Pattern Camp – Level I: Design a repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator

Jessica Swift, Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

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16 Videos (2h 14m)
    • Pattern Camp Introduction

    • Welcome to Pattern Camp!

    • Finding Inspiration

    • Getting Started – Setting Up Your Workspace in Illustrator

    • Creating a Custom Color Palette

    • Creating Motifs – Hand-Drawing and Scanning Your Illustrations

    • Creating Motifs – Drawing on the iPad Pro

    • Creating Motifs – Using a Wacom Tablet and Using the Pen Tool

    • Digitizing Your Motifs – Using Image Trace

    • Digitizing Your Motifs – Using Live Paint

    • Editing Colors with the Recolor Artwork Tool

    • Creating Your Pattern – Laying Out Your Pattern Tile

    • Creating Your Pattern – Making the Repeating Pattern Swatch

    • Sizing and Scaling Your Finished Pattern

    • Saving Your Files

    • Final Thoughts and Your Assignment

29 students are watching this class

About This Class


If you dream of learning how to create your own unique digital pattern designs but are unsure of where and how to begin, Pattern Camp is for you. This course will teach you the skills and give the confidence to begin designing your own beautiful and original repeating patterns using Adobe Illustrator – even if you don't consider yourself a "real artist", even if you think you're bad at drawing, and despite whatever other excuses might be holding you back. As you work through the lessons in this course you will fall deeper and deeper in love with the pattern design process; get ready for pattern design obsession!

This course and is perfect for beginners to jump right in, even if you don't have any experience with Illustrator. Experienced designers will also be at home in this course as we'll cover a lot of different techniques and I'll show you exactly how I create my own patterns.

While a basic understanding of Illustrator is helpful, please don't let being brand new to Illustrator stop you. I will walk you through the process step by step, from setting up your workspace in Illustrator all the way through creating your finished repeat. The videos are clear and detailed for beginners to easily follow along. You can learn how to use Illustrator AND how to design patterns at the same time – hello, multi-tasking! :)

Pattern design is incredibly useful to know how to do and has many practical applications – create a tiling background for your website or blog, design and print your own stationery, calendars, and other paper goods, upload your designs to Spoonflower and have fabric printed, and so much more. Limitless possibilities await you.


  • Use Illustrator – from setting up your workspace to specifics of how each tool works
  • Digitize hand-drawn artwork
  • Create artwork directly in Illustrator 2 ways – using the Pen Tool and using a Wacom tablet
  • Use the iPad Pro in your design process
  • Collect inspiration and use mood boards
  • Create your own color palettes
  • Easily edit colors using the Recolor Artwork Tool
  • Create a repeating pattern tile
  • Resize, export, and save your files

At the end of this course you'll have all the technical skills you need to create your own repeating patterns and to begin building your portfolio. The obsession will have been planted; practice and play will help you grow the seeds and to see how they blossom in your creative life!


  • Adobe Illustrator (a 7-day free trial is available here)
  • Sketchbook or loose paper
  • Black pen and pencil
  • Camera, smartphone, or scanner
  • Wacom tablet (optional)
  • iPad Pro (optional)

44 of 44 students recommendSee All

Every time I'm ready to ditch Illustrator, I hear about a class that keeps me trying to learn it. Jessica's class is easy to follow and has me trying to stick with AI a bit longer. Looking forward to the next class.
Lisa Geerman

Digital Designer

Highly recommended class! You’ll learn how to design vector repeating patterns from scratch. Even if you have never used Adobe Illustrator before. I did it five years ago in her Pattern Camp classes, now available in Skillshare, updated and improved with new tips and methods. I love Jessica's teaching style. She breaks complex tasks into easy to understand steps.
I only had a very loose understanding of Illustrator and how to use commands until taking this class. I loved learning how to use all the different options and commands, and making a pattern was not only fun, but I feel like it helped me gain other skills along the way too, such as vector design/manipulation, recoloring, and digitizing sketches. The teacher is really good and breaking down everything to basic steps, so I would watch a class once and then rewatch it while working on my project. Even if you don't want to make patterns, this is a great way to learn the design program and how to use design tools in general.
Samia Selene

Making comics and illustrations