Introduction to Designing Repeat Patterns in Illustrator | Elizabeth Olwen | Skillshare

Introduction to Designing Repeat Patterns in Illustrator

Elizabeth Olwen, Surface Pattern Designer

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11 Videos (52m)
    • Preview

    • Introduction

    • Collect Inspiration

    • Draw and Digitize

    • Design the Pattern Block: Center

    • Design the Pattern Block: Edges

    • Design the Pattern Block: Color

    • Color the Pattern

    • Prepare Final Files

    • Final Touches

    • Explore Design on Skillshare

274 students are watching this class

Project Description

Design a repeat pattern using Adobe Illustrator.


Your assignment is concept, illustrate, and design a repeat pattern. Surface design skills are applicable to countless projects, and whether you're a designer, illustrator, or simply looking for a fun and inspiring project, you'll love creating something that you can use at any size, on any project that means the most to you. Plus, it's always enjoyable to work on a project inspired by the things you love. So: pick motifs that have meaning for you (flowers, your favorite hobby, a special season), work them into a seamless repeat, and immerse yourself in the surface design process.


Upload your final repeat pattern. A completed project should include both the block both (1) on its own and (2) in a 3x5 repeating grid.

Note: Feel free to share the process that helped you arrive at your pattern, from moodboards and sketching to iterating and coloring your final design!

Additional Resources

  • CLASS RESOURCE: Download my step-by-step PDF project guide with tips and screenshots. (below)

  • MATERIALS: You'll need pen, paper, and Adobe Illustrator (free trial available here). Optionally, you may find it useful to have an IPad or other tablet, and a scanner. If you'd like more help with Adobe Illustrator, check out this Skillshare class from Brad Woodard: Learn the Ins and Outs of Illustrator.
  • MOOD BOARD SAMPLES AND TEMPLATES: Check out a variety of examples and templates for creating mood boards (below).

  • MORE PATTERN INSPIRATION: Check out these sites for more on patterns, products, and inspiration.

    • includes look book, catalog, and variety of different projects.
    • Madison Park Greetings includes paper goods and gifts in a variety of patterns.
    • Cloud9 Fabrics features modern fabrics in designs by a number of designers.
    • Spoonflower will print custom fabric, and you can shop the work of other surface designers.
    • Society6 features the work of surface designers and artists in a variety of prints and products.
    • Nuvango makes artist-designed and custom iPhone cases, framed art prints, skins for laptops, and more.