P is for...

Paisley, Patterns and Purple

Today’s project is an easy and fun one. The iconic Paisley pattern that got its name from the Scottish town close to Glasgow is the shape that will inspire this mini project. This droplet shape is ancient and has its origins in the East, and depending on the country, it's also known as Mankolam, Koyari, Carrey and Ambi, where it refers to the mango fruit shape.

The Paisley shape is also known in some countries as Buta, referring to the cypress tree. The shape leans itself to be adapted in many ways, and is ideal for elaboration and exploring of the curves and flowing patterns.

Creative Process

Write the letters of the alphabet in lower case on two sheets of paper, thirteen letters per page to allow for bigger drawings. Use the letters as prompts to start your own Paisley designs. By now you should have a good idea of how to progress.

Use the letters as starting point for your design, it could be the main focus or part of the decoration, draw it in repeat or another way you choose. The curve of the shape makes it easy to adapt into an elaborate design incorporating spirals and natural forms. It is easy to get carried away and make these into exquisite doodle patterns.

If you have completed the drawings pick a few favourite shapes - maybe paint it in hues of purple or other colour combinations you would like to explore. If you use the High Flow set to create purple, use magenta and ultramarine blue to get a very pure colour. Also use Pthalo blue, red and brown in combination to explore different purple hues.

Here is a link to a Pinterest board with Paisley inspiration:



Lose yourself in doodling Paisley shapes should become quite easy with this project as you are getting more used to using letters for the purpose of finding shapes. This project can develop into a colour exercise as well if you want to expand the Paisley shapes into a bigger project. Use purple or another colour combination of your choice. The history of the Paisley pattern is rich and varied, research it further if interested.

If you would like to read more about it's fascinating history have a look here:




© 2020 Esté MacLeod

© 2020 Explore Colour