iPad Art: Easy Seamless Vector Patterns. No pen tool, no maths. | Nic Squirrell | Skillshare

iPad Art: Easy Seamless Vector Patterns. No pen tool, no maths.

Nic Squirrell, Artist and illustrator

iPad Art: Easy Seamless Vector Patterns. No pen tool, no maths.

Nic Squirrell, Artist and illustrator

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11 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Inspiration and sketching

    • 3. Introduction to the Adobe Illustrator Draw app

    • 4. Drawing the Vector Artwork

    • 5. Moving the Artwork Between Apps

    • 6. Intro to Graphic & Preparing the File

    • 7. Making the Repeat

    • 8. Exporting the Finished Tile

    • 9. Using the Patterns feature in Graphic

    • 10. Using the Tile in Photoshop

    • 11. Final Thoughts and Project

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About This Class


In this class we will be using the iPad (any iPad is fine) to create a seamless tiling repeat vector pattern with a hand drawn look. We will be combining apps to get to the end result.  You don't need to use the vector pen tool, and there are no calculations to be done either.  It's a really easy way to make patterns which I am sure you will love.

This class is suitable for all abilities from a complete beginner to an experienced artist wanting to make repeat patterns on the go.

Don’t forget to follow me to be kept up to date with my new classes.


Links to apps mentioned:

Adobe Illustrator Draw



Nic Squirrell's website

Nic's Skillshare Classes


Music: BossaBossa Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


Meet Your Teacher

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Nic Squirrell

Artist and illustrator

Top Teacher


I am an artist and illustrator living in Kent, England.

I studied Creative Visual Art & 3D Design at the University of Greenwich and loved every minute of it.

My illustrations are on many products from prints to suitcases and everything in between.

I loves drawing on my iPad as well as using traditional media, particularly watercolour.

If anything stays still long enough, I will draw on it.

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I'm up to!

Nic Squirrell's website

Nic Squirrell on Society6

@NicSquirrell on Instagram

Squirrell Designs Facebook page

Nic Squirrell on Spoonflower


See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Nic. I'm an artist and self-respected designer. I love my iPad, and I do most of my design work on it. Gives me the freedom to work anywhere, and it feels very natural to draw directly on the screen. In this class, I'll show you how to combine apps on your iPad to make a seamless spectral pattern which you can scale to any size without losing quality. The only tool is the vector pencil and you only [inaudible]. I'm using the iPad Pro, but you can do this on any iPad with or without a stylus. You'll end up with a finished technical seamless repeat pattern tile with a hand-drawn look which you can use to put on products. It's really easy to do, and it's a lot of fun. But I warn you it is addictive. Join me, and let's get started. 2. Inspiration and sketching: Your project for this class is to draw a pattern based on a collection of objects. For example, dogs, breakfast, buttons, spoons, or anything else you like. The idea of, choose something which appeals to you and which you'll enjoy drawing [inaudible]. For reference, I'm going to look at Pinterest. I'm only going to look at it just to get the feel of the shapes and colors that I want to use. I'm going to be careful not to copy any exact designs because I want to make them my own. I want to be original, I dont want to have any problems with copyright issues either. It's now going to start by drawing out a few shapes. This is just a rough sketch so I don't have to be perfect by any means. It's just to give us something to start with when we start working on the iPad. Of course, if you feel comfortable, you can just go straight into the iPad. I was quite lucky to just have a few sketches first, even if I don't do much with them later because it postulates is getting to know your subject. Where if they don't make perfect, it's part of the charm of a hand-drawn look. I'm just making these patterns up now rather than using too much reference on them. Hoping to exactly, it's just really to give me an idea, once I start trimming them properly. Mistakes really don't match with stage. Still a few more I think. Because I think with patterns, more variety you have the patriots can make could just repeat one pattern for that would be quite boring. Now I've got quite a variety of take-up I certainly know what I'm going to be doing once I start making the pattern. I'm going to take a photo using my iPad, and then we'll start looking at the apps. 3. Introduction to the Adobe Illustrator Draw app: You'll need to download the Adobe draw app, which you can find a link to in the projects and the about section of this class. Open up that. You'll be prompted to sign into your Adobe ID or add a free Adobe ID. At the bottom here, there's a settings option and preferences where you can change while a tool bar appears. You can choose to have your strokes smooth while you're drawing or when you finish drawing. I prefer it to be smooth while I'm drawing. I'm just going to switch this one on so that I can show you what I'm doing. You can choose what your fingers do if you're using the Apple pencil as well. We can go back by pressing "Work" down here. We are going to start a new project by pressing on the "Plus" button. You have a choice of different sizes. I'm going to scroll along here and choose the "Original Draw Canvas", which is 3,600 by 3,600 pixels. If you were to put this on something which was printed at 300 dots per inch DPI, that would give you a 12 inch square. Draws as vector up, which means that you can zoom in or increase the size of your drawing and it will still remain smooth. For comparison, if you did the same thing with the raster up, this one is procreate PCM writing. You start to get these pixelated edges. Let's just do a quick overview of how draw works. First, fold on the side here you have five brushes and an eraser. Tap on the Brush. It'll give you the individual brush settings. For each brush, you can change size by sliding this up and down. You can change the capacity by sliding it up and down as well. You can change the color. Talk of the color, you've got a choice of using the color wheel. You can use the RGB sliders. Or you can go back to the history of the colors you've used so far. Right now, I haven't used any. Then it gives you a number of themes. These are the ones that comes with and then if you have your own theme saved, you can go into those. If you press and hold, it gives you a color picker so you can sample colors from your Canvas. Turn here the brush settings so you can change the shape of the brush. You can change the angle at which it varies. You can change the type of the ends. You can have it working with pressure if you got an Apple pencil or a stylus, and you can change how thick or thin the stroke is depending on the speed that you're drawing on the screen and you put a reset down here. You can do this with any of the brushes. If you press and hold on the brushes, it gives you all the brush choices as well. The brush remembers the colors you use with it. This one, the last color I used was black. This one turquoise. Yellow, etc. This way you can just have your colors loaded for easy access if you're only going to be using one brush. Then again the eraser that has the same settings available, the size and the settings. We've all forgotten undo at the top here. You can undo by swiping with two fingers to the left and redo by swiping with two fingers to the right. Next along you have some shapes. You've got some basic shapes and some more fancy shapes, and also some shapes you can stamp. To use these, you can either pick a brush and use this shape as the stencil. If you draw near it, your brush stroke will stick to the shape. Or the other thing you can do is just use the shape of the stamp by double tapping it. We'll get rid of it. But the cross and it's just left a stamp behind the shape. I don't think I'm going to use this for my pattern, but it's a handy thing to know. Next along other layers, just tides and reveals the layers. You've got quite a few layers that you can use with this. You can add a layer by pressing the plus, and you can choose between a drawer layer that you're going to draw on. Or you can use an image layer and important image. You can tap on a Layer to bring up the layer settings. You can change the opacity of the layer. You can change the blend mode, which is you can get some very interesting effects with. This will transform the entire contents of the layer because I didn't have anything in this layer right now. I can't do anything. Let's just do the to show you that. The transform is really just make it bigger, make it smaller, flip horizontal, flip vertical. You can also use two fingers to rotate and you press "Done" when you finish. You can duplicate the layer. You can match layer down and you can delete the layer. The other thing you can do is double-tap to hide the layer, which you can also do with this. It'll I sign in the layer settings. Next along the top here we've got the exporting. You can export this to your Adobe desktop apps to illustrate preferred shops CC if you have them, you can share it as an image, which we'll just pop it into your photos. You can share a link to your project. You can also put it on Behance. You can put it on Creative Cloud, which we'll be doing later, either as a layered Photoshop file or as a PDF which will retain its vector quantities and you can just stick it on the clipboard. Next long we have Settings. You can rotate your Canvas, you can add grids, you can snap angles, and it's got some useful tutorials in there. Little thing you can do is hide the interface. Now we're ready to get drawing. 4. Drawing the Vector Artwork: We are going to bring our sketch in by pressing "Outer Layer," and we choose "Image Layer." I'm going to go for "On my iPad," and it will allow it to access my photos and to choose the drawing I want. Then, I'm just going to resize it to fit. I'm just going actually matter if it's a bit too big because I'd share one of these and to move them around a little bit I want them to fill up my page, so that's fine. When I'm happy with that, I'm going to press "Done." I would like to start by making my sketch layer a little bit more transparent and make sure that you draw on the drawing layer and not your sketch layer. There are various ways that you can do this project and obviously you're going to do in your interested style. You could just go for a plain line drawing. This is just to show you where you could go with a line drawing with a white fill so that shows against a colored background. You fill by just pressing and holding on the area that you want to fill. It won't actually let you fill on the outside, so you can't fill it layer by doing this. You can also use the eraser to unfill an area. The other thing you can do is go for some colored line drawings. Just color up the line when you're done, and then change the color of the films. That would be a nice way of doing it. Or you can just go straight in and have no line work by just filling it with the same color and then maybe draw your line work on top of that for the detail. It's probably what I'm going to do for this project because I think it'll suit the tea cup idea. Undo all of those and let's get going. I'm going to show you my way of doing this. It doesn't mean it's the right way and you should do this your own way. I've just got my regular brush and start by drawing in the head line my tea cup and pooping in same color fill. I need to add another layer and drag it below my tea cup on that layer. Contrast in color, I'm just going to copy and then paste. If you're good to fill it, you need to make it, let me just get rid of the top-left shape, you need to make it a closed shape because you can't fill in a plain shape. Then I need to add another layer on top to put in the handle in the details. In fact, I think I'm going to put the details on another layer, just keep them all separate for now. Because I've lost my initial sketch, it's buried down beneath, I'm going to drag that up on top. I'll just hold and drag the layer to move it. Then I can see where I want put all the details and roughly what [inaudible]. I think I want to make a contrasting color between the two parts of the tea cup, so what I'm going to do is go to the main body of the tea cup, go to the settings, I'm going to duplicate it and on top I am just going to fill it with a contrasting color, maybe this orange duplicate. Let's just get rid of the sketch line to show you. Then I'm going to use the eraser. [inaudible] , that's rather huge, let's bring it down. I'm going to use that just to reveal the lower layer. Then I'm going to press and hope to get rid of the bits [inaudible]. That way the edges will match up perfectly. Sketched layer and it will stick too heavily to the sketched layer, but it's just to give me an idea of some different designs so I could put on my tea cups. My details layer is coming there back in and put a few bits and pieces in there. Then I'm just going to clean up this bit that's annoying me right here. Okay, so there we have tea cup number one and since we've got quite long way to go, let's put that drawing layer back down. As I finish each tea cup, I'm going to merge the layers down so I'll end up with one layer per tea cup for now. I'm just going to go through all of them one by one and fill the page with tea cups, and they might not be too exactly with these, I want them to have a handle look. Let's get tea cupping. We've [inaudible] near our ports I can suggest move the image layer around a little bit. You can just going to transform and move. If you find yourself running out of layers, feel free to merge some other layers that you're happy with. Now we've got a page full of icons ready to be put into a beat. 5. Moving the Artwork Between Apps: So we're going to export our file ready to put it into repeat. So at the top here we press this. I'm going to choose ''Creative Cloud files as PDF'' because this is going to preserve the vector qualities. That just came up very quickly on the screen there to show you that it is saved. So next thing we need to do is to go to the app store and download the Graphic app. I've put a link in the about and the project section of the class, open up the app and up on the top right is ''Import''. Choose ''Import from iCloud Drive''. Then if you choose ''Creative Cloud'' from your locations, your file should be the top one and choose ''Import as vector objects''. In the next lesson we'll be getting ready to put it into repeat. 6. Intro to Graphic & Preparing the File: First thing we're going to do is duplicate the file and I'm going to do that by pressing Select. I'm going to select the document and press Duplicate. This means we have the original copy and we've also got a copy that we're going to work on. Select the one that we're working on. If we have a look around up on the right-hand side on the top part are the menus. The menus that we're going to use most are the layers which we'll come back to in a minute and the ruler here. If we click on the ruler, it's got all options. At the moment it's on the canvas option, you can change the units and scale. At the moment, I've got that on pixels, which is what I usually work in. You'll see that it's brought it in at the same size as our original, which was 3,600 pixels. You can change this, but I'm going to leave it as it is because it works well for what we want to do. You've got various other options on here so have a look around. You can get rid of that menu by just pressing outside of it. Let's have a look at the layers menu. It's brought everything in as we exported it from Adobe draw. Every teacup is on its own layer. You can see which teacup you're looking at If you zoom out by just switching on and off the little eye icon. With this app, you can only select something on the active layer. If I were to try and select everything here, it will only select the tea cup on the layer we are looking at. To make things easier, I'm going to collapse the layers. I'm going to go down to this little cog at the bottom of the layers. I'm going to choose merge visible and it's going to put everything onto one layer. Something else that's happened is that it has grouped every teacup together. Everything that was on a single layer has remained as a group. This means that I can move each teacup around on its own and they will little bit stay together. It's difficult to see because it's white. But if I use the Move tool, it's actually brought in a background layer from Adobe draw. I'm going to get rid of that background by pressing the cross up here which is the delete. Then I'm going to the ruler settings again. Down here it says background color. To make it white, I'm going to take the transparency down here, right up to 100 percent. The difference between what we had earlier and this, is that the background is literally the background of the file, rather than being a square set in that layer. The next thing I'm going to do is to size it all up a little bit because I think the pattern needs to be a little closer together than it is at the moment. I'm going to select everything using the Move tool. Then I'm just going to drag it all up. I'm going to drag out of this corner, but in order to stop it going out to shape, once I started dragging, I put a finger down on the canvas and that will just keep it in shape and preserves the aspect ratio. Before I put it into a piece, I'm just going to move these icons around a little bit. Of course with the repeat, everything that goes off the top will reappear at the bottom and everything that goes off on the left will reappear on right. So bear that in mind. You can tilt things a little bit and it's selected with the move tool by moving these little orange handles. You can resize as we did by pulling these little blue handles. Once you started pulling, put your finger down to modify, in order to keep the aspect ratio. We can do more rearranging later on swifter, putting it into repeat. The other thing you can do if you want to, is to flip an icon by going into the ruler. This is a flip horizontal and this is flip vertical if you want to spill your tea. So now I've got everything shifted up to the left and to the top. Now, we're ready to start putting our design into repeat. 7. Making the Repeat: Next I'm going to use the Move Tool to select everything, and then I'm going to go into the Ruler menu. I'm going to go to the x-coordinate position, and I'm going to make that zero. Animals are going to make the y zero. This is just line, the whole thing up against the top and the left edges. I'm going to deselect by tapping away. I'm going to use the costs Selection Tool. I'm going to press on the plus arrow at the bottom, so that will add to selection or allow me to select more than one thing. I'm going to select all of the icons search her down the left-hand side. Probably didn't need that one, that's a bit further in but it doesn't really matter. I'm going to indicate the paperclip and I'm going to do Copy then I going to do Paste in place. You can't see that it's done anything which says she put another copy of these selected items right on top of the originals. Now I'm going to go back to the ruler menu with these still selected, and I'm going to change the x-coordinate to the width of my app board, which in this case is 3,600. There we have all the same icons duplicated over here. This one is invisible, it's because it's just touching the very edge of the outlawed, but we know it's there so we won't worry too much about it. Now I'm going to go to all the items along the top. and lastly these. You can select either [inaudible] or by clicking on each one individually. I'm going to do the same again, and then to copy with the pig clip and paste in place. I'm going to go to the Ruler menu and this time I'm going to ignore the x-coordinate because you've done that already when interested in vertical so the y-coordinate and choose the plight of the board, which is 3,600 and press "Tick." Again, I'll go one invisible one because it's touching the out broad. That's the one that is coordinated through was zero before. Let's see all of them again. In order to make those two invisible icons visible, we just couldn't move them down a tiny bit. Anything that's partially off the out board [inaudible] because I've made them slightly away from the outboard, we can see them. The next thing to do is tie together the matching like icons. Again, using the Path Selection Tool here and the plus arrow to add selection. I'm going to start with these corner icons. I'll go full for them selected, let's go through the menu and I'm going to press "Group" now, because there are groups, they are becoming visible because they count as being partially off the outboard, don't worry about that, we know they're there. We going to do the same with each of the matching icons. Then group these two and working my way along horizontally so I don't miss anything. These two, these two and these two. Now this is an example, if we zoom in as something that's partially off the art board. You can see all the bit that's on the art board, but a bit these of here is invisible. You've got all the horizontal ones, and now we'll take the rest ones, and each time to de-select and get rid of them and you just tap away. These are the last ones, now I'm going to, let's say everything and just move the tool back so that it's mostly on the outboard. I'm looking at these ones in the corners, and I want them to be covering the corners of the outboard. The reason for tying them together is that if I just move this corner once you see that they all moving together, so as long as I don't change the size of them, they'll stay perfectly seamless. At this point, anything that is hanging off the side of the art board must be part of the pair. Now, it's just a case of moving, resizing and shifting things around, and just remember that the edge ones have to stay the right size, otherwise it's going to mess everything up. You can carry on staffing and moving things and resizing things to your heart's content and I will do the same and come back when we're done. 8. Exporting the Finished Tile: So now we're going to export it, and along the top here you can see that loops as important as no export. So we can come select which is actually where everything is, toppled the pattern and introduce "Share". I'm going to save mine to Dropbox. You've got various options here. So you can save it as a native graphic file. Graphics, also available as a desktop program. So you could carry on working on it that you can export as a PDF, which is what I normally do. You can import this into Illustrator or if you want to, in which case, it will look like this. So what has been exported is what's either on or partly on your art board. You can also export it as an SVG, as a layered first shot file, as a transparent PNG. If you get rid of the background or as a JPEG. You've got a choice of image resolutions. You can choose to include or not include the background. I'm going to export mine as a PNG. I went to on tick the "Include Background"s so that it's transparent with image resolution. Even though it says 72 ppi, it's actually going to export it to the original size of 3,600 pixels. Alternatively, you can shares 144 or 300 ppi. If you export it to 300 ppi, gets it whopping great, big 15,000 pixels, which has absolutely enormous. You can export it various different ways. You can "Export to iTunes", consent as an email. You can send to another app. You can copy the image. You can save it to photos, which is a good way of saving PNG or JPEG files and you can print it. If you do export it in one of the raster formats, it will an export what's on the art board. So you'll end up with the perfect patent tile that way which you can use in Photoshop this through that with you later. In the next lesson, we'll be seeing how we can use the finished tile in graphic. 9. Using the Patterns feature in Graphic: Graphic now has a new pattern feature. Let me show you how it works. I'm working on a copy now so that my original copy is pristine. The first thing we're going to do is select everything. Go into the paper clip menu and copy it. Then we're going to go to the layers palette and make a new layer. Then we switch off whole background layer. On the new layer, I'm going to drag out a rectangle or in this case a square to roughly cover my output and to make sure that it has no stroke. Then we go into the ruler menu, I'm going to change these slice of it to the exact size of my outboard, which is 3,600 pixels. Then I'm going to go up and make the X position 0 and the Y position which is actually 0 already. This is perfectly aligned with my art board and this is really important. Then I'm going to go back to my paperclip and choose paste inside. I'm going to go back and select my square and give it no fill. With that selected, I'm going to go back into the Fill Color and along the top you've got color gradient and patterns and choosing pattern. I'm going to choose new pattern from selection. It's actually made a pattern swatch and to test that, I'm going to go up and make another layer, switch off that second layer. I'm actually going to test it right outside the upward. I'm going to drag out a circle. They mustn't touch the outboard, otherwise you won't actually be able to see it. I'm going to go into the fill color. I'm going to go back to my pattern. I'm going to click on the pattern swatch that we already chose. You can see it's filled it with the pattern and there are no seam lines that's working really well. You can change the scale. If you scale it right out, you can have a really good look at your patterns and see If it's anything that's not working. You can change the opacity, you can change the angle,. Let's flip it 90 degrees. See you can use your pattern to fill any size art board. Now, that's already to upload to my print-on- demand stocks. I'll show you what I did with them later. In the next lesson, we'll be using the patent tile in Photo shop. 10. Using the Tile in Photoshop: So here's your personal Photoshop and then just go to edit, define pattern. I'll leave the name as tea cups and then let's say I want to put this on something really large. Let me start with a new canvas. I'm going to choose 9000 by 9000 at 300 DPI. I`m going to go to layer, new fill layer, pattern, then I press okay. Now, it's come up pretty large because to be fair, it started with the image being 15000 pixels, which is bopping. So I'm going to the scale here. I'm just going to pull that down. I want it to be, not quite that small. So that looks pretty good, I'm imagining that on a bedspread or something like that. So I'm going to press Okay, and I'm going to save it, and of course, I could add in another layer, which you can put in, what color I should I put it in? Put in a colored background. 11. Final Thoughts and Project: Now you have a perfect technical repeat pattern. Easy; wasn't it? I've put mine on some products in my Redbubble store. Your project is to use the methods in this class to make a repeat pattern in your in your own style. I'd love you to post your pattern in the project section. Feel free also to post on social media, using the hashtag nicsquirellskillshare. Looking forward to seeing what you do. I hope you had as much fun with this as I did. I'll see you soon.