Choosing your subject

Historic Inspiration

  • Jesus Torres – deep connection with his ancient roots in Mexico
  • Alfonso Best-Maugard – analyzing the history of all cultures and finding his own embedded in that connextion

Your Task

What is a symbol of your roots or a symbol of yourself in a community?

1 – Create tiles of Different Styles

This is your palette for the painting. Setting some limits for the painting makes all the sections come together.





2 – Simple Drawing/outline

Create a simple drawing that gets the general shape. I drew a tree, but you can choose any simple icon. Things to think about:

  1. Make sure you don’t have little details.
  2. Think about how to organize the tiles you designed in this drawing

Steps for drawing a Tree


3 – Designing the Tilework on your Drawing

Draw the tiles with Pencil

1. Use small tiles to outline the important pieces (but not too small, try no smaller than 1/2 inch square)

2. Fill in the rest with tiles of varying sizes from your “palette” in the beginning

3. Add curved tiles to some places if necessary (I did the tree trunk). 

4. If you have long tiles or unusual shapes, don’t put them all in one place. Put them in different places to create cohesion.

5. Finish by filling in all major cracks with tiles. It’s kind of like a puzzle that you create.

Outline with Sharpie or a Dark Colored Marker

Start Painting

1. Cover your entire paper with water

2. Mix your paint with water until it’s the consistency of milk, then start dabbing it onto your paper

3. Think about where you want warm and cool colors. Because I made a tree, I wanted cool colors in the leaves, and warm colors in the trunk.

4. Put like tiles together, at different parts of the painting. See how I have two greens together in 3 different parts of the painting, and 4-5 blues together in different parts of the painting.

Final details (important to make it pop)

1. Use sharpie or a dark colored alcohol based marker to fill in the spaces in between your tiles.

2. Use a white Gel Pen to outline all the tiles.

3. Add details on your tiles. I wanted mine to look like salvaged tiles of different types, so I added flower designs and stripes to some of my tiles. 

4. Make sure every crack in your painting is filled in with black marker.

Finished work