Tangle Patterns and Affinity Designer

Last night I stayed up way too late playing around with Affinity Designer. I wondered how easy Affinity Designer could be used to create tangle patterns. I had to give it a try.

It took a bit to get the size I wanted, but that was just because I wasn’t thinking logically. When creating tangles by hand, the idea is to not use any rulers and do it all freehand. For mindful drawing purposes or for the “zen” experience I agree and also disagree. I LOVE using rulers to get my lines straight when I’m feeling the need to do so. I also LOVE ending up with wonky lines for that imperfect feel to a drawing, so it really depends upon my frame of mind at the time.

The same can be said for working in Affinity Designer. I could do it all freehand in designer to create my patterns but that wasn’t my frame of mind last night. I wanted straight lines and perfect circles, so I used the tools in Affinity Designer to accomplish it. I turned on grid lines, enabled snapping, and used the transform tool to make my circles perfectly round.

The first tangle I attacked was 2-N-5 by CZT Anita Roby-Lavery. I got all the patterns in this post from tanglepatterns.com. I realized after a few attempts when I was trying to create more than one iteration of the tangle, that I didn’t need to. All I needed to do was create the single pattern that can be repeated. To make a repeating pattern all I had to do was copy and paste it and move it to where I wanted it. Below is the single pattern and then the repeating pattern I created with 2-N-5.


The next pattern I chose was a bit more complicated. I chose 2A by CZT Mina Hsiao. I used the grid to ensure my lines ran as parallel as possible. Holding the shift key down when drawing the line ensures a straight line, except when it is on the diagonal. The grid helped tremendously with keeping the lines equal distance apart. Below is the single pattern and then the multiple pattern created using the single pattern. Because I created all the tangle patterns with transparent backgrounds, I quickly discovered another interesting effect. When I move the image to the position I want it to be in, I can see the pattern below it and the interesting alternative patterns one can get when they overlap, which would be impossible (or nearly impossible) to create when drawing by hand. In this case, I let the images overlap slightly which created an interesting pattern where they overlap.


Next, I tackled 2V by CZT Ginny Lu. This was another step up in complication. The curved dark intersections was a challenge at first. I found I could draw a straight line, then use the node tool to add a node which then enabled me to curve the line slightly. I could then copy and paste the line and turn it in the direction I needed for other areas and alter it’s length to fit. Any white space I filled using the pixel persona’s paint brush tool to fill it in with black. As you can see I didn’t fill them all in. Leaving the center of the single image not filled in creates an interesting effect when creating the multiple patterns seen below. Again, I tried out some ways to overlap the images to create alternative patterns.


The next pattern I chose was 3D-Room by CZT Mei Hua Teng. It was getting late and I didn’t want to stop but I knew I needed to get some sleep. This one was the simplest to create and the resulting overlapping pattern was just as much of a surprise and delight as the more complicated patterns above.3D Room

I can imagine endless possibilities for how I can use these patterns. As I learn more and more of what can be accomplished in Affinity Designer, those possibilities will expand further. I can say, there were moments I entered a zen type state as I created these digitally. I could feel my brain synapses firing in excitement when my eyes suddenly discovered how dragging an image over another image created endless patterns I could pursue. This isn’t limited to using one pattern. I can use any pattern I’ve created and see what it looks like when I overlap it with another pattern.

When overlapping images or combining them into a repeating pattern, I can cause either a bold line where they join or have the joined area be seamless.

I can’t wait to try out patterns with curved lines. This might turn out to be a bigger challenge but one I’m excited about trying.