A Look Inside my Art Book
I have several creative outlets. One of them is this blog, and another is my art book. I work in pen or pencil and try to mix-up the different types of art I do. Some of the pieces are very quick and simple, whilst others took many hours to complete.
If you want to see more of my art check out my instagram here. This page isn’t currently active, but it will be back. I’m planning to rewrite my code to make it more flexible and let it handle animations.
I used to have a piece I made like this on my wall and it was one of my favourites so it was one of the first things I drew in my art book. You can find ideas for patterns like this is many different places or by just experimenting.
#2 Celtic Knots 1
I have loved drawing Celtic knots for a long time. They are a lot easier to draw than they look because you can build it in stages. You start by drawing a grid and lots of outlines that get erased later. I really like the look of a partially finished Celtic knot, so I started drawing these knots which show you how they are made. This is also useful for future reference. If you are interested in drawing Celtic knots, I have a three part series which starts here.
The Chinese characters for one, two and three are 一, 二 and 三. Each character corresponds to the number of strokes needed to write the symbol. One these pages I experimented with the different symbols you can make with a fixed number of strokes. I count a circle or a straight line as one stroke.
#4 Vanishing Point
I love the use of negative space here. Triangles are interesting shapes to fill in because not every pattern will fit in the sharp corners. I prefer the patterns I use on other designs, but the negative space effect is so dramatic this is one of my favourites.
#5 Celtic Knots 2
Celtic knots are back and bigger than ever. One the right you can see a more complicated design is created by adding walls inside the skeleton. These pages nicely show the step by step process of drawing a knot.
I used to draw butterflies like this when I was a kid. I really like the sweeping curves and the unusual shapes look really exotic. It’s hard to get the proportions on the wings correct. The butterfly on the top left is my favourite because it has the best proportions.
#7 Tiling 1
Since starting this book, I’ve been experimenting with tile based art. In this square each pattern appears exactly once in each row and once in each column.
#8 Ribbons 1
An experiment with different lines and linear patterns.
#9 Encyclopaedia of Patterns
This double page spread was created as a repository for all the different patterns that I like to use. I use it over and over again when I need to find the perfect pattern.
#10 Celtic Knots 3
The left page is a natural continuation of the last set of Celtic knots. On the right hand side I have my first knot that combines multiple interwoven threads. The pencil skeleton above shows that it’s actually easier to draw than it looks.
These constellations are called trees in mathematics. Each tree must be connected into one piece and loops aren’t allowed. For a given number of points, there are a finite number of ways of drawing a tree with that many points. On the left I draw the trees in order of the number of points, from one to eight. One the right I drew them all again, but spread out to look like a galaxy of constellations. I’m missing one constellation, hence the big gap, but I could never work out what the missing piece is.
#12 Pattern Map
A great way to generate new patterns is by adapting and evolving old ones. Around the outside of this map I drew a mix of different patterns. The lines connect pictures that are related in some way. I creates this interesting spider-web of relationships.
#13 Ribbons 2
More ribbons combined into a loop.
#14 Celtic Knots 4
These are my most complicated and intricate Celtic knots yet.
#15 Tiling 2
The complicated columns are combinations of the simpler ones and the symbols rotate or change as you go down the rows. This is a very messy piece.
#16 Tiling 3
I love the striking contrast between the black and white. Each pattern appears in a 2×2 square, a 1×7 row and a 3×3 square.
#17 Tiling 4
The right-hand page hides an interesting pattern. Each symbol appears four times at the corners of a square. I really enjoy things that look random and chaotic but have some underlying order to them.
#18 Loops & a Mandala
On the right I use the ribbons from earlier to make a mandala. On the left was supposed to be one big loop. I messed up and it became three separate pieces and I prefer the final result over what I had intended.
#19 Beijing Sunrise
Now for something different. This is a poem that I wrote several years ago. It was one of the very first things I published on this blog. You can find it here. I still love this poem and I wish I had the creativity to write more poetry. My pictures aren’t very good, but I hope that they help to tell the story.
Two smaller pieces. One the left is all one loop, and on the right is another example of trying to use as many patterns as possible.
Fractals are mathematical constructs with infinite detail as you zoom in. You can’t actually draw an infinite amount of detail, but fractals are beautiful objects that straddle the divide between art and maths. I have a related series on drawing fractals in the statistical programming language R. You can read the first piece How to draw fractals in R: Sierpínski Triangles.
#22 Freeform Doodles
Once upon a time the only art I did was freeform doodles like this, but I now prefer my art to be a bit more structured. When I show my art to others however, they often prefer this more chaotic and open-ended style.
#23 Tiling 5
The left-hand page is my favourite tiled piece of art. There is a nice mix of patterns and the shapes are in a random layout which is much more pleasing.
#24 Diamonds & Constellations
The constellations from earlier return. Each diamond has a unique pairing of patterns.
#25 Blending Patterns & a Spiral
I love how two simple patterns can be combined to produce something much more intricate. The central pattern of each triple represents a fusion of the patterns on either side. On the other page there is a spiral. It isn’t very complicated but I’m impressed at how well it turned out.