Create a Repeating Pattern in 10 Minutes in Adobe Illustrator | Peggy Dean | Skillshare

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Create a Repeating Pattern in 10 Minutes in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Peggy Dean, Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What You'll Need


    • 3.

      Step One: Vectorize Your Art


    • 4.

      Step Two: Build Your Layout


    • 5.

      Step Three: Sample Your Pattern and Save


    • 6.

      Project Time!


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About This Class

In this class, we will cover how to create a seamless repeating pattern using vectorized artwork. Don't worry, this short class also covers how to vectorize your art! You'll be pumping out patterns like crazy in no time.

You will need Adobe Illustrator for this class.

If you need to digitize your artwork before we get started making our patterns, take my class on 4 Ways to Digitize your artwork and then come on back!

Surface patterns are so fun to create and can be used for a limitless amount of things including

-Home Decor
-Phone Cases
-Art Prints
-Book Covers
-etc. etc. etc.

LIMITLESS opportunities!

Meet Your Teacher

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Peggy Dean

Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Top Teacher

Snag your free 50-page workbook right here!

Hey hey! I'm Peggy.

I'm native to the Pacific Northwest and I love all things creative. From a young age I was dipping everything I could into the arts. I've dabbled in quite an abundance of varieties, such as ballet, fire dancing, crafting, graphic design, traditional calligraphy, hand lettering, painting with acrylics and watercolors, illustrating, creative writing, jazz, you name it. If it's something involving being artistic, I've probably cycled through it a time or two (or 700). I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you!

Visit my Instagram for daily inspiration: @thepigeonletters, and head over to my blog for more goodies curated just for youuuu.

I'm the author of the best selling... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Hey guys, it's Peggy Dean of the Pigeon Letters, and this class is going to go over how to vectorize repeating patterns. That means that not only are you going to learn how to make repeating patterns in Adobe Illustrator, you are also going to learn to vectorize them beforehand, which will allow you to create patterns that you can make much larger or smaller without losing any of that resolution to your artwork. This design it can be found on a plethora of different things. You see them on home textiles like tea towels, bedding, pillow cases, notebooks, a [inaudible] , so it really comes in handy. This class is going to go over super simple to get you going in about 15 minutes, and then you'll be creating all of the patterns. If you're like me, in my very first pattern that I ever created, I was overjoyed and was sucked in for a week just creating patterns. This class is straight forward information. There's not a bunch of fluff to it. It just gives you the foundation and fundamentals to get started with both the vector and the repeating pattern, so very excited to introduce this to you. [MUSIC]. Let's get started. 2. What You'll Need: In this class, what you will need is some artwork that you have created. This could be digital. It could be on paper and you can scan it in. I do have a class on how to digitize your artwork before you take this class, so you know how to do that to prep it just perfectly for the pattern. So if you need to take that, also a very quick class, you can bypass all of the watercolor part and just look at the four methods on how to digitize your artwork. So you'll need your artwork and then you will need Adobe Illustrator. If you don't have Adobe Illustrator, I have a link in the class description that will direct you to it and I believe it's about $20 a month. There's also some different plans that you can do, but you can cancel anytime and that way if you love it. I love it. So let's get going. Shall we? 3. Step One: Vectorize Your Art: When you have your art work on the computer, you're going to open up Adobe Illustrator. You can press open right here, or you can press command O to open or control O on a PC, and then you're going to find your artwork, select it and open it up, and then sometimes when you first open artwork without first prepping in our art board, it can be, the artwork can be smaller. We want our art board to be the same size as our image, so instead of shrinking this image down, I'm actually going to create a new art board by pressing shift O and then dragging a rectangle from the top left corner all the way to the bottom right. Let go and creates a new art board. You should have this little X right here. I'm going to get rid of the original art board. From here. What I want to do is create the vector. To do that, I'm just going to press image trace. If you don't have that as an option, you can press window here and then go to image trace, and it will show up here for you and your tools. Your tools might look a little bit different than mine, but this is the icon. It's like a circle with three smaller circles on the top, bottom and right, and they're connected. If yours looks a little different, look for that icon, but again, you can just go to window and find it there, but what I'm going to do is it's going to be imaged traces selected. You see preset, I'm just going to go down here, say high-fidelity photo, and you might get a pop-up that tells you that it's going to be pretty slow with larger images. I'm just, I know that. I'm going to say don't show again and okay. Depending on how large and complex as images, it can take a minute, but usually I don't find it takes longer than 15 seconds or so we're going to let this load or convert, if you will, and then it'll show you once it's done, the end results. This is what that looks like a vectorized, so if I zoom in and you can zoom in also by pressing Z on your keyboard and then click and drag to the right, and then, whoops, I went way too far, or click and drag to the left, and that will give you a quick zoom and you don't have to mess with all the other stuff, but you can see that the texture has been created into individual pixels. Now, all those colors and that scratchyness is in those individual pixels, which what that will do is allow it to be blown up or get smaller without losing definition. If you're happy with that, then that's all you have to do. Press expand up here, and then what it does is creates this whole thing as a group. Now the image is vectorized, so you can press V on your keyboard. It'll give you back to the selection tool, click out of that, and then your images vectorized. 4. Step Two: Build Your Layout: We're going to start building our pattern and to do this, we are going to create a bounding box. That's going to be, if we press M on our keyboard, it's the shortcut for rectangle. Before I put this out though, I want to make sure that I know what color I want my background to be. I'm actually going to select a color by pressing this box right here. I'm going to select a blue color and say, "Okay". Now, I'm going to drag my rectangular square. You can choose whatever you'd like to create, and then I have that set. You can always change the color if you don't love that one, but you can always come back to it also. Right here, I need to know that these numbers are something that I can remember. They don't have to be exact, so if you do a rectangle, it could be 20 by 40 or really anything you want, but mine is close to 40 so I'm going to make it 40 by 40. You'll notice this little symbol. If I put 40 in right here and press tab over, it automatically changes this one. If you unlock this, it won't restrain those and then, you can make them exactly what you want them to be. I have my shape down. What I want to do, you have two ways of doing this. Let's say you have a bunch of objects that you don't have spaced out how you want them already. Now that you have the groups, you can select each object and press Command C to copy and then, Command V and then, drag it to where you want it, or what you can do is, if you have everything spaced out the way you want, you can select everything, clicking, dragging, and releasing. You'll see everything is selected, press Command C and then, Command V. Drag it over. It looks like this is a little larger than the board I created. If that's the case, you can always move some of those objects. Let's say I put it right here. Nothing's falling off except for those top two. What I'm going to do is just select those objects and move them, and then see how this one's falling off too actually. So we'll bring that in. Make sure nothing else is falling off. From here, I'm actually going to change the color of mine. You're going to select your bounding box and you want to lock it. You click your Layers panel, go to Layers, open this up, and then you will see all of these layers here of what you have created. You'll want to find your bounding box, which is that rectangle that you created. This can be easier said than done. Here we go. I'm going to lock it. Now, I'm going to come back to the board. I'm going to minimize that. Now, if you click it, it's not going to do anything. It won't move, it's stuck there. That's going to be helpful as you move objects around, or you might want to select a few things, move them around. That's going to make it that you don't select this background. Now, what you want to do is create the pattern itself. We are going to start taking additional fish or whatever you have, and we're going to bring it over. We're going to select one, copy, paste, drag it to where we want it. The key here is to notice that this is falling off and we want it to continue on to whatever this side is going to be so that it is repeating. What we're going to do is pretend that the right side here is attached to the side here, which it will be. To do this, we're going to keep this here. Once it's here, we're going to right-click, say, Transform and Move. Notice that it moved, but that's because this preset is in here for a position, but if that preview is off, then it's back to where we have it. Remember that my box, and this is depending on what you have it set as, but my box is 40 by 40. If I'm moving horizontally and I want to go to the right, I'm going to say 40. I don't want it to move at all vertically so I'm going to say zero. You can see that that's the angle that it's going to go and it's going to go horizontal 40 over. If you press "Preview", you can see exactly where it's going to end up. Don't say, "Okay", because that will move the object , say "Copy", and then, it duplicates the object, and now you have it as seamless pattern. If you were to stitch this side of the page to this side, this fish would show up once. Does that make sense? Let's do that again. I'm going to select another fish, copy and paste. I'm going to do it right here. Notice that it's not falling off the side here because I'm only wanting to focus on the top. I'm going to select it, right-click, Transform, Move. Horizontally, it's not going to move at all so I'm going to say zero. Vertically, I'm going to want it to go upward. If you were to say 40 or whatever the number is of your rectangle, it will move downward. So you say minus 40 and it will move upward. See if you press "Preview", there it is. I'm going to say "Copy" and you have your seamless fish right here. I'm going to put one right here. You also have to think about when you're placing these, you want it to make sense. Even though I might like it right here and it might come off of my paper or my page a little bit, my bounding box, you don't want it to be too close to this fish right here. Think about things like that when you are doing your composition. If I were to put it right here, a little bit more to the right and only a sliver showing, it'll make more sense, so it won't run into this guy. I'm going to right-click, Transform, Move. Since we're going vertically, nothing horizontal, zero, and then, vertically downward is 40., and that's where it's going to end up. Say "Copy" and there you have it. If this isn't falling off of anything, then you don't have to worry about moving it because it won't affect any other. You wouldn't want to move this on its own, you'd want to make sure that you move this one also. As you're arranging these and let's say you want to move it slightly, you can do that. Just make sure that if you select one object, go down, press "Shift", and then, it will select this object also, and then you see they are moving as a group. That way, you're not going to mess up that seamless transition. I'll probably move this guy down. That's not connected to anything so it's not going to matter. Let's say you want to turn something around, you can always do that by dragging and letting go like this. If you want it to be upside down, same thing like this. You can even go to the side and angle it differently. As you patch things together, you will see how you want to build them and it might change depending on where you are at. I want to put another one right here. I'm going to grab this red one, copy paste, bring it up right here. You'll see that there's this window right here for it. I don't want it to be down here because it's probably going to be too close to this one. I'll bring it up a little bit higher, then I'll probably put one right here. Bring it out a little more because I see that there is an area for it. Then, I'm going to right-click, Transform, Move and horizontal, move it over 40 and zero vertically. See the preview is right here. I can say copy and then it's seamless. I'll put one right here. I'll probably have that going the other direction. I'll find a fish that works and then, place it where I want it. I'm gong to stagger these a little bit because I don't want it to be like they're one on top of the other. Then, I'm going to right-click, transform, move. We're horizontal moving, so 40, zero vertically. That didn't work at all. You have a couple options when this happens, you can either stop and reposition it and then copy again, or you can go ahead and say "Copy", and then this one selected, come over here, say "Shift". You have both of those selected, and then you can move it where you want it to go. It'll actually probably work better. No, it's actually running into everything. Wait, right here will work, so we'll put it here. But then, you'll notice the more you get going, see it's a little bit cluttery because there's too much happening now, whereas this is more sparse area. I'm going to press Command Z, it's undo and then it's selected. Again, I'm going to say "Delete", and then I'm going to move one of these fish over and then put something that's more primarily on this side and peekaboos here. Let's do this one. Little bit smaller, place it right here. It just falls off only a little bit. I will select it, right-click, Transform, Move. Then, we'll go 40 horizontal, zero, vertically, Copy. You see now it works better, and we can move this back to where it was. Otherwise, I don't necessarily need to add anything right here if I don't want to, I can just move this fish really close to the edge so that it makes sense with everything else. I don't want any major gaps to be showing because I think that it just doesn't look right, which is the whole reason why we want to fill that area. I'm actually an add one more right here. When I feel pretty good about my layout, I am going to create the actual pattern. 5. Step Three: Sample Your Pattern and Save: Now we're going to test our repeating pattern, make sure that we like everything before we create our swatch. The first thing to do is to revisit our Layers tab and unlock that bounding box rectangle that we created at first, and then when you select the bounding box, you'll see that it does actually select it because it's not locked anymore. So we're going to press Command C or Control C on a PC and then instead of pressing Command V to paste, we're going to press Command B, which paste it in the background underneath everything that's on the board. Before we do anything else, we're going to come over here and select this square with the swatch through it, which means that it's just going to be a mask and then we are going to open our swatches. If you don't have your swatches icon over on the right side, you can go to Window and say Swatches and it will open up for you and from here we're going to press V, highlight everything. Drag and release and it highlights everything including the rectangles. Drag it over and release and you will see there is an extra box now in your swatches panel. I am going to zoom out and then we are going to create a large, you can do a square, a rectangle, doesn't matter, press "M" on your keyboard to do this and we're going to drag and release. To fill this now with our pattern, we're just going to click on the swatch and you have your repeating pattern. You can see exactly what that's going to look like as it repeats and repeats and repeats and if you are happy with it, I'm really happy with the way this worked out. So if you're happy with it, what you want to do is create this swatch. I'm going zoom in on this guy here and I'm actually going to put an art board underneath this. To do that, I'm going press Shift O and then I'm going to come over here, drag and release and now I have that art board and from here, I'm going to save it. You're going to File, Export. where is that? There we go. Export as and then I'm going say fish pattern, save it as a PNG and I'm going to my desktop to save it and then because I have a couple of different art boards here, I'm going say use art boards, range 2. That's just going to select only the swatch that I made for the pattern. I'm going say Export, resolution I'm going say high at 300 and then art optimize is what you're going to want that to be selected as and then, "Okay" and then it might take a second. Then you have your pattern ready to go. I'm going to open this up and there is my pattern. That is it, that is how you create your repeating pattern. 6. Project Time!: All right guys. That is it. Can you believe that is so fast. Be sure to make little marks. You can make notes in the video segments on the second marks, so that you can remember certain steps. It's a really easy way to go back and revisit certain steps that you might be forgetting in the process. I want to see your patterns. Upload your patterns. If you know how to make markups, then apply your patterns digitally to some products, so we can see what that looks like. The world is your oyster. All of your artwork can now be on all of the things, and it's really fun. Thank you guys for taking this class, and I can't wait to see what you come up with. All right. Bye.