Sunday sketch #349

A quick, cute design this week, and an excuse to talk about colour placement.

This design is set on point, and just features squares and quarter-circles (or drunkard’s path units). In the version above, the squares are coloured the same as the background, and the curves are in white, yellow, orange (light, medium or dark) or pink.

Even though each row features squares of background colour, they look like they’re two zig-zagging lines twisting round each other – like a double coil of white plus another colour. I’m not sure what optical illusion is at play here; it’s not really a transparency effect, because white plus any of these colours wouldn’t produce that background colour. But somehow the brain just seems to imagine that those squares are connecting the curves on either side to create a long, winding coil.

The design works horizontally too.

And in a more limited palette.

The design doesn’t have the same effect with a different colour placement though. Below I’ve used different placement in each row, and you can see how it changes the whole effect – in some places, the transparency is there but less effective; in other cases, it’s gone completely, leaving quite a clunky design in its wake.

The first row above features a transparency effect: the white and red zig-zags overlap in pink squares, which makes sense. I feel like it’s a bit ‘heavier’ than the second row. The third and fifth rows lose that effect completely, and feel very clunky (and boring) to me. The fourth row retains the zig-saggy feel (for the most part), but using red to colour in the squares where the white and pink ‘overlap’ doesn’t quite work, so feels a bit wrong.

So anyway, if a pattern featured a design like this, I think it would be important to tell people how the overall effect might change with different fabric placement. Something that looks great on paper might end up looking very dodgy in fabric if you weren’t careful.

Of course, the same design can be coloured completely differently, to avoid any of these problems 🙂

These designs could be made into quilts by arranging squares and quarter-circles (or drunkard’s path units) on point. The last version uses half-square triangles instead of squares. All fairly straightforward!



One comment

  1. Kate

    Wow! It reinforces the importance of colour placement that’s for sure.
    In my current project with Maria Shell, I had to use the effect one colour has on its neighbours because the colour I needed wasn’t in my assigned palette. Talk about force you to think!
    This is fascinating. Thanks. Kate


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