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From simple stripes and dots to intricate prints, patterns decorate the surfaces of our clothing, housewares, and lives for a reason.
But have you ever tried pattern drawing? Whether you’re a seasoned artist or someone who enjoys doodling for fun, you can create your own floral patterns, abstract textures, and more. And you don’t need anything more than a piece of paper and your favorite drawing tool to get started.
Pattern Drawing Ideas
Patterns are mesmerizing and beautiful, but they’re also useful tools for creatives. When you draw a pattern, you’re improving your art skills, sharpening your focus and decision-making abilities, and allowing your mind to slow down and sort through your thoughts.
“For many people, the process of drawing repetitive shapes and lines can be very, very soothing… sometimes they no longer noticed that they’re even thinking about anything,” says art therapist and Skillshare instructor Jennifer Patterson. “This is the way in which drawing and coloring is good for stress reduction, for dealing with anxiety, for grounding yourself, for helping you focus and pause and be present.”
Convinced of the benefits yet? From simple pattern drawings to more detailed designs, here are some ideas to get you started.
Simple and Easy Patterns
If you’re new to pattern drawing, start with simple patterns that are easy to replicate. Though there are countless pattern templates, like those shown above, you can also make your own pattern by choosing a few design elements and marrying them together on paper.
For example, you may start with a zig-zag line and a heart. So long as your zig-zag lines and hearts are repeated in the same manner over and over, you’ve got yourself a pattern!
Flower pattern drawing isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but it’s absolutely as gorgeous. It’s also endlessly customizable—your floral pattern drawing can contain as many different types of blooms and colors as you’d like. Once you have a few flower pattern drawings you love, turn them into greeting cards or wrapping paper for your friends and loved ones.
Lace lends itself to pattern drawing because, in most cases, it’s already a repetitive design. Skillshare instructor Alexe P. suggests using a reference photo and gridded paper to preserve the integrity of your lace pattern drawing, but you can just as easily freehand if you’re more seasoned with line work.
Whether you’re familiar with botanical drawing or you’re just picking up a pen for the first time, wood pattern drawing will be no problem. Woodgrain design allows for a lot of creative license, as it’s truly as simple as choosing a starting point and creating lines that follow. To give your wood pattern a little more life, you can include realistic whirls and knots, too!
If you prefer to work with simple shapes and clean lines, geometric pattern drawing is for you. Start with blank paper, a pencil, a ruler, and a protractor. From there, you can combine shapes and lines to create a unique geometric design—then turn it into a pattern by repeating it across the page.
Brick pattern drawing is one of the simplest techniques out there! All you need is something to draw on, a drawing tool, and a ruler. From there, draw uniform horizontal lines with your ruler, and add in short, equidistant vertical lines to form the individual bricks.
Ready to Turn Your Patterns into Art?
Drawing Basics: Making Art from Simple Patterns
Leaf pattern drawing is a pattern drawing category in and of itself. You can repeat the same leaf design over and over, or you can create patterns within the leaves themselves, as shown above. Regardless of your choice of leaves, pattern drawing and plant life go hand in hand, and this is a great genre for improving pattern skills.
Paisleys are beautiful, customizable shapes with a rich history. To start your paisley pattern drawing, sketch a large teardrop shape, then fill it in with your favorite designs—anything from simple lines to intricate roses and daisies.
Crosshatching is a technique commonly used in shading, and crosshatch pattern drawing is a great way to practice those line skills. You can group your lines closer together for a textured look, or allow them to be a bit further apart for a more geometric design.
Camo pattern drawing might seem challenging, but don’t be intimidated: In its simplest form, camouflage is nothing more than a series of blobbed, similarly sized shapes. Choose a few “blobs” to draw and a general arrangement, and then repeat the pattern across your drawing page—simple as that!
Honeycomb pattern drawing incorporates the hexagon in a repetitive series. If you want to build a pattern around the honeycomb shape, start by drawing a vertical line of hexagons. Then, on one side of the line, draw a new line of hexagons that interlocks with the original. You can play around with the borders of each hexagon to create more depth, or you can simply allow them to be flush.
Though we often think of zebra stripes in the natural sense, zebra pattern drawing is nothing more than line work with alternating colors. Start by drawing a series of parallel lines with a slight curve. Next, choose which alternating lines to color—either with vibrant colors or greyscale—and fill them in to reveal the zebra pattern.
Texture pattern drawing isn’t much different from drawing other types of patterns, except that your goal is to create a more realistic, three-dimensional result. To find inspiration for your textured pattern, look at the space around you and how textured items render on a two-dimensional plane. Once you’ve honed in on the nuances of each texture, you can transfer your observations onto your drawing page to create a repetitive pattern with lines and shading.
Pattern Drawing for Kids
If you’re interested in pattern drawing and you have little ones, take the opportunity to let them join in on the fun! Pattern drawing for kids provides offers many benefits, including improving motor skills and hand-eye coordination, helping with focus and concentration, and developing reasoning and analytical skills. You can have them replicate simple patterns like stripes or plaid, or use basic shapes—circles, squares, diamonds—to help your children create their own patterns, too.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Besides offering a creative outlet and helping you practice your drawing skills, drawing patterns can also be a meditative technique.
“Drawing, especially when done mindfully, can offer a sense of comfort, peace, and relaxation,” notes Patterson. “The repetitive movement movements are often self-soothing and rhythmic and can mimic the physical sensations we connect to during meditation and yoga practices.”
For those reasons, she says, drawing is a great stress reduction tool, and excellent for self care. “A doodle takes you beyond merely coloring. It takes you to a place of creating from scratch, which helps to build creativity and boost your self-confidence,” she adds.
As you can see, patterns are a great way to work on both your artistic and cognitive skills. With so many different options to choose from, and nothing more than a pen and paper needed to get started, you’ll find pattern drawing easy, relaxing, and fun.
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