Half Drop Patterns in Procreate: Complex Elements and Custom Actions | Di Ujdi | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Half Drop Patterns in Procreate: Complex Elements and Custom Actions

teacher avatar Di Ujdi, Illustrator & Art Explorer

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Illustrate Base Elements


    • 4.

      Create a Balanced Composition


    • 5.

      Plan Out The Half Drop


    • 6.

      Color Testing


    • 7.

      Pattern Illustration


    • 8.

      Custom Pattern Actions


    • 9.

      Final Pattern Swatch


    • 10.

      Thank You


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this class, we’re going to engage both our artistic and analytical skills to create a complex half-drop pattern design using only Procreate. Instead of preparing our illustration elements and tossing them around, we’re going to plan out the whole pattern by sketching different parts depending on their importance when it comes to an overall pattern composition. Our goal will be to plan ahead, incorporate and connect pattern elements to make a visual flow in our final repeat. Also, I’ll show you an amazing trick for creating custom pattern actions that will give you the liberty to use Procreate as your favorite pattern-making machine without having trouble with hitting a layer limit.

This class is for intermediate and advanced levels, so before taking it you should already be familiar with pattern making whether you did in Procreate or some other program like Photoshop or Illustrator, and you should have a basic knowledge of Procreate.

By the end of this class, you’ll have a finished half-drop pattern that is not only a stunning piece of art but also a professional file that is layered and editable in case you need to make some future changes.

Main Takeaway Skills:

- How to create a balanced pattern composition and make an overall visual flow for your pattern repeat
- How to sketch and perfectly plan out a complex half-drop pattern in Procreate
- How to create and use custom pattern actions to have a faster and more reliable workflow while also solving a main Procreate pain point - layer limit

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Di Ujdi

Illustrator & Art Explorer

Top Teacher

Hey! I'm Nina, even though most people know me by my artistic name Di Ujdi. I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer.

With a big love for all things floral and natural, I enjoy depicting the world in a colorful, fun, and naive way. As an artist, I’m known for stylized illustrations and bold floral patterns. Besides spending time reimagining the world and finding new color palettes, I’m also proud to be a Skillshare top teacher and share my knowledge and passion with others. 

I was instantly drawn to Skillshare and its wonderful community. My biggest wish is to get to know more of you, share what I learned, and continue learning.

I hope I can encourage you and help you out on your creative jo... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Welcome: Creating patterns is like solving your own puzzle. Once you start, you just keep at it until each piece fits perfectly to make a beautiful infinite repeat. But as with puzzles you buy depending on their difficulty level once you master the basics and pattern logic, it's time to spice things up. By the way, I'm Nina, even though everyone knows me as Di Ujdi. I'm an illustrator and pattern designer and I absolutely enjoy creating intricate, complex patterns. Because if it's too easy, then it's not fun. In this class we're going to engage both our artistic and analytical skills to create a complex half-drop pattern design using only Procreate. Instead of preparing our illustration elements and tossing them around, we're going to plan out the whole pattern by sketching different parts depending on their importance when it comes to an overall pattern composition. Our goal will be to plan ahead, incorporate, and connect pattern elements to make a visual flow in our final repeat. Also, I'll show you an amazing trick for creating custom pattern actions that will give you the liberty to use Procreate as your favorite pattern making machine. This class is for intermediate and advanced levels, so before you take it you should already be familiar with pattern making whether you did it in Procreate or some other program like Photoshop or Illustrator and you should have a basic knowledge of Procreate. By the end of this class, you'll have a finished complex half-drop pattern that is not only a stunning piece of art, but also professional file that is layered and editable in case you need to make some future changes. If you're ready, let's get started. 2. Project: For this class project, you'll be creating a half-drop pattern design that consists of various elements. You can start with thinking about a scenery you want to illustrate, whether it's plants, animals, insects, or something completely different. Think about what inspires you, and if your idea seems a bit scary and you're not sure if you'll be able to pull it off, I say go for it. The best way to put your new skills to the test is to make something. Once you've finished, click on the ''Create Project'' button and share your pattern design. I cannot wait to see what you'll make. 3. Illustrate Base Elements: I'm starting in a 3000 by 3000 pixels canvas with a resolution of 300 DPI, and I have a simple bird sketch I made. This is going to be my base element. But what I want is to have three birds in total and position them in a triangular composition. So I basically need to create two more birds, and I want them to be similar to the main one, but in a different flight position. Here is a super simple and effective illustration trick that I can use. I will open a new layer and just lower the opacity for this one, and I will now redraw the main parts of this bird, each one in a new layer. Now I have the body and head together, tail and one wing. It's all separated in different layers. If your illustration is more complex and detailed, just trace the simplified version of it. The key is to create a base sketch that you will later refine. Let's make a bird number 2, this one will look like she's flying and slowly approaching something. So I'm going to just duplicate the body and drag it here, and I can now just flip it vertically. I'll grab the tail, duplicate it. This one is done. I can now just merge all the layers, and let's make a bird number 3, it's going to be similar to the first one, but I want it to be in a different flight position. So I'll take the body and just transform it. I can just rotate it a bit, and now let's position the other parts, and that's it. This is a great technique to use when you want to quickly make more similar, yet a different pattern elements. Also pay attention to the movement and flow when you create these illustrations because that can make or break your pattern repeat. You want your elements to have a flow and you want each part to create a different visual direction, just like in this example, nothing too straight or two vertical or horizontal, and that is something that is going to give this pattern an infinite repeat without visual hiccups. I will now just redraw them in color and refine them. This is not a final illustration, just a color sketch. 4. Create a Balanced Composition: As you can see, the birds are finished. I merged them because at this point I'm still in the sketch phase, so there is no need for layers. I will redraw them again once I start making a final pattern. I also repositioned them and created my starting point composition. Everything is centered and balanced and we can now start planning the other pattern elements. I like to start by sketching my elements depending on their importance. For example, the big flowers will be next in line, and I can place one here as if this bird is approaching a flower, and I can duplicate it and then place another one over here. I also know that I don't need to place another one over here because it would be too much. With this in place, my plan is to add secondary elements. For example, I can add one bigger leaf over here, and another one here. I will later add smaller flowers to fill these empty spaces, and also I will connect everything with an intricate vine. I will simultaneously work on both of these things and look for ways to balance these new elements with the one I already made. As I mentioned before, you want to focus on the flow and movements. Add those curves and make sure your lines are not too straight because this will be visible as an error in the repeat. Unlike with the illustrations, I'm not looking at a final art here, instead I'm visually planning ahead and constantly imagining how these flowers or other elements will later fit with each other when I drop them by half in a repeat. Imagination is your best friend here. Remember those pattern basics. If a pattern is a half-drop, what's down here will repeat up here. For example, if I pull this stem down, then later it will come up somewhere over here, and on this side, since this is a half-drop and everything from here will drop by half, then if I pulled this stem towards here, it will basically come up somewhere here. That's basically what I'm doing in a nutshell. If I'm not sure where to go with it, I will leave it unfinished because later when I start planning the half-drop, I will change it and connect it perfectly. Okay, I'll spend some time finishing this sketch and I'll see you in the next video. 5. Plan Out The Half Drop: This sketch is finished and refined and we can now plan out the whole half drop to create a main pattern swatch skeleton. If you use Photoshop or Illustrator to make patterns before Procreate might seem like it doesn't give you an option to plan out this repeat, but fear not with the snapping tool in place. This method is as effective as in other programs and you're absolutely in control of your pattern sketch. Here is how I'm going to do this. First of all, I will duplicate this canvas. This is something I'm doing in between the main steps so that I have different versions saved. Better safe than sorry, especially if you're working on a project and have a deadline. I learned this the hard way. I will merge everything into one layer, and I will duplicate this three times. I will also make an additional layer filled with color that I will put underneath each of these layers. I'm doing that because when I select a sketch and a colored layer, I'm basically selecting the whole canvas area. That's how I can transform this evenly and correctly. Not to forget, I will also turn on my drawing guides and I will send them to max. I will also turn on snapping and magnetics. Mine are set to max and that's how it works best for me. I will now select both this sketch and the layer underneath and I will just transform it. It's 1,500 pixels, basically half of its size. I will do the same thing for the other one, but I will put it in this corner here and also for this one. What I'm doing is basically constructing a half drop repeat. These two on the left are positioned correctly. But to make a drop, this one on the right side will need to go in the middle. We'll just pull it down to the middle and now I will duplicate it both the sketch and the color layer and I can pull it up again until the middle and I will do the same thing once more. Once I finish that, I can just delete the additional color layers. I can also merge all these sketches together. At this stage, it's important to do this carefully and position everything correctly. But the new snapping option helps a lot to finish this part in no time. Now it's time to fill in the missing parts. I will open a new layer and just choose a different color and start sketching. I will basically start drawing somewhere in the middle and I will make sure not to draw some parts two times because they will repeat. Once this is finished, I can move it to fill the parts where this repeats. I will just duplicate the sketch layer then create another one that I will fill and color just as we did before. Now I can select them both and just move them up. Now let's duplicate the main one again, create another color layer and this time pull it down. Now you can see that this central part is all filled. I can now merge these sketches. Now we need to fill the left part and later the right part. I will again duplicate it, create another layer, and just move it to the left. Once this is position here, I will again duplicate it. One of them, I will deselect. Let's select the first one and move it up, de-select it and then select it again, and then move it until the middle. Basically, we have one quarter here. Let's bring back the other one and now we will just put it down and position it right next to the first one. Let's delete the color layers. Well, you can see that this part is also perfect leaf filled. We did this because as you know what a half drop repeat what's on top it repeats on the bottom in the same way, but what's on the left side or the right side needs to be dropped by half. I will now do the same thing, but just for the right side. Now I have a complete pattern repeat sketch. I can see if it's visually working or not. I can now spot the parts that need to be readjusted before we just imagine how it's going to look and now we can actually see it. Take your time here, rework it or change it, or start over and repeat these steps until it looks good. It's better to stay at this phase until you're completely satisfied than to spend a lot of time on the final pattern illustration and end up with something that's not working out. In this phase, I'm sometimes tempted to fill every empty space, but later the whole pattern becomes too heavy and cluttered. Even though there is a hole for example, here and here, what's important is that it's not the only one. There is more of these small empty spaces throughout a pattern. When I look at it from a distance, I can see that I have a balance made out of less cluttered and more cluttered parts and it feels nice when I look at it. Since this upper left square is what I will extract as the final swatch sketch, I'll mark some additional changes only there. This is finished. Now let's extract the main sketch swatch. I will just merge everything and I will select it and just click on this corner. Now we have 3,000 by 3,000, and I just need to double it, so I will add 6,000 by 6,000. Now while it's selected, I will just drag it to this left upper corner. Well, we're now ready to do some color testing and start making our final pattern. 6. Color Testing: When it comes to colors, one of the most effective methods is to plan them ahead to see how they work together. I want to test out if a particular color arrangement can create a balanced composition, and therefore, I'll know how to plan out the layers when I create the final pattern illustration. This color palette can still be a working color palette, but planning out where each color goes makes everything a lot easier, if we want to make changes later. At this point, I'm really just roughly filling these bars with some heavy brush. Again, this is just to mark things up and it shouldn't be time-consuming. 7. Pattern Illustration: As I mentioned before, as I'm working and finishing different milestones, I'm duplicating my canvas and saving those steps as a breadcrumb. Now, let's start creating the final pattern illustration. This color combination looks good, and now I can merge all color layers and this additional sketch together. If I want to keep it visible as I'm working, I just need to go to actions, turn on the reference, and here I will select image. Now I can just drag this layer and drop it here. I can turn it off and just turn on the sketch. Also, my colors are saved in a color palette so that I can just access them very easily. Another super useful thing I use at this point is a quick menu. I can just press with my finger anywhere and I will have a quick menu appear. Here I can just select any brush I want to use. These are my favorite brushes. If you want to also set your own brushes or actions, you can just press on any of these. Then you can select whether you want to set an action or you want to set your favorite brushes. I will now just carefully draw while refining the sketch. Of course, everything will be separated into different layers depending on the color or position. One thing to note is that I will draw only close to the edges, but I will not cross them because it will be easier to connect it in the later stages. This is almost finished. The only thing I want to show you before I move on to the next step is how I'm going to easily create the overlap of the elements. In this case, I want the birds tails to be entangled in this intricate line. As you can see in my layers, the birds are in a group and the vine is at the bottom. Instead of carefully erasing around birds tails, I'm just going to duplicate the body layer. I'm just going to drag it down underneath the vine. Now in this upper layer, I can just grab a brush and then erase it in the parts I want to be entangled. So here and also here. This looks great and it was super-easy. I will now just group all the layers. We're ready to connect everything and finish this pattern swatch. 8. Custom Pattern Actions: If you've made patterns in Procreate before, you're probably familiar with a method that everyone uses. You duplicate your selections and then you manually drag them to the sides to create a new pattern swatch where you can fill the gaps. Well, some of the main problems with this are that even with the snapping tool, errors can happen because you're doing it manually each time. Also since you're duplicating all your layers and therefore creating a bunch of them, you will often hit a layer limit in Procreate without a possibility to move forward and keep your file layered and professional. With this new method of basically creating custom pattern actions in Procreate, we are solving both problems, and also making our pattern-making process faster and more reliable. I already prepared a Procreate file template for you to download and use, you'll find it in the class resources section. Now in a new canvas, I'll show you how you can make your own reusable template that we'll later save as pattern actions. I'm in a new canvas which is exactly the same size and resolution as the one I'm using for my pattern. This is very important because these two need to match. This process is very similar to what we did when planning how the half drop. I will just open the layers and fill this one with color. Now I can go to Transform and drag it to this corner. Let's fill the other one and drag it here. The third one will go here, but we need to drag it until the middle. Great. Now let's duplicate this one and drag it up until the middle and once more. Also these two, I will merge together. It's very important that we take our time here and position all blocks correctly so that they don't mess up with our pattern repeat later. This first group of actions is finished, I will group them and just make them invisible for now. Now let's make two more. Again, drop the color. This time I'm just dragging them, not transforming them. This is one-half square and let's make another one, and this one goes up. Great. This is also finished and I will just group it. You can see in the layers all the blocks I created. This will be the base for our custom actions, and this is the exact file you'll be able to download. Also, once you make this, you can reuse it every time you are creating a half-drop pattern in that canvas size. I will now just select these two groups and I will drag them, and drop them to my pattern in canvas. All the layers are here, so let's make those actions. What I'm going to do is save them as selections, and I'm going to do that in an order in which I'll be transforming my pattern. I will start from these two half squares at the bottom, so let's select this one, click "Select". You can see that this part is selected. Now, here at the bottom part, we have Save & Load, and I just need to press this ''Plus'' and I have my selection 1. Let's deselect it, and then we can delete it and move to the next one. Again, click "Select", "Save & Load", and add it. I will do the same thing with each one of them. As you can see, all the additional color blocks I added are deleted, and if I go to Selections and Save & Load, I have all my selections saved here. Here comes the best part when we get to use them for our pattern. The first transformation I want to make is to connect the upper part and the bottom part, so I will turn on my sketch so that you can see what's happening and my group is selected because that's what I want to transform. I will go to Selections, Save & Load, and then press on "Selection 1", and only this part is selected. Now I can go to Transform and just flip it vertically. This selected. Again, go to Selection, Save & Load, Selection 2, and then again Transform and flip it vertically. The first transformation is finished. Everything is positioned perfectly and all I need to do is fill the gaps and connect unfinished parts with the pattern illustration. In the layers, you can see that everything is as it was before. I'll finish this part of the illustration, and then I'll show you in a bit how we'll use the rest of our selections as custom actions. The pattern is slowly, but surely coming to life. I finished connecting everything here, and I can now do the final transformation. Again, I will select this group and go to Selections, and now I will use Selection number 3 which is this square here. I can transform it, but this time I'm transforming it horizontally and vertically. Let's deselect this one. Again, select "Selection 4" and transform. Flip it horizontally and vertically, and you can see how everything is fitting perfectly. I'll do the same thing for all of them. Again, deselect, select "Selection 5". Once more, this transformation is done, and now I can start filling these out. As you can see, it's almost finished but only this little part over here and here is missing, and that's because I completely forgot to color it when I was making the first pattern swatch. It can happen, but it's also an easy fix. I'll just make one more transformation using our half square actions. I'll just select a group again and then go to Selections, Save & Load Selection 1, flip it vertically, and once more Selection 2 and flip it vertically. Now it's here and I can just color it, and that's it. The final pattern swatch is here, everything fits perfectly. You can see how this method is super fast and reliable. If you've made the base correctly, then the only type of error that can occur here is that you accidentally tap somewhere and move the selected blocks while you're transforming them. So be careful with that. 9. Final Pattern Swatch: We have our finished pattern swatch, so let's test it out. What I often do is just save this as a JPEG image and then add it back. But if I have enough layers, I can just duplicate this group, create another layer, and fill it with a color for the background and add that to the group. Now I can just flatten it. I will now duplicate this three times and basically position it as we did when we plan out the half-drop. I hope you're satisfied with your work as I am with mine. This one really turned out wonderfully. It reminds me of some modern meets medieval decorative patterns. It has a great flow and balance when it repeats. Not only did we create a complex pattern and incorporated many different elements, but we also created a professional pattern file that is layered and editable. You can still make adjustments and change colors in the best printing phase. We did all that in Procreate. Just amazing. 10. Thank You: Thanks so much for spending time with me and watching this class. I hope you enjoyed and started gathering ideas and making plans for your complex pattern design, or maybe you're halfway through. All in all, I really want to see your amazing work. So once you finish, share your project. By the way, make sure to rate and review this class. I would love to hear what you think. As always, if you have any questions or something that I was showing wasn't clear, feel free to ask anything in the discussion section of this class and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. To get notified about my next classes, follow me here on Skillshare and you can also keep in touch with me on Instagram @diujdi. I'm sending you lots of love and good vibes and I'll see you in the next one.