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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.

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Beside writing super useful blog posts I also teach how to create Islamic geometric patterns

step-by-step-tutorials are not helping you

I know, right? I bet you are thinking “Whaaatt???” but sincerely speaking, the step-by-step tutorials are not helping you become better at Islamic geometry.

Of course, this is how we all started and how many more people will start in the future. I have many step-by-step Islamic geometry tutorials for free on my website. And they are AMAZING for total beginners. But at some point, you will have to start weaning yourself from it.

We’ve all been there. Sitting in front of our piece of paper, armed with our compass and ruler, following those instructions like our artistic lives depend on it. But have you ever wondered why, even after hours and hours spent on it, you are not able to analyse and construct a pattern on your own? Let’s dive in and find out!

Step-by-step tutorials will not teach you the process.

Usually, when you follow step-by-step instructions, you focus on doing the steps correctly and making sure you are not missing anything. Rather you should focus on why the teacher is doing what he/she is doing.

  • What is the process/way of thinking? 
  • What is the method used and why?
  • Is there any other tutorial that teaches the same pattern in a different way that you can use for comparison?

There are so many questions you can ask yourself that you could literally become Sherlock Holmes of Islamic geometry.

While step-by-step tutorials can be helpful as a foundation, understanding the process can help you understand the logic behind a pattern, and soon you will be able to apply that knowledge to other patterns on your own.

This is why I have created “Islamic geometric patterns: analyse and construct a zellige pattern” a comprehensive course that will teach you my method of analysis that has helped me analyse and construct intricate Islamic geometric patterns with ease.

Step-by-step tutorials will not teach you problem-solving skills.

I started analysing Islamic geometric patterns 5 months after learning about Islamic geometry (if you scroll down my IG feed you will find it). I started with a pattern of 12fold and 9fold rosettes I found in the “Islamic geometric designs” book by Eric Broug, and let me tell you that I have never sweated more than that in my life HA! I knew how to divide the circle into 12, but to make that match with a 9fold was a whole other thing.

Anyway, long story short, I didn’t want to give up, so I searched the IG page of any artist I follow, books I own, Facebook groups and also Google it.

With all the bits of information I gathered and with a bit of intuition, I was able to complete my construction and create an artwork out of it. I was SO PROUD of myself.

I was (and still am) proud because it’s easy to go and bother someone else and have them waste their time to solve my problem, and I didn’t do that. Rather I used my problem-solving skills.

And I love the people that come to me searching for help that brings me all the information they have gathered before coming to me. I appreciate the fact that they did the homework before bothering someone else.

And if you end up being stuck, unsure of how to proceed, fear not! Go do something else, analyse other patterns, and you will see that after some time when you come back to it, you will find the answer.

Step-by-step tutorials will not teach you how to grow.

Usually, when you solely rely on step-by-step tutorials you will never feel ready to go next level. They will make you insecure in your own skills. 

Attempting pattern analysis and construction may feel scary and overwhelming. The idea of posting your process on social media can make you cringe. 

  • What if it’s wrong?
  • What if they think I am a fraud?
  • What if they exile me from the Islamic art Olympus forever?

Yes, I’ve been there. But the Islamic art community can offer amazing feedback and constructive criticism that will help you grow exponentially.

Join art groups or forums, and engage in conversations with fellow artists. Learning from others and sharing your own knowledge can be a game-changer in your artistic journey.

The bottom line is that step-by-step tutorials can be a helpful starting point, but they shouldn’t be the only thing you rely on. Experiment, be open to challenges, embrace mistakes as opportunities, and seek support and inspiration from the art community. 

So what are you waiting for? Pause the step-by-step tutorials for now and go test your knowledge. Do you dare try it?


Why step-by-step tutorials are not helping you

August 15, 2023

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  1. Miriam Pineda says:

    No, is for very very good help. The only thing is that I have to fine some time to start a proyect.
    Than a lot for your advices

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I’m an artist, self-taught designer, and educator who is hell-bent on teaching everyone how to get started with Islamic geometry.
I've been in the game since 2016 and trust me when I say that one year from now you will wish you had started today.

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