“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” — Edward de Bono
After Four Basic Surfaces, the fifth tutorial of the Graphic Design Basic Element Series covers three additional Basic Surface Enrichments.
The quote by Edward de Bono acknowledges one of the descriptive design terms as a repetitive action that limits creativity. The way the term or word pattern is used in design is as a noun that enriches creative visual appeal often making art more interesting.
Enriching the Exploration of Surfaces
There are three additional surface descriptions to add to the list of reflective, opaque, transparent, and translucent covered in our last tutorial. Now you can add these three to the explorations in your art journal. Record the additional variations as options to visually enhance a surface.
Texture Definition: A surface with repetition of a non-recognizable unit.
Many adjectives could describe the qualities of a texture.
Smooth can be one of them, but it does not elicit the contrast needed to distinguish it from an opaque or tonal surface. Explore and create examples that demonstrate how to example enough contrast for the shape to appeal to the viewer as a recognizable texture.
Creating Appealing Textures
Take an existing surface in one of your journal explorations and play with the following descriptions. You could play with a tonal circle, square, or triangle and illustrate any of the following definitions. Below are ten descriptions to get you started. See if you can identify additional textural enrichments and add them to the list.
Adding Color: Newton’s Rainbow
The visible light spectrum is the section of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum that’s visible to the human eye as color. A complete study is needed to fully wrap the mind around the topic of understanding color theory. This tutorial just touches on the option of using color to define a design surface.
Back in the 1600’s Isaac Newton defined color by using a division of seven spectrums of light placed within a color wheel. It is referred to as Newton’s Rainbow.
The seven colors that he described are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
Color as a Surface Enrichment
Color can enrich both a tonal and an opaque surface. It subdues an element by giving it a sense of moving into the background, or it can be bright and vibrant that visually moves the element forward into the foreground.
Color can also enhance every design component.
It can define a space by using a colored line to outline a shape. Color can invoke contrast. Illustrating with complementary hues can create harmony or the opposite can happen with discordant colors.
Opposite colors on the color wheel can also complement each other. Some combined color choices can be so unappealing that an image can demonstrate a feeling of friction or uneasiness.
Color can define tonal percentages as additional light alters the illuminating value of a hue.
By darkening down color like in a cast shadow suggests another form of contrast.
Explore the use of color to enhance various shapes in one of your art explorations in your daily art exercise journal. Can you alter the mood or emotion you feel when viewing the image with the use of color?
The Graphic Design Color Wheel
An artist uses a color wheel to help determine what chromatic relationship of color values and hues are best used to illustrate their works.
The wheel is organized with the primary colors placed equidistant from each other. The secondary and tertiary colors are found logistically placed between.
The entire wheel is a logical yet abstract visual aid. It helps when determining the assigned color codes of the value of a hue and aids in the printing process.
You may also be interested in bookmarking The Perfect Painting Palette Series to learn an optimal method for mixing colors that will make your artwork come to life.
Pattern as a Surface Enrichment
The definition of a pattern: A recognizable and repeating unit of shape or form can be described as a pattern.
A pattern can contain all other surface descriptions and enrichments as long as it convincingly suggests repetition.
Nature can implicitly illustrate the use of patterns. A beautiful example is spiraling seeds in the center of a sunflower. Or, the ripple of a pebble seen in a puddle of water. A pattern can be soft and curvy, or contrasting and definitive.
A fun exercise is thumbing through a stack of magazines and noticing how a pattern is pictured in nature and man-made elements. Some examples are in architecture, masonry, landscaping, fabric, weaving, pottery, etc.
Once I was asked to create a pattern that included reversing the design element. The art exercise was a challenge and was fun and rewarding. Perhaps, you may be up to the same challenge?
Depending on your given allotment of time a lovely floral pattern might be the perfect first attempt in pattern making.
Downloadable Tutorial Guide
Please feel free to download the image guide for Basic Surface Enrichments.
The next post in this series describes Basic Picture Arranging Principles. The placement of the elements can even suggest to a viewer that a two-dimensional surface demonstrates a three-dimensional perspective.
An artist can place an element to build interest and move the eye into the artwork. This can entice the viewer to relate more deeply to a dominant object and allow other illustrated elements to be supportive of the theme.
Our next tutorial will describe the Basic Picture Arranging Principles found in design and a downloadable tutorial image.
To follow along, click > Art & Design Tutorial Table of Contents
Luise Volta says
I find these tutorials fascinating, informative and beautifully written.
Sandy Breckenridge says
Thank you so much Luise! I really appreciate that you always stop by and read through my design tutorials and my blog posts!