Analyzing Patterns #1 Part 1

It’s about time I start a new series of analyzing patterns. It’s not until I observed some of the photos I took when I traveled to Turkey that I better understood the patterns used in most of their decor and designs. Being able to reach such a level is true happiness that me studying the Ottoman patterns is finally bearing fruit. At the end of this post, I will share with you the current books I have regarding Ottoman patterns, Tezhip, and art in general.

In one of my visits to Istanbul, my mother and I passed by the famous Bazaar and happened to came across this small palace. It’s now a historical place you can visit whenever you’re around.

It’s my first time observing patterns closely and was so excited. That’s when I saw the placement of motifs and how they form a full pattern/composition. I already took one course in the art of gilding (Tezhip) so I’m familiar with the Ottoman patterns and art. Also, I’m studying the art of drawing and composing Ottoman patterns from scratch with a Turkish teacher. She’s so helpful and is doing a great job teaching me this art. To be honest, it’s difficult to excel in Ottoman art/patterns so my advice is to study with a teacher. It’ll make the whole process easier.

So, getting back to the compositions and patterns, I will demonstrate to you how to construct the same pattern from scratch and lastly will paint it for you step by step.

The formula I’m using in this is as follows: 

Observe -> Analyze -> Deconstruct -> Reconstruct (drawing)

But prior to that, you have to learn about the basic motifs used in Ottoman art that make up the Ottoman patterns. Repeat the same formula repeatedly until you figure out how the design was formed. This is done for you to understand the way designs are made. When it comes to designing, you are ought to develop your own style and design your own composition.


Location: Yeni Hunkar Kasri (my photograph)


Location: Yeni Hunkar Kasri (my photograph)

Below is the first part for composing the design the way you see them as show in the photographs. It’s normal if at the beginning it takes you days (maybe weeks), to be able to construct a full pattern/composition like this. But never give up because the result will be beautiful (if you persist).


Materials you need are:

  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Tracing paper
  • Paper (to paint your design on)


Here is the video for the whole drawing process:

With a background on drawing Ottoman patterns, I was able to form the same composition from scratch as I showed you in the video above. The form used here is a Şemse with Rumi motifs within it. I simplified the pattern to show you the composition as it is without complexity. Next will be the painting part which is part II from this mini series of analyzing patterns from Palaces and Mesjids/Camiis.

List of helpful Youtube channels: 

List of All Books I currently have on Tezhip and Ottoman Pattens/Motifs:

  • Tezhip by Hacer Sönmez 
  • Turk Tezyini Sanatlarinda Desen Tasarımı Çizim Tekniği Ve Çeşitleri by İnci A. Birol
  • Rumi Cizim ve Teknikleri by Sabiha Bayhan Koç
  • Turkish Motifs by Cahide Keskiner
  • Islamic Art of Illumination by Sema Onat
  • Turk Sanatinda Desen ve Kurgu by Prof. İlhan Özkeçeci 
  • Turkish Tiles by Özlem İnay Erten and Oğuz Erten
  • Türk Tezyini Sanatlarinda Motifler (Motifs in Turkish Decorative Arts) by Dr. İnci A. Birol and Prof. Dr. Çiçek Derman


Next –> Part II (soon)


ⓒ Anwaar S. AlAsousi, 2019

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