From Page to Pattern: Turn Your Art into a Repeating Pattern in Adobe Photoshop | Annie Parsons | Skillshare

From Page to Pattern: Turn Your Art into a Repeating Pattern in Adobe Photoshop

Annie Parsons, Art and Creativity

From Page to Pattern: Turn Your Art into a Repeating Pattern in Adobe Photoshop

Annie Parsons, Art and Creativity

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10 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Your Project

    • 3. Choosing and Scanning Your Artwork

    • 4. Photoshop Tools

    • 5. Digital Prep

    • 6. Building the Repeat

    • 7. Filling in the Center

    • 8. Testing Your Repeat

    • 9. Final Thoughts

    • 10. Testing Your Repeat (Updated)

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About This Class

Do you have drawings in your sketchbook that you dream of turning into patterns? In this 22-minute class, you will create a repeating pattern from your handmade artwork in Adobe Photoshop! 

We’ll walk through the entire process from start to finish: choosing your piece, scanning and editing your artwork, and mastering Photoshop tools to achieve a seamless, dynamic repeat. Whether you’re brand-new to Photoshop or want to learn a new application for a familiar tool, this class will make it easy to build your first repeat. At the end of the class, you will have created a pattern block that you can upload to print-on-demand websites like Spoonflower and Redbubble.

As a note, this class was recorded in 2018 and features information on the print-on-demand websites Sprout Patterns and Roostery Home, which no longer exist. Stay tuned to the end of the class for updated information about previewing your pattern on products.

I can't wait to see your work, and will be giving feedback on all the patterns in the Project Gallery. Feel free to leave any questions below, or email me at [email protected] !

Let's keep in touch!





Meet Your Teacher

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Annie Parsons

Art and Creativity


 My name is Annie Parsons, and I'm a designer, illustrator, and teacher with a focus on creating bold and beautiful watercolor art for everyday use. I'm inspired by food, fashion history, children's literature, and my home in the Virginia mountains.

Through a lifetime of drawing and 6 years of educating professionally, I've found my love of breaking down concepts in a fun, collaborative way. My goal as a Skillshare teacher is to help you demystify art techniques, grow your love for making, and find creative processes that work for you!


When I'm not painting or teaching, I'm usually cooking, watching Korean TV, or playing Animal Crossing. I'm excited to learn and create together!

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1. Introduction: Okay, so you have sketchbooks full of ideas for patterns and no idea what to do next. That's perfect. My name is Anne Parsons. I'm a surface designer and illustrator, and today I'm going to take you through my process for taking a page of your sketchbook and turning it into a repeating pattern from editing your artwork to building the repeating Photoshopped to seeing your pattern on a wide range of products. So let's get started. 2. Your Project: welcome. I am so glad to have you on board for this class, and I can't wait to get started on the process of turning your artwork into a pattern Before we get started, I want to talk to you a little bit about your final class project. Your project is to create a seamless pattern block from your handmade artwork and upload a preview image of your pattern to the project gallery. If you haven't heard the term before, a pattern block is an image file that makes up one unit of your pattern. It's the image that's repeated over and over again to make a pattern, your preview image to be a screenshot of what your pattern looks like repeated across a large area. We don't just want to see the pattern block itself. We want to see how your pattern flows when it's repeated. As a bonus, you can include progress shots or a preview of what your pattern looks like on a product. In this class, I'll be showing you how to upload your final pattern to spoon flour so that you can use their sister sites, sprout patterns and roastery home. But if you want to you can also upload from other products. Sites such as Red Bubble or Society six in the next lesson will jump right into choosing the piece of artwork that you'll turn into a pattern. 3. Choosing and Scanning Your Artwork: The first step of our process is to choose the artwork that you want to turn into a repeating pattern for this class. I highly recommend that you choose a piece of artwork that has a plain white background with no design elements touching the edges of the paper for me. I had a look back through my sketchbook and shows this piece that I did a few months ago of some neon green fruit. It's a fun little piece. It has a plain white background. It has no design elements touching the edges of the paper. I think I'm gonna turn it into some tea towels or kitchen, where I think it's gonna be a lot of fun to work with. So once you have your artwork chosen, it's time to move on to scanning it in. You can use any flatbed scanner to scan in your artwork while you're scanning. You have the option to choose your DP I or the resolution quality of your image. The higher the DP I, the higher the quality of your image, and the clearer your artwork will be higher. Resolution scans also mean that you could make a larger scale print that allows you to make design elements bigger, and they'll be clearer thanks to your high Davey I. If you don't have a scanner, you can also use a clear photo of your artwork that's taken in natural light. Once you have your artwork scanned in, it's time to move on to learning the photo shop tools that will be using in this class. 4. Photoshop Tools: all right, so I have my artwork scanned in, and before we start editing it, I want to take you guys on a quick tour of the tools that will be using and photo shop for the rest of the class. If you're really familiar with photo shop, you're welcome to skip this chapter and move on. But it's always good to have a refresher, because Photoshopped is large and sometimes intimidating. So the first thing you need to know is the keyboard shortcuts for zooming in and out. To zoom in, you can use control Plus and similarly to zoom out control minus. Now we're way down this column of tools, and we'll start with making and manipulating selections, because when you're building a pattern, sometimes you need to select a design element and move it around. So we'll start with the marquee selection tool. The keyboard shortcut for that is M that allows you to make rectangular selections. The lasso tool. The keyboard shortcut is L and that allows you to make freeform selections. Miss like this little piece of watermelon here, and let's say I want to manipulate it to move it around. In my pattern, the first thing I can do is use the move tool, and the keyboard shortcut for that is V not allows me to just drag and drop it anywhere I wanted to go. Next is the free transform tool, the keyboard shortcut, his control, T and that allows me to rotate it. I can resize it to squish it in and out, and when you're done with that transformation, you can hit, enter and then always. An important keep keyboard shortcut to know is control Z toe. Undo a selection to de select something that keyboard shortcut is controlled. Next up is the Magic one tool, and the keyboard shortcut for that is W This tool basically allows you to select things that are the same color. A couple things to know about this tool first is its tolerance. So right now I have the tolerance turned down really low. If I select part of the green in this apple, it's only going to select a very small amount of colors on Lee, the colors that the program senses to be the same. No, If I turn it up, let's say 50 and select again. It's like so much larger area because it's allowing a lot of colors that are in and around the same colors. So what I selected next up is the contiguous button, and that's this one right here. Right now. I haven't toggled on, so let's say I select this red on the outline of the apple. It on lease elects the amount of red that's touching. But if I zoom out and talk about button off, it's like all the red and the entire piece, regardless of whether it's touching or not. So if it's toggle on it on, Lee selects in a small area, and if it's toggled off, it selects everything in the piece. Really handy Told to know is your editing. Next up is the crop tool and the keyboard shortcut for that, a seat that allows you to make a rectangular selection and crop your piece stone and you can hit enter to make the crop. Next is one of my favorites. The spot healing brush and the keyboard shortcut for that is Jay, and I have no idea why, but this tool essentially tell us Photo shop. I want you to change this piece of my artwork and I want you to guess how I want you to change this piece of my artwork. So, for example, let's say I want to get rid of this little cluster of dots right here. All I have to do is draw over it. And then Photoshopped is going to take the area around my selection to determine how I want to change my selection. So let's see what happens when I release this. That's great. That's exactly what I wanted. It took the white area around my selection to determine that I wanted my selection to be white, too. So it's a really handy tool for getting rid of smudges and and specs. But it's also really great for fixing patches in your watercolor or for hiding any scenes. And, like with any brush related tool in photo shop, you can make this tool bigger with the right bracket key and smaller with left bracket key . Okay, let's move on to the Clone Stamp tool and the keyboard shortcut for that is s. And that allows you to reference one piece of your artwork and copy it to somewhere else. So let's say I want to create more dots through this piece of negative space here. All I have to do is hold down the Alte and click to say, I want this to be my reference point and then I can replicate this down here. This is really handy for filling in any gaps in your artwork. And when we get to the lesson titled Filling in the Center, I'll be using this a lot. Last but not least, we have the eraser. The keyboard shortcut for it is eat, and it's really simple. Just draw over something to a reason. Okay, in the next lesson will be editing this piece of artwork and getting it ready to repeat. 5. Digital Prep: all right. And this lesson, we will be doing some digital prep to get your artwork ready to repeat for me, I usually don't start my digital prep put process and photo shopped at all. I start in the basic photo editor that came with my computer. This allows me to just do a very preliminary beginning crop on my artwork. Nothing to fine. I'm not trying to get rid of the spirals here. Just tone in on what I want to fix and do a very basic lightened color adjustment. Then I save it and move it into photo shop. All right, so now that I've moved my artwork into photo shop, I could do a little more fine tuning on my light in color. And the way I do that is by using adjustment layers. And you can open one of those by clicking on this icon here that allows you to find tune a lot of different things. But for right now, I'm just going to play with the hue and saturation on this piece. These are very basic sliders, and I encourage you to play around with them because they are quite intuitive. But I do want to boost the saturation of that because that makes that neon green and red just pop. When you're finished with your adjustment layers, make sure that you merge them down so that you have all of your artwork on the same layer. Now we're ready to do some further editing. I'm gonna take the lasso tool and delete everything that I don't need in my artwork, including carefully going in and getting rid of the spirals in my sketchbook. Hit the link, you to get rid of that. And we'll it will ask you if you want the contents of the background to be white and the answer is yes. And I can use the erase tool to go in and erase anything that I missed in my selection. Now you may notice, as I'm doing this, that some of the background on my paper is a little off white because of shadows that came up in the scan, and that is where the magic wand tool is going to come in. So I'm gonna hit that keyboard shortcut. W make sure my tolerance has turned up really high, and I'm going to select the background of my piece And because my tolerance has turned up high, it is selected everything that is white or off white in my artwork, including in these little sections. Inside these little shapes, it's gotten everything. I'm gonna hit the delete key and make it white. So now you can see I have a clean white background with no shadows, no texture on the paper. Everything is really nice. And Chris, last but not least, I'm going to erase my signature. And now I think this looks really good. The colors are nice and vibrant, and the background is nice and clean. So we're ready to move on to our next lesson where we get to build this repeat. 6. Building the Repeat: Okay, So, so far, you have a beautiful scan of your artwork. That is a high resolution, and color looks great. And the background is nice and clean. And this is gonna be a lesson where we turn it into a repeating pattern. Look, So to begin this section, I want you to create an empty and transparent layer underneath your artwork. So you're gonna do that by getting this new layer button right here? Unlocking your were clear and dragging this out and I will explain. You will see why this whole very important later. All right, so we're going to expand on campus to give us a little bit of room to work has been moving stuff around. So we're gonna go to image canvas size, and we're going to increase the canvas size to Usually. I try to go to a little bit more than twice my artwork size, so let's do 20 by 20 campus, and that gives us a little bit more room to work. Everything is nice and transparent. Okay, so this is the trick to creating a repeating pattern out of any piece of artwork. We're going marquee selection tool and select the right hand side of your armor. We're gonna hit the move toe and move it using the shift key, making sure we're on right earlier, using the shift key to moving horizontally to the left. The importance of the shift key and it's your best friend as a designer is it makes sure that when you're moving something, you're doing something exactly horizontally. Not having an up or down also, that your design elements meet up precisely because if you're moving without the shift key and you're even a pixel off vertically, then you're going to have design elements that don't meet up. So you're going to move this shift key and move everything that's on the right over to the left. Everything that's on the right there was the left, and for now, you don't have to worry about space in between. But if you want to, you can use the Arab. He's just nudge it back so that there's no God. So there we're gonna do the same thing with the bottom half of the piece. Select everything on the bottom and it moved toe. Use the shift key to move it up, so everything that's on the right who is on the left and everything that's on the bottom goes on the top. That's a really good rule of thumb to remember when you're creating repeating patterns and if need be, you might want to go back and watch those few seconds again because it's tricky concept to get a handle of if you're just starting out. Okay, so now that we've most stuff around, we don't need this extra room anymore. We're gonna hit the crop tool and we're gonna start coming out now. This is where the transparent later comes into play. This is gonna be really cool. So I'm gonna start dropping down, and this will automatically snap to the edge of my artwork because there's nothing on the bottom layer. So it's just going to snap to your artwork Animal that's got more control over what we're doing. It's no and right here this is a trick I learned fairly recently. Before that, I had a lot of cropping mishaps because if you're even a pixel off, you can have artwork that gets cut off or you can have white lines that end up in your repeat. But this looks really, really nice and clean exactly on the edges of your artwork. So design work surfaces. I work like all design work requires precision and having transparently or 100. Either our work means that the computer will do your precision work for you. It'll recognize that you just want your artwork and nothing else. So this looks good. I'm gonna go ahead and hit enter to crop this. Okay, so we have a repeating pattern block. This'll little piece of for right here is gonna match up with this one over here. This side of the beach is going to match up over here. This apple repeats vertically, this lemon repeats vertically. He's great for P politically. Everything if you're duplicated over and over again, is going to repeat really nicely. But you may notice there is a ton of negative space in the middle where we made those re orientations. So in the next lesson, we're gonna talk about filling in the center 7. Filling in the Center: all right, We're almost there. You have a pattern block that's gonna repeat beautifully. It just has a big hole in the middle of it. So in this lesson, we're going to fill in the center. I'm noticing, as I'm looking at this, that I have a shadow here that I missed in my digital prep. I'm just gonna get rid of that with a spot. Healing brush. Okay, so from here, it is up to you as a designer. How you want to use the tools that we talked about in earlier lesson. This is really where your creativity comes into play to make sure that all of your elements blow beautifully. The one important thing to think about is how your viewer or customer is going to look at your pattern once it's repeated across a large surface. How is there I going to travel across a piece of fabric or a piece of paper or whatever you're going to turn this into? And how are they going to avoid seeing any seems, or lineups or holes? And how can you, as a designer, make sure that they look at that really, really beautifully. One trick I want to show you before I get started on editing. My piece of artwork is my sudoku trick for avoiding lineups. And I'm just gonna roughly select this piece of fruit to show you what I mean. So if you haven't heard the term before, a lion up is two or more similar design elements being on the same horizontal or vertical plane. So, for instance, if I move this up, it's now on the same plane as this orange, which kind of which is kind of similar to it, And that may look OK right now. But once you start repeating this across a large surface, you're going to see a big line of oranges right across your pattern and your viewers I is going to be drawn to that to the point where they won't see other elements in your pattern . So you want to avoid that. And how I think of it is like sudoku. You don't want to same numbers being on the same column or row. You always want them to be a little lower, a little higher diagonals. It really helps you pattern be really dynamic. So from here, I think I'm gonna use those tools for making and manipulating selections that I talked with you about earlier on to move around my bigger pieces fruit. And then I might use the clone stamp tool to fill in gaps with these little thoughts. I'll show you a little bit of my process, but I do like to take my time with this, so I'm not going to bore you with the entire thing. So let's start by selecting this banana because I've got a lot of negative space right next to it. So if I just shifted over, it should fill in that hole really nicely. I'm not gonna worry too much about making a super precise selection because I can always go back and clean up with the other tools. And you may notice there are a lot of transparent holes showing up as I'm making selections and moving them around so you can move over to this layer and use the pill bucket to fill the bottom layer with white. And now you see that hole was gone. We'll go in and clean this up with the eraser and spot healing brush tools, and then I have a little bit of negative space here. So we'll use the clone stamp tool to create a cluster of dots over there. Let's take this one because it's kind of far away and replicated over here. I think you get the idea of how this works, so I'll keep editing and I'll meet up with you when I'm finished. All right. I've spent a little time editing, re sizing, moving some things around, and I think this design flows really, really nicely. So in the next section, I'm gonna show you how to test out your repeat. 8. Testing Your Repeat: in this last lesson, I'm going to show you how to test out your repeat and preview it on products. So the first thing I'm going to do is export. This is a J pick, Jay Peg Hit file, Save as and shoes Jay Piper, This menu. Now that I've done that, I'll show you my first step for testing out a repeat, making sure it flows really well across the surface. You'll notice I've opened up my J Peg and Adobe illustrator, and this is completely optional. But if you have illustrator, it's a really great tool to see your repeat. I'm gonna move this into the top left hand corner of my art board and I'm going to move it over using the shift key until the programme tells me that it meets up. I'm gonna hold on the altar key to make a duplicate and duplicated again hitting control d a few times. Then I'm going just like that entire room, do the same thing, use the shift key until it meets hit salt to make a copy. And today this shows me my pattern block repeated quite a few times, and I can zoom in and see if there are any lines or holes. Just check to make sure that everything's repeating really nicely. And what this is showing me is that this looks really good. It's a lot of fun on a big surface, so I think I'm ready to move on to trying it out on some products. My next step in testing out. My repeat is always uploaded to spoon flour so you can use this design tub and hit upload and choose your file from here. There it iss open. You could see how it looks on a piece of fabric, and this is showing me that it looks really good, and then you can use their sister site, sprout patterns and roastery home to see how it looks on products. So here I've opened this up on a dress, and I think that looks really cute. You can add your design using this plus button to any pattern on their website, and this is my favorite. Are you ready for this? If you go to Bruce Tree home, hit my designs, I click on your design. You can immediately see it on a wide range of their products. You can see down here. There are all these different kinds of pillows and napkins and all kinds of things to put this on. But my favorite is the tea towel right here. This is my original idea for design, and I think it looks so fun. I would definitely want this in my kitchen. It's a really good exercise to be able to immediately see how your pattern looks on a product to make sure that the scale is good. That they're repeat is flawless and that it looks like a really good product that you'd want to buy. So now that we're done looking at our design on products, join me in the next video for a few final thoughts before you upload your project. 9. Final Thoughts: congratulations. You completed your first repeating pattern using your artwork and adobe photo shop. I am so excited for you and I can't wait to see your work. So please do share your pattern preview in the project gallery, along with any in progress shots or product reviews that you may have. And I'll be happy to get feedback on your work as well. If you have any questions, you can leave them below in the discussion boards, and I'll answer them for you. I hope that you had a great time today, and I really hope that you'll continue to explore the world of surface design until next time. Happy designing. 10. Testing Your Repeat (Updated): Hi, it's any again, thank you so much for taking this class from page to pattern. It has been so wonderful seeing how you have turned your artwork into repeating patterns using this class. I'm so glad that it's been a helpful resource to you. Two years after I first made this class in 2018, so many of you are still taking it, which is so amazing. And in reviews, a few of you have mentioned that the pattern preview websites that I use in this class brought patterns and roost hurry home no longer exist. So I thought I would come back and refresh that information and give you some up-to-date resources for previewing your patterns on products. So as if the recording of this video in August 2020, I am using spoon flour product previews and red bubble to see my patterns on products. So for a spindle, our product previews. After uploading your pattern block to spoon flower, you can hit a button on the left that says view all products. And you can scroll down through all kinds of products like wallpaper, home goods, masks for your face, and different fabrics that they have available. So this gives you a really good variety of products. You can see your pattern on. And it gives you a great opportunity to see scale as well. The scale that's appropriate for a face mask, it may be very different than the scale that's appropriate for wallpaper. So that gives you a good opportunity to see your pattern on a lot of different products. And if you decide you want to change the scale, you can go back to your pattern listing page and hit the smaller or larger buttons on the right-hand side to toggle the scale. Red bubble is another great place to see your patterns repeated on products. After uploading to red bubble, you can scroll down to the individual products and hit the basic grid button to see your pattern repeated onto that product. And that includes non fabric products as well, like phone cases and laptop sleeves. So if you're interested in designing for those kinds of products, that's a great tool to use to see how your patterns look on those things. I hope that information is helpful to you. Thank you again for taking from page to pattern, happy painting and I'll see you next time.