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bird tessellation


  • integrate math and art
  • grid concept
  • positive/negative shapes
  • problem solving skills
  • abstract thinking
  • critical thinking
  • intuitive sense
  • spacial rotation skills
  • eye-hand coordination
  • spacial relations

Assignment details

Create a pattern design based on a tessellation.

Start with creating a tessellation shape using the "translation pattern" (see the steps below). Your tessellation should be a recognizable (not abstract) object - animals, birds, insects, fish, etc.

Pick a starting shape - square or hexagon:

bird tessellation

Use your handout to plan and practice your tessellation.

Cut the base shape out of your handout.

Draw and cut out details.

Use masking tape to attach the pieces.

You are going to work on a 12"x12" paper.

First - create an 1.5" border

Then draw a grid - as it shows in your handout.

Trace your tessellation onto a drawing paper.

Draw the details inside each tessellation,

Use Prismacolor pencils to complete the tessellations:

  • Each shape should be different inside - use different color schemes, designs, details, etc.
  • Apply the coloring technique that would incorporate different shades of a color, color gradations, blending the colors.
  • Color with short strokes!!!
fish tessellation


  • Project is finished
  • Complexity of the tessellation shape
  • Shape is recognizable
  • Details inside each tessellation
  • Creativity and originality of the tessellation
  • Coloring technique:
    • blending colors
    • small strokes
    • paper is not seen through shading
    • variety of colors
    • tessellation looks 3-D, not flat




face tessellation

There are few patterns that you can follow to construct a tessellation.

The basic one is "translation" pattern - where you attach the cut out pieces to an opposite side of your shape:




After you sketched the shape - cut out the pieces. Do not ever throw away any cutouts! They should be attached to the opposite sides.

face tessellation




Slide down the top piece and tape it to the bottom side of the square.

Slide the left cutout to the right side of the square and tape it.





Trace your tessellation onto a drawing paper:








Add details!

learn coloring tips here


This is an example of a "translation" tessellation pattern, The bird shape was based on a square.

fish tessellation


This tessellation was based on a hexagon.


Another example of a square-based tessellation


bird tessellation


This is an example of a more complex tessellation pattern - "rotation" template.



Instead of sliding a cutout to an opposite side - you rotate it.


bird tessellation


Ask me for more details if you choose this pattern for your artwork.



Trace your tessellation onto a board.

bird tessellation



Add details to each tessellation.

bird tessellation

more examples:

rhino tessellation


Try to think of your own tessellation. Copying someone else's is not as much fun!

rhino tessellation  


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