Introduction to Designing Repeat Patterns in Illustrator

Elizabeth Olwen, Surface Pattern Designer

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10 Videos (52m)
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    • 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


About This Class

Want to design a repeat pattern? Join thousands of successful Skillshare students who have learned how to create a seamless repeat pattern illustration with popular surface designer Elizabeth Olwen!

This 50-minute class is broken out into inviting, step-by-step lessons that clearly explain how to transform visual inspiration into a seamless repeat pattern design for use in countless projects. You'll learn how to:

  • Collect theme and motif inspiration
  • Hand-draw and digitize your imagery
  • Design your core pattern block
  • Transform your pattern block into a seamless repeat
  • Add final touches like color and effects

While a basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator is useful, the instructions are clear enough that many students have jumped straight in! Plus, the class includes a number of resources, links, and downloads to support you as you create your own pattern.

This a perfect introductory class for every designer, illustrator, and crafter looking to expand their skills into pattern design. Once you have your pattern, consider using it as digital desktop wallpaper, the base for an iPhone case or printed fabric, or even as inspiration for stationery. The possibilities are endless!


Want more help with Adobe Illustrator? Check out Brad Woodard's Learn the Ins and Outs of Illustrator!

Want to develop your pattern even further? Check out more classes by Elizabeth Olwen!

2,716 of 2,743 students recommendSee All

Very straight forward and helpful! Loved it!
Elizabeth Olwen is a superb teacher. I've been taking every surface pattern design class I can find and just now got to her series on Skillshare. And these are a perfect way to review what I've learned and fine tune my own process. She's a superb teacher. You do have to already know the software though, because that's not covered in her classes.
Linda Naughton

Designer, Maker, Chipmunk Whisperer

clear, elements described well
Celeste June H.

Illustrator Painter





Elizabeth Olwen

Surface Pattern Designer

Elizabeth Olwen is a Toronto-based surface designer. Inspired by pastoral beauty, nature in its most playful forms, folklore, and romance, Elizabeth’s work is driven by the desire to leave something beautiful behind with every step she takes.

Her obsession with patterns began as a child when she would become mesmerized by the orange floral drapes in her mother’s kitchen. Surrounded by bold, unapologetic prints, patterns were something that she could lose herself in; a window to faraway places. Through the years, the love of patterns remained, and inspired her to start making her own.

Elizabeth loves old wallpapers and vintage fabrics, cannot be forced to choose a favourite colour, and is hopelessly devoted to travel. She has a growing collection of licensed products available in the market, with clients like TeNeues Publishing,, Landor, Cloud9 Fabrics, Target and Madison Park Greetings.

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