fabrics, and clothes) and numerous other things.

Nearly ALL repeating patterns are based on a grid system. A grid arrangement can be made as the basis of countless patterns just by creating a different motif. I use the term 'pattern and design' interchangeably.

The best starting approach would be to position your motif in the same position in all the squares. When you get more creative move the motif upside down and even shape the motif to make it slightly different.

An entirely fresh design emerges because the shape takes on a different form thereby changing the character entirely.

EXERCISE: Mark out a grid or get one of those grid-lined exercise pads with smallish squares (say 1/4 inch) and create a motif to fit into the squares all facing upwards. Cover about 4 square inches) then, the next block of 1/4 inch squares, turn every second motif on its side so you see the difference between the two.

When you've done that, load it up on this site. Let's see what you can do!

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May 04, 2017
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Well written Jollyon
by: Jonathon

Let's have more comments on patterns and design.

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