African Drawing Workshop – How to Draw Amazing African Patterns

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African Patterns


As you will have seen when we looked at Tingatinga art, there are lots of repetitive patterns included in African and other tribal art. In our drawing workshop today we are going to have a go at making some different patterns. I did find this tutorial below, which you may want to follow, but if you aren’t keen on videos, keep reading for some simple steps to draw African patterns. 

Let's Draw Together

so, first of all, you want your sketchbook, journal or just a sheet of paper, a black pen or two, and some colours. 


Here are some images to inspire you. 

Adapt these instructions to your child’s age and ability by simplifying where necessary.  

  • Start by splitting your page into squares or lines. 
  • Next split each line or square into smaller sections, maybe triangles or smaller squares. 
  • Now, within each small section, you can begin your pattern, by drawing shapes in sequences. These could be as simple as dots and dashes, a bit more complex with spirals, sunshines and diamonds, or be brave and try adding an animal shape like patterns 1 and 4 above. 
  • Keep building your pattern with shapes and marks until you are happy. 
  • You can add colour as you go, or at the end, or you may have decided to draw on coloured paper to start with. 
  • Use bright colours. You could use your favourite colours, or have you noticed common colours that feature in African art a lot? 
  • Have as many goes as you like – there is no right or wrong! 
  • EXTRA – when you have mastered your patterns, have a go at filling an animal shape with patterns. And then fill the background with a different pattern!
pattern giraffes

Drawing Game - Populate a Map

Here is an additional or alternative drawing activity for you. This is more suited to older children and grown ups, but anyone can have a go. 


Its quite simple, either draw the outline of Africa, or print one off, then draw as many African animals as you can to fill the map up… You can add a competitive element if you have multiple people doing it, or you can make it harder by making sure each animal is in the right part of Africa! 

Have fun! 

Before you go...

Here’s some fun lunchtime viewing for you – yep, you guessed it, its an episode of Tinga Tinga Tales! Why does Cheetah have Tears?


See you later for some outdoor activities, a little light reading and an end of the day journal prompt… 

Click here for the next post – Shadow animals and Splatter Painting

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Katherine is a mixed media artist, art teacher, writer, designer, photographer – and mum of 2 – who works and lives in North Devon, nestled in the woods on a little smallholding. She has a BA in Performance Studies, an MA in Fine Art, and an MFA in photography, alongside a background in early years childhood and special education. Katherine uses her artistic talents, passion for helping people, and unique creativity to create articles, courses and classes that promote creativity, artistic skills, self expression and well-being. She believes in the power of the creative arts and how engaging with them can improve so many aspects of life.
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