Cue space age lounge music…
Hello and welcome to the second installment of your fabulous 50s surface pattern design education! In our previous lesson, we learned a fun doodling technique to help create lots of simple motifs. Let us now turn to the Shapes and Space Divisions section of Commercial Art and Design, a booklet from 1953 that I scored at an antique shop, for an exercise in working with "panels" to create more complex, geometric motifs.
The booklet defines a panel as a shape in which you place a motif. I think another name for a panel could be a tile. Shapes like circles, squares, and triangles can be used as basic panels, or tiles. These shapes can be combined or tweaked to create more unusual ones (see image below). Try taking some basic shapes and overlapping them, cutting into them, and manipulating them into new ones.
Now that you have several panels to work with, try adding motifs inside them. It is recommended in the booklet that the motifs you use to fill your panels should compliment the overall form. I say, try that first to see what happens and then start getting crazy and break that rule. Why not?
The image above shows two different ways to build panels with motifs in them. One approach is to work inside out, starting with building a motif and then outlining it with a panel shape at the end. The other way is to start with a panel and then build a motif moving from the outside in. Either way, you should end up with some fun geometric motifs in panels (tiles) that can be then used to form an overall layout.
Okay everyone, crack open your sketchbooks and get started!