Popular Easy Motifs in Tessellation Art
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Some motifs show up oddly often in tessellation art. Why?
And, what rules should guide you in choosing an easy motif?


When you choose a motif for your tessellation, choose something exotic with a shape that's got vagueness, variety, and flexibility.

People are a very popular theme amongst tessellation artists. Almost all of us have done a "people" design. Below, check out examples by Dr. David Annal, M. C. Escher, and me, Seth Bareiss.

Why are people a popular and easy theme for tessellation? Variety. Also, clothes and hair that are floppy and twisty if you need them to be.

The body plan is vague and varied. Short like a pygmy, or tall like a Masai from Africa, or a star basketball player-- that's all OK. Thin like a ballerina or round like Santa-- that's OK too.

Pygmy Basketball Star Ballerina Ummm.... Santa

No hair, short hair, long hair, curly hair... hats in every shape and size... it's all good.

Skin-tight clothes, big puffy clothes, skirt or pants...again I say, "it's all good."

Tight clothes:
A Wetsuit.
Big clothes:
Good for Winter.
Big Skirt?
Welcome to the 1700s.
Short Pants
Good for Summer.
Long baggy pants?
Charlie Chaplin.

Add wings or extra legs... well, that's OK too, mmmkay?

OK, it's an Angel.
It still looks good.
...or it might be
a magical tooth faery.
Extra legs?
OK, it's a Centaur.
Extra bumpy?
It's Schwarzenegger.
It's NOT a tumor!!

These aren't the only reasons for people being a popular theme for tessellations.

We should also realize that a person's outline is easily modified by giving him something to carry: an armful of books to make his chest bigger, or a backpack to make his back big, or give her a pair of buckets to carry if you want her legs wider. You can even put a vase of water on someone's head! No other animal can carry such a large variety things in so many ways, and thereby distort its shape in so many ways.

Easy Motifs in Tessellation Art
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