Pattern Illustration: Design and Illustrate a Repeat Pattern in Adobe Photoshop | Emily Cromwell | Skillshare

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Pattern Illustration: Design and Illustrate a Repeat Pattern in Adobe Photoshop

teacher avatar Emily Cromwell, Illustrator + Surface 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.

      Gathering Inspiration


    • 3.

      Drawing Your Pattern Elements


    • 4.

      Transferring Your Work Onto The Computer


    • 5.

      Painting Digitally


    • 6.

      Bringing Your Pattern To Life


    • 7.

      What You Can Do With Your Pattern


    • 8.

      Final Words


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About This Class

Join Emily Cromwell and discover how she brings her happy, colorful, and whimsical patterns to life in Photoshop, and learn her process as she helps you do the same!

In this class, you will learn her step by step process for turning hand drawn sketches into upbeat and colorful repeating patterns. You will also learn about popular trends in the surface pattern design industry, what brushes she uses to digitally paint the elements that make up her patterns, and what you can do with your pattern when you are all done creating it. This class is perfect for illustrators and artists, both beginner and experienced, as well as everyone who has a general interest in creating beautiful artwork! Basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop is recommended.

By the end of this class, you will be a pattern making machine!


Patterns are literally almost everywhere you look. They are on products in virtually every store. Companies are always looking for new and fresh artwork for their products. Who wouldn't love to see their pattern design sold on products across the world?! I'm here to teach you how to paint digitally in Adobe Photoshop. I'll teach you how to paint with brushes in Photoshop, how to set up your document for the best pattern results, and how to assemble your entire pattern from start to finish.

This course is designed for both beginners and those who are already experienced with pattern making. It is also designed to give you the skills and knowledge needed to create a beautiful seamless repeating pattern in Photoshop.



Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Cromwell

Illustrator + Surface Designer


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1. Introduction : there. I'm Emily, and I'm in L A suitor. Any surface designer Thank you so much for joining me in this class, I create happy, colorful and whimsical illustrations and pattern designs. I create them all with the intention of making people smile, because who doesn't love to smile in this class, I will be show you how to create a repeat pattern in photo shop in your own unique style. And I will start walking you through my entire process from start to finish, leaving nothing out. And we will discuss initial ideas. Popular trends in the surfaces on industry, having illustrate elements or motifs for your pattern design, you know, also walk you through the whole entire process of creating a repeating pattern in Adobe Photoshopped. And when we're all done, I will give you some ideas of places to print your pattern. When it's all said and done, such as on fabric, which is really exciting, it's always fun to see you design on a finished product. And I am so very, very excited to have you in this class. And thank you so much for joining me so much. And I 2. Gathering Inspiration: so think about what excites you or makes you happy when you walk into a store. What designs are you drawn to? Traditional and primitive looking designs? Or perhaps like me? You're drawn to colorful and whimsical designs to give you some ideas. Some of the most popular themes and the surface design industry. Our holidays such as Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter Kid prints such as animals, hobbies such as dancing or sports, an interest such as outer space or fairy tales and some other popular themes are kitchen related patterns. Ocean patterns in Paris always seems to be a big one as well. I decided on creating a butterfly and floral pattern geared towards the Children's market. So I went ahead and made a Pinterest board devoted to this particular pattern, and I just called it Butterflies and florals. Find pictures for this Pinterest board. I am first going to search for flower photography, and then I'm going to search for butterfly photography. When you do this, make sure to pin any photos that immediately cut your I. I'm particularly drawn to colorful and unique looking thinks so. I'm drawn to all sorts of like pretty like bright colors And, um, like some of these really colorful pretty flowers with unique pedals. Um, so those are the types of things that I would add to my board, and you just want to keep looking until you find a good amount of stuff just to create, like, a little mood board for reference. And once you have a good amount of photos gathered onto your Pinterest board, make sure to go in and notice any similarities between the photos that you're pinning, such as color style shape. Basically anything that seems similar because that is showing you what you're drawn to, whether you're aware of it or not, and you want to make sure and go off of that and use those particular photos as your inspiration and always remember to just create what makes you happy. And that will, without a doubt, definitely show through in all of your artwork. 3. Drawing Your Pattern Elements: materials. This consists of my Micron Artist pen, which has a really nice small tip that is really, really great for detailed line work. I also use a Tambo brush pen. It is used for both in lines as well as thick lines, and as you press down on it, it transitions into a thicker line. And that makes it especially nice for lettering. When I choose to sketch out my ideas and pencil first, I always have this block eraser on hand, and I love it because it's really, really smooth and it never smudges, and it just cleans everything away perfectly, which is always correct. I'm going to start off by drawing the floral elements first. Always remember to embrace your unique artistic style and draw the way that you love to draw, whether you like to draw realistically or whimsically or any other way, any option is great and always draw in the style that makes you the happiest and comfortable. And after all, that's the only way to really be able to discover your personal style is just by drawing something the way you see it, not necessarily the way everyone else sees it as you're drawing you're pattern elements. Make sure to play around with in lines that Glines maybe add some decorative lines or unique markings. Just play around with anything because you never know what you could come up and always remember that your sketches, they don't have to be perfect. Since you're just going to be drawing them digitally, they're just going to be a reference for you, so you can always correct anything you don't like once you get your sketches onto the computer. 4. Transferring Your Work Onto The Computer: Theo, your work saved to the computer. You'll want to open photo shop and create a blank document. I always create all of my patterns at 2000 by 2000 pixels, so create a new document sized at that, and then open up the file section on your computer and click and dragon your sketch file. Resize it by holding down shift to keep the size proportions in place and fill the page and just press enter. I like to adjust capacity by bringing it way down so that the black lines of my original sketch don't become too distracting as I start to create my pattern to keep things organized. It's a good idea to just label your layers to keep things easy to find as you start to create more and more layers as you're working on your pattern. Because trust me, they add up. So go ahead and label this layer as sketches 5. Painting Digitally: All right, so now it's time for the fun part. Bringing your scotches to life with color. I always like to create a little color palette before I start painting, just so I have a general idea of the colors I'm going to use and to see a had a time how they're going to look together. I already have a few colors that I picked out. So what I like to do is just using the paint brush tool. I create a new layer and I label it color, and I just paint a little blob of each color that I'm going to use onto the document, so it's just easily accessible. So when you have that done, it will be time to start painting, and I use Kyle Webster's mega Brush pack, and I will link to that in the class project description to the brush set. Just that you guys could take a look at all that he has to offer, and I always use a few different brushes to keep my patterns fresh and exciting, with different textures and in brush affects. To start painting, you will want to create a new layer, pick out the brush that you were going to be working with first and choose the colors and adjust the brush size if needed, and then we'll get started. Painting digitally is just like painting on a canvas. You want to build up your artwork from the bottom layer out, so you want to start with the base color and just move up from there. Always be sure to work in your own personal style as you go along. And I love to add shadows and decorative elements in my patterns. So I will make sure, you know, just add darker or lighter values here and there, um, ab squiggly lines or decorative marks wherever I think needs it, just to keep it decorative and in my own unique and whimsical style, because that's just how are personally draw. So I always make sure to create in your style, and it'll look beautiful. I personally work with a lot of layers because I find it to be a lot easier if you need to go back and change something as you go along, and it's just a personal preference of mine. So just do what feels right to you. Another thing that I like to do is once I am done creating a element for my pattern, I will group all the layers together. And I would rename it so that my artwork is organized and easy for me to arrange. Once I'm ready to set everything up as a repeating pattern. I'm just gonna go ahead and speed up this video just so that it's not just, you know, hopeful our, uh, me illustrating and I will show my whole process of illustrating just kind of speed it up is a little time lapse and set it to some music just so you can see my process of power go through and color all of my elements. 6. Bringing Your Pattern To Life: Now it's time to take all the individual elements that you have just illustrated and assemble them into a repeat pattern. You want to start off with hiding every element except your main elements. So, for example, in the pattern that I'm creating, I'm going to hide everything except the butterflies. This just makes it easier to visualize where things will go, so you don't have everything opened up in your document all at the same time. So we're going to start by arranging your elements in the center of your document and just play around with rotating them site the year, re sizing them just whatever feels right or looks good to you. So I'm just gonna keep arranging the butterflies and just see how they fit in nicely together without keeping them to close just to add. Be able to add in the other elements that I created within them, and once you have that all set, you can unhygienic your other elements and bring in some of those to start forming your pattern. I like to keep the supporting elements, such as the little extra line work or my small floral scattered groups that I created until the end because those are just filler elements to fill in any blank areas or any areas that may seem, um, like they need something, but none of the other elements conf it because they're too big. So you want to keep those hidden until the end. And I do want to say, Make sure to keep saving your document because you don't want to lose progress or anything as you go along with the pattern, because sometimes you get caught up with creating it, and then you lose it and you never want that to happen. So once you have everything kind of arranged, how you want it, just do it in the center for now and make sure not to overlap anything onto the edge, because that'll mess up how you're going to create the repeating pattern, and it will cut it off, and you just don't want to do that. So now select all of your layers except the background layer and merge them together. I'll go up to filter in the navigation bar and select offset and then other. Make sure both the vertical and horizontal settings are set to plus 1000. This number will always be half of what your document sizes. So if your document is set to something other than 2000 by 2000 pixels, just go ahead and make sure to adjust that number accordingly, just to be half of that. Now that you have offset your pattern design, save this as final and open up your original document containing all of your own. It's You want to select all of those and bring them all over to your file document and again hide any that you don't want or need to use this point. So again, I'm just going to keep one of my butterfly elements present and just work on arranging how I want that to be in my document. At this point, you're just filling in any blank areas that are currently on your document. So be sure not to place any elements too close to the edge of the document, because again, you don't want them to get cut off, because I will just mess up the repeating pattern. Keep playing around with this until you're happy with, and I'm just going to keep arranging my butterflies so that they're not too close to each other. so that I can put in floral elements in between them. But I'm going to arrange them just enough that it access if it's going to fill it. Keep playing around with everything until you're happy with it. And once you are, you want to do the same thing as you did before. You're going to merge everything again. So select all of your layers and either control E to merge it or right click and just select merged layers. And then you're going to save it and then go back up to the navigation bar up to filter, select other and then offset and do just the same. Exact thing you're setting should be there from before, with 1000 in each horizontal and vertical setting suggest press enter and you should be good to go. And this is just going to take you right back to the original set up that you had, and you want to see if everything looks good or if there's any kind of blank areas that just seem a little awkward without anything in them. So at this point, you just want toe again. Just keep going back and filling it in until you're happy with how your pattern design looks. So bring over any elements from your original document to just fill it up and make it what complete? And it's at this point that I like to bring in my filler elements and also my background elements that go behind everything such as the yellow line markings and the small blue kind of polka dot Marking said I did. And this just adds some dimension and more life to the pattern, making it not appear so flat. Once your pattern is complete, go up to image defined pattern and name it whatever you would like it to be and press enter . This is just saving your square swatch as a repeat pattern. Now you're gonna open up a document of any size that you'd like and go down to the little black and white circle button at the bottom right of your screen, where the layers is and you're gonna click pattern and your pattern should be the first thing that pops up. If not, just search for it in the pattern inventory that is available to look through in perfect. Your pattern fills the document right up, and you just created your very first repeat pattern. This is the part where you definitely start to feel very, very accomplished and because it just looks so wonderful just to see your work as a repeat pattern. And this is definitely also when your thoughts start to flow and you start thinking of all the wonderful ways you get to use your pattern design. 7. What You Can Do With Your Pattern: you have a beautiful pattern designed, I'm sure that you're wanting to see it on something such as fabric. There's a wonderful company called spoon flour, which I'm sure that many of you have heard of, and you can have your pattern printed on fabric, gift wrap or even wallpaper, which is pretty awesome. And it's a really rewarding feeling to see your hard work on a physical product. So I definitely encourage you to do that, and I highly recommend it, and I promise you'll love it whenever I designed a new pattern. I always order in eight by eight inch sample swatches that spoon fiber offers, and it's really fun to have, like a little mini collection to flip through of all your hard work, and that I've even mention that you can list your patterns for sale on spoon power, which is even better. And they also have weekly design challenges, which are really fun, so I definitely check that out. Um, another option is also you can upload your work to on demand printing websites such a society six Red bubble or Zazzle and those are the few that I know. But I'm sure there's tons and tons more. But pretty much the options are endless. There's a wide variety of products to choose from. There's coffee mugs, bad covers, shower curtains, clothing, notebooks. Pretty much anything you can think of in the possibilities are endless. 8. Final Words: Congratulations. You just made a beautiful pattern. You completed this class. I hope that you really enjoyed this class and I hope that it was helpful or you and I really, really hope that it opened you up to all sorts of new possibilities with pattern making. And it'll be Photoshopped. I do want to say that. Always make sure that you keep pushing yourself to create new work as often as you possibly can. I always try, and I keep a little notebook with me wherever I go in my curse, about to store the car bed in the living room. And I keep this with me because I jot down little assignments that I give to myself. And that's something you really want to do is give yourself many assignments and especially deadlines to work on so that you can keep building your portfolio and make it amazing even more amazing. That already is, Um, and that's the one thing you want to do is constantly keep creating, just, always wanna create because the more you create the veteran that you get and the more skills you learn, which is always fun. So I really hope this class has inspired you to want to create more patterns and discover the whole world exciting world of the surface pattern design industry. And I hope you have fun while doing it. It's a fun thing to Dio, and I can't wait to see all of the wonderful and beautiful work that all of you have made and I will talk with you all soon.