How to Create a Tribal Design (Or Something Similar)




About: I am no longer a student at IU as I've graduated (huzzah!). I joined Instructables because I enjoy making and viewing unusual objects. I like Instructables that are unique and when I create something, I enjo...

For this instructable I will show you how to create a tribal design using only:



-Belief In Shadows

-Your Noggin

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Step 1: Starting.

To begin first decide on what your design will look like and where you will start. Some good starting place are: The middle (if you aren't going to make a semetrical design) the left side, and the right side. I started in the middle just to show some techniques I used.

Step 2: Filling in the Space

In this you will make sweeping strokes with the pencil in the sharp, yet rounded style of graffiti. overlap other lines lightly so that you can erase later.

Step 3: Filling in the Rest of the Space

Once you use the round lines that get to a point when changing directions filling the paper, it is time to connect the lines. Up until now the lines weren't connected.

Step 4: Top of the Food Chain

For this step you will have to decide where to start. Once you have found the starting point you will go along the lines ======== and decide which goes on top when they intersect like so.. ======||===

I prefer to try and make the line go under another line every other time or so. I also prefer that if there is a long sharp point made from changing direction that it goes on top of anything else.

Step 5: Erasing the Underlying Lines and Shading

In this step you will erase all the lines created when a line went under another line so that it has depth. Along with erasing the lines you will also do shading to show depth. To shade, first decide where a light will be (I usually put my light in the right) If you don't understand what I mean, look at the pictures and see where the shadow are. Also if a pipe (was once a line until shading) goes under another pipe. Draw a shadow where they meet.

The second and third drawings are of a more uniform design. I made it a mirror image by creating a line of symmetry (a very light vertical line) and drew a design on the left of it, but I had parts touch the line, then I bent the paper over so that the graphite on the paper touches the opposite side of the vertical line so that when I write on the back of the paper it makes a carbon copy of itself on the other side of the vertical line. So now its a perfect image.

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    16 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    I used a box cutter, but it might be easier with an x-acto knife.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It always looks cool to mix Hard, Sharp corners with organic flowing lines.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I came up with this while I was bored in a resource, I just drew lots of sharp corners and round bends and decide what goes over what, and what goes under. Unfortunately the pictures aren't all that great. (I blame today's youth)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Feel free to post suggestions on wording and any step that throws you off when you read it.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Really cool!
    I want one on the plastic cover of my notebook too.
    Maybe you could use that for a stencil.
    Awesome job.

    By the way, what's a noggin?

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I need to put some clear tape on both sides to almost laminate it and keep it from breaking off in my backpack. Packaging tape and not the half inch thick weakling tape.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Also the one on my notebook was the original design for my Xbox controller, It didn't work out as well as I was hoping so I just used it on my notebook.