Essay 20 - Best in Class

This page compiles a listing of what I term as a ‘best in class’ tessellation, in which I compile a table and nominate an Escher-like tessellation as the best in a specific category, or subcategory. The premise of this compilation is to challenge you, dear reader, to admire high quality tessellation, and if at all possible better these with your own efforts. The various categories are as follows, in rough order of importance, specifically of Nos. 1-5; those lower than that listing have uncertain placements in this regard:

  1. Animals, excluding birds and fish (save for specific breeds), of a single creature, such as dogs
  2. Human figures, in variety of poses, such as chefs
  3. Inanimate objects, such as cars
  4. Fantasies, such as angels
  5. Heads, such as cats
  6. Cartoon characters, such as bugs bunny
  7. Specific tiles, such as the ‘Cairo tiling’
  8. Two motifs themed, such as dog and rabbit (dogs chase rabbits)
  9. Two motifs not themed, such as dancers and rabbit (no connection)
  10.  Miscellaneous, i.e. none of the above

Of the examples, some of these have more than one instance of view. For instance, the dog has four, of profile, looking back and running, as well as sitting and standing. Note that not all views are to be regarded as the same intrinsic worth, this depending on how we typically view them. In the animal category, the most recognisable orientation is preferred, with others of a lesser regard.  For example, quadrupeds are ideally seen from the side, rather than the front, although both views are acceptable. In contrast, insects are best seen from above.

The tables below gives a wide range of motifs that I consider to have shown to have a Escher-like tessellation as to some degree of worth, in that primarily by silhouette alone these are instantly recognisable. For each distinct motif, alligator, badger etc., I credit the artist who I consider has the ‘best in class’ tessellation, along with a link to the picture. On occasions, choosing a single favoured instance between competing tessellations was not an easy task; many instances of excellent, if not superb have of necessity been left out by this ruling. However, the motifs here should not necessarily be compared as against each other on equal terms. Some examples are decidedly weak, and have only been included for the sake of including a ‘best in class’ of that category. For example, Christine Shearer’s ‘Pigs’ and ‘Pandas’, of relative poor quality really only qualify due to her having no competitor in these categories. That said, these are still of some degree of worth, and so are included.

Of note here is that I omit generic birds and fish in the listings. Simply stated, these are amongst the easiest motifs to compose (discussed below), and generally lack a challenge. However, one should not dismiss birds and fish as a challenge out of hand, as they can be made ‘worthwhile’ if they are of a specific instance, such as an eagle or swan, and so therefore I thus include here in the listings below examples of this specific type, rather than of a generic bird or fish.

Another reason for this compilation is to try and move the artist away from birds and fish as the choice of motif. A noteworthy challenge in tessellation, to in effect test one’s skills, is to compose a wide range of different motifs (and ideally in different poses), and not just settle for the easier and commonly to be found birds and fish. As such, the latter pairing can be said to lack challenge, in that their outlines are so ambiguous that, within reason, many tessellating shapes can, with a bit of imagination made to be bird or fish-like with relative ease. In contrast, other motifs, of more ‘restrictive’ outlines, pose more of a challenge, and so can be said to be of more worth. Furthermore, as they are of a relatively ‘scarce’ nature, they have a certain ‘novelty value’, and so are thus are more interest than the above more commonly found motifs.

Agree/disagree? E-me.


 Motif                          Artist Source
 Alligator/Crocodile Araki
 Ant Escher
 Badger Crompton
 Bee Nicolas See book, p 151 
 Bat Wyniger 
 Beetle Nakamura See site above: Animals, Insects 4
 Bird - Eagle Osborn  
 Bird - Flamingo Nakamura See site above: 
 Bird - Kiwi Williams
 Bird - Swan Escher
 Bison Nakamura See site above: Animals, Bison
 Butterfly Escher
 Camel Escher
 Cat - Frontal Nakamura See site above: Animals, Cats
 Cat - Profile Nakamura See site above: Animals, Cats
 Cow Edwards
 Chameleon Nakamura See site above: Dinosaurs [sic], Chameleons
 Chicken Nakamura See site above: Birds, Chicken 1
 Crab Escher
 Deer Nakamura See site above: Animals, Deer
 Dinosaur Nakamura See site above: Dinosaur,
 Dog (Looking Back) Nicolas
 Dog (Running) Nakamura See site above: Animals, Dog 1
 Dog (Sitting) Escher
 Dog (Standing) Escher
 Dolphin Crompton
 Elephant Nakamura See site above: Animals, Elephants
 Fox Nakamura See site above: Animals, Foxs [sic] 1
 Frog - plan view Nicolas
 Frog - side view Nakamura See site above, Fish [sic], Frogs 2
 Frog - symmetrical Nicolas See book, p. 88
 Gazelle Nakamura See site above: Animals, Gazelle 2
 Giraffe Rausen
 Goat Nicolas See book, p.77
 Gorilla (Frontal) Nicolas See book, p.33  
 Hedgehog Crompton
 Hen Crompton See poster
 Horse Nakamura See site above: Animals,Horses 2
 Jaguar Ribault
 Jellyfish Sef
 Kiwi Williams
 Kangaroo - Profile Bilney
 Kangaroo - Frontal Raba
 Koala Bilney
 Lion Nakamura See site above: 
 Lizard Escher
 Lobster (Asymmetrical) Crompton
 Lobster (Symmetrical) Bilney See site above
 Mouse Nakamura See site above: Animals,
 Monkey Nakamura See site above: Animals,
 Numbat Bilney See site above
 Octopus Nicolas See book, p.29
 Panda Shearer
 Platypus Bilney See site above
 Penguin Nakamura See site above: 
 Pig Shearer
 Rabbit Nakamura See site above: Animals, Rabbits 3
 Rats Nakamura See site above, Animals, Rats 1
 Reindeer Nakamura See site above: Animals, Reindeers [sic]
 Reptile Escher
 Sea Horse Escher
 Seal Wyniger
 Sheep Nakamura See site above: Animals, Sheeps [sic]
 Spider Nakamura See site above: 
 Squirrel Escher
 Starfish Sef
 Turtle Wyniger
 Wasp Nicolas
 Whale (Killer) Lefelhocz
 Whale Sef
 Wild Boar Nakamura See site above: Animals, Wild Boar 1
 Wolf Nicolas
 Zebra Ribault

Human Figures

 Motif Artist 
 American Footballer Teeters 
 Artist Nicolas
 Boxer Scalfittura
 Businessman      Nakamura See site above: Mankind, Rush Hour 1
 Chef Scalfittura
 Circus Strongman Wyniger
 Cowboy Nicolas
 Clown Nicolas
 Dancing Girl Nakamura See site above: Mankind, Dancer 5
 Deep Sea Diver Wyniger
 Diver Nicolas See book, p.84
 Fakir Nicolas
 Gangster Scalfittura
 Golfer Scalfittura
 Guitarist Nicolas
 Ice Skater Nakamura See site above: Mankind,
 Jester Nicolas
 Judo Nicolas See book, p 87
 Karate Nicolas See book, p.17
 Knight Scalfittura
 Marilyn Monroe Hannah
 Mexico Girl Nicolas
 Party Goer Nicolas
 Piper Nicolas See book, p.
 Runner Scalfittura
 Skier Nakamura See site above: Mankind,
 Snake Charmer Scalfittura
 Spartan Warrior Scalfittura
 Singer Nicolas
 Surfer Scalfittura
 Swimmer Nakamura See site above: Mankind, Swimmer 1
 Symmetrical Male Bailey No. 2
 Symmetrical Female Bailey No.1
 Tennis Player Nicolas
 Unicyclist Nakamura See site above: Mankind,
 Waiter Scalfittura
 Witchdoctor Nicolas
 Viking Nicolas


 Motif Artist Source
 Angel Bailey No.3
 Angel/Devil Escher
 Devil Nicolas
 Dragon Fathauer
 Fairy Nicolas
 Mermaid Nicolas See book, p. 32
 Pegasus Escher

 Unicorn Escher
 Witch Nakamura See site above: Mankind,
 Superman Scalfittura
 Santa Claus Nakamura See site above: Mankind, Santa 3
 Santa/Sled/Reindeer  Scalfittura


 Motif Artist Source
 Arrow Sef
 Bells Sef
 Boat Nicolas
 Boxing Glove Sef
 Car Snels
 Carrot Sef
 Cherry Sef
 Chess Knight Nicolas See book, p.85
 Conical Flasks Sef
 Country - Australia Bilney See site above
 Country - France Crompton

 Country - USA Crompton

 Country- Great Britain Crompton

 Cupcakes Sef
 Cup and Saucer Sef
 Fungi Sef
 Ice Cream Cone Sef
 Lips Sef
 Planes - side view Sef
 Plane - Plan view Sef
 Playing Card Nicolas See book, p. 28
 Rockets Sef
 Roller Skates Sef
 Shell - Scallop Sef
 Shoe Sef
 Spade Sef
 Sphinx Crompton 
 Strawberry Sef
 Teapot Kaplan
 Tennis Raquet Sef
 Telephone, old Sef
 Test Tube Sef
 Training Shoe Sef
 Traffic Cone Sef
 Wine Glass Sef

Combinations, Themed

 Motif Artist Source
 Bats/Owls Crompton
 Birds/Cats Nakamura  See site above, Birds-Cats
 Birds/Fish Nakamura See site above, Birds-Fish 4
 Cats/Fish Nakamura See site above, Cats-Fish 2
 Dog/Rabbit Nakamura See site above, Dogs-Rabbits 1
 Dolphin/Swimmer Nakamura See site above, Swimming 4
 Eagle/Rabbit Nakamura See site above, Animals, Rabbits-Eagles
 Fish/Seahorse Nakamura See site above,
 Hunters/Rabbits Nakamura See site above Animals, Rabbits-Hunters
 Motorbike/Rider (Profile)Leys
 Mororbike/Rider (Full on) Hannah

 Shark/Swimmer Nakamura See site above, Mankind, Shark and Woman
 Shells/Starfish Escher

Combinations, non-themed

 Motif Artist Source
 Bird/Gazelle Nakamura See site above, Animals, Gazelles
 Dancer/Rabbit Nakamura See site above, Mankind, Girls/Rabbits
 Horse/Bird Nakamura See site above, Animals, Horses-Birds 3


Tile Specific

 Tile Motif Artist Source
 Cairo tiling Frog Nicolas
 Grunbaum Hypersymmetric Bird Bailey
 Penrose Thin and Thick Rhomb Bird and Fish Bailey
 Penrose Wheelbarrow Bird Bailey
 Polya C4 Bird Bailey
 Voderberg Spiral Bird Crompton

Cartoon Characters

 Motif Artist Source
 Bugs Bunny (Head) Prokorov

 Goofy Annal
 Woody Wood Pecker Nicolas


 Motif Artist Source
 Linux Mascot Kaplan

Created: 26 June 2010. Updated: 13 July 2010. Last Updated, with considerable revisions and additions of categories, links 17 September 2014. Paul Hannah added 8 March 2016