Illusory contours

My good friend, Silke Wagner, was playing around with the classic pattern known as Triquetra, the trinity symbol.

Threeknot by Silke Wagner

During the course of her explorations, she discovered two new patterns:

Threeknot Extended by Silke Wagner Threeknot Opened by Silke Wagner

Ellen Wolters was so kind as to prepare a video:

I am fascinated by the disappearing lines; fading in and out. The same principle was applied by Hennie Brouwer

Miep-Miep by Hennie Brouwer

These patterns caused me to do a bit of research and I would like to share my findings with you.

Our brains are trained to fill in the gaps between shapes and lines. The best example of this theory is the Kanizsa Triangle.

Kanizsa triangle

It is easy to manipulate the contours that we imagine.

Convex and Concave shape

After looking at Silke’s Threeknot pattern, I tried to create a step-out for the Triskel symbol, but I find it too difficult as a tangle and that’s why I didn’t add it as a step-out to the website.

Triskel by Ina Sonnenmoser

But I did manage to create a very cute little pattern: The Triskel Heart

Triskel Heart by Ina Sonnenmoser

And again, you can see that your brain will connect the lines, creating the heart shape. The same happens with the Coffeebean Flower.

Coffeebean Flower by Ina Sonnenmoser

Often you don’t need to connect lines, but rather work with the way your brain translates a pattern.

To create this kind of patterns is not a mystery. Let’s take Cadent as an example:

Cadent Sample

And here I draw the same pattern, but do not connect the S-Shapes:

Cadent Sample 2

I did the same with W2/Huggins:

W2 Sample

Your brain automatically connects the lines. I find this quite fascinating and will definitely pursue this further in the future. Have a play with “Illusory contours” and share your findings in our Facebook group.


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