Pattern Camp – Level II: Create Complex Repeating Patterns in Illustrator | Jessica Swift | Skillshare

Pattern Camp – Level II: Create Complex Repeating Patterns in Illustrator

Jessica Swift, Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

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15 Lessons (2h 49m)
    • 1. Pattern Camp Level 2 Introduction

    • 2. Refresher: Create a Straight Repeating Pattern

    • 3. Using Multiple Motifs in a Straight Repeat

    • 4. Layering Motifs in a Straight Repeat

    • 5. Geometric-esque Background Layers

    • 6. Creating Background Texture

    • 7. More Ways To Create Background Texture

    • 8. Creating Motifs w/ Different Colored Outlines

    • 9. Creating and Using Grids

    • 10. Creating Diagonal Repeats

    • 11. An Introduction to Half-Drop Repeats

    • 12. Create A Simple Half-Drop Repeat

    • 13. Creating Complex Half-Drop Repeats

    • 14. Creating Faux Half-Drop Repeats

    • 15. Final Thoughts and Your Assignment

20 students are watching this class

About This Class


This course is designed for the creative soul who is comfortable with foundational surface design techniques and is looking to take his/her skills to the next level. 

Those who dream of becoming a professional surface designer and those who simply want to expand and hone their design skills will both be wonderfully at home in this course.

Pattern Camp Level II will teach you the skills and give the confidence to begin designing complex and visually engaging repeat patterns using Adobe Illustrator. This course is perfect for those who already know how to design repeating patterns using Adobe Illustrator and are looking for tips and techniques for adding complexity and interest to their designs. Advanced beginners and experienced designers will all be at home in this course as we'll cover a lot of different techniques and design processes. You'll get an inside look into exactly how I create my own patterns.

NOTE: This course is a follow-up to and continuation of my Pattern Camp Level I class, in which students learn the foundational pattern design techniques and skills that we'll be using in this class. Please begin there for detailed instruction on setting up your work space in Adobe Illustrator, using the tools in Illustrator, creating and importing artwork and motifs for your patterns, color palettes, foundational technical aspects of creating a repeating pattern, saving your files, and more. You'll also find the story of how I became a surface pattern designer there if you're interested!

The course begins with a quick overview of the foundational pattern design techniques that I teach in Pattern Camp Level I, in case you need a brief refresher on the basic techniques. After that I will walk you through several different processes step by step in a series of videos that are clear and detailed so you can easily follow along. 


  • Create layers in your pattern designs – add complexity and visual interest!
  • Create textured backgrounds and texture within your motifs
  • Use the eraser tool in Illustrator to your advantage
  • Create and use grids to measure and create precise designs
  • Create diagonal repeats
  • Create both simple and complex half-drop repeats
  • Create a faux half-drop repeat
  • Lay out your repeats manually vs. using the Pattern tool (how and why)


  • 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)

At the end of this course you'll have all the technical skills you need to create a variety of types of complex patterns to add to your portfolio. 

Let's dive in!