Drawing Spirals

Spirals are an essential feature of the Celtic/Anglo-Saxon tradition from which the images contained within the Lindisfarne Gospels spring. Spiral forms represent continuity and the cycle of life and death. Spirals are found in nature, from the double helix of a DNA molecule through the curl of a snail shell to a spinning spiral galaxy.


Experiment with drawing spiral forms

  • Draw a single spiral starting at the centre of a page in your Research Book. Try to keep the spiral as tight as you can. Try to draw the spiral in one go, without stopping (see Spiral Meditation image)
  • Experiment with other spiral type arrangements, building up drawings in series of spiral forms and closely grouped lines (see Spiral Ripples)

Spiral meditations
Spiral Meditation

Spiral Meditation

 

spiral ripples
Spiral Meditation

Spiral Meditation

Use the following method to invent your own spiral designs. Start by sketching a cross and mark each arm three times (see Drawing Spirals 1 image)

  • Starting at the outer point of one of the arms sketch a curving line towards the outer point in on the neighbouring arm
  • Continue on around through the outer points of the other arms and then sketch towards the second point in on the first arm (see Drawing Spirals 2 image)
  • Following this path will lead you gradually towards the center of this one-twist spiral
  • Once you have got this basic construction you can go on to work out traditional spiral designs or even better, invent your own (see Drawing Spirals 3 image)
  • Experiment with two, three and four twist spirals (see Drawing Spirals 4 image)

 

Page with spiral pattern
Drawing Spirals 1

Drawing Spirals 1

 

Page with spiral pattern
Drawing Spirals 2

Drawing Spirals 2

 

Page of spiral pattern
Drawing Spirals 3

Drawing Spirals 3

 

page of spiral pattern
Drawing Spirals 4

Drawing Spirals 4

Creatures in the Round

Produce spiral designs which include swirling animals, birds and insects

  • Use some of your spiral constructions to put together ideas for 'roundels', circular designs which incorporate animals, birds and insects
  • Sketch simple animal, bird or insect shapes. Look particularly for interesting shapes and patterns in the creatures outline, feathers or markings
  • Twist and bend the shapes of the creatures to fit into the segments of your spiral (see Raptor, Raptors 1, Moth Spiral images)
  • Scan some of your designs and use image manipulation software to add photographs, scans of objects and textures (see Raptors 2 image)

 

spiral designs with swirling birds
Raptor

Raptor

 

Raptor Image
Raptor

Raptor

 

Raptor Image
Raptor

Raptor

 

Moth Spiral Image
Moth Spiral

Moth Spiral

 

Try these links:

www.living-jewels.com/photo.htm (beautiful bugs)

www.ukmoths.org.uk (beautiful bugs)