How to create a pattern – Part 5: Is it a pattern or is it artwork?

This is most probably the most common problem we come across when looking at pattern submissions.

To qualify as a pattern, the step-out must

  • consist of less than 7 steps.
  • contain repetition.
  • consist of the shapes we use in tangling.

Even if all these requirements are met, sometimes a pattern will still not be posted on the website. Not every squiggle can be considered a pattern worth sharing! (Sorry to be so blunt)

The pattern must be

  • visually appealing.
  • inspiring.
  • unique and not only be a slight variation of an existing pattern on the website.
  • contain artwork that places emphasis on the pattern.

And the step-out must be easy to understand and conform to all the other standards.

To explain this visually, I will pick random patterns that are listed in the ART Samples section of the website:

SwirlBall by Ina Sonnenmoser

SwirlBall is an Art Sample because there are hardly any possibilities for variations in this pattern. It’s borderline, as it does contain repetition, but my personal feeling is that it is a step-out that shows you how to draw a ball – not a pattern.

Viral by Ina Sonnenmoser

Viral is also an Art Sample. I only kept it on the website because it might inspire someone to use it in a Halloween tangle 🙂

Beetle Hair by Nicole Dreyer

Beetle Hair – yep, could be a pattern, but I still consider this an Art Sample. The only repetition you can find is the Feathering. Feathering is just a CPT Technique. Adding this to a random shape does not qualify as repetition. This Art Sample could become a pattern if Step 1-3 would be repeated in some way. Draw this shape in a line or circle, maybe add some rotation .. then it would qualify as a pattern.

Elvis (Emo)Fish by Simona Cordara

Elvis, yep, another Art Sample – no need to explain why 🙂 Elvis is so cute, he has to have a place somewhere!

I do take the liberty to decide which Art Sample is worth posting on the website. Art Samples are not listed in the alphabetical listing, nor can they be found under Framework.

There is another section on pattern-collections that does not contain patterns, but were accepted previously. This section is called Triggers/Doodles. Most of them simply don’t show repetition.

Paris is one of them. Look at my pretty artwork! Why didn’t I do that in the step-out? I show how to draw the one shape, but I don’t explain how to draw this pattern as a ribbon – no repetition! Look at the date though! 2015 – that’s a looong time ago and a lot has changed since then.

Scroller by Ina Sonnenmoser

Scroller I needed for a write-up and I created the step-out. But this is not a pattern!

If the step-out does not show repetition, it will not appear on the website. No new step-outs will be added to the Triggers section. Hopefully one day all the patterns listed in this section will have step-outs showing proper repetition so they can be moved back into the other categories.


Flowers – some of these step-outs do not contain repetition. But I like flowers and since it’s my website, I can decide what goes on and what doesn’t 😉

Themes such as Halloween or Christmas. When we run a theme week, we ask pattern designers to create step-outs that fit into this category. That is the only time patterns like this will be added to the website even though they should be Art Samples or Triggers.

<phew> Now all the boring parts are done! The next lesson will focus more on how to CREATE a pattern 🙂

How to create a pattern – Part 6: Playing with Shapes continued

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