Make your illustrations look beautiful by integrating original patterns | Simona De Leo | Skillshare

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Make your illustrations look beautiful by integrating original patterns

teacher avatar Simona De Leo, Freelance illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

11 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Introduction Video

    • 2. Project Overview

    • 3. Find References and Create a Moodboard

    • 4. Sketching!

    • 5. Find Your Composition

    • 6. Finding The Right Color Palette

    • 7. Create Your Pattern

    • 8. Integrate Your Pattern With Your Illustration

    • 9. Your Final Illustration

    • 10. Bonus Video - Watercolor pattern

    • 11. Conclusion

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About This Class

Floral patterns are super fun to make, for me, it’s also like therapy, I love drawing flowers and then combining them into a pattern. 

By combining a great pattern with a character or subject we can easily and quickly create a very special illustration in a few steps and what’s even more useful is that once we have created a pattern we can use it in different ways on different illustrations having each time a different and new result! 

For this class, I'd love to create with you an illustration that can become an art print, so it is really free in terms of subject and meaning. I just want you to enjoy the creative process and create a beautiful illustration to print or use for a card.

I often use this technique for many different purposes and the result is always brilliant and of great effect! 

I will show you how to quickly create a pattern with the help of adobe capture ( a free and very useful app) and how to create a harmonic and balanced composition and colour palette.

You don’t need to be an experienced illustrator or artist, although prior knowledge of basic drawing techniques or digital drawing software such as photoshop is required

In this class, I will use Adobe Fresco and Photoshop but you are welcome to use any other drawing software (feel free to use traditional drawing and painting techniques if you prefer). 

Meet Your Teacher

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Simona De Leo

Freelance illustrator


Hello and welcome to my little world! I'm a freelance illustrator based in London. 

I like to illustrate subjects that make me feel good and to communicate this feeling to those who look at my illustrations. 

I love to use my illustration skills and my art to help people and raise awareness on causes that I care such as mental health, climate change, kids' development, and I love to teach everything I know about the art of illustration and visual communication! 

Follow my social media and channel to stay updated on all my projects and classes! See full profile

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1. Introduction Video: Hi everyone and welcome to my second class here on Skillshare. If you follow my first class, you already know me. Otherwise, I will do a quick introduction I'm Simona and I'm a freelance illustrator based in London. My illustrations and colours are full of relaxin and yet bold colours. And I like with my illustration to convey lots of feelings and emotions that make me feel good. And that make you feel good when you look at my illustrations and I love to teach how to do all this, how to convey your emotions into illustrations and how to connect with nature and your audience and create beautiful pieces. In this class, we are going to create a project which is an illustration that will combine the traditional or digital techniques and a pattern. So we are going to create an illustration and the pattern, separately. And then we are going to combine them together to make a unique. piece of art or illustration. This technique is really useful and quite quick. Once you have your pattern, you can also use it on different illustrations and create different effects and different results each time. This class will be divided into different steps. As usual, we are not going straight into drawing, but we're going to have some research. And think about the subject that we want to illustrate. We're going to create a moodboard. With Pinterest. And then we start sketching. Once we are happy with our concepts and our sketch, we're going to start creating our pattern. I will show you how to create it. with Adobe Capture which is a really useful and free app. And then we are going to combine these two things together, your illustration and your pattern to have a unique result like for example, the image I have on my back. For this class, you don't need to be an experienced illustrator or professional artist. But the important thing is that you follow all the classes and steps and have fun with the process. You can follow this class, with is a software or traditional techniques, that doesn't matter. You can use acrylics, watercolors, just pencils, or whatever you feel most comfortable with, I really cannot wait to see the results and so please do share your project with me. And I will be really happy also to give you feedback or personal advice. If you contact me personally. 2. Project Overview: In this class we are going to create a project which is an illustration that will combine the traditional or digital techniques and a pattern. And so we are going to create an illustration and the pattern separately. And then we are going to combine them together to make a unique piece of art or illustration. This technique is really useful, is really handy if you want to give your personal touch to the illustration. And it can be used also for different purposes in illustration like publishing or editorial. There are really no limits to this. The class will be divided into different steps. As usual, we are not going straight into drawing, but we're going to have some research and thinking about the fact that we want to illustrate. We're going to create a moodboard with Pinterest. And then we'll start sketching. Once we are happy with our concepts and our sketch, we are going to start creating our pattern. I will show you how to create it with Adobe Capture, which is really useful and free up. And then we are going to combine these two things together, your illustration and your pattern to have a unique result. 3. Find References and Create a Moodboard: So before starting sketching, Let's find and gather altogether some inspiration and reference. I will go over to Pinterest and type figure woman reference. I already created this moodboard. And you can find the link in the class description. So you can start with this moodboard and add your own pictures or you can start your own moodboard from scratch. Always remember that we are going to use these photos only as a reference and, and not copying them because there will be not right with the copyright. So always be careful and take only an initial inspiration from them. So as you can see, I saved lots of different photos, different positions, different body types, different people, all kinds of styles. Because it's nice to have a very different and diverse moodboard to take inspiration from. 4. Sketching!: So as I said that the beginning, I'm going to use Adobe Fresco for this project, but feel free to use any other software or traditional technique. So using Adobe Fresco, I always suggest to create a new file. And I like to always work on a file that is ready for print. So I will choose Print and going for an A3 standard size which is 20.7 x 42 centimeters at 300 DPI. This is because if we work on a large file ready for print, we can print it if we decide because it has the right resolution and right size. And we can scale it down and save it for web sites as well. With web resolution, so we can go lower than 300 DPI. We can go to 72 DPI, 72 DPI, which is the DPI for web. But the opposite, we couldn't do it. So if we work at 72 DPI file, then we cannot really enlarge it to 300 as it will be pixelated. So I always suggest to start working on our file ready for print. So if you decided to print your work, you are ready to do that. So for my reference with Adobe Fresco, I will make sure that this setting artboard preview is off. So once I go here and import my reference, I can put it here next to my artboard. And it will stay there so I can still say it. And at the same time, draw my art board. While if I put the setting on artboard preview, it will disappear. So I wouldn't see what's outside my artboard. So let's take this off. And that's it, and then I can start sketching, do different sketches of these positions and see the one I like the most. Once I'm happy with the sketches I did, I will start deciding which one I want to develop more so because I like to integrate my pattern with the hair. And I like how in this sketch the hair creates kind of the other half of the petal on this side. So it's really like here, the woman, it's part of the flower. While here it's more like sitting down on a flower. So I will probably decide to go with this one. 5. Find Your Composition: Once I decided the sketch, I like, I'm going to study a bit more the composition. So we'll get rid of the other two sketches. I don't delete them. I always keep all my layers so I'll just tap this icon here, the eye icon and it will hide the layer. Talking about composition. I talked more about composition in my previous class. But to recap a bit the basic, I would first decide if I'm going to work on a portrait or landscape format. So usually it depends on what I'm drawing and what I'm drawing for. So if I'm doing a poster or greeting card, usually, a good idea to do a portrait orientation unless we are drawing, of course, a skyline or seaside scenes. So that would be nice to have a landscape. Or if I know that this drawing is going to be just for Instagram, for example, I will work on a square format because so I'm sure when I upload on Instagram, I don't have any element cut off. In this case. I want to focus all my attention on my character. And I want to be, I want this illustration to be a poster or a print. So I will choose a portrait format and I will start working on my composition. So I create a new layer, an empty layer, and I will divide my space into three columns and three rows, they don't have to be precise. So we'll create this, this is called the rule of thirds, and that will create these four focal points and of course, the centre. So this is a rule that is used also in photography. So anything we put in these focal points will have more, have more attention when we look at the whole picture and of course the centre, it's really important. So I'll take my layer and we'll play with it until I'm happy. So because I want, in this case, I want the focus to be the whole picture and centred because I really want that attention to be on my subject and on the girl. So I will enlarge the illustration for the girl to fall in the centre of my space. It could be if there were other elements. It could be here, here, here, or here, depending on what elements we put. For example, it can be here if we want to focus more attention on maybe another flower here. And so this would be then another focal point. Or Same here. Maybe here, if we want to enlarge this more. And maybe we wanted to create another element here. So this will have the most of the attention, most of the focus. But then we have another element here. I'm just tapping to go back. In my case, as I said, I want to keep all the focus and the attention on my girl. And so we'll put her face and figure just in the middle. And that would be pretty much my composition really. I will keep it really light. And we know many details on the background because I want to really focus the attention on the flower. And then the main focus will be the hair with all the patterns in. Remember that we are filling all this space with patterns, so it will be quite full of details. And it's nice as a contrast to leaving the background just one colour plane without any details or few details. 6. Finding The Right Color Palette: So now we decided our main composition and our main illustration subjects. We have all the elements for our illustration. We'd only have to decide the colours. So when I study color palettes, I like to keep it to three maximum of four colours. And I usually have my colour palettes saved and I tend to use always my colour palettes and decide 3 or 4 colours in this colour palettes. But obviously, I like to change colours sometimes. And there are many, many ways to create nice color palettes. You can decide to work from a picture or your favourite movie. That's a nice way to choose colour palettes. Or there are many websites as well. For example, this is very handy, is called And you can just browse to many different colour palettes depending on the colours you want. Red, orange, like I want yellow. So it gives me all the yellow colour palette. And then there are different ways to save it. You could go here and save all the codes and then put them, put them here, change all these RGB and change all these values. Or a quicker way is to open it here and take a screenshot. Go back to fresco, go here, import the picture. And then I create a new layer. I take my eye drop tool and taking a random brush, and I create my colour palette like this. That's faster than obviously writing down all the codes. And then I can get rid of this. So now here I have my colour palette also adobe Fresco. Once you use the colours with the brush, you can go here and in recent It gives you, it saves all the colours you recently used. So you could even get rid of this layer now. And I still have all my colours here ready to use. So when I want to use them, I just go here and pick them and I can use them, they're ready. So this is really handy. So it's good to try out your colour palettes before going on the final illustration. So what I usually do is we can get rid of the layout layer and then I will change the opacity of this layer. Very light, so I can see, barely see it. I create another layer underneath and I start trying out. So I usually like, as I said, I have my favourite colour palette which I always use. So I will, I will start from the background and then studying the colours and choosing the colours depending on the background, based on the background. So we create a layer for the background. One more layer. And then we can start trying out colours for our illustration. But don't worry about being precise. You can just do this and fill it with the bucket. Doesn't matter. We just trying out colours so we can change them after No need. So if we go here on the HSB, we can change the brightness. Always work on layers, so I tend to have different. So maybe I want the hair red. So each colour you try, use a different layer. So then it's really easy to change. Also, when you start putting more colours, you realize that maybe I like this too by the light, the yellow. So I go on the layer where the yellow is and I can try another colour and fill it with my bucket. So pick up three colours for colours maximum and start to play with them. Alternate stuff. See what's work best. I find this step really fun. Line art. Usually, I like to use dark blue. So then I would have, again, you don't have to be precise here is just to try. I it will look. Obviously, here you have to follow your style, your own style as well. So you can use different styles to colour in. You can use shades, if you're using a traditional technique, feel very free here, this is just a description of my creative process when I choose colours. So once I'm happy with the sketch and with the colour palette I'm going to use and what the general illustration, I will start working on the pattern. 7. Create Your Pattern: So creating a pattern with Adobe Fresco and capture is really easy. I create a new document in Adobe Fresco, doesn't matter the formats, but as long as it's 300 DPI again for the same reason. So if we want to print, it's a good resolution for print. Same settings here, artboard preview off if I want to use my reference. So I found a nice tulip picture as a reference. And what I'm gonna do is start sketching and start drawing three different flowers. Once I have my flowers. Remember that all the flowers and leaves near the flower, they have to be on the same layer. So we're going to have this layer with flowers and leaves. This layer. This layer with just leaves and this layer, with just the flower. So we're going to have four different layers. So I decided to get rid of one flower and add some leaves with just a line. So I will try to play around with these elements and create my pattern. So I have four different layers. One for these leaves, one for this leaves, one for this flower, and one for the other flower. The layers. If you use more layers to draw one flower, you don't have to merge them, but it can just be in a group. So as long as they are in a group, they will work together. So let's go here. Publish and Export, capture pattern and select 1 2 3 4. I mean, it's pretty nice like this already, but it's nice to play around. So as I said, you can play differently. This is nice too. And this is nice too. This is kind of my favourite. But for this one, I think he will work this shape as well. So let's start to play around. And maybe, let's see, we'll put this here. These here. And this here. Really liked when it's straight. So I like to go free from grid and move around. So actually let's get rid of this. This one can be on top as well. If we like it, we can see how it looks. If we put it on top. I don't really like it, so I will leave it as an element, as an element here. And then adding these Maybe it could be nice to have them one on top of each other. Like this. Let's try. That's nice. So you're very free to play around. Also, you can add your background by tapping this and add the colour you want. For example, this I will keep without background because then I want transparent and then I can choose where to put in my illustration. So play around until you're happy with your pattern. Explore these app. You can put this here. And this there, you have all different. Once you are happy, I'm pretty happy with this one, honestly. Maybe I can decide to put this here like this. Let's see, even nicer. So as you see, you can do many, many things. Can really play around as much as you want. Once we are happy with it, we go to save. And we can name it. Say, I choose a library and save it. So once we save it in our library it's going to synchronize with the library. We have on Photoshop and we can keep playing on Photoshop with it. So now that we have our pattern in our library, Let's try to create a file in Photoshop with that pattern. So I go to create new. As I said, I always go for a print, 300DPI and A3. So we have the 300dpi and 29.7 for, 42 centimeter. Create. And we should find our pattern. If you don't have this open, we go to Window and libraries. So we open our libraries. So we go to the library, we, we, we saved our pattern. And here you see I have all my patterns. So I can take it. And then here I can change the direction. Here I can change the scale. Once I'm happy with the size. I think I'm going to leave it like this. Maybe 18. So because I didn't add any background when I worked on Adobe Capture. Here. If I remove my layer, we don't have a background, so then I can add a new layer, put it underneath, and basically add any background I want. So this is nice. Then here I can play as well with many things and I also on Photoshop. I can go to layer, new adjustment layer hue and saturation. And here you can have fun changing the colours altogether by changing the hue value. So you can create one pattern and then have fun and creating lots of different versions to use them on different illustrations. That's why I like this technique because I usually do one pattern and then I create many versions of them, and then I use them on illustrations. I can create merchandise. I can put it on an on-demand print website. So there are really many, many ways you can use one single pattern. For now, I'm going to get rid of this layer and also the background because I want transparency. So I will just go here. File Save As Save Copy. I'm going to Save PNG because I have transparent, transparent background, so we need a PNG and I usually save it on my iCloud Drive. So then I have it on my iPad as well. So we save that. And now we are ready to go on the iPad and integrate our pattern into the illustration. 8. Integrate Your Pattern With Your Illustration: So now that we have our illustration and a pattern, we can see how can we integrate them together and create a unique illustration. Before doing that, I want to show you quickly some examples of my previous work to let you see how you can actually use them. depending on your illustration, as you can see in this one, I use the pattern in the dress. And it's really, this is really nice way to create elaborate dresses and clothes very quickly because you already have your pattern and you can integrate it with different blends and effects with the color. I actually like to do the background of the pattern. Very similar or the same as the background of the illustration. this nice effect with the shape of the dress and the background. Here I used the shape of the hair. And it's really nice effect as well. Here as well. In here. It's both in the clothes and some elements that are repeated. And it creates this nice balance. Here. Again, it's in the dress, but as you can see, I use the same pattern but with different blends and it looks different already like here is multiply blend. While here it's without any blend and it's just with a transparent background. And then I use the background of the t-shirt. Here, it's in the background. You see also how nice is this effect, especially if you're doing kinda vintage related illustrations. In the fifties and sixties. There were lots of patterns around the houses and everything was filled with patterns. So it gives a very vintage style to your illustrations. Here again, it's in the hair, and here it's in the dress. And here again, it's in the hair. And you see here I used exactly the same background with the background of the illustration and the background of the pattern. And I like it because it's the pattern that defines the shape of the hair. And I really like this effect. So obviously the first thing I do is import the pattern. So go here, Import file or wherever you saved it. And mine is here. So now we have a new layer with this done. And then we're going to click this little icon, which will mask the layer into the element. So to do this, the pattern has to be above the layer. We want the pattern on. So we have the, as you can see, the hair is just the layer of the hair. And then we have the pattern on top. And then mask and it goes in like this. So it's nice like this. I like to play a bit more with the blending modes. So I will try with all of them. You see all of them have different effects. And also depends obviously on the colour, of pattern and the colour of your background. And you can have, this is really nice and you can have different results. So I'm going to choose multiply. And then we can decide, we can scale it down, do it smaller or bigger? Like it bigger. And go in there. So I like this version I will go on working on the final illustration, but also I can decide to have a little variation. So I will save this one as quick export, just to have it as a reference, I can start playing with more blending modes and changing the colours to see if I get to any other version than I like more or like the same. We can play around and I really like this step as well because it's really unpredictable. And when I don't expect it, I, I find the best solution by playing like this. Because when we put the pattern on and we play with the blending modes, we create new colours So for example, now I have this nice brown colour, which can be used actually for, for example, my line art. So you can try to fill this with the colour. And I already see that this is nice and I like it. Then maybe I can decide to change the colour as I showed you in my example, to the same of the background of my pattern. So let's try that. And I like it already Maybe the leaf can be of this colour But first, I would like to change this and this to the same as the background. And this brown, That's already also really nice. Maybe we do have the body this colour with the line art of this colour And it's also really nice. As I said, you don't have to be precise at this stage because this is just trying out. So this is really nice as well. And then we can have the leaf which goes here as well. And maybe for the other leaf, we can get this color. And I really, really like this version too. So I think I'm gonna go for both. But first, I'm going to finish this version. This line can be the same as the background. I really like to use line art that is the same as the background, but that's my personal, my personal taste and my personal style. So you are free to explore your own. But I really like this. So I'm going to go for this final illustration. So now I have everything ready and I can start working on my final illustration. 9. Your Final Illustration: Yes. So here we are. This is my final illustration. I'm really happy with it. Once I finished, I usually clean my file, like I delete all the layers. I don't need anymore. And I, for example, I don't need anymore. The layers are used to decide my colours. So I delete this and I'm going to save the sketches for future reference. And I group altogether all the layers I used in my final illustration. And on top of that, if I click this little icon, I can add a new layer of adjustment so I can adjust the brightness and colour balance. So if I click on hue and saturation, I have all these settings which allow me to quickly adjust and change the colours. Really with one tap and one second so I can find new combinations like I really like the purple as well, or going on a little bit more pink, going more saturated, less saturated. I really like the low saturation as well. I can colourize and do all one colour. So if I have an illustration with many, many colours and then I want to go monochromatic. I can use this saturation option and change it very quickly. For now, I will start again because I quickly want to adjust slightly the hue to go a little bit more pink, orange ish, which I like even more. So let's see the difference. It is more pinky, red, while this is more soft, going from orange to pink. So this is my final illustration. And I cannot wait to see yours. 10. Bonus Video - Watercolor pattern : If you worked with traditional techniques and you designed a few elements for a pattern like for example, I did previously with some watercolour. These two flowers, I scanned them. And then I cleaned all the edges and remove the background. So I have a transparent background and the elements. Then I want to have these two elements on two separate layers. And so we'll select one flower command X to cut it, command V to paste it, and it will paste it on our new layer. So at the moment, we have these two elements. So I will open a new file. File. New, I will go for a 800 pixel per a 800 pixels, 300 dpi. So now I created this to create a parson on Photoshop is really quick because when we take these two layers and bring them to the new file, scale it down. And then all I have to do is adjust these two elements in this square without touching the edge. So I will duplicate this a little smaller. And duplicate this. So let's start with this. Then. I would have to, if I don't want the background, I will remove the background. And then I will select all the layers and click with the right and undo merge layers. So I have just one layer now with all these elements together. Then I would go to Filter, Other, Offset. And I will start by putting on the vertical + 400 value pixel and leave the horizontal 0. So I'm doing one. Then. I can select one element, copy and paste Command C. So I have a new element, scale it a bit down and adjusted as I want. Select all the layers again. Click with the right, merge layers again. So now I will repeat it. Filter, offset. This time I will put vertical 0 and horizontal 400, 400 because it's half value of 800 pixels. So in my case is 400 because my file was 800 pixels. But if you worked on any other, for example, 1024 pixel, then you will have here a half of that value. So I just have to be half for the value of your original file. And this will happen. So here I will adjust again, maybe this time to again selecting this flower command C, command V, to copy and paste, scale it down. And I'll put a here. Maybe this time I will put some others around. Like here. The important thing is that they don't touch the edges. So maybe I want one of the yellow small. So the important thing is that they don't touch the edges so I can put them all around until I'm happy. Okay. Now again, select all the layers. Merge layers. Let's do it one more time. Other filter, other, offset, and this time again horizontal 0, vertical half of your value. So 400. If I'm happy with it, maybe I can just copy and paste this one. Fill in the gaps. And remember to select your layer. And I'll put this here. So okay, so now select all the layers, merge layers. And now we'll go, file, we see how it looks and I will go to Edit and Define Pattern. And we put one because it's our first try. Ok, and it's our pattern. So we'll find it here and see we got two patterns and it's here. So to see if it works, we go to new file, file new. We open a new one like A3 for example. And then we either take the pattern here and put it there. Or another way is Edit, Fill. Fill with a pattern. Here you can fill with foreground color, background color, which is this 2, or pattern. So when we go to Pattern, we have, we can choose all the patterns we saved. I have many here so I can put the tulips I've just done. And in this case I fill the background. So it's stuck with the background. Let's say we want transparent and then we want to change the background. We do this. So we've got the file open, a new file, Create. We unlock the background, create a new layer, and we're going to fill the new layer with the pattern. So edit, Fill pattern and say, I'd like to have it a bit bigger and rotating. Ok. And now we can get rid of the background. And so we have our pattern on, on a transparent layer. So then we can add a new layer, put it underneath, and play with all the different backgrounds. And that's really nice. And that's it So once you're happy and you experimented enough with this. When I use it for my illustrations, I like to keep the background transparent so it doesn't matter. Which background is your illustration. The pattern can be used anyway, so I will do the same as the other pattern. Save, as save a copy, PNG tulips watercolour I will call it. So I can recognize, save it in my cloud and save it. So now whatever thing you chose, whatever pattern you did if digital or traditional. Now, we are ready to use our pattern and integrated it with our illustration. 11. Conclusion: Congratulations, you made it. Thank you for choosing my class and I really hope you enjoyed it. I really hope you enjoyed the process and you like your result. I actually cannot wait to see it. So please, at the end of this class, do share your project with me. And I will be also really happy to give you any advice, tips, and feedback. So leave me a comment or send me a message or an email. And also if you share it on your social media do tag me as well because I will be really happy to see it and to share it myself. Thank you again for this class and I hope to see you soon in the next one.