Introduction to Designing Repeat Patterns in Illustrator | Elizabeth Olwen | Skillshare

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Introduction to Designing Repeat Patterns in Illustrator

teacher avatar Elizabeth Olwen, Surface Pattern Designer

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.



    • 3.

      Collect Inspiration


    • 4.

      Draw and Digitize


    • 5.

      Design the Pattern Block: Center


    • 6.

      Design the Pattern Block: Edges


    • 7.

      Design the Pattern Block: Color


    • 8.

      Color the Pattern


    • 9.

      Prepare Final Files


    • 10.

      Final Touches


    • 11.

      Explore Design on Skillshare


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About This Class

Want to design a repeat pattern? Join thousands of successful Skillshare students who have learned how to create a seamless repeat pattern illustration with popular surface designer Elizabeth Olwen!

This 50-minute class is broken out into inviting, step-by-step lessons that clearly explain how to transform visual inspiration into a seamless repeat pattern design for use in countless projects. You'll learn how to:

  • Collect theme and motif inspiration
  • Hand-draw and digitize your imagery
  • Design your core pattern block
  • Transform your pattern block into a seamless repeat
  • Add final touches like color and effects

While a basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator is useful, the instructions are clear enough that many students have jumped straight in! Plus, the class includes a number of resources, links, and downloads to support you as you create your own pattern.

This a perfect introductory class for every designer, illustrator, and crafter looking to expand their skills into pattern design. Once you have your pattern, consider using it as digital desktop wallpaper, the base for an iPhone case or printed fabric, or even as inspiration for stationery. The possibilities are endless!


What You'll Learn

  • Introduction. Growing up in a home decked out in 1970s patterns, Elizabeth Olwen learned not to take for granted the surface design that most fail to notice day to day. In her digital art tutorial, you’ll first learn what comprises a pattern “collection,” starting with the “hero pattern” and then looking at some “secondary” and “blender” prints.
  • Collect inspiration. You’ll see what Elizabeth looks to for inspiration. She’ll teach you that you can use a variety of materials and media to create a collection of references, and she’ll show you how to organize it.
  • Draw and digitize. You’ll turn a hand drawing into a digital drawing in this part of the lesson. Following Elizabeth’s lead, you’ll pick out doodles to include in your pattern, draw them using the brush tool on your iPad, and then import those drawings into Adobe Illustrator.
  • Design the pattern block: center. Elizabeth will take you through some of her own patterns to show you principles like balance, flow, composition, scale, texture, and variety. You’ll then apply those principles to your own pattern block in Illustrator, focusing on the center of the block and moving outward.
  • Design the pattern block: edges. There’s just one rule when designing the edges of your pattern block. Whatever’s on the top has to repeat on the bottom, and whatever’s on the left side has to appear on the right. You’ll learn how to make this happen in your pattern using Illustrator shortcuts.
  • Design the pattern block: color. When it come to pattern blocks, you don’t want to be able to see where one block ends and the other begins once you’ve put multiple blocks together. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to avoid seeing the block in your finished pattern using some expert-level tricks.
  • Color the pattern. While Elizabeth has a signature color palette she tends to use, you might want to explore a variety of colors for your 2D design. You’ll learn some techniques for finding color groupings that work together and what it means to pair colors that “vibrate.” You’ll also learn how to select all of the elements that share the same color in your Illustrator layout.
  • Prepare the final files. You’ll learn to prepare your files in such a way that makes them easily usable for yourself and clients. You’ll find out how to create merged layers to flatten your work and turn it from strokes into shapes. Using masks, you’ll turn your pattern block into an original layer, a merged layer, and a repeat layer, as having all three makes your design easier for potential clients to work with. Next, you’ll have to decide where your pattern will go. This may involve creating mockups of your print on certain items, which Elizabeth will suggest you can make using stock images.
  • Final touches. It’s almost time to get your drawing online! First, you’ll learn to supplement the pattern you’ve made with a whole collection of corresponding prints, focusing on “blended” prints that serve as glue for separate patterns in your collection.


Want more help with Adobe Illustrator? Check out Brad Woodard's Learn the Ins and Outs of Illustrator!

Want to develop your pattern even further? Check out more classes by Elizabeth Olwen!

Meet Your Teacher

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Elizabeth Olwen

Surface Pattern Designer


Elizabeth Olwen is a Canadian print and pattern designer living in Portugal. She prides herself on creating highly considered patterns and illustrations that are lovingly assembled, piece by piece, into something special. Inspired by the world around her—from the beautiful forests of Ontario, to the pastel colours and tiles of Lisbon, to her cherished and plentiful travels abroad, and her own journey of self exploration toward wholeheartedness—Elizabeth’s work is driven by the desire to leave something beautiful behind with every step she takes. You can find her work around the globe, on products from decor to paper to fabric to bedding for clients like Cloud9 Fabrics, Crate + Kids, Tokyu Hands Japan, Mixbook and many more. Follow along with her on Instagram.

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1. Preview: Hi I'm Elizabeth Olwen. I'm from Toronto Canada and I'm a surface pattern designer which basically means I create patterns for a living. I grew up in an apartment that was filled with patterns from the 1970s so everything was just like big bold print, and I had a real imprint on me growing up. So, I'm just super passionate about patterns I have been since as long as I can remember. In my Skillshare class, I'm going to teach you my design process from start to finish so we're going to start out with gathering inspiration, developing a mood board, drying and ultimately designing a repeat pattern in Illustrator. At the end of the class, you're going to end up with a pattern that you can use for any kind of product whether it's for yourself or professionally. You can send it out and get some tech cases printed or fabric or wallpaper and just see how that pattern can come to life in different formats. I'm really passionate about patterns, and I think they're kind of what make our world a more beautiful place. 2. Introduction: I'm from Toronto Canada and I'm a surface pattern designer, which basically means that I create pretty patterns for a living. So, I'm really passionate about patterns, so I'm really excited to have you here, so I can show you all how I do it. So, a bit about me before we move into the course content. I grew up in an apartment that was decorated in the '70s. So, there was all sorts of wild graphic prints around, it's like I have vivid memories of the orange floral drapes in my mom's kitchen, which matched our orange formica table, and all we had crazy tiles everywhere and it was just like a pattern filled world. At the time though, like in growing up I didn't even know you could do patterns for a living. I didn't know what a surface pattern design was. So, I went to school for Graphic Design, and then I worked in advertising and in design studios for over 10 years, and it was great, but it just felt like something was really missing. One thing I noticed is that I always loved integrating pattern into my graphic design work. So, I ended up taking a creative sabbatical and went to Berlin for three months, and the whole idea was that I would just get up every day and work on something creative, and figure out like is there something else that I might want to do with my life? So, I would get up every day in very little time, it just kind of I found myself getting up and working on patterns all the time. So, after three months, I came home with a big huge portfolio of patterns and I knew I just had to figure out how to make this happen. So, when I discovered that surface design was the thing like my head nearly exploded, I was just like I had no idea it's one of those things that people kind of take for granted because we interact with surface pattern all day, every day, and often don't even notice. When you get up in the morning, you're probably engaging with some kind of pattern you don't even like to take into consideration. Think about like your pajamas, or the tile flooring in your kitchen, or wallpaper, or the bedding that you sleep on, a surface pattern designer worked on that. So, in a pattern, I just would define as a series of elements and motifs within a given space that is repeated again and again and again for all of infinity, and patterns are often designed in collections, so I thought a good way to explain this cool idea of a collection would be to show you one of mine. So, one of my clients is Cloud Nine Fabrics, and so I designed fabric collections for them that are often for quilting or you can make anything if you're a seller with them. Usually you work in a collection, it has a few different kinds of patterns within a collection. Usually start with a hero pattern, is this kind of like your show stopper. It's kind of like, yeah, like the star of the show, I guess, you would say, and it's got lots of different things going on, and lots of colors, and it's pretty exciting to look at. Then, you would have other patterns that would help support that pattern. So, I am not detract from it, almost just yeah, support it almost like you're thinking of a cast in a movie or something. But, the first one is a showstopper, then you have your supporting actors. These will be supporting actress, or your secondary prints, and then ultimately you need some other ones to kind of help blend the whole thing together, and almost a little bit more like a background, so this would be considered, a third like a tertiary or a blender print. So, that's how a designer would work often in collections and stuff like that. So, a big warm welcome to my class. I'm really excited that you're here and so let's just dive into the class. First section is all about gathering inspiration and creating a mood board. 3. Collect Inspiration: Hi, and welcome back. The first course is all about gathering inspiration and then organizing it in a way that you can use as a tool to drive your work forward. So, why gather inspiration? It might kind of seem obvious, but I think it's just like is a great idea to surround yourself with things that inspire you. If you're always kind of being visually excited, you're probably just going to feel a little bit more excited. So, I'm just going to tell you a little bit about how I get inspired. Yeah, basically I do surround myself with different things. But I also keep my eyes open anytime I'm walking around in the city, down the street in another city, when I'm traveling and things like that, and I'm always taking pictures on my iPhone, because this is just like the best way to catalog things as far as I'm concerned. You see a nice leaf shape or an old couch with a great upholstery on it, just take a picture and then you have it and you can reference back to it. I keep everything in my iPhoto so that it's all catalogs. So, if I ever want to look at different leaf shapes I have a leaf shape folder or vintage fabric folder and different stuffs like that. So, iPhone's great for that. The other way a little more fashion is just to keep an own fashion sketchbook. So, keeping doodling ideas as you go and writing down like words of things that it might be triggers for you later, so I think that's a good idea. Like this page I wrote down a bunch of things like English gardens, Queen Victoria, different stuffs like that. So, just kind of record your ideas, doodle, take pictures, just always be kind of like open to all the inspiration that naturally surrounds you. In terms of going out and finding inspiration, for instance, this little guy, I love him, he just inspires me. I got a value village for a couple of bucks, but I just love the color, the shape is something that just really inspires me. This little can is the Paprika from Hungary. I just love this can, I keep it by my desk and I can always see it when I'm working and I do find it inspires me. I try to collect these old tins sometimes from the 50s. They have nice illustrations on them and this is like one of my absolute favorite, this little recipe book I got for $0.25 at a garage sale, and it's got these really great illustrations in the kind of title pages. So, yeah it's just great to have the stuff around. Look at this illustration style so great. So, I'd like to keep that around. So, yeah, and I have other book collection that I reference back to, one of them is folk dresses of Europe, which I look at all the time, and it's just got examples of traditional dress from different cultures, and they're just fine. I just think they are so fun and I just love opening this book and spending some time with it. Another book that I always reference is Stitchery and Crafts, this is all kind of embroidery and old fashioned like DIY techniques from the 70s, it's such a cool book. I just love it. So, yeah and I always open up this book and do some sketches. Another book that I love is this one and I have had this for years and I reference back to it all the time. It's just full of patterns from days gone by, but it's just got so many great patterns, and it can just kind of help you get out of your head for a minute, so, you can see something else and get inspired by that, and maybe integrate that inspiration into your own work. Another thing that I'd like to do is collect old wallpapers. So, this one I picked up in Berlin at a flea market and I love it, it's just like endlessly inspiring to me to look at this. Then the other place I look for inspiration is just online. I spend time on Pinterest and pinning things to my mood boards, I mean inspiration boards, and then always looking at the print and pattern blog. If you're interested in patterns which you are because you're here. It's just a blog all about beautiful patterns. So, I really recommend taking a look at that. Then once you're all, you've got all this inspiration around you, tons of it. Now, it can be really overwhelming sometimes, if you've been taking like tons of pictures on your phone, and you've got all these different things like, how do you hone in on an idea? Because it's easy to sit down and just get overwhelmed by all this stuff. So, I think it's great idea to create a mood board. So, here's an example of this is a kind of mood board that I do. You can do it any way you want, if you want cut and paste from magazines, or just any odd way that works for you, you can do it. But this is how I do it, and I'm providing this template as like a download that you guys can use if you want to just kind of dive into it. It just shows some of the different images that I'm going to be inspired by for this project and this class. So, this is the flower. I took this picture of flower down the street. This is one of my doodles. This is the sheet that I saw at Valley Village, I just liked the shape and the color. Yeah, bunch of other images I found online. So, it's great to kind of put it all in one place, start adding words like keywords, like kind of set an idea in motion for you. Then I usually come up with a title for it, just kind of wraps it all up and then it gives you a clear direction so you can move down a path using that inspiration, and kind of hone in on it, and sort of kind of feeling a little lost and floaty about it. So, it just gives you a clear direction. So, that's how I got my inspiration. I find mood board has been really helpful tool in moving forward with an idea. I really encourage you guys to share your mood boards with the class, and I'll take a look, and I'm excited to see them. Yeah, we can use them in the next section, which is all about drawing and sketching. 4. Draw and Digitize: Hi, welcome back. In this unit, we're going to start drawing which is one of my favorite things to do. So, yeah, I tried to draw as much as possible, but I find the time when I feel most free is usually at night when the pressures of the day are behind me. It's great idea to keep your mood board by your side the whole time If you're working towards a specific pattern. So, keep it by your side and just check in with it once in a while as you go to see if your style and your theme is developing alongside that. So, yeah, whenever I draw, I just like I really do try to just be really free about it and try different techniques I might not have considered before. So, and then as I drive, I might start to notice certain themes are developing in terms of style. So, I may notice if I'm going through my drawings that I'm using a lot of different treatments like look for certain textures that you're starting to integrate into your work or different, like a line qualities, maybe it's a really heavy line are really organic line or a really sharp line just start to notice themes in your drawing style because often the best thing that whenever you're working on a pattern is of all the elements have a really cohesive style and they are just naturally match up with each other. So, going through these drawings and using my mood board to check in. My mood board, I really had a lot of these, it's like really wide fat floors, and it's really digging that, so really organic shapes. So, in these drawings that I was doing with that mood board in mind, they're really like, or be really melty fine organic shapes, and they're definitely not rigid, they're just really free and fun. So, yeah, I would notice that that's a theme that's developing in terms of style, but here, I'm noticing that there's some little dot treatments and some little dot treatments around different one. So, that would be a nice little element to bring into your pattern, that might be a nice little stylish element to look for. Then, in terms of why you're actually drawing for me, I just generally sit down and I will start working on motifs, and I would assemble those in Illustrator whenever I've moved on to the next step. I'm just at this point trying to develop a bunch of motifs that have a similar cohesive look to them that I can import and then I arrange elsewhere. Have a lot of fun with this process, this is a really important process in terms of developing your personal style, you always want to make sure that you're really honing in on what your personal style is, is really important, and it's the one thing that will make your work stand apart from all the other people's work. So, the next step for this after you've chosen a bunch of doodles that you like, and you think they meet your theme really well, you're going to want to take those drawings and move to the next step, which is all a bit digitizing. The way that I like to do this is I like to take a photo and move it onto my iPad, so I can directly trace over my drawing, so it maintains all the same qualities of my lines. So, what I would do, I will be, get out my phone. I find a drawing that I really like, and I'm like yes, this is totally in line with the theme that I've developed, and I want to take this further. So, I'm going to get my phone out and I'm just going to snap a picture of it. Then, I'm going to email a picture to myself or if you can post it to Dropbox or something, whatever method works for you, you can do. I just generally email it to myself. Okay, so I've emailed the pictures to myself, just going to move on to my iPad. You're going to go into your email and download the image, save it to your camera roll. Then, if you go back out to the app, go into Inkpad, create a new document. Go to your camera roll, and your photograph is there to be accessed. So, now you're just going to want to start drawing and retracing everything. Inkpad is a lot Illustrator, so that's another reason why I like it. So, all the palettes and everything are pretty similar to Illustrator. So, I usually use my brush, I'm pretty comfortable with the brush tool. You just going to go over all of your lines and trace them. They don't have to be exactly perfect, they just have to capture the essence of your drawing. You can use the brush tool and you may need to clean it up a bit, or you can use the pen tool, which is just a little bit more accurate depending on what you're drawing. So, now you've got all of your drawings done, you're ready to use them in Illustrator. So, we just have to export them and print them in Illustrator. The great thing that I love, one of the best things about Inkpad that I love is that you can maintain all of the vector qualities of the drawings. So, a lot of the apps that I've seen, they just flatten everything and export a JPEG, so they're useless to you, but Inkpad is amazing because it maintains all those vector quality, so you can take them, import them right into Illustrator and change all of the nodes and edit it in any way you like. It's just really maintains all the flexibility of your artwork. It's actually changed the way that I work because I can sit on my iPad and sit on the couch and be really productive and then all my vector artworks are already done, so whenever I hop in to my computer, the process is just that much faster. So, you've got all your drawings done, you're going to export it as a PDF, and you can either upload that image to a Dropbox folder, or you can just email it to yourself, whatever you prefer. So, that's just the way I do it, but there are other ways to do it. So, you can take a phone or a picture on your phone and send it to yourself and just go directly onto the computer, that works too. I have a tablet, sometimes I'll do it that way and I'll just trace it directly in Illustrator using my tablet. The one thing I'm encouraging not to do is import it into Illustrator and then use live trace. I've got strong feelings about live trace because I think it's kind of ends up creating a whole lot more work for you, and often doesn't do the best job of interpreting your shapes, so I think it's really important to take the essence of your drawings, and it has a beautiful flowy line, redraw it with your hand, I think that stuff really comes through in your artwork, because live trace that kind of just approximates everything, and it's not going to be perfect, and you're going to spend a lot of time cleaning it up, so I would just encourage you to just redraw it, retrace it from your drawing, and move on from there. So, yeah, now that we've got everything onto our computer, we're digitizing our artwork, the next step would be to start actually working on your pattern. So, I'll see you in the next unit. 5. Design the Pattern Block: Center: Hi. This is probably the section with the most fun in it, if you ask me. So, this is where we actually start designing your pattern, which is the whole point of this class. So, I thought a good way to start designing a pattern is actually take a look at some examples, so you have some idea of what you want to look out for whenever you're designing your own. So, I'm going to take you through some of my samples here. This one here is actually went to my patterns, but this, I think, is a good example of balance in a pattern. Basically, if you look all around the page, it's kind of everything evenly spread out, it's got a nice light everything is playing off each other really nicely. It has just like a nice balance. You're not attracted to this one area and nothing else. Your eye moves around the page, around the pattern and it's just generally pleasing to the eye. So, that's something you want to look out for, is balance in your pattern. Another thing you want to look out for is flow. So, that's the thing that's going to invite your eye around to play around in the patterns. This one I think has a great flow to it. It's just got elegance, nice swaying movement to it and it's also really pleasing to the eye. So, that's one thing to think about integrating flow and placing elements so that they have a nice flow, they follow each other and stuff like that. This one, I think this is a great example of composition. So, it's got less negative spaces in it. A lot of my patterns tend to be quite dense but this one's got a lot of negative space. It's basically like the layout for your pattern, you can do it a whole bunch of different ways. This one's got lots of open spaces because that might be something that you want to consider, worth integrating into your work. This one is a great example of scale. So, if you look at this pattern, they've got these big giant flowers and then they've got these other smaller elements. So, it basically, it guides your eye and tells you "Hey look at me, I'm really big." But these other ones, they help support the hero of the pattern. So, it's great to have a good variety of size in your patterns. It's just look just pleasing to the eye and tells you with a look at. This one is a great example of integrating texture into your work. So, I do a lot of flat color but you could make your own pattern using something a lot more textural and it really invites you to take a closer look at everything. You can see once you get in there, you're going to see these little things that you couldn't have seen so far away. So that's a nice feature. Finally, this one shows an example of what a good variety is. So, I love interbreeding lots of different kinds of shapes into my pattern, so it's not just one element repeated again and again. If you have a variety of things going on, it's just that much more engaging for somebody to look at it. So you've got like these little tiny flowers and big flowers, all sorts of different leaf shapes. It's so entertaining to look at it and you can spend some time with it and get these little little words for taking the time. So now we've talk about those things and you have those things in mind. We're going to start working on our own patterns. So, in our last class, we exported our artwork from InkPad or started drawing our drawings into Illustrator. The next thing you're going to want to do is just bring all of your drawings into one document in Illustrator, so that you have everything right in front of you and accessible. So, we're going to create a new document. We're just going to size it for now. We are just going to size it at 1,000 pixels by 1,000 pixels. You can size it at anything like I generally start with a square shape but 1,000 by 1,000 just make it simple for all of us to be on the same page. So start a new document,1,000 by 1,000 and CMYK. Then you're going to start adding your drawings. Just put them onto the pasteboard for now, don't worry about any placement or anything, you're just putting them in just to have them in front of you right there. So, we're going to start by colorizing everything. Make sure everything is in the same color palette. It doesn't have to be the one thing you're going to use. I actually really don't focus on color at all at this point but you just want to get a general idea of what things are going to look like. So, color it but don't do anything too fancy, just get it all working together. Like say you're an Illustrator or an InkPad. You had one thing that was yellow and one thing that was navy and those aren't necessarily your colors just bring them altogether so they're in a cohesive palette but don't focus too much. Okay. So, I started colorizing all of my elements. Again, you don't have to worry too much about palette but just get them looking, so that they fit together in terms of palette. So just, yes, start coloring things, changing little things, maybe change these little flowers to be consistent with these pink ones or whatever. Stuff like that. Just, we're colorizing it. Then we're going to start actually working on our master square or a pattern block. I might use those phrase and interchange them a little bit as I go through. But basically, that's where the art board, where you're actually doing your design. So, you're going to just start. I usually just dive right in and just start pulling some of the elements off of my piece board, maybe choose the one that just happens to be attracting me the most at that moment. Just start pulling it in. So, you've go from a blank piece board, maybe you pull this little alamein in here and leave another one in here. I usually just go by what fits together nicely. Just let your eyes guide you. So, that little flower just fits really nicely into that little neck, so I'm going to leave it there. Just continue to keep bringing your elements into the page where they seem to fit best. Again, if you need to rotate things or scale things, that's a great thing to do, maybe once you get them all together on the page, you'll realize this one element should be much smaller in comparison to all the other ones. So, just keep resizing it and working on scale, thinking about your balance and your variety and your flow as you go. Maybe you want to really open pattern with like lots of open negative spaces or you want something really dense. So, you're really going to start adding things and really in a close knit kind of way and just continue pulling these pieces of the puzzle into their areas. If the color is bothering you and distracting you, you might want to start changing things up a little bit. I'll start maybe with the certain ones just one providing any contrasts or something like that. So, you can start colorizing them and stuff but don't focus too much on the color. Just try and focus only the bones of the pattern at this point in time. All right. Our pattern block is starting to fill up really nicely at this point. I've changed a few of the colors so that there is a nice play and a bit of a nice flow and it'll start to guide your eyes. So, in this example, there's a really nice blue color here and then it's picked up again here and picked up again here and ultimately when it's repeated, it's going to be here and it'll just give this nice flow to your pattern. So, yeah, just keep moving things, keeping those principles in mind. Things are looking pretty good, I'm getting pretty happy with things where they're placed and yes, looking good. Okay. The whole goal of what we're doing right now is just we're focusing just on the center. Don't worry too much about the edges. If you have something that overlaps the edge, that's fine for now. But really just focus on the center and move upwards and fill the actual art word space. There is another step in the process where we're going to actually work on developing the edges but for now, just work on the center. Again, I'm just changing little colors around as I need it and my patterns are generally quite dense. So, I'm going to start dragging a little, I'm going to try and keep filling up the space with different elements as I go. So, maybe I'll put that little green flower there and it's looking a little empty beside. So, I'm going to do another one, I'll have another one in there and just keep filling out the space as you go. Okay. So, all of your pieces are in place and you're starting of your pattern block. So, you just want to check in with yourself and see if you're thinking of the things we started talking about at the beginning of this video. So, things like balance, scale, variety, adding detailer texture, all of those different things and see if you're pleased and see you've like checked those boxes. Then if you're ready, we're going to move into the next unit which is about actually working on the borders. Those are ultimately the elements that will create the repeat. 6. Design the Pattern Block: Edges: Okay. So, we've got our patterned block it's looking really good, but now we need to work on the edges of the patterned block. Those are actually the elements that are going to create the repeat so just always remember whatever is on the left side must also exist on the right side, and whatever is on the top border must also exist on the bottom border in the exact same position. So, if you look at your pattern, maybe you have a few things overlapping right now, overlapping the border right now, that's totally fine. If not, just start adding elements to the outside edge. Maybe we're going to start with the left side. So, let's fill up that little space right there and there's a little bit of a gap we can pull that little green guy over there so it's overlapping in the border, and there's a little gap here to maybe we'll add another leaf in there. So, it's overlapping the border. Once you're feeling pretty good about that, you're going to want to copy those elements and duplicate them. So first, we're going to do this. Select out any element that is overlapping the left border. You going to copy and paste it in the exact same place and you're going to group it. Now, and you are using your x, y coordinates, you're going to go up here and you're simply going to add plus 1,000, and that's going to pop all of those elements over onto the opposite edge, so that whenever you repeat everything's in the exact same spot moving along. So, you may notice that things are starting to compete with each other, maybe the thing is the placement wasn't exactly right in the original pattern block, so you can just go through and start editing that. I'm just going to make that little green flower a little bit smaller. Turns out I don't need these leaves in here because we've already got stuff in that space. So that's fine. You just go through and see if everything's working and just start massaging everything into place. So, we've got the left and right sides done that's great. Now, let's go for the top edge. So select, just select everything that's along the top edge, I'm going to copy it and I'm going to paste it in place, we're going to group it and then we're going to go to x, y coordinates here and add plus 1,000 to y coordinates. Now, it's going to pop it down to the bottom. Now, you can see, take another look there, or is everything meshing really well or things competing? If they are not, you can just adjust things from there. So, the most important lesson is that if something exists on the left side, it's got to be on the right. If it's on the top, it's got to be on bottom. So, I just spent some time perfecting that. I had eliminated those, right now don't need them. So yeah, it's looking pretty good. Maybe just go in here, delete this, that's competing a little bit so we're going to delete that and so on. So yeah, basically, you're just going to want to look and see if everything is playing nicely, making sure nothing's interfering or distracting or anything like that, and once you're in good shape, we're going to move on to the next step which is all about testing out the repeat and seeing if it's working and possibly making adjustments from there. Okay. So we're all set. In the next unit, we're going to talk about testing out your pattern and seeing how well its working. 7. Design the Pattern Block: Color: So, in the last video, we worked on adding elements to our borders which are the elements that are going to repeat again and again. So, we're just going to test it out and make sure it's working okay. So, the next step would be, to make a square directly on top of your art board that's exactly the same size. So, we're going to go 1,000 pixels by 1,000 pixels. You're going to make sure it's in the exact like zero, zero xy coordinate is the perfect place above your art board. It doesn't matter what color it is, just draw a box, select all, and create a mask. So, this gives you an idea of what it looks like with all the things hidden off all the different edges. This is what your pattern what going to look like because in the end, we're not going to have all these little things around the extra border. So, this is essentially the beginnings of your pattern block here. So, all we're going to do to test it out, is we're just going to duplicate it three times to the right. Then, we're going to copy all that, we're going to duplicate it three times to the bottom. It doesn't have to be perfect at this point, we're just getting an idea of flow and it'll give you a sense of where issues are with the pattern. So, immediately, whenever you look at this pattern, you're like, "Okay. I see exactly where I need to do my work here, where my borders are, I haven't totally, like there's not a real good flow, and you can tell where the pattern block begins and ends," you don't wanna do that. So, where you're going to want to do is only ever edit your original pattern block and not any of these ones that were duplicated, just get rid of those. It is a good idea to iOS sometimes will just grab a tool in Illustrator like a little circle tool or something like that and just make note of for myself. I'll just draw a big box around the areas that I thought were problems for me, so that area was a bit of a problem. That area is a bigger problem for me. So, delete all the extras and then let's dive back in. So, you're going to take that, you're going to release your layer mask, can go in here, and then you're going to do whatever it takes to get that, the flow working a little bit better. I think part of the problem for me was these little dots, so let's get rid of those and maybe add some flowers instead. The more elements that you have overlapping the borders, the more seamless is going to look. So, you want a lot of things going from the top of the pattern block to the unit above it. So, we're going to add, just keep adding little things on here to help with the flow. Then, whatever you add just always remember if you added a flower there, you can paste it in place and then go with your xy coordinates and minus 1,000. So, it's duplicated in the exact same place on the other side. Okay. So, I've moved some things around and I'm thinking things are going to be fitting a little bit more comfortably now, so I'm going to test it out again. Same as last time, 1,000 by 1,000, directly on top of your art board, and create a layer mask. Now, we're just going to duplicate, duplicate, duplicate, and then repeat it, down. So, that's looking a lot better actually, but you can still see that there's a bit of an issue with all of these pink flowers. So, your eyes being drawn there, not for a good reason. You can see that there's something conflicting, so you're going to want to just draw a little square there and then again, you're going to delete all of the extras, and just focus on the master square, this pattern block that you develop, the core one. Don't make any tweaks in the other ones. Okay. So, I've added a bunch of different elements into the mix to hopefully break up file like place where my eye was getting caught up. So, once again, create a box directly on top, you're going to layer mask, and then you're going to duplicate it to test it out. Okay. So, we're pretty happy with our patterns, got a nice flow, a nice balance. There's lots of variety, so it's really interesting to look at it, kind of invites you in. So, I think we're done with the design phase of it. So, up to this point, we've been talking about shape, and form, and stuff like that, and composition, but in the next chapter, we're going to do another really fun part of the process, which is talking all about color. So, I'll see you there. 8. Color the Pattern: Okay. So, we've got our final pattern done. We're really happy with it and now we get to work on the color, which is another great aspect of this whole thing. So, I thought maybe I would show you the kind of colors that I work with. I have like my, like a signature palette that I generally work in and it's usually quite soft and almost like pastelly. So, I thought I'd just give you an idea of some of the different things. I like a lot of the warm grays, peaches, mints, and gold, and stuff like that. So, that's a good example. All of my patterns generally have a certain palette and it's almost become, already is, it's part of my work and what helps identify it. Here's some fabrics that I've done, they're all like minty. I love mustard. Can't get enough of mustard, and teal, and warm grey. So, color to me should just be pretty instinctual. I'm sure you can apply lots of different theories to it and stuff but for me, it's just a feeling. So, I really just try to rely on my instincts. Sometimes, it's hard to just start picking colors out of the air. So, you can use other tools available too. Like cooler, which will help you, it'll help you. Here's the color palette, now just try your pattern now in that color palette or sometimes if I'm stuck, I'll just go on Pinterest and I have a color board that I save interesting color combinations too. If you need to reference something, that's great. But for me, I just like to do it instinctually. So, I'm just going on and dive in and start working with my colors. Another reason that we leave color to this point is because a lot of designers will create their pattern in multiple color ways. So, I think it's a process that should come later because every pattern you do, you could provide it in three different color ways. So, you should really focus on the structure and then move into the color like we're doing. So, I'm just going to start playing. So, this color you know it, I'm just going to try out another one. It's just good to just play around and see, like maybe some of the colors, maybe you're already pretty happy with it but just keep moving things around and just testing them out in slightly different palettes. Great way to do this, like to easily do this, is to go to Use, so select an object, so you would say you want to change all of your peaches. You go Select, Same, Fill Color, and I'll select everything in your layout that's got the same color, so you just have to do it once. So, maybe I'll add a little add a bit of paint that, I'm not totally happy with that. Now, I got this minty color, it's a little bit too close to the greens, I'm going to want to differentiate that or make it the same. Got to be enough of the difference to make it worthwhile. Yeah. I'm digging that as a darker green, I'm going to take those strokes maybe, and maybe I'm making this a little bit darker. Something like that. You just start moving around. Again, I find it to be a really organic process. So, just have some fun with it. Maybe you want to try putting a different color background to it. See what that looks like. Color can completely change the way things look. But that just totally changes and wow, that already looks like really interesting. Yeah, it just changes it so much. We're going to try changing that to white. That's interesting. What else? Maybe these greens. You've got to look out for colors that vibrate against each other. Colors like red and green always really vibrate. It's not very easy on the eyes. So, always keep an eye over that. That's nice. Okay. So, now, I've arrived at a color palette that I'm really happy with, it's got that feeling that I love, it's got my kind of signature look to it. I ended up going with a darker background because it really just help all of the colors pop. So, I'm feeling really good about this. If you wanted, you could take this further and explore it. Even in more different color ways and just test it out and see what appeals to you most. It is a good idea to have in the end, maybe six to eight colors in a pattern like this, if you really want it to be engaging, show stopper kind of pattern. So, I think we've probably got it around there. Maybe six colors or so going on. So, you're definitely going to want to stay within a CMYK palette. Because most of the things that we're working on are eventually going to be maybe put on a product or be seen in print versus being seen on screen. So, stick with a CMYK palette, unless you've been told otherwise. Maybe, if you're working with a client, maybe they'll specify pantone colors that you have to choose. But for most of our purposes, we're just going to want to CMYK. So, I'm really happy with it. Essentially, this is the completion of my pattern. There are some further steps to finalizing your pattern. It's more like a production angle to make your files really nice and ready to send out to a supplier, or to a client, or something like that. So, we're done with color. Let's move on to the production stage. 9. Prepare Final Files: Okay, so we have completed the design aspects of our pattern repeat, which is great. So, now, we just have to do a few extra little things to the files to make them really usable. If you're working professionally, definitely you going to want to prepare your files this way for clients. If you're just doing it for yourself, it's a great thing to learn and so, that you can use them for whatever project you want to use them for to. So, first, you're going to want to go to your Lakers Palette. One very important thing is, whenever you're in this phase, it's really important to remember to always preserve your original artwork. So, you're going to hold on to that original and never let it go. It's really important because I guarantee you if you do not, you're going to end up needing it some day and wish that you had saved it separately. So, all we're going to do is, we're just going to create a special layer for that. We're going to take that layer and call it original. So, we've got our original. Now we're going to take that. We're just going to duplicate it. Now, you can do anything with this extra layer. You can do anything you want, but you know you always have a safe copy of your original artwork. So, we're going to call this layer, merged. So, in the merged layer, basically, what we're doing is flattening all of our artworks. So, instead of it being like these like strokes, maybe you had a bunch of strokes in your artwork, we're going to flatten everything to create shapes out of everything. So, we're going go to our Merged palette, and then we're going to go to Objects, Path and Outline Strokes. Basically, just want to expand all of your artwork. As an extra measure, I usually go Object, Expand appearance. So, if along the way you're adding any special effects or anything like that, that's going to expand them and create, instead of it being an effect, it's just going to be part of the artwork now. So, you've got everything expanded. If you were to go into your original art and look at it in an outline mode, you can see that everything's just a stroke. But if you go into your Merged, you can see everything has now been converted to a shape. So, that's what you're looking for. So, now that we've got that done, we're going to do a little production process here. So, first thing, release your layer mask. Wherever your mask was, you're going to grab that and then you're going to turn it into some random color. It doesn't matter. The only consideration is, do not make it a color that already exists in your artwork. It just has to be some random different color not being used in the art. So, you're going to change that box, the mask to a color. Next step, you're going to draw a big giant box around everything, change it to another color and send it to the back. So, next step, we're going to take the back box and the front box. We're going to find our Pathfinder's menu, and then we're just simply going to click on the Minus Front button. So, essentially, you're creating like almost a frame or a mat for your artwork. So, it hides all of these stuff, all of the artwork that exists outside of the space, and essentially, we're just going to get rid of all that. So, next step, select all. Go back to your Pathfinder's menu and select Merge. So, if you were to go in outline mode now, you can see that everything outside of that pattern block is actually been removed. Just do a direct select tool. Direct select. Select that big box and delete it, and there you go. You've got your pattern block. So, we're going to take that artwork, that pattern block and we're going to drag it into our swatches palette. So, that basically makes it into any other color swatch. You can use it in a circle, or, it's just infinitely repeating. So, this one, that's the way you're going to want to use your pattern for the most part as a swatch. So, we're going to create another layer. We're going to call it Repeat. We're just going to drive big all box, go up to our color palette and select it. You can see, there's our final pattern and it's in a such a flexible format. Now, you can draw any shape like a circle. There you go. It shows up in a circle, that's nice, or use your brush tool and do a funky shape. You can change that. So, it's just like a really easy way to use your pattern. So, basically, if you go back to your layers, in the end, you're going to have an original layer, a merged layer and a repeat layer. This is a great way to send files out to a supplier or a client to-. They're really flexible for them to use. They have everything. If they ever want to go back into your original artwork and extract, like say, little flower to put on, you would use as a spot graphic or something like that. It's really easy for them to go back into your original artwork. Then, in the merged pallets, it's really easy for them to just dive in and change some color that they want to, and then the repeat is just like the super flexible usable file. So, that's the way you would want to send your files off to a client. So, you've finished your first pattern. Yeah, it's all done. You're really happy with it. It's really interesting and engaging. It's got a great balance and flow. But now our the next step would naturally be to think about where we'd go, or what you would do with it, like whether you're doing it for fun or professionally, you probably want to see how it might actually look on a product. Maybe you just want to see what it looks like on as bedding or something, or as an iPhone cover or something. So, I really recommend working on some mockups. So, it helps you visualize what it can look like, and if you're working with clients, it really helps them visualize too. So, what I usually do is, I do a whole bunch of Photoshop mockups. So, this is an example of something I put together over a year. It's called my Look Book. It's basically a whole bunch of just stock images that I found and purchased and they were overlay my patterns onto them. So, it's pretty easy to do in Photoshop if you know Photoshop. But, yeah, it just gives people a good idea of what your patterns could look like on products. It also helps if you wanted to go out to something like society sticks or Spoonflower and get some fabrics printed, you can get an idea as to whether you'd want to invest in it. It's just a really good idea to see how it could work. So, your patterns all done. I really hope you guys will share all of the work you've created during the class, I'd love to see it. In our final section, we're just going to touch a little bit on working with collections and developing some coordinating patterns that could go with the pattern that you've just created. 10. Final Touches: So, we've completed our pattern and we've done all of our production. Now, I thought I would show you just a little bit more about developing a collection around that pattern. At the beginning, I walked through what a Showstopper print would be and a secondary and a blender print. I thought maybe now that you got your head in the pattern game, it might be helpful to see how you might develop a collection around what you've designed. So, if you will get this collection, you can see that this first pattern here was developed as kind of a hero pattern. It's got a lot of color going on, it's got a lot of variety, it's got a great flow, put some real love in to that pattern. So, I would call that the showstopper pattern under this collection. Next to that, you'll see a secondary pattern, it's got fewer elements going on, a slightly more simplified palette and yeah, just helps it. It would still stand on its own and do a good job of that but it really does come second to that hero pattern. Next to that, is another secondary pattern and these and fewer elements, it's still beautiful on its own, but it really does help just to be a backup to that first pattern. Along the bottom, you can see, these are all blender prints. So, there's even fewer elements involved and a much more reduced color palette. In this one in the middle, you can see that it's really just two elements repeated again and again. So, in this third one, is almost just like a poker dye. The whole point of the blender print is to just provide a little bit of a glue. It helps with cohesion and bringing the whole collection together and it's really nice if we have the flexibility to mix and match between patterns in a collection. I was just going to show you one more example. This is another example of a hero print, a secondary print which has this just like a little slightly more minimal and then the blender prints are on the bottom which just helps support these guys. So, hopefully, if you're feeling ambitious, you can create some collections of your own. If you do, I really hope you'll share it in the class as well along with the original pattern that you created. I'll be popping in once in a while and take a look at what you guys are working on. So, that brings us to the end of our class, I hope you enjoyed it and I really do hope that you'll share your projects online, so I can take a look and see what you guys all came up with. If I were to leave you with some final words I would just say, "I think practice makes perfect." So, the first couple of times you do, this is probably going to feel pretty awkward and like counter-intuitive and stuff but the more you do it the easier it gets and eventually it's just totally second nature to you. So, just practice, practice, practice. You can also start adding more levels of complexity once you really have a solid grasp on the process. Finally, the thing that I really feel most strongly about is that, you should just put some real love into repeats. I think that really shows whenever you go in there and assemble things with care and share your joy, if you're feeling excited, that'll come across in your pattern. So, I just really encourage you to pull out some love to it. Yeah. So, that's the end of our class. Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you guys have fun patterning. 11. Explore Design on Skillshare: way.