fountain pen doodles starburst cover

Doodling With Fountain Pens: Starburst Pattern

John BosleyHow To 13 Comments

Kicking off my Doodling With Fountain Pens series, I want to introduce you to a pattern that I feel is quite easy to do but still looks great. I realized that I don’t really name any of the doodles that I do, so the names in the post titles are what seem appropriate and descriptive for each one. I’m calling this one Starburst. If you’re ready, grab a pen and some paper and let’s get started!

fountain pen doodles starburst finished pattern

Here is a finished starburst doodle

Thoughts On This Pattern

This pattern is quite simple and enjoyable. It really just consists of small, v-shaped groupings of straight lines. I think that it looks best with a high-shading ink since the short, straight lines really show off any shading your ink has. I also prefer using a fine nib with this pattern. I have used medium nibs, and while they work, they tend to cause the lines to merge together at the point where the ink is still wet. Finally, I’ve really enjoyed doing this doodle with more than one color of ink. This is a great chance to find two inks that look good together and use them for something besides writing.

fountain pen doodles starburst merging

I used a medium nib here. Notice how the inks merged near the point of each petal.

This pattern was inspired by an Instagram post from stillonoir. I really like all of the different patterns that she draws, so if you’re ever looking for doodle inspiration be sure to check out her work. I was attracted to the relative simplicity of this pattern, but the overall effect that it gives when spread across a page.

How It’s Done

I like to start somewhere in the middle of the page with this doodle. As the pattern grows, it will organically expand out from the center towards the edges of the page. Some of you may find that you prefer to fill in one part of the page, then work on another part. Others may want to radiate from the center or work in a circular pattern. If you decide to use multiple colors, you’ll have to decide on how you want to group them on the page.

fountain pen doodles starburst circular

This doodle alternated colors in a circular pattern.

Each starburst consists of a grouping of 5 smaller “petals”. The size and shape of each starburst depends on how big you make the petals, how closely you space them, and how you want your doodle to look.

To make a petal, start with a single line. This will be the center line and is also usually the longest line in the grouping. On one side, draw another line that will connect with one side of the first line. That’s now the point of your petal. Continue drawing progressively shorter lines on each side of the center line that connect at the point. I’d suggest 3-4 lines on each side.

fountain pen doodles starburst starting process

Here is how a petal develops

Now draw another center line for a new petal with the point near the point of the first petal. This will create a center for starburst. You can now repeat the previous steps to complete this petal. I want to mention that if you’re using a shading ink, all lines should be drawn in the same direction. If not all lines are drawn in the same direction, the shading effect will be really weird and won’t look as good.

fountain pen doodles starburst new petal

One petal is finished, time to start the next one.

Once you have two petals in place, you should be able to complete the pattern for your first starburst. If you’d like a more random look to your doodle, alternate the center line length a bit from petal to petal. You can also alternate the line length on each side of the center line. Depending on the size of each petal, you may need to either add another petal to fill in any empty space or add more lines on each side of the center line to make fatter petals.

fountain pen doodles starburst pattern

Here is a finished starburst

Now that you have one full starburst, it’s time to start another one. The process is exactly the same, but you’ll want to pay a bit of attention to where you start it. I like to make the position and angle of the first petal fit inside of a “V” on another starburst. This gives a nice interlocking pattern to the doodle.

fountain pen doodles starburst new petal

One finished starburst with the start of a new one

Continuing in this way, you’ll be able to fill up the page and finish the doodle! Feel free to let it develop across the page in a way that feels natural for you. Not every petal or starburst needs to be exactly the same.

fountain pen doodles starburst pattern

Keep making starbursts until you feel happy with your doodle

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are a few problems you may run into and some tips on getting around them.

  • If you’re having trouble connecting the petal lines to a center point, feel free to draw the lines from the point outward. This will change the way your shading looks, but should still look fine.
  • If you do best drawing lines in a certain direction, feel free to rotate the paper as you work so that you’re always drawing lines in your preferred direction.
  • If your petals don’t seem to have a good center on the starburst, I find it helps to look at the point where I want my line to end while I’m drawing it instead of tracking the line as it is being drawn.

fountain pen doodles starburst high shading inks

Wrapping Up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this pattern. I think it is very accessible regardless of your skill level. As with anything, a little practice will add comfort and consistency to your patterns. Don’t feel like you need to fill an entire page. If you’re getting tired or bored, step away for a while or just say it’s done. I think this pattern is great for filling a little blank space in a notebook, so maybe the next time you’re in a boring work meeting, try to pass the time with this doodle.

fountain pen doodles starburst random

This pattern is easy to do in any blank space you have in a notebook.

One final thing… if you feel like you’ve mastered this pattern, try introducing new elements into it. I really like the version below that I did with solid lines running through the pattern. Not only did it break up the page in an interesting way, it also gave me an opportunity to pair two complementary ink colors together.

fountain pen doodles starburst river

In this version, I added purple lines to the starburst pattern.

Comments 13

  1. I just tried this and only make four starbursts in two colors, and even this simple doodle on a small scale looks fantastic!!! Now I want to fill a page. Thank you so much for this series. It’s a calming and enjoyable thing to do for those of us who love pens and paper and just want to PLAY. 💗

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  2. Trying this now and I love it. I’ve been trying to use fountain pen doodling as a form of mindfulness therapy and these patterns are so helpful!

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