Inspiration: M.C. Escher’s patterns

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher is probably most known for his impossible architecture and landscape drawings, showcasing his play on perspective and point of view to create structures which ultimately cannot exist.

As beautifully crafted as these images are, I have always been more captivated by Escher’s pattern works. His ability to create a fluid and seamless plane of repeated images fitting perfectly togather is both unrivaled and mind-boggling. I bought a thick book years ago which breaks down and analyzes the mathematical formulas behind his patterns, which I proceeded to start reading countless times. To this day, his work still makes little sense to me :)

Check out the official M.C. Escher website for more of his work.


  1. Ray

    I adore the last one. :)

  2. riles

    totally would want prints of the first one & last one framed simply in a kitchen or some such… & they’d make amazing upholstry fabric!!

  3. Michael Faber

    Definitely an inspiration. I bought a print of Metamorphose at the Escher museum in The Hague, which is a 15 or so foot long by 9″ tall print. Posted it along my stairwell so when I go up and down the stairs, I can follow the transition of patterns and impossible architecture…

  4. If you were to ask me who was more insane: Escher or Hunter Thompson… I’d without a doubt say Escher. His work is absurd (in a good way).

  5. Thanks for this, James. It’s nice to be reminded and re-inspired by the greats of yesterday. It’s so easy to just get caught up in what’s ahead in design, and staying up to date on the latest trends. As artists, we need to remember the massive artistic leaps that have been made by our predecessors.

    I would argue that our greatest inspiration as artists and designers should come from what has stood the test of time, rather than only looking to our contemporaries for inspiration.

  6. I’ve always been fascinated by Escher’s work as well, whenever I see his stuff I can’t help but try to parse out the steps in creating it and I believe part of my brain melts in the process. What’s the name of the “thick book” you mentioned?

  7. Ben

    A personal favourite of mine is the one where the lizards in the pattern crawl out, become “three-dimensional”, breahte steam, and then return to the pattern. It not only looks cool, but it combines his more photorealistic style with his pattern work, and also has his pattern represented in perspective. Quite something, when you look at it. Which is what you should do with it.

  8. @Chris Forrette: The book is called “Visions of Symmetry.” James said so himself.

  9. james (Author)

    Thanks for passing the info along, Abe :) Much appreciated.

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