Designing a Möbius Strip

Patterns, Patterns.


For the first assignment in my Conceptual Design class, we were tasked with creating a pattern that would eventually be transformed into our own 3D version of the M.C. Escher-esque Möbius strip. The first thought that I had was “How do I create a pattern that is unique and interesting to look at without being too repetitive.” I wanted something that would be equally as compelling of a design as the idea of a Möbius strip itself. If you’re unfamiliar, a Möbius strip is known as “the simplest non-orient able surface,” or a one-sided “twisted cylinder” that more or less looks like an infinity look with only one side. For reference, here is Escher’s take on it.

M.C. Escher, Möbius Strip II, 1963

I started by illustrating some teeth as you’ll see below. This sounds bizarre but teeth have always been a pervasive theme in my life. I’ve enjoyed medical saga after medical saga involving my teeth for as long as I can remember due to a unique condition… I’m missing nearly all of my adult teeth! They just never grew in and I’ve lost only 6 baby teeth. So, I’m stuck with baby teeth that will continue to wear away until I have none anymore, but luckily, thanks to modern medicine, I will be able to receive implants I will likely never be able to afford! Regardless, that is why I can only imagine teeth come up as images in my art so frequently… they’re on my mind more than the average person I suppose.

The next thing I wanted to do was add some sort of detail to the pattern in order to make capture the viewers more strongly. Initially I was going to illustrate the teeth to look like detailed versions of anatomical teeth, but then I had the idea of turn each tooth into some sort of tarot-card like design and began adding faces and to each one in hopes to give every individual tooth its own unique character. Overall I feel as though I succeeded! I also used a raster-based program (Procreate) because I did not have access to Illustrator during the creation of this project, so the alignment of each tooth had to be done by hand and eventually copied and pasted.

The Baby Teeth!

Finally, I finished it by copying the design and duplicating it horizontally, creating an almost fractal-like effect in the design. Once finished, I printed it out, folded it over itself and twisted it to only have “one side” before connecting the paper to form my Möbius strip. This project helped me learn how to develop a fun, interesting and compelling design while also trying to think about how it could seamlessly overlap itself.

The Final Results!

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