Creative exercises for every month

Playing with Patterns

“I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, and not in a formless chaos, as it sometimes seems.” - M. C. Escher

A new updated course will be available for 2020. The exercises will be posted to our Facebook group from the 1st of the month as well as to our Instagram page.

We ran this course in November 2019 on our Facebook group,  The exercises are varied and will hopefully challenge you. Our group is open to all skill levels and is very friendly and encouraging.

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Use found patterns, create patterns, take inspiration from iconic artists.

No expensive supplies needed. Use what you have at home or buy kids craft supplies. These are experimental exercises 👉 pencils, acrylic paints, charcoal, paper, pen.

Exercise 1

Once I got started preparing for this month’s course I was seeing patterns everywhere  ...

  • Take a look around your home and neighbourhood for naturally occurring patterns.
  •  Draw one that you find most interesting— I cropped my picture first.

Exercise 2

Reviving the art of potato cuts 

  •  Find a simple shape to use for your potato cut.
  •  Cut a potato in half and cut away enough of the potato to leave the shape you want.
  • Choose your paint colour, I found painting the colour on to the potato with a brush gave me better coverage.
  • Stamp your potato onto your paper or card to create a repetitive pattern.
  • You can go for a simple shape or something more complex

Exercise 3

Creating patterns with continuous line drawings.

  •  Find a still-life subject
  •  Use a ballpoint pen, don’t take your pen off the paper as you draw your subject over and over.
  • Rotate your page as you move on to each drawing.


Exercise 4

Patterns and shapes

  • Place a cylindrical object on a table.
  • Follow the shape of the object and surface using lines only.
  • I went for a simple crosshatch for the space around it but you may want to approach it differently.
  • 👍 This was my second attempt.

Exercise 5

Copying a pattern distorted by an object

  • Find a patterned object or lay some fabric over one allowing folds and crumpling to occur.
  • Get your colours out and have a go 👍

Exercise 6

Digital photo manipulation, Andy Warhol style!

  • Take a selfie or a photo of a single subject, prefably a plain background.
  • Use an app that allows you to change the contrast, hue, saturation, to create different coloured images. I used Instagram on my phone.
  • Create 9 different coloured images, you can place them together using the Instagram layout app.
  • Mess around and see what happens!

If you're using Instagram be sure to tag us @trinitypaintbox #playingwithpatterns

Exercise 7

 Everyday patterns. I was eating French toast and realised I’d created a nice little banana pattern.

  • Take a photo of a pattern in your food or wherever you find one.
  • Sketch it first or go straight to colour.
  • Use expressive colours.

Exercise 8

 Painting an object

  • Use one of your patterns as inspiration to paint a bottle or whatever you like.
  •  I did a couple of coats of white ceiling paint first then painted over it with acrylic paints 👍

Exercise 9

Not sure if this is science, geography or art! Search for amazing patterned landscapes on the internet or if you're lucky to live near some, take a photo! 

Exercise 10

Choose two or three patterns from nature or landscape photographs to paint or draw as a background and as a pattern on the object.

  • Pick something with simple shapes.
  • I chose a jug and painted a different pattern for the three areas using watered down acrylic paint. One for the outside of the jug and one for the inside of the jug. 
  • You can use a medium of your choice, it doesn't have to be colour. You are putting together patterns that inspire you onto a common object to create something unique. It can be quite simple and satisfying to complete.


Exercise 11

Using patterns for tone. It’s quite relaxing focusing on the repetitive pattern 

  •  Find a high contrast image to copy (I have used my charcoal copy if ‘The Laundress’ by Toulouse-Lautrec). Feel free to use it yourself.
  •  I quickly mapped out the dark areas with pencil first.
  • Fill the tonal areas with patterns you have created this month.
  • Pen 🖊 works nicely.

Exercise 12

 Use squares of paper to create a pattern.

  • Look around your house for coloured paper, scribbled notes, magazines etc.
  • Choose a few pieces of paper that interest you.
  • You may need to cut them into smaller squares.
  • Layer them on top of one another to create a pattern.

Exercise 13

Kusama lemon 

  • Use a lemon or another bright fruit/vegetable and paint a Kusama inspired pattern on it.
  • I dipped little pop poms from my kids' craft supplies into the paint to apply it.
  • Photograph it creatively 📸

🎬 Here is an interesting video about Yayoi Kusama