How To Draw Easy Exciting Symmetric Patterns in Illustrator + Free Templates | Melissa Wiederrecht Generative Art | Skillshare

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How To Draw Easy Exciting Symmetric Patterns in Illustrator + Free Templates

teacher avatar Melissa Wiederrecht Generative Art, Generative Design, Creative Code

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

7 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Templates and Cheat Sheet

    • 3. Damask Pattern With Blob Brush

    • 4. 6-Way Rotation With Blob Brush

    • 5. Chevron Pattern Using Hand Drawn Motifs

    • 6. Layered Designs

    • 7. Thank you

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About This Class

In this class you will learn an easy and exciting way to draw symmetrical patterns with a live preview in Adobe Illustrator!   This super fun and easy way to make patterns is outright addicting and you will find yourself coming back to it again and again.

We will go over how to make patterns in any of 17 of the wallpaper groups (that is mathematical lingo for ways to fill a surface will symmetry), plus many variations of those 17!  You will be given my Illustrator templates for free to use in this class and your project will be to make a pattern. But seriously… who can make just one, when they are this fun and easy.  So… your project is to make patternssss. And more patterns. Go crazy.

Anybody should be able to take this class even with no prior experience in illustrator or with patterns.  But those who know a lot about making patterns or using Illustrator will learn a lot and have a blast too.

Meet Your Teacher

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Melissa Wiederrecht Generative Art

Generative Design, Creative Code




Have you ever thought generative art and creative coding looked like a fascinating thing to try, but you wanted someone to explain it in an easy way for absolute beginners?

I’m here to help. Nice to meet you! I am Melissa Wiederrecht. I am obsessed with art, mathematics, computer science and most especially anything that combines the three together.

My online graphic design classes will take you step by step through the process of how to make art with code, how to use the Processing language, and how to easily make beautiful digital pattern designs.

Interested to see more of my personal generative art work, progress shots, and pattern design collections?  I post regularly on See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hey, guys, Welcome to this class on drying live symmetric patterns in Illustrator. My name is Melissa. We direct and I'm a computer scientist on the mathematician and an artist. So you may or may not have seen my classes on generative art, which is making art with code there also a super lot of funds. So be sure to check them out. But this class is quite different and a whole lot of fun making these patterns is so darn easy. And so don fund. I think you're gonna have a blast, and you're gonna be addicted to. So the patterns that we're going to make in this class are based on something called wallpaper groups, which is mathematical lingo for all the different possible ways of feeling a two D surface with symmetry. But you don't need to know any math to do this class. I've already put together all the temples for you. All you have to do is download them and start trying stuff, and I'll show you how to do that. And then your project in this class is just to make patterns, make tons of them. They're so quick and easy that I think you'll find it's quite easy to make tons of them really fast. So go ahead and make lots of patterns and make sure you show us your patterns in the project gallery, and I'm so excited to see what you're gonna come up with. So without further ado, let's get started. 2. The Templates and Cheat Sheet: All right. So let's take a look at these template files. So first of all, you need to go download this. Um, these templates, that's a zip file. You can find it on the project section of this class website, and once you get it, you need Teoh extract him. So if you're on a Mac, it's really easy. So you just double quick, um, And to die there extracted. And you can open up the folder and you have your templates on a windows I don't even remember. It's a little more complicated. I think you have to right click and say extract or something like that. Anyway, figure it out, get him extracted and open up the folder and this is what you should see. So there's 23 templates here and a cheat sheet. Let's first of all, let's take a look at the cheat sheet, so all this is is just a preview of how the cemetery in each temple it works What it looks like. The first one's really simple. It's just copied, you know, like any normal regular pattern. And then we have brick and we have half drop and then 180 degree rotation, and it just gets more complicated the farther you go down. So take a look at this and familiarize yourself with kind of in general what we're working with, and then we'll start opening these and playing with him. 3. Damask Pattern With Blob Brush: All right, So now, if you've had a good look at this cheat sheet, you can obviously go ahead and try opening one of these templates. I'll start with the damask one. So since there templates, um, all you have to do is you double quick. Um, and it will open up a new document that is the same as that template. So you'll never lose your templates if all you do is just double click open, open, open up. So Okay, so let's take a look at this file. They're all pretty much the same. The very first layer is just a red outline, which is a preview. Ah, approximately where you should draw. It's not exactly. You can certainly draw outside of it. Um, but it's a good general idea of where you should draw, So you could technically draw all the way down here, and it would kind of work. Um, that that is, if the clipping mask has turned off, you could technically draw down here, and it would work. But, um, if you were to do that, you wouldn't get your artwork copied up here. But if you drop here copies everywhere, so stay in general close to the red outline. Um, OK, so that's the first layer. You can hide that if you don't want to see it, and then the next layer is the most important one. This is the one that is mirrored. And I mean, like, you know, it's live drawing and symmetry says Draw in here. So inside there we have a clipping mask which you can choose to use or not use. It's up to you. Um, if you turn it on, then it restricts your drawing within a certain area benefits off, then you can draw out way more generally. And then I have some. In all of these, I have some sample artwork which, if you have everything else locked, you can just take command A and delete to go ahead and get rid of that simple artwork. And at the bottom of this layer is really a trick that makes all of this work. It's just a giant square that has no stroke and no Phil, which is centered in a very particular spot in relation to how I have the symmetry working . Um, and the whole point of this one Just don't touch it, OK, keep it locked, keep it where it is, and then everything should work. Good for you. Now, before I move on, I want to show you I'm gonna unlock everything so I could show you this layer. What is making all of the symmetries work is a whole series of transformations applied to this layer. I'm gonna draw something on here against you can see. Whoops. Let's see me lock those again just to rest something. Okay, So if you select the layer itself here, you can see these transformations, so I'm gonna turn him off from the bottom. So the way this works, the first transformation for this one. Anyway, they're all different, right? For the damask One first we have a mirror over this line, and then it copies everything horizontally. And then it copies everything down and moves it left. And then it copies all of that down again. And then it moves everything up on right are so I up and left so that this drawing area is surrounded on all sides. That's how like they all work. They all have some serious of transformations applied to this layer. Okay, so you really most the time don't need to worry about those at all. I put it all together for you. Completely. Honestly, In the beginning, I was gonna make this class about how to make these templates. And I recorded two hours, two hours of video plus edited tens of it showing you how to build these templates. And I got so tired of making it that I realized you would be so tired of watching it You would never make it the most fun templates. So I seriously deleted all that and started over and decided to just hand you my templates , so enjoy. So okay, I'm gonna lock those again. I want my clipping mask always looks and I want my bounding box always looked So the next layer underneath that swatch bounds if you unlock it inside here is a no stroke. No Phil Square, um, for damask. Anyway, it's a square. And for any template, it defines the exact size of the swatch that you're gonna drag when you're done into the swatches panel. So if you look at it carefully, you can see that it's perfectly defining a piece of this pattern that repeats. Exactly. OK, so don't resize that it actually wouldn't hurt anything if you moved it somewhere, that would be okay. But don't resize it, keep it there. And when we're done making our pattern, then we'll use that to make a pattern. Swatch Finally, at the back here is just a, um, a rectangle that has a background color that you can draw on. It's not even part of the actual pattern Swatch or anything, but it's just there. So you can have something fun to draw on that's all instead of just drawing on white, you know, so you can color that however you like, and then just lock it so it doesn't get in your way. So drawing stuff of these templates is super easy. You can use literally any illustrator tool you once. The only rule is that you keep all of your artwork inside this live drying Lear, that one that says draw in here. So one of the easiest ways to get started is to hit, shift to be, which is the blob brush tool, and then you can resize it using the left and right square bracket keys. The right one makes it bigger. The left. It makes it smaller and then you can just start drawing whatever you want. Now, um, normally do this with my welcome tablet, But the other day, it came up on my computer instead. Upgrade the driver. And so I did that. And now it's completely not working anymore. So I have to do all of these previews with my regular Mac thing. So excuse me if it's not very beautiful. Do that. The cool thing about the blood brush tool is it, um, smooths out your drawing. So right now I have the clipping mask turned off. Well, im drying. Sometimes I'll turn it on and turn it off just to see what it looks like. And I think for the damask, it actually makes a lot of sense to have it on. And I have my reasons for that, which right now won't make sense to you if I tried to explain it. So I'm not even gonna try to explain it. But I'm gonna leave my clipping mask on and later in this cause I'll show you some reasons why I really want to have that on right now. So just draw some stuff. You can use different colors. You can use any tool you like. And when you're done, let's turn this into a pattern. Swatch. So the way this works, it works the exact same for all of the different templates. When you're ready, what you're gonna do is you're gonna make a copy of this live drawing layer. And the easiest way that I know of to do that is to hold on the option key and drag that layer up above itself, and it just copies it. And then I will close up and lock and hide the original one. The reason I did this is so that I won't lose my life drawing because what I'm about to do to my copy is to completely turn off all the transformations. I mean, like, I'm gonna flat on this layer basically or expand it so that it's not live drawing anymore. It's just artwork. So to do that, I'm gonna unlock everything in my copy layer here, and then select a little circle next to this layer itself and say object, expanded parents. So now that layer is just completely plain old artwork. And what I'm gonna do to make my pattern Swatch is I'm gonna unlock the swatch bounds. So if you have everything else locked besides your live drawing copy and the swatch pounds , then it's really easy. Could have come at a to select everything that will select all of your artwork and this swatch bounds rectangle here. And you can drag all of that together into the swatches panel. And that right there should have already made us a nice, perfect pattern, Swatch. So I'm gonna zoom out here Z on the keyboard and just hold down, uh, halt on the keyboard and click a couple times to make it zoom out. And then I'm gonna make a new layer. I'm just testing out my parents watch. I'll hit I'm on the keyboard to get the rectangle to on Just draw some bagel rectangle And then I could feel this. If I make sure that D Phil is on top over here in the swatches panel and then I click my patterns watch, I can fill it with my swatch. Now it doesn't have my background color, and there's several different ways we can fix that. The easiest way is to come to the appearance panel. Um, which years probably isn't here, actually, I just put mine there because I like it there. But if if you don't have your parents panel, go window appearance and when you've got it, come to the parents panel and you can add another Phil. So you have your field has your pattern, you have a stroke, which mine doesn't have any stroke. But then I have my new film. I'm gonna drag the new Phil underneath everything and pick in that one pic my background. Go. So now this rectangle has my patterns watching one Phil and the background color and the other, and it looks great. Um, the other way to add a background. I'm gonna delete that Phil Hope spending to select my rectangle first and then delete my fill. So if I want the background color to actually be in the pattern Swatch, which I think there's a lot of reasons why you would want that, um, it's really easy. Just come over here and drag the patterns, Watch back out. And so what we just dragged out is a group, and it's on the same layer as my rectangle. And so if I open that up, then inside here I have my swatch bounds rectangle in the back. So if I just hold down option and drug up, I'll get a copy of it, and then the top one fill it with your background color so we need two of them will have the top one filled with a background color, and the back one still needs to have no stroke in. No, Phil. Once you have that, you can select the group and drag everything back into this watches panel. And that should have made opponents watch that now has the background color. So if I select my rectangle down here and pick that Phil instead, now I have my swatch with my background color, and that's all there is to it for all these templates. It works the same way, so I'm gonna walk you through several more of them. But it's pretty simple, especially once you've done it a couple times. It's pretty easy 4. 6-Way Rotation With Blob Brush: All right, so let's do another one, shall we? Um Let's from doctor These fun ones at the bottom. If you look at the cheat sheet, do you use Last couple are super fun. Um, some of my favorites are number 16 and number 17. Let's do number 16 6 way rotation. So I'll just double click that to open it up, which makes a new document. And as always, I just have some dummy out working here, soldiers it command A and delete that. And then I'm going to zoom in here pretty close to this triangle and I'll grab my blob brush again for this one, and I make it a lot smaller and just draw some stuff. Now, this is one pattern where I really definitely tried to go outside the bounds. I could stay in the bounds, but then, um, you would be able to tell the shape of this triangle really easily. But if you go outside the bounds, you start to lose the idea of where this triangle is, if you know what I mean and it becomes really interesting. Okay, So go ahead and dry your pattern and there, and let's do this again. Ready? I'm gonna go a little faster. I'm gonna hold down the option key and click and drag. No, I better close my red triangle here. First, I'm gonna hold on the option key and click and drag this layer up to make a copy of it. Close lock and hide the original. Make sure everything in this life drawing layer is unlocked and then select the circle next the layer and say object, Explain appearance. And now, unlike the swatch, bounds and hit command a drag everything into the swatches panel. So if I zoom out and make a new there, hit em, I make a new rectangle. I can sell it with my new Swatch Super easy, Super fast and I think kind of super awesome night. 5. Chevron Pattern Using Hand Drawn Motifs: All right, let's make another pattern. And this time I'm going to use some hand drawn motifs that I pulled over using adobe capture on my phone. So let's see here. Um Okay, so seven and seven b are actually Superfund. It's really hard to tell from the preview here, but yeah, I want to show you this one. Let's open up seven. And I'll just delete that dummy artwork and somewhere over here, capture motifs. Okay, I'm going to just pull in some motifs. I actually make a new layer to throw him on first. Um, how about this one? Sure. Okay, So I'm gonna grab some of those whips, unlock it first command shift, JIS unlock stuff. I'm gonna grab a couple of those. I'm copying up, and I'm gonna put them here on my life drawing there. So the thing that's cool about this pattern is that without even trying, you're gonna end up with, like, a chevron type thing. Check this out. I love how this this, um this template just makes chevron without you even trying. It's super fun. So I got my motives in there. Maybe I'll use the broad push a little bit too. Too big. You get smaller. Isn't this fun? Remember, I'm using my my Mac track bad. So excuse the weird pattern I'm making, but whatever. Anyway, I'll take that. So here we go again. You ready? Um, option. Drag your layer to make a copy lock and Heidi original. Unlock everything in your copy. Select the literate sale that select earlier itself is a object expand appearance. And then if you unlock this, watch bands and had come in a can drag everything into the such is. And if you zoom out, make a new there and put a rectangle on it, you can fill it with your such and this one. I am going to give it a fill in the back. And with that, we are done. Now, remember, there was This is template number seven, and there was a seven. B and seven B is just exactly the same thing as seven. But it zigzags this way instead. So that's fun. You can play with that 6. Layered Designs: okay. And I remember a while back I mentioned that there was a reason I kept my clipping mask on and the damask pattern. So and this little clip, I'm going to try to explain to you on issue you can run into with these patterns with some kind of weird behavior and how to fix it. So let's see, for this one. Let's use something that has a mirror. Really? You need a mirror to rent it. It's problem. Um, how about number 15? You really only get this problem when you have mirroring. So first of all, I'm just gonna delete everything and hit shift B. I want to use my blob brush again because it's really easy for these demonstrations, and I'm gonna make it really big. And the first thing I'll do is I'll start drawing on the edge here and make a big old blob , right? So imagine my pattern dependent on this blob. And then I was gonna draw something else on top of it. So I hit shift be again. I mean, I still have shift, be going with, um, and I'll select my stroke and give it a different color. Make it smaller. And now the idea is I want to come in here and draw something on top of it. Right? Okay. Do you see that? It's weird. That was not what I was expecting. Right? So what's going on here? Is that the entire thinking, the entire artwork here, if you could see the bounds of it, the entire artwork together, the the white and the blue. Together they're getting mirrored together. So, like it's not like marrying the blue. And then on top of that, marrying the white. No, it's just taking the whole thing and nearing it over here underneath. I hope you're following what I'm saying and as kind of a problem. So if you run into somewhere something weird like this, there's two different things that I know of that you can do. First of all, one of the easiest things you can do is turn on clipping mask because if you have on the clipping mask, then nothing will go over the edge and it'll automatically make your marrying perfect. Do you see what I mean? I hope you see what I mean. So turning on the clipping mask is the first and most easy way to fix this problem. But if for some reason you don't want to turn on the clipping mask some how your pattern depends on being up to draw smoothly over the edge. Right. Okay, so we'll turn off the clipping mask and what will do then? Watch this. We're going to make a copy of the live drawing layer, make a copy of the live drying lier, and will make the top one have the white artwork. So I'll delete the blue up here and the bottom one have the blue Eric. So I totally, completely have two different live drawing layers going here. The top one I'm using for the white. The bottom one I'm using for the blue and honestly, I could do is many of these as I wanted, but I just do that. Check it out. Okay. So that also entirely fixes the problem. If you have layer to stuff, use layers of life drawing, and this should completely work. Now when you're ready to make your pattern, obviously you're gonna have to expand all three layers. So let's say you did that, and you're ready to make your pattern. Um, so let's do the pink one. First I make a copy of it, lock and hide the original. Make sure everything's unlocked and say Object, expand appearance. And then we'll make a copy of the white one. And in the copy, hair will unlock everything. So let the layer and say object, expand appearance again. I'm gonna drag up on top of on top of that pink win, and we'll do the blue one. Make a copy of it. Uh, open it up, unlock everything in the copies, let delayer itself and say object, expanded parents. And during that one up with my other copies. Okay, so up here I have three copies that are all expanded. That's meant artwork and now all select up. Unlock the switch browns and it command a and I can drag all of that together into the swatches panel. So I should have got a very lovely layered. How did such And I did so. The conclusion here is if you run into weirdness when you have mirroring in the template, so any time that doesn't mirror and you want stuff layered, you might run into weirdness. The first and most easy thing to do is just use the clipping mask. If you're cool with using the clipping mask, that's great. Do that. Then you won't have to do all these layers. But if you don't want to use the clipping mask for some reason or another, you can just make three live drawing layers on top of each other or four or five or 10 or whatever. And it should work now. Um, as I mentioned this, I should say that obviously, these are live transformations, and they're going to start using a lot of computing power. So if you have really complicated artwork, the more complicated your artwork case and the more of these live drawing there's you have , it's going to start slowing down your computer, so just be cautious with that and, yeah, enjoy. 7. Thank you: and just like that were done. So thank you so much for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it. And I hope you make some beautiful, beautiful patterns. Please don't forget to review this class and also follow me on skill sharing Instagram. And definitely don't forget to upload your project so I can see what you made with my templates. I have several more classes planned using these templates with some pretty awesome stuff you could make. So be sure to keep your eye open for those classes soon.