Create Contemporary Tartan Plaid Patterns | Aerie North | Skillshare

Create Contemporary Tartan Plaid Patterns

Aerie North, Designer + Maker ♦ Art Gallery Education

Create Contemporary Tartan Plaid Patterns

Aerie North, Designer + Maker ♦ Art Gallery Education

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3 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Drawing Pumpkin

    • 3. Color + Tartan Pattern

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About This Class

Hello and welcome to Create Contemporary Tartan Plaid Patterns.  
Tartan Plaid Patterns originated with ancient Celtic clans to represent their tribes. 
My contemporary tribal art prints are inspired by my family’s Celtic roots in Scotland and Ireland.
By updating colors and shapes I am able to create modern minimalist art.
I add new art prints to my website every week.  
Join my email list on for free art print and creative news.
In this class, you will learn how to create a simple tartan plaid pattern that can be used to turn plain illustrations into unique tartan plaids.
Although I use Adobe Illustrator to create this pumpkin and tartan, you can easily hand draw and create the tartan using pens, markers, or colored pencils.  If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator you can download a free trial on  Your class project is to create a tartan pattern and share it in the Project Gallery.

Please join me in class and please join my email list on


Meet Your Teacher

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Aerie North

Designer + Maker ♦ Art Gallery Education


Award winning artist, maker + teacher.
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1. Intro : hello and welcome to create tartan plaid patterns. Tartan plaid patterns originated with ancient Celtic plans to represent their tribes. This is one of my ancestral tartans. My contemporary tribal art prints are inspired by my family's Celtic roots in Scotland and Ireland. By updating colors and shapes, I'm able to create modern minimalist art. I had new our prints to my website every week, joined my email list on airy north dot com for free art prints and creative news. In this class, you learn how to create a simple tartan plaid pattern that can be used to turn plane illustrations into unique tartan Platts like on this pumpkin drawing. Although we use Adobe Illustrator to create this pumpkin and tartan, you can easily hand draw and create the tartan using pens, markers or colored pencils. If you don't have Adobe Illustrator, you can download a free trial on adobe dot com. Your class project is to create a tartan pattern and share it in the project gallery. Please join me in class and please join my email list on airy north dot com. 2. Drawing Pumpkin: Hello and welcome back to class. Before we create our tartan plaid pattern, we're going to create this pumpkin. To do that. I'm just gonna come down to the art board and then come on over to the shapes and get the elliptical shape and just click and drag so that you're making an oval. We're gonna leave the fill white. We're gonna leave the stroke black, but we're going to make the stroke a little larger. Let's start with the two. Not gonna make it. Probably a four. That's good enough. Now we're simply just going to click on this and control C Control V for copy and paste. And then with the free transform tool, we're just going to move that over and then just bring it in a little bit and copy and paste again. Good for now, I like that. And then I'm going to select the second and third that we did and to select them together. It just clicked on one oval and then holding my shift key down, clicking on the other. I'm going to right click to come down to transform, and I'm going to reflect because I want to copy these two in a mirror image and just with the free transform tool selected and bring it over. Okay, I'm gonna have to move some of these around so that we get our pumpkin shapes. I'm going to click on our original right click. Come to arrange. Bring that to the front. Click on the second. Same thing I'm going to right Click a range. Let's bring different click on the 1st 1 again. Arrange bring to front. Might have to do this a couple different times. Click right click, arrange bring to front And then probably that original one click And bring that to the front again just so that we have our pumpkin shape. I'm going to promote a little bit. Okay, so this doesn't look exactly like our pumpkin. So what we're gonna do is with the direct select tool, we're going to come over to our anchors, come up to view and make sure that you have your smart guides on this way. Every time you just pop over and hover over anything, the blue will show you where you are, and you can see your path and your anchor. So, with the direct selectable, I'm gonna grab the anchor, and then you'll see that the handles come out. I'm just gonna pull on, click and drag and pull on the handle, and then click the anchor. Move that in a little bit. Let's do that with this one. Pull the hand a little bit. I'm just shaping this pumpkin, and I'll do it to this guy. Pull it in a little bit, get the anchor and just move it. I like I said in the intro, you could just draw a pumpkin and then learn how to do the tartan by just drawing. Okay, I think I'm just gonna pull a couple more times, pullin and maybe here pull in and up here is Well, go to the anchor. Click and drag and pull anchor. Click, Drag, Pull. Okay, that's good enough for now. Okay. And then with the pencil tool, I'm gonna take the fill off this time with the pencil tool, you could just create a little top, and then you can create a little swirl. Liza's? Well, it's on four. That's good. And just create those little swirlies anyway, like and over here as well. I'm going to zoom in a bit. Okay, my pretty these up a little bit more, but this is how you make the pumpkin. In the next lesson, we're going to start the color process and then learn to make a tartan so you can add that extra dimension to your illustration. I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Color + Tartan Pattern: Hello and welcome back to class in this lesson, we're gonna add color and then create the tartan and then put the tartan into our drawing right now are pumpkin has a stroke of five points and it's black, which we are gonna turn white later. And the Phil is white. You can use the fill up here or I've created a whole bunch of color swatches that I like, including some patterns that I have created, and I created in the way that I'm going to teach you how to Duthie tartan. And then you can also create all kinds of new and interesting things for your self that you can add to your drawings. So right now I'm just going to change my fill to let me select everything first here. So I'm going to select each of my ovals. I'm going to keep the stroke black just for now. And the fill I can change it to the pumpkin color if I want it. So there is the pumpkin color. I'm just want to show you some of the patterns that I've done before. So I've done. I've done that and then change it. Different colors. That's really easy thing to do and see These patterns are very easy. And then they really add a really interesting dimension. You could change colors using either this pallet over here or your fill pallet over here. So I'm going to just bring that back to pumpkin. You can leave it like this is a nice and plain, or you can add a tartan. So to do a tartan, I'm just gonna move over here a little bit just to create some space on the workspace, Come over to the shapes tool and grab the rectangle. Click anywhere on your workspace, and we're going to make this one inch by one inch and they will just zoom in. Okay? We want the stroke to be none. So come over and select none. You can leave it the pumpkin color or change it. Any color you want. I'm going to go to the squash color a little later. Okay. I'm gonna come nice and close. Now, here is the simplest way to make just the two color tartan. We have our orange background, and now we're going to add the white grits. I'm going to come up to fill and take the fill off by selecting none. The stroke is going to be white, and I'm going to start with a five point. The stroke is not rounded. We want those nice but cats this way. We have nice straight lines. And then using the pen tool, just click on the pen tool and again your guides air on so you can see all your directions . So just come up anywhere you want. Play with this a little bit. I'm just going to click on the path. And then there's my guide. So I know that I'm going to come down to make a nice straight line to the intersection and click. And that's a nice, thick line I'm going to do. Not too many more of these super thick ones select again The pen. I'll just come, my like doing things in three sold do one there and there, and let's do one more towards the end. Good. Now I'm going to work on the horizontal clip there again, I'm going to do three. I'll come down around the center, but I don't want to be perfectly centered and one right towards the end, right towards the bottom. So this is a simple as it gets. But now we want to add a teeny bit more of dimensions. So I'm going to bring the point down to two. And then again select my pen tool and just go there all the way to the bottom and I'll put one on this side. I have a few clan tartans that represent my Celtic tribes because on all sides of my family , we have our tartan. We have our There we go. One make it look balanced. See how easy this is? Okay, I'm going to stop here. So now that I've done that, I can select everything and my selection tools selected. And now I'm going to click my image and drag it over into my swatches. So there it is. Now, while I've got it right in front of me, I'm gonna click it again and I'm going to change the color. Let's make it a little lighter. There we go. Little lighter. Select it all and drag into the swatches. Click and hold in drag. Let's do one more. Let's make one a little darker. So it's select it and I'm making it. Actually, it's make it rather nice collar There. There's that too close to my other one. It's kind of a green. Okay, I gotta keep with this one selected all and drag it. So now with that tartan, I've made three different colors. Now I'm going to back up a little bit. Let's see what I'm doing. I'm going to change the center to the darkest colors, have just selected it. And now I'm just coming over and clicking there, and it fills in that pattern, fills incompletely, actually going to click on the pattern of back spaces. I don't eat that. And now I'm gonna put a lighter color there and click on the right shape and do that other color. Gonna make these a little lighter and make this the squash color. Good. Now I'm going to select them all just by clicking on each of the ovals and continuing to hold my shift key down this way could select everything and the stroke. I'm going to turn white. I just like that effect. And there we go. And that's how you make a really simple tartan plaid to really fancy up your illustrations . This could be done on Adobe Illustrator or it can be done with colored paper and a ruler. I hope you enjoy the class. If you did give us a thumbs up, please join my email list so I can keep you up to date on new classes, free classes and free artwork that I send out. This was a really fun class to teach, and I hope to see you and other classes.