Create a Plaid or Tartan Pattern in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class | Helen Bradley | Skillshare

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Create a Plaid or Tartan Pattern in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

teacher avatar Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Graphic Design for Lunch Create a Plaid or Tartan Pattern Introduction

      1:17
    • 2. Pt 1 Get a Reference Image

      3:04
    • 3. Pt 2 Make a set of stripes

      6:47
    • 4. Pt 3 Make the fabric lines

      9:10
    • 5. Pt 4 Recolor your design

      4:35
    • 6. Pt 5 Make a Second plaid and course wrapup

      5:39
    • 7. Bonus Lesson Warp a Pattern Filled Shape

      3:04
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About This Class

Graphic Design for Lunch™ is a series of short video courses you can study in bite size pieces such as at lunchtime. In this course you'll learn to create a seamless repeating plaid design in Illustrator. We'll create a couple of color variations so you can see how to add some extra dimension to your plaid and how to create a plaid from two versions of the same set of stripes and two that are different. The finished swatches are seamless repeating patterns you can use to create scrapbook papers, fabric designs and more. This pattern can be created in almost any version of Illustrator as it does not use the Pattern Make tool. 

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Meet Your Teacher

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Helen Bradley

Graphic Design for Lunch™

Top Teacher

Helen teaches the popular Graphic Design for Lunch™ courses which focus on teaching Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Illustrator®, Procreate®, and other graphic design and photo editing applications. Each course is short enough to take over a lunch break and is packed with useful and fun techniques. Class projects reinforce what is taught so they too can be easily completed over a lunch hour or two.

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Transcripts

1. Graphic Design for Lunch Create a Plaid or Tartan Pattern Introduction: Hello, I'm Helen Bradley. Welcome to this episode of Graphic Design for Lunch. Today, we're going to be creating a plaid or tartan pattern in Illustrator. Today's class was inspired by a student of my Photoshop class when we look at creating a plaid or tartan in Photoshop. That student asked me how they would take it to Illustrator so that they could change the colors of the plaid. Well, the short answer is it's actually better to create the plaid in Illustrator, and that's what we're going to do today. We're going to create a repeating plaid or tartan pattern. We're going to do it in such a way that of course we can change the colors and you're going to see how to do that as well. As you're watching these videos, you will see a prompt which asks if you would recommend this class to others. Please, if you're enjoying the class, would you do two things for me? Firstly, answer yes that you would recommend this class and secondly, write just a few words about why you're enjoying it. These recommendations help other students to say that this is a class that they too might enjoy and learn from. If you'd like to leave me a comment or a question, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments and questions, and I look at and respond to all of your class projects. If you're ready now let's get started creating a plaid or tartan design in Illustrator. 2. Pt 1 Get a Reference Image: Before you start creating your tartan or your plaid it come help if you get a sample that you could perhaps get some inspiration from, that you might have a cotton shirt in your wardrobe, in which case you can just snap a photograph of it. But I went to morguefile.com and looked up tartan. This is the piece that I'm going to use, now, we're not going to recreate this, but we are going to use it for some inspiration for color and also for the stripes that we might have in our pattern. Find something that you like, It will help if it's a squarish image because I'm just going to bring this into Illustrator, so I won't have the normal tools for adjusting it than I would have in Photoshop for squaring, I am looking for something that is pretty usable. Just strike out of the image that I find. I clicked on this to download, I'm going to give you the download link for it and then I opened illustrator. Let's go to illustrator. Here in illustrated, we'll start by clicking 'Create new', to create a new file. My file will be 1920 by 1080, which is just a standard screen size. I am working in RGB color mode, I'll click 'Create'. To bring in the reference image, Choose File, and then place and then locate your reference image, this is mine here and click 'Place'. I'll drag to create a place for this image in the document. Now in earlier versions of Illustrator, that's pretty much what you can do with the image. But in later versions of illustrator, you do have a crop image option, I'm going to do that. I'm going to click on 'Crop image' and just convert this image from a linked file to an embedded one. You don't get this warning message, It'll be because you're already going to place this image as an embedded image. I need to look at this image and determine which part of it I need, so I'm going to look for the next time that this yellow stripe appears in the image. I'm thinking it's probably over here, so I'm thinking this is going to be where the pattern begins and ends. I'll just drag in here to just pass that yellow stripes, I'm not saying it. I'm going to drag in here too, just in front of the yellow stripe. Now, the piece of fabric is not square, but we went for something that was a square as it possibly could get. We're going to have an easy time of matching those stripes. But I know that my first stripe is going to be that yellow stripe. Now, let's look at the repeat on the other side now we may not use that and possibly won't, but I'm just going to bring my crop up to the bottom of this blue line and I'm going to bring it down here. This is going to be the square pattern that I'm looking at using as a reference, so I'll just click apply. You don't have to use it exactly, but you might find it easy to have some reference image like this, so you can get an idea as to the colors that you might use. 3. Pt 2 Make a set of stripes: Now it's time to get started making a plaid design. I'm going to make it with a series of rectangles and I suggest that you do exactly the same because it's going to pay off in the long run. I'm dragging out a long, tall rectangle for the first of my yellow pieces. It's going to be quite a thin piece here, it has no stroke, and it does have a fill. Well, I want to use a yellow fill similar to what we've got in the fabric here. If I click the Eyedropper Tool and just click on the fabric, you'll see that I can't sample that color. But if I Shift click on the fabric, then I can sample the color. I'm going to sample at where the two yellow stripes intersect because that's going to give me a solid color, a little bit easier to work with. There's my first yellow stripe. At this point I'm also going to look at the height and I'm going to round that off. It's at 493 right now, I'm going to settle for about 500. I need to end up with a square. We can adjust it later on, but I'm going to settle for the height right now as being about 500, that's what I work with. Next up is this red stripe. I'll Alt or Option-drag the yellow stripe away so I get a duplicate. I'm going to stretch it out so it's wider, I'll click the Eyedropper Tool and then Shift click on this red color. Then I'll just move the red stripe back fairly close to the yellow one, but it doesn't have to be exactly next to it because we're going to do that later on. Next up we need this black stripe, Alt drag a duplicate as the red away, make it a bit skinnier and Shift click on the color we want to sample. The next one is a red stripe and it's pretty much the same thickness as the black one. I'm just going to make the black a little bit thinner I think it was a bit enthusiastic with the thickness of that. Now I'm faced with a choice to make, do I sample a fabric here or do I sample what I've already created? Well, we want to be consistent with the colors that we select. At this point, when I'm ready to use my red for a second time, I absolutely I'm going to need to sample this red because it's a red I've settled on using. Back to the selection tool, I'm just pressing the letter V because it's just easier. I'll Alt or Option drag the black rectangle away and thicken it up because it's going to be this stripe down here. We will want to make each stripe individually, so while it might be tempting to make a really thick black stripe and then put two yellow ones on top of it, I would discourage you from doing so because it's going to wreck your tool for aligning things later on. Let's go back and get this yellow one, Alt or Option drag a yellow one away and while we're here, let's make a second one because we're going to need one in just a second. I've got these two yellows, I need a black. Well, here is the black I can make a duplicate of. We've got everything lining up really nicely here. I'm a little concerned about these yellows because they are a little bit hard to see. Let's just select on this one, let's choose Select, Same Fill Color, which selects all of these yellows and lets for now make it a bit brighter, maybe even a little bit oranger just so we're able to see it a little more easily in the document. I'm up to this yellow one here. I need another black one, so again, I'll just Alt or Option drag this black one away. Next up is a blue, it's nearly as thick as the black, but not quite. Alt or Option drag a duplicate of the black, make it a little bit thinner. Since we haven't already got a color blue, let's go to the Eyedropper Tool and will Shift click on the blue color to use. Next up we need a big piece of red, Alt drag on a nice red stripe, let's make it a bit wider. We need blue, next I'll select the blue Alt drag a duplicate of the blue. Then we need a black and where an actual fact that at this point just reversing the stripe order from the previous side, we need yellow and then black, then yellow so I'm up to here, I need this thicker black one, which is this one here. I need a red, a black and a red, which is this series here. Alt drag the red, Alt drag the black, and then Alt drag this red and now we know that the piece that we cut off here was yellow. Well, we don't need another yellow because we've got this yellow and we decided that this would be our pattern piece. We now have the stripes that we want to use, let's go to the Align panel, you can also get to this by choosing Window and then Align. You're going to select the options here so click here and choose "Show Options" and from Align To, you want to Align to Key Object. That will set one of these objects as a key object and it does not matter which one it is, it just has to be one of them. Set this spacing to zero and click here once. What that does is it aligns everyone of these stripes to the next strike with zero distance in between so they bumped up nicely against each other. We also want them to be aligned neatly which they're not, so let's choose Vertical Align Center and then we'll just click away. This is the basic stripe pattern that we're going to use and at this point, if we need to make any alterations, we should do so. But if we're happy with what we got, let's select over this shape and let's choose Window and then Transform. Now, I wanted a square pattern piece here and right now I don't have a square, it's a little bit narrower than it is tall. Well, I can do one of a few things, I could reduce the height, but I could also increase the width and with all of these objects selected, if I increase the width of the combined object to 500 and tab away, you can see it just gets stretched that little bit. I like that result better, but I do need to end up with a square at this point and that's exactly what I've got. I'll select over this shape and I'll choose Object and then Group. That groups it together so it will travel as a single object. 4. Pt 3 Make the fabric lines: We now have a set of vertical lines that pretty much mirrors the vertical lines that we had in our reference image. Of course, the horizontal lines we don't have and they are very different, but I'm going to settle for creating a plaid pattern from just this set of lines for now. I'll open the last palette here. I'll turn off the reference image because we no longer need it but I will want to a couple of copies of these vertical lines. I'll drag one copy away and then a second copy. This topmost copy, I'm going to lock down, turn off the visibility off, and tuck it away at the bottom of the layers palette. It's just there in case I need it. Next, I'm going to this set of lines and I'm going to rotate them so that they are perfectly horizontal. Hold the Shift key as you do, so you rotate them through a perfect 90 degrees. We don't want this set of lines in the way right now. Let's just turn off their visibility so we can focus on this group of horizontal lines. If you watched my previous class on creating flats for Photoshop, you'll know that we put two sets of striped layers on top of each other and then poked holes in the topmost one using a mask. Well, you can't do that in Illustrator but you can do something relatively similar. That's what we're going to do. We'll select the Rectangle Tool and drag out a long thin rectangle. This rectangle needs to be much longer than you think it needs to be, because we're going to make it a diagonal line. Up here, we can read off its thickness. I want its thickness to be four pixels, so I'll make it four pixels. I also want it to be colored something that's not in this set of lines. It will help if it's also very visible. So I'll make it green. It's a green fill and it has no stroke at all. We'll rotate this line through 45 degrees by holding the Shift key as we rotate it. Then move it down so that its center point here, is placed immediately over the top corner of our rectangle. We can double-check that by zooming in and then go to View and Outline. That will allow us to say that these two shapes are immediately over the top of each other. If you're having problems, you can align them by pixel accuracy, by choosing Window and then Transform. You'll select over this group of horizontal stripes and you want to target its top left corner which is up here. You'll read off the values that you have here for its x and y position. In fact, for this particular corner, you could even round those off. You could move it a little bit just to make nice round figures. Here I have 725 and 290. Then we would select the long rectangle and we would target its middle position here. We would set its x and y value to exactly the same values as we were using for the top-left corner of the rectangle. That means that these two shapes are perfectly positioned over the top of each other. We'll choose "View" and then "Previous" so we can see our colors again, Control or Command zero to zoom back out. We'll make a duplicate of this line by Alt or Option dragging it away and we're going to place it in exactly the same position over the bottom corner of this rectangle. Zoom in and double-check its positioning. We can do that in outline view. We can see clearly here that's not in the right position. At this point, you could double-check its positioning using the Transform dialog. Its middle point here is 1225 and 790. I would expect the bottom corner of this rectangle, this bottom right corner to be 1225, 790, which it is, telling us that this shape is perfectly placed over the bottom corner here. What you won't want to do is make any changes to the positioning of this group of horizontal stripes because we already made an adjustment to its top left corner and we have a line across that top-left corner in a perfect position. We don't want to knock that line out of alignment, so just be aware of that. Let's go back to saying everything. I'll press "Control" or "Command Zero" to zoom back out. We'll make a blend of these two shapes. Click the Blends tool, click on one line, and then click on the second. What you see here right now will depend on what settings you have for the Blend tool. Don't worry if yours doesn't look like this. Double-click on the Blend tool and set it to specified steps and turn Preview on. We want to increase the number steps so we end up with multiple lines across our shape. These lines are going to be the lines that divide up this shape through which we can see the vertical line pattern underneath. I'm going to add quite a few of these lines. What is critical is that I use an odd number of lines, so I've got 59 here. Fifty nine means that this middle line here is right over the top-right and bottom-left corner of this shape. If I use 60, then I can see the top-right and bottom-left corner of the underlying rectangle underneath and we don't want to be able to see it. It's supposed to be covered up with a line. Make sure you use an odd number of lines and click "OK." Once we're happy with our lines, we can choose object, Blend then Expand, and that just expands, they blend. In the last palette, we'll have a group of lines here. If we open up the group, it's just a series of diagonal lines. We're going to use these diagonal lines to cut holes in the set of horizontal stripes that we have here. Here are horizontal stripes and here is our group. We'll select both of them and we'll go to the Pathfinder Palette and click here on Divide. What that does is, it divides the shapes into lots and lots of little palettes. We now have one group here and in that group are a lot of bits of green, lot of bits of blue, red, black, and even yellow. What we'll do is, we'll go to the group selection tool here and we want to target just one green line. It doesn't matter which one you choose, but you want one green line selected. Choose "Select" "Same" "Fill Color" and that selects all of the green lines, and none of the other lines. Just press "Delete." That leaves you with your horizontal pattern of lines but with holes in them. Those holes are going to be holes through which we can see the other pattern underneath. We are going to be able to see this pattern through the holes that we've created here. We'll grab this design and place it over the top of this one. Now, it needs to be on top, it be can't underneath. If it's underneath, you won't get the pattern of the line. You won't be able to see through it because we blocked out by the one underneath. Let's select over these two shapes. We need to make sure that they're perfectly aligned because they were square in the first place. Horizontal align center and vertical align center, where will they being aligned to the art board as well at the same time but that doesn't really matter. This is our plaid pattern. This our pattern Swatch. We'll select it and drag, and drop it into the swatches panel. I'll move it out of the way for now. Let's create a rectangle that is the size of the art board. I'll center it on the art board. With its fill targeted here, I'll click on the New Pattern Swatches I created. We now have our plaid pattern. If the pattern is too big, you can shrink it down with Object, Transform, Scale. You'll want to disable Transform, Objects and you'll want to select a Uniform transformation. I'll set this to about 75 percent and click "OK." This is the plaid pattern that we've created and in this case, we've created it from two identical sets of stripes rotated by 90 degrees. Then we've removed portions from one set of stripes so that we can see through it to the other set of stripes underneath. In the next video, we'll see how we can recolor our plaid very easily, but I'm also going to show you a technique for adding a little bit more dimension to your plaid, which you might like as well. 5. Pt 4 Recolor your design: Let's look now at recoloring our Platt Design. We want to select over the shape that is filled without platt and go to the Recolor Artwork tool. Here are the colors that are in our platt. If this black color were not linked to a color here, if you just have a little bar here and no color here, you would just click to add a color because you possibly do want to be able to adjust your black. If it doesn't have a reference box here. If it's not mapped onto another color, even if it's itself, it won't be able to easily recolored. Now let's go to the Edit Dialogue. Here I can link the colors. When I link the colors, when I drag on one color, all the other colors change at the same time. The relationship between these colors is staying constant. We're just changing all of them by the same amount round the color wheel. If we unlock the colors and we can change each color individually. We can adjust them to whatever combination of colors we want. We also have access to black, so we can change that as well. You'll see that black is staying very dark. Well, it's staying very dark because it's set up to be very dark down here. If we increase its brightness, then it will be adjusted accordingly. There's lots of flexibility for recoloring your platts in this dialogue. I'll click OK because I want to show you something here in the swatches panel. Here is the platt that we designed initially. Simply because we recolored a pattern in Illustrator, we're given a different pattern paste. We haven't lost our original pattern paste with its colors, we've just created a second one with our new set of colors. Now I also want to show you something about adding a bit more dimension to our design. Let's go back to the pattern paste we created. I'm just going to drag these two sets of rectangles away from each other. I'm going to select either one of these. I'll choose the one that is actually just the solid rectangles. I'm going to the Recolor Artwork tool here. I'll click here on this hamburger menu and I'm going to choose Global Adjust. What I want to do is I want to adjust all of these colors by the same amount. I want to reduce their brightness a little bit, and I'll click OK. These colors used here are slightly darker than these colors used here. Which means that when we go to recolor them, they're going to end up being separate colors to these. I'm going to show you what's going to happen. Let's put our pattern paces back together again. Let's go and make sure that they're perfectly centered. Well, I don't want them to center relative to the art board. Let's just make sure that that's not going to happen here. I'll choose Align to Selection and I'll center them relative to each other. Vertical line center and horizontal line center. Now I'll take this and make a new swatch out of it. Now, I'll select this shape here and let's apply a new pattern to it. In this instance, you'll see that there is some variety here in the red area. Let me go back to the original pattern. Here we have a solid red color. With this pattern because we had slightly different reds, when they're overlapped here and we're seeing through the gap, we're seeing a darker red underneath. We're getting a little bit of dimension, a little bit of suggestion of fabric, even in a solid color areas. Let's go to the Recolor Artwork Dialogue, and here not unexpectedly, we've got two blues and yellows and two reds and two of the darker colors. We can go to the Edit Dialogue, lock these in reference to each other. Now there's two in each of these positions there just so close to each other in color that the dots for them appearing aligned. But if I drag these around, we're still getting this extra dimension through our work. You can also vary that, so you could take these in or you could completely unlock them and end up with slightly different colors in these areas. You've got green going in one direction and a darker color going in a different direction. A lot of flexibility can be gained by simply adjusting the colors very slightly from one of these sets of stripes to the other. Just gives you a bit more dimension in your pattern. 6. Pt 5 Make a Second plaid and course wrapup: Now you may recall that we kept an additional copy of the vertical stripes and we still had our reference image. They were all accessible through the last panel, all we had to do was to unlock them and make them visible so that we could work with them. I'm going to take the second set of stripes and place them out of the way and make a further duplicate of them, and I'm going to rotate this around 90 degrees. I'm also going to ungroup it by choosing ''Object", "Ungroup''. This gives me a set of individual stripes that I can use. What I'm going to do now is reproduce this set of horizontal stripes so that I could get a little bit closer to this pattern. Now reproducing our stripes is going to be fairly easy because we've got a lot of the content already still here. I'm just going to grab the pieces that I need and make up any pieces that I don't already have. I'm going to do that and come back when I've finished assembling a set of horizontal stripes that more closely mirrors the design that I have here. Then we're going to see how that all looks put together. Here, I'm noticing that the height of my shape is quite a bit more than the width. At this point I don't want to lose the width of the white and the yellow bit, so I'm going to go and change some of these values by hand. Now I have a second set of stripes that is the same dimensions as the first set of stripes, but this time we've got a different set of stripes. They are different colors and they're in a different arrangement. I'll go ahead and group these. This time, I'll make my diagonal lines a little bit thinner than last time. Let's just clean things up by hiding our reference images we no longer need to be seeing it. We no longer need these shapes here, so I can just delete them. Let's start at this point with this long, narrow rectangle; and I'll go ahead and this time create it with just a width of three pixels. I'm going to do all the same steps as I did before, so I'll just speed up the video as I do this. I've gone ahead and created my new plaids. I've got one where the reds in both layers of stripes is exactly the same so we're not seeing any dimension through the solid red areas. Then I went ahead and re-colored one set of stripes so that when I see this pattern, we are seeing a little bit of differentiation in the second set of stripes. This is a completely different plaid to the one we created earlier. This one more closely resembles the design that I downloaded from Morgue file. Now your project for this class is of course going to be to make your own plaid. You can download a design and use it as a reference image, or you can just make up your own plaid; either would be fine. Show us a image of your completed plaid as your class project. I really hope that you've enjoyed this class. I hope that you've learned things about working in Illustrator of which you were previously unaware. If you did enjoy the class and when you see a prompt asking you if you would recommend it to others, please do two things for me: firstly; answer yes that you would recommend this class, and secondly; write, even in just a few words, why you're enjoying the class. These recommendations help other students to see that this is a class that they might enjoy and learn from. Now if you'd like to leave me a comment or a question, please do so. I read and respond to all of your comments and questions. My name's Helen Bradley. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of Graphic Design for Lunch. I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming episode soon. 7. Bonus Lesson Warp a Pattern Filled Shape: This is an additional video for the plaid class because somebody asked me how they would bend the plaid to, for example, be the shape of a skirts. I've created a shape that is the shape of a skirt so that we can work with it. I've also created a rectangle that is filled with our plaid. One of the tools you can use is envelope distorts, so with our shape selected, I'll choose object and then envelope distort. You'll start with envelope options because this is really important because you want to be able to distort the pattern fills. If that's not selected, then whatever you do to the shape is going to have absolutely no effect on the patent itself so make sure that that's set first. Then we'll choose object and then envelope distort. Now, there are a couple of options that you could use. You could use Make With Warp and when you do that, you can select a warp. I might choose something like arc lower and say if I could create a bend there that would work for me. There are other options here that you could experiment with and say if you can get the result that you're looking for. I'm going to cancel out of here though because I'm going to show you what I think is probably a better option still, that is object envelope distort make with mesh. Here we can set up our mesh, so turn preview on and I want just two rows and two columns. The reason for this is it's going to give me an anchor point at the top and the bottom that I can use to warp this shape. I'll just click "Okay" Now, I can go ahead with the direct selection tool and adjust these anchor points on the shape and when I do the anchor points are going to bend so effectively I can create the same shape as I had underneath, but this time with the pattern. You'll just go and select on these points you can adjust the handles if you like. You can also bring the handles in so that with a guide like this at the back, I could reshape my pace to match what it is I've got in my guide. Go ahead and do that and then down here, I'm going to do a similar thing and just make sure that everything's lined up to this guide and then just work on the anchor point. You're going to have an anchor point in the middle of each side. For something like a kilt, something simple like this, that's probably enough anchor points to be working with. You don't need a hip, you can try to bend it around to make more complex object. You might need to have created more rows and columns for your warp, but these can be dragged around like any other set of handles and with them, the patent is being bent at the same time. In a few minutes you should be able to get a rough approximation of the shape that you are looking to create with the patent bending appropriately. I hope that helps anybody who wants to know how to warp their patent to fit a shape. If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask because I'm always very happy to help where I can.