Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Parabolic Line Drawings

I got this lesson idea from Mr. Rees' Class Blog @  The main idea of this lesson is to introduce students to pursuit curves and parabolic line patterns (which are repeated straight lines that eventually create curves in art and architecture).  We discussed how this concept is closely related to math concepts.  The students looked at the architecture of the Syndey Opera House in Sydney, Australia, which was designed by John Utzon using pursuit curves and parabolic lines.

I gave each student a 9x9 piece of white paper and a 7x7 square stencil.  Step 1:  Trace the square on their paper.  Step 2: Measure a "finger's width" or 1/2" away from the top left corner of the square, rotate the paper counter-clockwise and repeat on all 4 corners.  Step 3: Connect the dots, rotate paper counter-clockwise, connect the dots, repeat.  These steps should be repeated over and over and over again. 


  1. The picture in the bottom right corner looks super cool and I'm trying to figure out how to replicate it, but I can't seem to follow your instructions. What do you do after you measure a 1/2" away from the top left corner? Mark a dot? Draw a line? And 1/2" away in which direction? OMG - step-by-step photos would be awesome!

  2. I agree, step by step photos/ instructions or a video would be very helpful. :)

  3. Go here:

    You can see how to draw Paradox, an official Zentangle, and very similar to the above.!!