Grade Level

9-10, 11-12


3-6 classes


Watercolor painting materials or digital camera for photography, computer, scanner, color printer, software Adobe Photoshop (or similar), mounting board


Paper, Photography/Film/Technology, Digital, Photoshop

Lesson Objectives

Create repeat patterns designs by rotating original images (watercolor paintings or photographs) to use as textile designs for fashions

Introductory Activity

Experiment with various watercolor techniques (or take a variety of photographs) to create an asymmetrical image with a range of tonal values (darks, mediums & lights), textures, and negative space.

Lesson Process

1. Decide on an asymmetrical image that incorporates a range of tonal values (darks, mediums & lights), textures, and negative space.
2. Scan the image into a computer using 300 resolution, crop, and reduce the image size to a 3 inch width and paste on 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet allowing for a 1 inch border from both the top edge and the left side.
3. Rotate the original image by flipping it horizontally to create mirror image; paste this rotated image to the right of the first image on the sheet. Make sure the 2 images abut perfectly.
4.Then rotate the original image by flipping it vertically and paste it underneath the corresponding image.
5. Continue the rotation by flipping the image vertically and horizontally to fill the sheet to create an interlocking “textile” design, making sure each image abuts perfectly.
6. Flatten and crop the “textile” design.
7. The “textile” design can now be copied and then reduced to create a variety of sizes of the design.
8. Print the design. Apply the printed repeated “textile” patterns on a fashion design and mount on a board.
9. For exploration, growth & discovery: apply numerous filters to your scanned image (example: Distort: spherize, pinch, twirl, etc.); or adjust the image using “gradient maps,” “hue saturation,” “posterize,” etc.; or use additional rotations possibilities (example: “pinwheel” design created by rotating 90 degrees, etc.).


texture, repeat pattern, tonal values, negative space, symmetrical/asymmetrical, vertical/horizontal/90 degree rotation, constrain proportions, mirror-image, pin-wheel, resolution


wall paper design books, fashion design books

ARTISTS: Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hoffman, Richard Diebenkorn, Wolf Kahn, WiIlem de Kooning, Yayoi Kusama, Morris Louis, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Elaine de Kooning, Sonia Delauney, Georgia O’Keefe

PHOTOGRAPHERS: google “abstract photography,” Aaron Siskind, Edward Weston, Anselm Adams, Dorothea Lange, Annie Leibovitz, Cindy Sherman

Author & Website/Blog

Mary-Lou Montagna

Supporting Images