Islamic Tile Patterns, revisited

Here’s a painting of mine from when my oldest was little and naptime was sacred art making time.  This lasted until my second child decided to never, ever nap at the same time as her sister.

Here’s a detail, in which you can see the handwritten text beneath the paint.  The real point, though, is the Islamic tile pattern in the background, from Granada I believe.  I found the pattern on the internet today here:

And finally, here is the bare bones beginning of a sketch:

I love this pattern but it needs some work.  The six pointed stars are tricky.  There must be a way to graph out the pattern and make the whole thing easier to render.  Of course there are other ways to transfer a pattern, but I wanted to get it into my fingers, if you know what I mean, so that I could duplicate at will.



4 thoughts on “Islamic Tile Patterns, revisited

  1. Your picture made me curious so I played. And figured it out!

    Here’s how the grid in that pattern works. (And I hope my dropbox link works – website link.) Basically, it relies on triangles that stack. So draw an equilateral triangle between the centers of three of the 6-pointed stars. Now draw lines from each point of the triangle in to the center. Notice that it lands exactly on the center of a different kind of shape.

    Now try drawing a grid through the centers of every other row of stars (you know, the ones that are all in line with each other in both directions). Notice that you can fit two of those equilateral triangles, point to point, inside a rectangle.

    Then in a different color, draw a grid through the other set of stars. It’s the same grid, just offset by a bit. The triangles still fit and give proper positioning.

    Keep exploring it with a mix of the grid and the triangles drawn between centers of shapes, with lines to the center inside the triangle. All of the shapes can have their centers located that way, as well as the spacing between the shapes. The curvy bits make negative-space hexagons, which clarifies both their positioning and exact corner placement. (Trace the hexagon outlines to see.)

    • OH my gosh, every time I have looked at it my head just spins. It’s like I know there’s a logic to it but can’t quite grasp it. I will try what you wrote here and let you know how it works out, as my attempts at transferring the pattern only work well on small pieces and I’ve been wanting to make it bigger. Huge thank you!!!

      • One of the keys is that this is Islamic… the 6-pointed star is two triangles stacked on top of each other. (That makes it easier to draw.) So, I tried using the triangle to make the overall pattern repeat, and it works.

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