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By Lauren Nilsson |

Flirting with Geometric Genius: Illustrator & Islamic Design

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Islamic artwork is often based on complex geometry: shapes and lines that align precisely.

While it’s not strictly representative, this geometry invokes stars, plants, planets, and other elements of the natural world. It’s breathtaking to behold in person at sites like the Alhambra, a Moorish palace—and the imagery inspires designers around the world.

A Tunisian stained glass window inspired the Islamic design featured in this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques.

Deke uses a picture of the window as a template in Illustrator, but if you follow along with his instructions, you can re-create the pattern on your own, from scratch.

Before you begin, note that this is an intense project, divided into three weeks and six episodes of Deke’s Techniques.

It all starts here, with the creation of four 16-point stars. However, these aren’t shapes you can create with the Star tool. No, these stars have to be built by hand using a rotation pattern.

The technique uses three path outlines and rotates them around a center point, three consecutive times. With the careful placement of guides, line segments, and joins—and one of Illustrator’s signature dynamic effects—you, too, can create this intense, mathematically precise Arabic pattern. Start watching to learn how.

Lynda.com members can watch the follow-up movie to learn how to add the next layer to the pattern. (Not a member? Check out lynda.com/deke for a 10-day free pass.)

Then come back next week for the third part of the technique, and find out how to fill the gaps between your stars with what Deke calls an “insane” collection of path outlines!

 

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