Live Encore: Create Beautiful, Botanical Patterns | Bonnie Christine | Skillshare

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Live Encore: Create Beautiful, Botanical Patterns

teacher avatar Bonnie Christine, Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Gathering Inspiration


    • 4.

      Vectorizing Your Image


    • 5.

      Gathering Colors


    • 6.

      Using Your Palette


    • 7.

      Building a Repeating Pattern


    • 8.

      Prepping for Printing


    • 9.



    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Celebrate our beautiful planet with gorgeous botanical illustrations!

Bonnie Christine, an artist and surface pattern designer, has a passion for sharing what she’s learned. As a self-taught designer, she knows exactly what information to pass on to you, the student, to allow you to create the illustrations of your dreams! In this Skillshare Live session, recorded on Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community, Bonnie will show you how to draw breathtaking botanical illustrations that honor one of the most important sources of inspiration out there: our planet. 

This class begins by, well, showing you where to begin! Bonnie will walk you through how to choose the images, shapes and colors that will really make your illustrations pop. From there, she’ll walk you through building your pattern, demonstrating her techniques so that you can use them, too. Lastly, she’ll show you how to wrap things up for a flawless final product, and answer a few of the Live audience’s most pressing questions. By the time things draw to a close, you’ll be able to show off your appreciation for this beautiful planet we call home through your gorgeous (not to mention environmentally-friendly) botanical illustrations!  

Meet Your Teacher

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Bonnie Christine

Surface Pattern Designer + Artist


Why, hello!

I'm Bonnie, an artist and surface pattern designer and I'm passionate about sharing what I know. As a self-taught designer, I know how hard it can be to focus on your BIG dreams and conquer the learning curve that comes along with them. I also know how it feels to have your biggest dreams come true. My hope is help you live the extraordinarily creative life of your dreams.

I'm so excited to get to know you! The best place to dive right in is by visiting my website, Bonnie Christine.

Love, Bonnie

PS - let's be insta-friends! I'll meet ya there.

P.S. Join the inner circle! Sign up for updates to be the first to know about everything new, exciting and educational. 

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1. Introduction: One of the best things about being a surface pattern designer is because we do get to go explore and we get to be in nature and we get to put ourselves right in front of our inspiration. For today, we get to be right in front of the things that we love the most that we can find out in the world. Hi, everyone. My name is Bonnie Christine. I'm a surface pattern designer, I'm an artist, and I'm an online educator. In today's class, we are celebrating Earth Day, so we are illustrating from the Earth. You don't have to come with any sketches or drawings. We're going to be using actual things that we have found out in the wild and we're going to create illustrations and a repeating pattern from them. As artists and illustrators, I think it's really easy and common for us to stay put and gather inspiration from sources on the Internet or other artists and I'm really passionate about encouraging us to get away from the computer and go outside or go wherever we find the biggest inspiration and put ourselves right in front of it. It really is what makes this career so fulfilling. This was originally recorded on Zoom with live interaction from Skillshare students. Thank you so much for joining me today. Let's get started illustrating from the Earth. 2. Getting Started: My name is Danny. I'm here on behalf of Skillshare. I'll be your host today. My pronouns are he, him, and I am so excited to have Bonnie back. This would be the second live I've got to host with Bonnie and I just love learning from you, Bonnie. So really excited to have you here. Today, what we're going do is something I really love because it doesn't require sketching or drawing. One of the biggest questions I get as teaching surface pattern design is, do I have to be able to draw? Many of us can draw, many of us do enjoy drawing. If you can draw and sketch, then you consider yourself an artist. You have the easy road paved for you. But if you can't, there are so many different ways that we can still make beautiful artwork. One of those things is by illustrating from the Earth using things that we find out in the wild. That's what we're going to be doing today. I'm going to break down the process for you that I use for foraged finds. Just know that this same process also works if you use sketches or pen and paper or paint and paper, you can do the same process. But today we're going to be using literally things from the wild. I'm going to go over six parts of this process. One is gathering inspiration. Number 2 is preparing the inspiration. Number 3 is scanning in of the items. Four, we're going to be vectorizing. Five, we're going to be coloring, and six, we're going to be actually making the repeating pattern. If you wanted to work along with me today or if you want to jot down a list of things that you might need, you're going to need Adobe Illustrator to follow along. Then, of course, you're going to need your gathered items that you get from the Earth. You'll either need a scanner or a phone. Either one will work. If you don't have a scanner, no problem. Then I'm going to show you some tricks on how some things that could be helpful but aren't absolutely necessary as well. First of all, I want to talk about inspiration. Gathering inspiration for our artwork. Our illustrations are patterns and then eventually our entire pattern collections is a really important part to the process. I think that it's one that a lot of people will either rush through or they'll skip altogether. I think that really spending time gathering inspiration and really formulating a direction for the artwork that you want to create is going to make the entire process so much easier. It's going to give you a rock solid foundation that you can come back to in reference. If you are a working illustrator or artist, you know that there's always this time in the middle that feels, I call it the messy middle. It's in the middle when you're feeling this is no good. This is not going to turn out like I thought it would or maybe I've lost inspiration or I forgot where I was headed in the first place. If you take the time to really gather inspiration at the beginning, you'll have something to come back to you so that you can reframe, refresh, and continue forward. Anybody else have a messy middle or is that just me? I definitely have a lot of a messy middle with artwork I made That fully resonates. The good thing is that you eventually learn to trust yourself and you see the messy middle and you say, "Yes. There it is." But I know that I'm going to come out of the messy middle. It does evolve. My favorite way to gather inspiration is honestly my favorite part of surface pattern design altogether, because it gets me right in front of the thing that I'm most inspired by. This is another touching point because I think a lot of times we turn to other artwork or other things on the Internet to gather inspiration. That has us sitting in front of our computer far too long. It also has us comparing ourselves to other people's artwork. It also potentially has our artwork looking too similar to other people's artwork. I'm really passionate about teaching how to gather your own inspiration. The best way to do that is to put yourself right in front of the thing that inspires you most. What is that? For me, it's the Earth, its nature, it's going out on hikes, it's going to visit botanical gardens or it's actually gardening myself. I love to garden because I get to grow my own inspiration. But for you, it could be animals. Maybe you visit museums or maybe you visit zoos. Go ahead and tell me in the chat, what is your greatest inspiration? Maybe it's traveling and as soon as we can all start moving around again, we can give back to traveling or maybe it's art supplies or something like that. But really taking the time to get out. Get out from behind your computer, get in front of exactly what inspires you most. That's what we're going to be doing today because there's hiking and there's going on a nature walk, and then there's going on a nature walk with the intention of gathering inspiration. All of a sudden, you have these goggles on and you see everything in a completely new way whereas you might just walk past a leaf on the ground the day before. Today you're looking at it with the potential in your mind. I promise you, if you try this, it's going to be your favorite part of why this is so incredible. 3. Gathering Inspiration: I have already done this so that I didn't have to take you on a walk with me. But I've been gathering lots of little things out in the wild. We are living in all over the world, so some places are not green yet. Are you living in a place that's not green? You can really just begin to snowing in New York Dionysus, I know. But you can also look at indoor plants. This is actually a sprig off of an indoor plant that I have. The other things that I have here that I'll show you are from things that have started sprouting in North Carolina. But even in the winter, you'll be able to find different things that you can use for this. What I've done is gone ahead and gathered several of these items. I'm going to show you how I did this, but I have put them on paper. You don't have to do this. You can absolutely pick a sprig and put it directly on your scanner or you can take a photo of it. But what I do is, I'm going to show you, I use adhesive spray. The trick is that if you do use adhesive spray, you can position whatever it is that you're going to be scanning in, in the flow that you want it to be. I oftentimes will use ferns or leaves and I want them to bend in a particular way. I do have an example for you here. This is a regular piece of computer paper. This is a sprig. This actually came off of a Jasmine plant that I have in the next room over, and the leaves on it are really beautiful. I'm going to pick one. I probably could put this on my scanner, but I'm going to instead spray it. I've just put a little bit of glue down on my paper. I know you can't see, so hold on. Now, I can get it to stick in a curve. Do you see that? Then, even with the wet adhesive, this is just parchment paper. You can lay the parchment paper over and it's basically like we're drying flowers. You've pressed flowers before in a big book, same kind of philosophy. Any spray adhesive will work. This is Elmer's craft bond. Then you can layer them up and let them dry. These, I sprayed on Monday, though I could have used them probably by Monday evening, but I do want to let the glue dry before I then put it on my scanner. That's what I've done with these three sheets. I've got one here with a bunch of leaves on it. This one, just about the only flower in my neighborhood, is buttercup that's blooming right now. If you're in the South, you know exactly what time of year it is when the buttercups come out. Oh, and that one just fell, but these are the last sheet of leaves. Now I'm going to meet you on the computer and show you how we scan these in and get them vectorized, and then we're going to make a repeating pattern from them. If you don't have a scanner, what I want to share with you is that there is an app for your phone called scanner app. There are several scanner apps, but the one that's simply called Scanner app, it's brilliant marketing. Really works incredibly well. If you don't have an actual scanner and you want to use a scanner app, my primary advice for you is to lay your sheet of paper on something very flat, obviously, and then come above it and just make sure that your phone has no tilt to it in any direction. Because if it does, your artwork is going to be skewed. You just have to be careful to hold it exactly parallel to the paper, but you can absolutely do that. I'm going to choose just one of these and place on my scanner. I'm going to share my screen and show you what this process looks like. I do not have an advanced scanner. This is a Canon Pixma scanner. But all scanners do work a little bit differently. Yours may not have exactly the same capability as mine, but I'm going to show you how I do it and yours is going to be able to do something fairly similar. I am going to illustrate in black and white to begin with. I'm going to just scan it in, in black and white. You can choose color if you want to maintain the color, but we're going to do black and white. I really like having the resolution at 300. It's probably automatically set to something lower like 75. But if you go ahead and bump it up to 300, it's going to vectorize much more cleanly. I will scan it to my desktop, that's fine. Jpeg is fine. Then I have the ability to do image correction. If you don't, it's not a worry at all. But I'm going to click on manual image correction. Basically what that lets me do is adjust the brightness and the contrast at the scan level. Again, if you don't have this, it's something we can do once we get into Illustrator, but I'm going to try to make it as black and white as possible so that our vector version is super clean. Then I think I've got to draw a little marquee around what I actually want to scan. I'm going to click "Scan". Bonnie, while this is scanning for some of the folks that are newer to illustrator, can you explain why it's helpful to get these into the vector format and what the vector really means? When we talk about vectors, it's really an opposition to pixels. Pixels is what Photoshop is really based on, vectors is what Illustrator is really based on. The difference is we've all seen like a JPEG, like a photograph that's been enlarged too too and it's blurry, and you can see all of the little squares and those are pixels. Illustrator is vector-based, which means that all of the illustrations are built using anchor points and lines. The thing that really means is that it won't ever lose its integrity no matter how much you enlarge it. Most professional illustrators use Adobe Illustrator for this reason. It makes your artwork super applicable to industries all around the world. That's what we're going to be using today and that's why we love vectors. I have cheated like those cake baking shows and I've gone ahead and scanned in the rest of the sheets so that you wouldn't have to sit here and wait on me. But before we do that, what I would love to do is show you some examples of this in real life. These are three patterns that I have designed and made and also licensed on products like fabric and wallpaper and notebooks. The way that I use this is that I do draw, and I do sketch, and I do paint, but I love weaving in foraged items, items that I have found out in the wild. I love to layer them into my own artwork, and I think it just brings such an organic feel to it. I was going to point out on this pattern, this ocher leaf here. Those are all real leaves that I scanned in and used just like the process I'm going to show you today. Also, this little fern right here was something that was in my yard that I scanned in. If we come down to this one, the flowers were painted but the leaves in the background were scanned in. Then on this one, all of these light green leaves were actual leaves that I picked and scanned in. You absolutely can do this for your entire process or you can layer it in and weave it into your own process as well. 4. Vectorizing Your Image: Let's come back over to Illustrator. If you are needing to place an image in your document, what you can do is either drag and drop it in or you can use the image Place command. You come up to "File", and come down to "Place". Mine is on my desktop, and I just scanned it in, so I can click on that one today, and then click "Place". What that's going to do is show me a little icon of that JPEG image, and then I can draw it to whatever scale I want it to be at. I'll just draw this one pretty big. There's my scan, I basically just dropped the JPEG into my document. Again, you can also just drag and drop it straight in. The next thing we're going to do, this is a JPEG and we know that not only because we just scanned it in as a JPEG, but another way to tell that in illustrator is this blue x over it. Something that is vectorized will not have that, so we need to get this vectorized. I'm going to click on it, you have to select your image first, and then I want to use the Image Trace dialog box. I keep mine over here in my mini toolbar, and if you don't see it, you can come up to "Window" and make sure that Image Trace has a check mark by it. That's going to bring up Image Trace. With it selected, I pretty much use the same workflow almost every time I use Image Trace, and it's very simple. I come to the preset, we're going to go down to black and white logo, you'll likely get a warning that this is a large image and you're going to say "Okay" and right away it has turned it into vectors almost. But I want to play with a couple of these settings. First of all, your panel may look collapsed, so you want to go ahead and open the Advanced Settings. The first thing I want to do is click "Ignore White", that's going to just knock out the white background that got brought in with this JPEG. The other thing I want to do is show you the threshold. The threshold is automatically set to right in the middle, but what you need to know is depending on how dark or light your scan is, you can adjust it here. Almost like that manual adjustment I did during the scanning process. You can bring it lower to make it much lighter, lower is going to make less detail, and much higher is going to make it thicker, darker, and more contrasted. For mine actually, it was pretty good right from the beginning, but this lighter one over here, I probably would have had to punch up some. The next thing I do is generally bring the noise down. The noise basically equals detail, and so the less noise the more detail. That's one you can play with, taking it all the way down and all the way up to see the difference. Then the paths are also set to 50 percent, and the higher you take the path, the more accurate it's going to be, so 100 percent is a little bit too much, I can show you that, if I go up to 100 percent, it's almost like brings in texture that's not actually even there, but if you bring it down to say 96, 95, 97 percent, you'll probably get a really accurate scan. Once you're happy with it, all you have to do is click "Expand" and that's up in the very top of your toolbar. That is what a vector looks like. You can see the blue box has gone away, we're converted into vectors. If I zoom in way, way here, you can see that we're actually made up of anchor points and lines, which is what makes this endlessly scalable. I'm going to zoom out, I'm going to assume that you all have worked in Illustrator a little bit, but I do have my keystrokes on in case you need to really understand or see what keyboard shortcuts I'm using and things like that. One thing that happens when you use Image Trace is that everything is grouped together, so I'm going to click on it, and then I'm going to right-click and select "Ungroup", that's going to ungroup all of these items so that I can move them independently. Then, of course, we've got a couple of things here that got brought in from the sheet of paper that we don't need, so we can just hit Delete on our keyboard. 5. Gathering Colors: Again, what I have done is I've done that same exact process for all of the scans and I have brought them over to a new document. This is my document where everything is now been vectorized using image trace and we're ready to start working in color. Before I move on to color, is there anything, Daniel, that we need to talk about? Yeah. There's just one quick question. You obviously scanned it and you mentioned the phone scanning app to do it. Is there any reason why you couldn't take a photo of a plant and use that to try to use image trace to vectorize it? What I'd like you to do is try both. Download the app. Primarily the thing that the scanner app is going to do is increase the contrast because you can take a picture, but what you need to do if you take a photograph is put whatever it is that you're taking a picture of on a solid background. Usually, white is going to be best and make sure that your lighting is completely even because if it's just a picture, say you have it on a wood grain, desktop, or you've got a shadow casting over it or something like that, all of that is going to get picked up in image trace. You have to be really careful about the composition of it, but you absolutely can. Got it. That makes total sense. Before we can start working with this, obviously, we have to get some color involved. I have one more document pulled up here with some pictures. These photographs are ones that I have taken from my house and my garden, and this is another thing that's perfect for Earth Day because, wouldn't you have guessed the best color palettes always come from nature? They are well balanced, they are beautiful, and my favorite way to design and develop color palettes are by choosing colors from photographs that I have taken. Again, fully gathering inspiration from the original source and you're able to really pull together colors from. It's a really incredible feeling to look at a finished piece of artwork and even know where you got the colors from, even though that you took the original photo or perhaps you were on the hike where the photo was taken or you grew the flower that that color palette was drawn from. It's really fun. I'm going to try to build out a color palette here, maybe 10-12 colors that we can use and I'm just going to show you my process. I dropped these photographs into this document in the same way using the place command. Now, what I want to do is build a palette. For me, I like to start with just black squares. M on your keyboard is the keyboard shortcut for the rectangle tool and I'm going to start drawing a square. Now, if you want to draw an exact square, you need to hold down the Shift key to keep that square in proportion. Move your little cute faces over here, and I'm just going to color this in black and give it no stroke. Now, I'm going to duplicate that. Let's make 12 squares. I'll start dragging over the square. I'm going to hold down the Shift key to keep it directly in line and the option key to drop a duplicate. Did you see when I push the Option key? There's two arrows there. Now, one of my favorite keyboard shortcuts in Illustrator is Command D, which means duplicate my last action. I'm going to click "Command D" and duplicate that. Now, I'm going to select all of these and just quickly duplicate them down to make 12 squares. Now, we can start gathering actual color. You'll select your first square and we're going to use the eyedropper tool. The keyboard shortcut for that is I, on your keyboard, that's an easy one, and you can literally just start clicking around the photos to start to get a color that you want to keep in your palette. If you're happy with one and you want to go to the next one, you can switch in between tools by clicking on them over in the left-hand toolbar, but one shortcut is to hold down the Command key on your keyboard. That's going to give you temporary access to the last selection tool that you have. So I'm just going to hold down Command to grab the black arrow tool. I'll click once, and then when I release Command, I still have the eyedropper tool selected, and I can just start clicking around to see what other color. I really want to find a nice minty color. Command to get the next square. Then you can start just clicking around your document and getting all that beautiful color from these images. A couple of things that make a good color palette is enough neutrals. I always look for a really nice, creamy color that I can use as a base. I'm not sure if I'm going to get it from this photograph, but I'll find it somewhere. Enough neutrals. I could do this all day. Enough neutrals so that you have a palette that really works well. Then you also need enough light colors and enough dark colors so that your final artwork will have plenty of contrast in it. Do you see this little bug that's hanging out in my flower? We're going to go up to this one. I just need a few more. I'm going to cheat and bring these two over here so I can zoom in. Let's go with that and see what we come up with. I know that I have one more cream color on my document that we can pull from to if we need to. 6. Using Your Palette: The next thing is that we get to use this color palette. What I'm going to do is select the entire group of color and I'm going to copy and paste it over to my working document. Command C is copy. Then I'll come over to the document where I have all of my vectorized illustrations and Command V is paste. Now that you have the colors in your doc, you need to add them to your swatches palette. To add them to your swatches palette, you'll click, with them selected, you'll click on the folder icon at the bottom of your swatches palette. You can name it if you want. I typically just say, okay, and they immediately pop up in your swatches palette, then you can delete them off of your board. Now, we didn't take the time to really go over our workspace. Setting up your workspace to look exactly like mine. But, if your workspace in Illustrator is not anything similar to mine, if you come up to Window and come to Workspace, you can click on "Painting" and that's going to get you pretty close. That will get you pretty close to what I'm working on today. You can customize that but that will at least get your swatches palette in the right place. With these illustrations all in black, I just want to toss color onto them. I'm not going to overthink it at this point because we can always change it, but I do want to get them out of the color that they're in now. I'm going to teach you a little bit more too. If you select something, there's two different ways to color. There's a Fill and there's a Stroke. I had the stroke highlighted when I just tried to color it. If you see anything happening in yours that you didn't expect, come up here and make sure that you have the Fill selected and not the Stroke. You can click back and forth between those to change it. The Stroke is the outline and the Fill is the primary color. We're only going to be working with fills today. Now, I can add some color to several of these and Right away, everything looks much happier. From here, what I want to do is we're ultimately going to create a repeating pattern. But first, I want to show you how I might layer these into a motif. Motif is surface pattern design language for an illustration. But I like to build them out by layering different elements in the design. I think what I'll do is start with the leaf and zoom in a little bit. There are a couple of keyboard shortcuts that I'm going to be using. Number 1 is S for scale. S on your keyboard it will let you scale items up and down. You do have to hold down the Shift key to keep it proportion. Otherwise, you can skew this if you don't have the Shift key held down. The Shift key will keep it in line so I can make it a bit bigger. The next one is rotate. R on your keyboard is the rotate command. You'll see after I click "R", you have a little marquee and you can move this around. It typically gets dropped right in the middle of your illustration. Then you can start rotating your item in a circle. The other one is reflect. Reflect is O on your keyboard. All of these can also be found over in the left hand toolbar. O is easy to remember because O is completely reflected around itself seamlessly. What it does is it allows you to reflect an item around itself. Those are the three that we're going to be using today. I'm going to start with the leaf and I think I'll bring over a flower to put on top. This isn't layered correctly so if you want to change the layers of something, you can right-click on it and come to Bring to Front. Arrange, sorry. I forgot that first step. You have to come down to Arrange and then click on "Bring to Front". Now we're in the front and I can increase its size using the scale tool. For the scale tool, Bonnie, do you have to hit on any shortcut? Someone asked if you have to hit "S" to scale or. Yes. S to scale. It is also in your left hand toolbar over here. If you can't find one of these tools, you'll be able to hover over the ones in your left hand toolbar and find it. We're using S for the scale tool. Awesome. Now, I'm going to build out the leaf down here quite a bit and make it the same color as the background leaf and rotate it a bit to bring it. We're just going to build out something that we want to incorporate in our pattern. Let's start with that. This little flower, it got scanned in just one solid block and it really needs a center, don't you think? I am going to build a center using these little tiny flowers that we scanned in. I'm just going to drop one in the middle. Make sure to bring it to the front and maybe change its color. Another thing that I like to do when I work in Illustrator is something called "Hide Your Edges" because it's really hard to see what this looks like for all the blue anchor points. If you click "Command H" on your keyboard, it'll just hide those. It's still selected, but you can really understand what you're doing. Let's do that one more time. That's looking good. Then we can play with this fern perhaps and stick him back here. Then these little leaves are the ones from the Jasmine plant, like the one that I just showed you and I think that they have so much character. We're going to sneak them in. We have built a little bouquet. Let's work on the color for just a second. It's not horrible, but it would be fun to play with. I have one, two, three, four color palettes, swatches palettes over in my panel. This one is the one we just built. These are ones that I brought just in case I failed miserably on our live today. Let me select this illustration. I'll turn my edges back on so you can see that. We're going to use something called the recolor artwork tool. If you have an illustration selected, the Recolor Artwork Tool will be an option to view up in the top panel. You can click on that and get the dialog box up. These are the colors that I currently have in this selection and you can rotate through new color options by using the randomly change color order button at the bottom. You can just click through and see what other options there are. You can also click into your other color palettes. Let's use the color palette that I built from the photographs. We'll just rotate through some different options and see if we land on one that we like. Then I've got these others as well. This is the part that can be rather addicting and so much fun. You can also color things individually from each other. I think I'm going to send the front to the back. 7. Building a Repeating Pattern: Are you ready to build a repeating pattern? I'm. Let's do it. Basically what I'm going to do is group this little bouquets together. I'll select it and I've got some stray bits. Do you see that? Some little stray bits that probably came in from the scan, so I'm just going to delete. I've got a lot. You can also grab your eraser tool and just clean up anything. These are probably things that got brought over from my scan that I didn't catch earlier. I'll select that and click, "Command G," on my keyboard to group it together. You can always ungroup things, you can always go back in and edit the group. That's going to make moving this around much easier. There are a couple of different ways to create repeating patterns. I'm going to show you a little bit of a less traditional way today. Let me zoom in and scale this down. We're just going to make a pretty simple half brick repeating pattern from this single motif. I'm going to grab the motif and start bringing it down. I'm holding down Shift on my keyboard to keep it in line and I'll drop the option key to duplicate the item and then Command D to duplicate that last action. I told you is my favorite keyboard shortcut. You could manually place that but it makes it really easy. Now, the next thing I want to do is grab all three of them and I'll start bringing them over to the right to make a middle column. Again, I'm going to hold down the Shift Key. Did you see that? The Shift key will pop it into line just like that and the option key is going to drop a duplicate. Then if I click, "Command D," on my keyboard it's going to duplicate that whole action for me one more time, so Command D will do that again. Now, the middle column is what I really want to play with. At minimum, you can drop this down about halfway, I'm going to hide my edges as you can see. But I also like to play with this middle column, maybe you turn it upside down. If you were designing for something like fabric, it might be nice to have something that goes in two different directions or you could reflect it around itself to do something like that. Then I think we can nestle this one in a bit more to look a little bit more close. Because I just wanted to play with these motifs and see how they might fall into a pattern, at this point we need to draw the repeating bounding box. Oftentimes I told you this was a little bit of a different way to make a pattern because oftentimes you'll start with the background. You'll draw a square first and that will be your repeating bounding box. But this time we drew our motifs first. Now, we need to draw the repeat. The easiest way to do this is to eyeball it at first and then come back and make sure that mathematically it works but it's super easy, so just bear with me. What I want to do is eyeball the place where this repeats. I'm going to use the rectangle tool which is M on my keyboard. You can literally choose any spot that you want. Maybe an easy one is I could do the middle of this flower, I could do the tip of the leaf out here but I think I'll use the little tip of this fern. I'm just going to start dragging a box. I'm going to drag it over to the tip of this little fern because that's exactly the same spot on the motif. Then I'm going to bring it down until I find the tip of the next fern. Are you following? Now, that is the repeat but I'm going to bring it down one more time, so that we have a little bit more space to play with. If you'll follow the corner of this box, it goes from the top of the fern on each of those motifs. I'm going to drop that box. I will change its color and I'm going to send it to the back. Let's change its color to that. Everyone following? Now, it's very close to repeating. It might even repeat perfectly but we as professional artists want to make sure that it really is repeating perfectly. Now, that you know just about exactly what it is let's go in and make sure that it's perfect. The trick to a repeating pattern is that everything that crosses the left-hand axis has to match everything on the right-hand axis, same with the top and bottom. Let me show you what I mean by that. First of all, I want you to select the background that you just drew. We need to remember the height and the width of that box. It's up in your top toolbar and because this is a flexible pattern and by that I mean, it's not like a very exact geometric pattern we can round this, so right now it's 319 by 6,142. I'm just going to round this to 320 and then I'm going to round the next one to 451. Now, our box is 320 by 451. The first thing I'm going do is delete everything that crosses over the right-hand axis of that square. Then I'm going to select everything on the left-hand axis and I'm going to duplicate it 320 pixels over to the right. You're going to select everything that falls off the left-hand side of the square. You'll right click, come to Transform and select Move. Now, that brings up this move dialog box and close my number 320, I'm going horizontally 320, I'm going vertically zero. You can make sure that your preview is on. Then if you just click, "Okay," it's just going to move your motifs. But if you click, "Copy," it will duplicate them for you. I'm going to click, "Copy". Now, the next thing I need to do is make sure that the top and bottom are exactly aligned to the box. The first thing I'm going to do is delete everything off of the bottom or the top, it doesn't matter. Excuse me. Check the dimensions of my box that's 451. I'll select everything that falls off the top of my box, come down to Transform and Move. This time we're going zero horizontally and we're going 451 down. Again, I will click, "Copy." Now, we know for sure that this repeats perfectly and we're going to test it in just a moment. The thing that I wanted to point out though, is that no matter what you're repeating bounding boxes you're free to play inside that box. Now, if I were to bring something over like this and it falls off the top of my box and I'm not careful to replicate that down here at the bottom exactly like I just did then our repeat is going to be off. But if you want to add some things in the middle that doesn't crossover either of the edges then you have freedom to play all over the inside of your pattern as long as you're not crossing over any edges. I think this allows a really lovely place to add little things here and there to make your pattern look a little bit different unless, what word I'm I looking for? Expected. I might add just a few things here and there that would make these little illustrations look just a little bit different from each other. You can have as much fun there as you want. Let's test this pattern and see if it works. The trick to creating a repeating pattern is that you have to make a box in the very bottom of your document that matches the repeat with no stroke and no fill. Now, don't ask me why but this is what you have to do. Select your background. This box that's 320 by 451 for me, would be different for you. We're going to make a copy of it. That's Command C on your keyboard and we're going to paste it directly behind. That is Command B. Command C to copy, Command B to paste it directly behind. You can't tell but there are two boxes there now. With the bottom one still selected I'm going to make sure that it has no stroke and no fill. That's the key. It won't work unless you do this step. Now, what we'll do is select everything that we want to be a part of this pattern and drag and drop it over to your swatches palette. You'll get this new pattern swatch. Now, we can test it. I'll grab M on my keyboard and draw a big square and fill it with my new pattern and it works, it's seamless. It doesn't have any stripes or lines in it. At this point we can still play with the colors. With it selected, I can bring open the Recolor Artwork tool and start rolling through different color options for this pattern. This is the type of pattern that you could now go and license on art work all over the world. That's brave. You could also get your own fabric printed with it on a place like Spoonflower or you could have notebooks printed with it or mugs printed with it or anything at all. You just created your first repeating pattern. 8. Prepping for Printing: I'm going to do this specifically for Spoonflower. If you're not familiar, Spoonflower is really the industry-leading company that allows you to order as little as one yard of fabric out of your own design. It's super fun, you can also have a Spoonflower shop if you upload your own designs. But there is a unique way to save the actual repeating tiling square, which is what we want to do. I'm going to delete the original repeat that I just made because once you create a pattern, you can rest assured that you can always access that original repeat as long as you have the pattern somewhere. With the pattern selected, the fill will be active in your panel over here, and you can just drag and drop it out to your artboard, and it'll pop open the actual original repeat that you designed. Again, that was just dragging and dropping the actual pattern fill to your artboard will give you access back to this original. The really cool thing is that this box, your background color, the real purpose it's serving instead, it's also the technical repeat. Again, what we want to do is create a copy of it, that's Command C and paste it either in front or behind it, it doesn't matter, Command B is paste behind. With that selected, we want to convert it into an artboard. Now, I use the keyboard shortcut for that, I'm sure you could have guessed that. But if you're not familiar with it, you can come up to Object, Artboards, and Convert to Artboards. Now our actual artboard, it also represents the repeat, and so don't ask me why, just trust me on this. But for some reason, I think it's called something like a ghost pixel or something like that, just follow my lead. You're going to take just the background color, and you're going to use the scale tool that's S on your keyboard. You just going to make it spill out over the edge of your artboard. You don't have to move any of your motifs, you don't have to do anything else, it doesn't have to be exact, but it needs to crossover the artboard, otherwise, you actually do risk having a stripe in your pattern on Spoonflower. Again, don't ask me why but follow my lead. Now you can export this, one of my favorite ways to export is for the web, and you can come up to File, Export, and go to Save for Web. I'll show you a couple of ways to export. This is going to export just the artboard that we are active on, so because we turned that background into an artboard, this is what we're exporting. It's pretty small, so you can actually change the size of it here at this export stage, you can either put in the width and the height that you want to change it to, or you can increase the percentage. Unless you have a type heavy pattern, I would suggest always making sure that art optimized is selected. Then we can click "Save", and I will put this down on our desktops so we can find it, and click "Save". What I want to show you now is, if I just drag and drop that back on my artboard, it's huge, so let me reduce it in size. Let me show you that this is a JPEG, and we know that because? It's crossed out. Yes. It's a JPEG, it's no longer a vector, but it is actually the technical repeat. I'm going to make duplicates of this JPEG using the Shift, and the Option key, and then the Command D to duplicate, and you can see that it repeats seamlessly because that is our technical repeat. That's what you need to save for Spoonflower, is that technical repeat and Bell do the repetition for you. Just one more thing, Daniel, and then I'll be done with this question. If I was actually going to save this for a site like Spoonflower, what I would do is clean up the rest of my artboard, delete all that, get rid of any unnecessary artboards. Then I would either save this, you'll have to check every website has different upload requirements, so always check the specs. They may just let you save this file just like it is as an Illustrator file and upload that which would be lovely. They may want a PDF or they may want a high res JPEG. If they want a high res JPEG, you can come to File, Export, Export As. We're going to change this to JPEG and then click "Use Artboards". Use Artboards is going to give you that technical repeat. Again, I'll click "Export" and you'll have to check again, they may want it in something else, but CMYK is fine. Go ahead and bump up the quality all the way, the resolution to 300, make sure it's art optimized, and click "Okay". Now I save that to my desktop too, I'll just open it for you. Now, this is a high res JPEG of the technical repeat that you could absolutely order a fabric with. 9. Q&A: Now to another question or two. One question was about how do you organize the creative items that you have? Specifically scanned plants and the type of scanning you do. Do you have a way of organizing it for reusing it for different types of art or patterns you're doing? Well, I do have a whole Skillshare class on that. I mean, it's super nerdy. It's literally how I organize all of my surface pattern design files. My scans, my illustrator documents, what I save, what I don't save, what I get rid off, I literally open up my folders and really organize a structure for you. I think it would be easiest to just send them over to my profile. Is the last class that I taught and I think it's like 35 minutes. It's not super long but it will show you exactly how I do all that organization. Amazing. Awesome. That's perfect. Let me see if there is any other ones. At what point do you decide what type of repeat you're going to make if it's going to be tossed, repeat, stripes, diagonals? When do you decide, I guess, what type of repeat you want to make based on what your designer is? I typically work in collections and that's really what I recommend you do too, is working in collections of patterns. Before I ever start a collection, I spent some time really brainstorming and thinking about what I want it to look like and what I envision each pattern to be. This is before I actually start sketching or gathering inspiration, really, I'm just brainstorming. At that stage, I will have an idea of how many patterns in the collection are going to be stripes? How many of them are going to be tossed? How many of them are going to be directional? What kind of layout I have? But for sure, this is play and so you're encouraged to play. You may set out to make a stripe and you may end up with a tossed or something like that. It's all so much fun and it depends. You can think a little bit and advance over, what industry do you want this to be in? Or what final product do you want your artwork to be on? Because if it's something like wallpaper, you can probably see my wallpaper over here, it's all directional. It all is going straight up because you don't need anything upside down unless you're a gymnast. Then, if it's fabric though, you may want something that's bidirectional. If someone is cutting out a sewing pattern, they could cut it out in two different ways. Or you may want something that's considered an all over print. There's no direction to it at all. If it was fabric, you could cut it up in any direction. Also works great for wrapping paper and tissue paper so that the end user or yourself, you don't have to pay attention to which way you're cutting something out. Got it. But I love the example, I've just these cases or where it's going to live. That makes a lot sense. Yeah. I don't know how many people sow, but if you sow, have you ever cut out a pattern for a dress or something and then you hold it up and the whole things upside down? It's very frustrating. You either have to decide to have an upside down dress or startle the way over. 10. Final Thoughts: I hope today's class really opened your eyes to the possibilities, if maybe you're not comfortable sketching on paper, how you can really use the things out in the wild and the things that you see and incorporate those into your art practice. Thank you again so much for joining us. Happy Earth Day. We will see you next time.