From the official MC Escher Site:
" I could fill an entire second life with working on my prints" - MC Escher
The most recognizable pieces of his use "tessellations." They were done as wood cut shapes and then printed.
Tessellation is the process of creating a two-dimensional plane using the repetition of a geometric shape with no overlaps and no gaps. Generalizations to higher dimensions are also possible. Tessellations frequently appeared in the art of M. C. Escher, who was inspired by studying the Moorish use of symmetry in the Alhambra tiles during a visit in 1922. Tessellations are seen throughout art history, from ancient architecture to modern art.
For our ArtLit class, we are giving the younger students pre-printed tessellation sheets for them to color in two colors. The 3-5 graders will be cutting out their own from a pre-printed pattern.
I'd prefer to allow them to create their OWN tessellations. It's easier than you think - as long as you aren't trying to transform your shapes into birds and fish along the way! This page explains it well: