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Design

Geometric Design: How to Draw a Flowery Tiling Pattern

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Difficulty:AdvancedLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Geometric Design for Beginners.
Geometric Design: The "Heavenly City" Diagram
Geometric Design: Tenfold Star in a Rectangle
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

This Islamic tiling pattern is atypical in its use of curves, as most of the traditional designs are made up solely of straight lines (even though circles are used extensively to create the underlying grids). 

It is based on the seven-circle grid which we learned to draw in more detail in our early lesson, Working With 6 and 12. Here I am again limiting the construction to seven circles, but the grid can be extended indefinitely.

1. Prepare the Seven-Circle Grid

Step 1

Draw a circle and the six circles around its periphery.

Flowery tiling pattern step 1

Step 2

Add the next ring of circles.

Flowery tiling pattern step 2

Step 3

Add the next six circles.

Flowery tiling pattern step 3

Step 4

Draw just one more level, only marking the arcs inside the previous circles, so that all the points we need are marked on the circles.

Flowery tiling pattern step 4

Step 5

The completed seven-circle grid.

Flowery tiling pattern step 5

2. Draw Two Sets of Diagonals

Step 1

Draw a hexagram (highlighted in blue) inside each of the seven circles, extending their lines throughout the diagram. This creates the first set of diagonals.

Flowery tiling pattern step 6

Step 2

Since these lines are final, we're going to ink them now, so we can see more clearly.

Flowery tiling pattern step 7

Step 3

In the central circle, note the hexagon formed by the diagonals above. Draw the hexagram inscribed in this hexagon, extending its lines throughout the diagram.

Flowery tiling pattern step 8

Step 4

Repeat step 3 in each of the other six circles. This creates the second set of diagonals.

Flowery tiling pattern step 9

3. Draw Radiating Guidelines

Step 1

In the central circle, note the hexagon formed by the diagonals above. Draw the circle containing the hexagon (it passes through each of its points).

Flowery tiling pattern step 10

Step 2

Draw the following radiating lines through the centre of the circle. Three of them pass through the points of the smaller hexagon (or hexagram), and three pass through the points of the larger hexagon (or hexagram).

Flowery tiling pattern step 11

Step 3

Repeat steps 1-2 in the other six circles.

Flowery tiling pattern step 12

4. Draw the Final Hexagons

We now need to draw and ink the hexagon that enclose each of our seven circles. We'll start with the central row.

Step 1

Draw the lines tangent to the top and bottom of the three circles. The parts that we need to ink stop at the radiating lines as shown.

Flowery tiling pattern step 13

Step 2

Circle the following points to make the next step easier.

Flowery tiling pattern step 14

Step 3

From the ends of the lines drawn in step 1, draw down two sides of each hexagon through a circled point, as shown. The sides stop at the horizon line.

Flowery tiling pattern step 15

Step 4

Complete the hexagons.

Flowery tiling pattern step 16

Step 5

Repeat steps 1-4 with the other two rows of circles.

Flowery tiling pattern step 17

5. Draw the Arcs

Step 1

Zooming in on one of the hexagons we just inked, bisect the distance between the two points shown. Open your compass to the measure shown in dashed blue, which is half the distance between the points.

Flowery tiling pattern step 18

Step 2

Never changing the measurement, draw all the circles shown. The trios of circles (in blue, red and pink) will be tangent to the six central circles (in green and purple).

Flowery tiling pattern step 19

Step 3

The circles are then partially inked as follows. Note how the black line moves from the central circles to the trio where they are tangent, and where the trio circles stop against a straight line.

Flowery tiling pattern step 20

Step 4

Draw and ink these circles throughout the entire pattern. Construction is completed.

Flowery tiling pattern step 21

6. Finishing

Version 1

Rub out all the pencil, and here is the result:

Flowery tiling pattern version 1 finished

All that's left is to colour it. There are plenty of fragments in this pattern, allowing for quite subtle colouring.

Flowery tiling pattern version 1 coloured

Version 2

If you ignore step 3.1, where we inked the first set of diagonals, and rub out these lines in the final, the result has a slightly different feel:

Flowery tiling pattern version 2 finished

Here is a coloured version. You could leave out other lines to create even more variations.

Flowery tiling pattern version 2 coloured

It is possible to revise any traditional pattern by reintroducing curves to it, and this tutorial gave you a feel as to how. Next month we will conclude this series with one last tiling pattern of complex construction.

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