Please help me paint au­then­tic Celtic pat­terns

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A - Rose-Marie Hodg­son, Canada

An­swer

Den­man replies

when i start cre­at­ing an au­then­tic orig­i­nal celtic pat­tern i al­ways keep a cou­ple of key points in mind. most celtic pat­terns pri­mar­ily fea­ture re­peat­ing geo­met­ric knot­work, spi­rals and some­times an­i­mal, flo­ral or hu­man mo­tifs ap­pear in the mix. to an­swer rose-marie’s ques­tion i de­cide to use a sim­ple knot­work pat­tern with a wolf de­sign

when i’m tasked with de­vel­op­ing a sym­met­ric pat­tern like this, i usu­ally start off by cre­at­ing a smart ob­ject of the de­sired sym­met­ri­cal ef­fect. here, i’m repli­cat­ing it in quad­rants. i want to use it for a round shield de­sign in my il­lus­tra­tion, so i make sure to cre­ate some cir­cu­lar guides. i usu­ally con­cept up a cou­ple of ideas, and af­ter a few sketches i lay them all out and pick the one that i like best.

the main fea­ture of the knot­work is to “weave” the pat­tern over and un­der each over­lap­ping el­e­ment. when adding flora or fauna mo­tifs to your celtic pat­tern, make sure to keep the de­sign more stylised in na­ture as op­posed to a re­al­is­tic ap­proach. you’ll quickly re­alise that you can cre­ate any shape or de­sign to look like a celtic pat­tern when you start ap­ply­ing this sim­ple tech­nique. af­ter fin­ish­ing up the ba­sic de­sign i want to im­ple­ment it into an il­lus­tra­tion, so i put to­gether an im­age of a celtic/ Vik­ing style woman hold­ing a big sword.

Celtic an­i­mal mo­tifs are gen­er­ally stylised and min­i­mal­ist. The main el­e­ments of the body are of­ten turned into the geo­met­ric knot­work of the pat­tern as well. Think of the mo­tifs as de­signs more than re­al­is­tic de­pic­tions of an­i­mals. Here’s the fin­ished pat­tern adorn­ing a war­rior’s shield. No­tice how the pat­tern goes above and be­low the re­peat­ing el­e­ments.

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