Pattern Drawing from Memory and Observation – Exemplars.

Pencil Drawing


Colored Pencil Drawing


Lesson Plan Art Work

Adolf Wölfli, London North, 1911. Image Source: Adolf Wölfli Foundation.

Augustin Lesage, painting detail (c. 1940s). Collection de L'Art Brut, Lausanne. Photo by: L. Moriarity.

Pattern Drawing from Memory and Observation.
Contemporary Art & Art Brut

With thanks to lesson plans at Intuit, Chicago, and visual vocabulary sheet created by Marcus Rätz at the Adolf Wölfli Foundation..

Time: 2 - 1 hour periods (repeated to extend). The drawing process can be arduous in this project, so it might be best as an overlapping project, over a few weeks, students can return to.

Objective: Students will gain an understanding of the creation of a personal vocabulary in a complex drawing using patterns and repetitions, and using pencils, and colored pencils. They will also be introduced to principles of design such as rhythm and to the work of artists Adolf Wölfli, and Augustin Lesage.

Materials: 8 1/2 x 11 white mayfair paper (or equivalent), from 2H to B pencil, colored pencils, handouts.

Classroom arrangement: Studio for drawing on a flat service. Students will work individually.

Lesson Hook: Ask students to begin by picking up white paper supplied and to draw a 1 inch border with a pencil. They are then to draw one continuous looping line (doodle) on the page. The doodle must contain many overlaps, small and large shapes.

Student Activity: Ask students to isolate shapes in the doodle they have drawn and fill each with repetitions of mark(s). They must invent as many as possible, ie. cross hatching, stippling, but also patterns, logos, textures, shapes (circles, squares, stars). Gradations must be used.

Guide students to reference the patterns and repetitions around them at school, malls, home, on clothing, logos, curtains, floor tiles, from street sounds (city, rural), music, TV, video games, magazines, furniture, cars, sports, cartoons, colors, etc.

When all students have completed their drawing, as a group present drawings and discuss them, compare, talk about the overall effect of drawings, likes and dislikes, which attracts, and why. At this point, the concept of personal vocabulary of imagery, ie. rhythms, line, and colors, could be introduced, and pointed out. Question how unique and commonalities show up in repetitions and single shapes. Where do these influences come from, ie. contemporary sources, or from memory, historical? How does the drawing, as a whole, convey, ie. energy, static, a place, a time, season?

Afterwards, present to students Wolfli's and Lesage's art work and ask students to pick out repetitions and patterns in the images. Discuss the overall effect of the image. What does the work of these artists tell us about when considering historical moments and, mark making, colors, forms, shapes, and personal references?


Vocabulary of forms for Adolf Wolfli pdf. at the Adolf Wölfli Web site.

Student Worksheet, pdf.

Assessment (suggestion)

/1o - Variety of patterns and mark making.

/10 - Connection made between patterns (mark making and invention) and personal.

/10 - Application of sources, exploration and research (line, shading).

/10 - Communication of ideas, forms, and individual/common visual vocabulary.



© 2007, L.Moriarity, For education purposes only.