Surface Design In Adobe Illustrator: A Beginner's Guide to Pattern Building | Melissa Lee | Skillshare

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Surface Design In Adobe Illustrator: A Beginner's Guide to Pattern Building

teacher avatar Melissa Lee, allow yourself to fail before you succeed

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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 is Surface Pattern Design?


    • 3.

      Class Project + Materials


    • 4.

      Setting Up Your Workspace + Keyboard Shortcuts


    • 5.

      Artboards & Layers


    • 6.

      Zoom In & Out


    • 7.

      Functional Tools: Selection, Direct Selection, Lasso, Duplicate, Scale, Rotate, & Reflect


    • 8.

      Drawing Tools: Pencil, Pen, Blob Brush, Eraser, Smooth, & Puppet Warp


    • 9.

      Blob Brush Pressure Issue


    • 10.

      Building Shapes: Pathfinder, Shape Builder Tool, Scissor Tool, & Offset Path


    • 11.

      Stroke & Fill


    • 12.

      Isolation Mode & Align


    • 13.

      Color and the Swatches Panel + The Magic Wand Tool


    • 14.

      Inspiration & Sketching


    • 15.

      Scanning & Taking Pictures of Your Work


    • 16.

      Vectorizing Your Artwork


    • 17.

      To Expand or Not To Expand?


    • 18.

      Building a Simple Repeating Pattern


    • 19.

      Building a Complex Repeating Pattern


    • 20.

      Adjusting & Testing Scale


    • 21.

      The Recolor Artwork Tool


    • 22.

      Exporting Your Pattern


    • 23.

      Common Mistakes & Concerns


    • 24.

      Closing Thoughts


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About This Class

This class focuses heavily on the technical side of creating a repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator. I put a lot of time and effort and care into making it a truly comprehensive introduction to surface design in the program. I go over all of the essential tools that I use for drawing, coloring, and assembling motifs to make patterns, and then some. In addition, I cover common beginner mistakes and how to fix or avoid them. I’ve also created some downloadable PDFs, including an Adobe Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts quick reference guide, among other things, for you to print out and reference along the way.

I’ve taken many pattern classes from many different amazing surface designers over the past six years, and consequently, I’ve picked up a ton of useful tips and tricks and pieces of advice along the way. So I thought that it was about time that I start making my own pattern design classes. I hope to see you there!


Adobe, and Adobe Illustrator are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe in the United States and/or other countries.

Meet Your Teacher

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Melissa Lee

allow yourself to fail before you succeed

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Hi! My name's Melissa Lee, and I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer living in the hilly forests of Northern California. Alongside doing freelance and art licensing work (I am a proud Riley Blake Designs fabric designer), I've spent much of my time cultivating my love of sharing what I know and encouraging others to nourish their creative side through teaching online art courses here on Skillshare. I love making patterns, character art, and watercolor paintings. I'm endlessly inspired by animals and nature (whether living today or extinct), science fiction and fantasy, space and astrology, witchy things, and bees.

Always bees.

The classes that I teach on Skillshare focus primarily on surface pattern design, watercolor techniques, and character design. See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I joined Skillshare back in 2015, and some of the very first classes I took were pattern design classes by Bonnie Christine and Elizabeth Olwen, and I instantly fell in love. It felt like a lightbulb turning on over my head sort of moment for me, and that it was the first time that I really felt like my desire for some sort of career in drawing had a clear direction. I love character design and cartooning, but I wasn't really confident about it becoming a career for me, especially having had some experience in turning as a character artist and finding it really draining. I was about ready to forgo a career involving illustration altogether, but then I made my first repeating pattern and I knew it could be a real avenue for me to succeed in a creative career. Most importantly, though, it is so much fun and it gives me creative control in a way that really works for me. Fast forward five years later to May of 2020 and I was offered my very first licensing deal with Riley Blake Designs. My first fabric collection just came out this month and a second is in the works to be released sometime next year. I think it's valuable for any illustrator to learn how to make a repeating pattern because it teaches you a whole different way of thinking about illustration and composition and color. I feel like it's made me a better artist all around. Along the way, I've also learned how to use Adobe Illustrator, which is a hugely valuable tool to have in your skillset. This class focuses on the technical side of creating a repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator. I go over all of the essential tools that I use to make patterns and then some, as well as common beginner mistakes and how to fix or avoid them. I've also created some downloadable PDFs, including an Adobe Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts quick reference guide, among other things, for you to print out and reference along the way. I've taken many pattern classes from many different amazing surface designers over the past six years, and consequently, I've picked up a ton of useful tips and tricks and pieces of advice along the way. I thought that it was about time that I start making my own pattern design classes. I hope to see you there. 2. What is Surface Pattern Design?: I think most people take patterns for granted. We're so used to seeing them everywhere, we often don't even think about the fact that there's an artist behind each of them. Surface pattern design and licensing artwork didn't even occur to me as a thing that artists can do until the wonderful Bonnie Christine, with the help of Skillshare as a platform, introduced the concept to me. When people ask me what I do for work, I usually tell them that I'm an illustrator and pattern designer. And pretty much every time I need to explain what I mean by pattern designer. We all know what patterns are, but I think it takes us a minute to wrap our brains around the idea that so many of the patterns we see in the world are created and designed by people. Also that so much of the artwork we see every day is in pattern form. Patterns are in our lives everywhere. They help us express ourselves through our clothing and accessories. They beautify our homes. They make us excited to sow and craft and scrapbook. And they can really just bring us joy and make us happy. Even if I wasn't doing this as a career, I would still be making patterns for fun. For those of you who aren't super familiar with the design industry, surface design is essentially a broad umbrella term that encompasses any design work that is meant for print on a surface, whether it be fabric and textiles, home goods, or paper products. Basically almost any surface that you can think of, patterns can be applied to. The artwork created for surface design does not necessarily need to be a seamlessly repeating pattern. Surface pattern design, more specifically, refers to the artwork that is created for applications that require seamlessly repeating patterns. So wallpaper, gift wrap, ribbon, bolt fabric, etc. It's essentially the same thing, only a little bit more specified. Designs generally fall into two categories: placement prints and repeat patterns. Placement prints are standalone designs, such as a single image or block of text, that do not repeat. This is usually what you'd see on graphic t-shirts and greeting cards. Repeat patterns, on the other hand, are created by designing a tile or square, which as the name suggests, can be repeated endlessly next to itself and on top of itself to create a seamless overall pattern. The actual square that holds your design is called a repeat or repeat tile. Motifs in visual art are the repeated illustrative or drawn elements within a design. They can be simple and abstract or detailed and complex. Certain industries like bolt fabric and wallpaper, for example, require that the patterns to be made from repeat tiles, also sometimes called technical repeat tiles, because they need to be able to repeat seamlessly over a large portion of either the fabric or wallpaper. Whereas, if a pattern only needed to be printed on a smaller surface, such as a notebook, it wouldn't necessarily have to be a technical repeat. It can just look like a pattern. That said, I always make all of my patterns technical repeats from the start. Firstly, because I'm a fabric designer and it's required. Secondly, because I've made some patterns in the past that weren't technical repeats. Then eventually ended up having to turn them into technical repeats later. I found the process of turning them into technical repeats without compromising the existing composition too much... I found that a little stressful and frustrating. I do know some designers who like to work that way though, and it seems to work well for them, so that's just my personal take on it. There are many different types of pattern repeats. There's block repeats, brick repeats, half-drop, line or stripe repeats, diagonal, diamond, and finally, scattered or tossed repeats. Then within those repeats, you can vary the composition by having more or less negative space, by hiding the repeat or making it obvious, and/or by switching up the direction. In other words, you can have a multi-directional design where it doesn't matter which way it sits, or a one-directional design. This pattern here is considered a landscape pattern, which is pretty self-explanatory. The point is, there are so many different pattern possibilities and it's really fun to explore all of them. 3. Class Project + Materials: In this lesson, we're going to go over the class project, the materials needed, how to access the downloadable resources, and how to post a class project. For the class project, you're going to create a pattern tile in Adobe Illustrator using newly illustrated motifs via either sketching traditionally and digitizing your sketches, by drawing or building motifs within Illustrator itself, or a little of both. If you're feeling at all intimidated by this, I want you to know that patterns don't have to be fancy or complex. They can be abstract and or very simple. If you're new to Illustrator, I would encourage you to start simple. The first pattern I made was fairly complex, and it had a ton of details and elements and colors and it gave me some headaches, shall we say. I learned a lot from the experience, mostly what not to do, a lot of which I tried to remember to teach in this class. But that said, I also still quite like the first pattern I made and feel proud of the fact that I just kind of went for it despite not being very familiar with the program at the time. So if you're really feeling inspired to make something more complex, go for it. I don't want to discourage you. I'm just saying that if you are feeling a little intimidated by the program, you may want to start simple with just a few colors and maybe one to four simple motifs to help yourself get used to using the program. The materials you need to complete the class project include a computer with Adobe Illustrator. I'm using Adobe CC 2021. A mouse. It's technically possible to use Adobe Illustrator with just a touchpad, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is not fun and you do miss out on some of the functionality. If you're drawing traditionally, a pencil and black pen or fine liner. It doesn't have to be super fine, it's just that the darker the line, the better it will scan or photograph for digitization. Optional materials include a scanner to scan in traditional sketches, or a camera to take pictures of your traditional sketches, a drawing tablet such as a Wacom or iPad Pro. You don't absolutely need one in order to complete the class projects, but they can be very helpful, especially if you plan to draw within Adobe Illustrator itself. A lightbox or Lightboard can be very useful, and finally, a printer to test scale. But I don't personally own a home printer myself because, frankly, I hate them. To access the downloadable resources, go to the Projects and Resources tab, and on the upper right-hand side, underneath the Create Project button, you'll find a list of resources that you can click to download. There's a keyboard shortcuts PDF included that you can print out to use for reference throughout your class project, as well as a few other things. Speaking of the Create Project button, when you're ready to share your project, just click that big green button and from there there's a button that says Upload image, which is the cover image uploader, not where you'll upload full-sized images. Below that, there's a project title box as well as a box that says project description, which is where you'll post the majority of your content. There's an add more content section directly below that, and this is where you can click to upload full-sized images into the main body of the project. One important thing to note is that you can only create a class project via a desktop computer or laptop. You cannot create one via a mobile device or the Skillshare mobile app. Don't forget to look at your fellow students' projects for inspiration and also, you know, leave some words of encouragement. 4. Setting Up Your Workspace + Keyboard Shortcuts: Before we get into building patterns with your artwork, I think it's a good idea to become familiar with all of the essential tools that you'll need to learn in order to feel comfortable using Adobe Illustrator. There are a ton of tools and functions within Illustrator that I don't even use, many of which I'm probably not even aware of. It's just such a huge program with so many functions. But you don't need to know everything in order to get a lot out of this program. I've learned enough now that I'm at a point where I can just slowly learn more and add on to what I already know for fun rather than necessity. If you're brand new to Illustrator, I'm here to tell you from personal experience that it can take a while to become comfortable using the program. It's now my favorite Adobe program that I use despite the fact that I've been using Photoshop for much longer. But I didn't feel at ease in the program for a good two or so years. That being said, I wasn't using it consistently during those first couple of years, and I do have friends who felt comfortable using it much more quickly than I did. The point is that Illustrator can feel like an overwhelming program to learn for good reason, but with practice, consistent usage, and practical application, it can become such an amazing tool for you, and I really think that anyone can learn it if they put their mind to it. I'm using Illustrator CC or Creative Cloud. If you have an older version and there's a tool that I use that you don't have, I am sorry. I don't think there's anything except for maybe the Puppet Warp tool might not be on older versions of Illustrator. I'm not sure. But for the most part, I believe everything I demonstrate can be done in older versions of Illustrator. Anyway, I'll just click "Create New", and I'm going to go ahead and keep the 11 by 8.5 settings as is, because I can always change my artboard or add artboards later. I like to work with a white background in Illustrator, and if you don't know how to set your workspace up like that, go to Illustrator Preferences, User Interface, and then by Canvas Color, you just select "White" and "OK." To hide your artboard, you hit "Shift+Command+H" and "Shift+Command+H" again to bring it back, or go to View, Show Artboards, and then View, Hide Artboards. I created a custom workspace called Surface Pattern Design that has all of the different tools that I use most often set up in my workspace for me to access quickly. As a part of my custom workspace, I have various different menus set up over here on the right that I use often, including Character, Glyphs, Brushes, Align, Pathfinder, Image Trace, Stroke, Transform, Links, and Artboards. There's one menu that I like to have in my workspace that is missing, and that is the Asset Export menu. All of these menus can be found under Window. To add them to your workspace. Just go to Window, scroll down to the menu that you want, and make sure that it's checked. Once you click it, it shows up as a separate window that you can then minimize to a thumbnail and drag on the right-hand menu bar, like so. You can click the two arrows at the top of the toolbar on the left to toggle between two columns or one, and you can also change the scale of the user interface, text and tool symbols by going to User Interface within Illustrator Preferences and adjusting it here. I believe it prompts you to hard restart Illustrator in order for that change to take effect, so I'm just going to leave it as is. I also have a few different custom keyboard shortcuts that I've created. If I tell you a shortcut and then it doesn't work for you, it might be that I've just forgotten that I've made a custom shortcut. If that's the case, just let me know in the class discussion section. To create keyboard shortcuts, go to Edit, Keyboard Shortcuts, and then you can choose Tools or Menu Commands, and you can search the specific tool that you're looking for. I'll type in "puppet", and... there's the Puppet Warp Tool. Puppet Warp doesn't have a keyboard shortcut normally and U is set up for the Mesh tool regularly, apparently, but I use that tool rarely, so I don't mind changing it. You can try typing in a bunch of different things to see if there's anything that's not in use, or just do what I did and ignore the warning and then override it. First, it's asking me if I want to save the keyset file, which you do. Just give it a name. I'm calling mine "Custom" and then click "OK." Then in Menu Commands, I also have a Convert to Artboards custom shortcut that I use a ton. I use Command+9 or Control if you're on PC, and I'm pretty sure that that wasn't used by anything. Yeah, it wasn't, so you can just type that in. Then it asks you if you want to overwrite the custom keyboard set that you made, and you can click "OK" because it will keep the previous shortcut you made along with this new one. Now that we know how to create custom keyboard shortcuts, I just quickly wanted to address the fact that since I'm a Mac user, I will be saying Command and Option instead of Control and Alt. For any PC users, just know that Control always replaces Command and Alt always replaces Option. 5. Artboards & Layers: Art boards are important because they are essentially how you indicate to Illustrator what area of your workspace you want to export as a Jpeg, PNG, PDF, et cetera. You can shift command H to hide your artboard and shift command H to bring it back or go to view. So art boards or hide artboards, you can create more artboards by turning an object into one. If you double click with the rectangle tool, you can input the exact size you want, then go to object Artboards, convert to artboards. I have a custom set to command nine on my keyboard because I use it regularly. Now there are two art boards, you can create more than one at a time if you want to as well. I'll create another rectangle, Duplicate it, and with both selected hit command nine. Now I have four in the artboards panel. You can title your art boards. If you double click on any of them, it will zoom into that specific artboard. To delete an artboard, you can drag and drop it to the trash can or just click the trash can symbol to delete it. Now I want to turn the green background square of this pattern tile into an artboard. Since I want to keep the green background, I want to select it and hit command C to make a copy of it and command to paste it behind the original square. You can also hit command to paste in front. It doesn't matter if the square you're going to transform into an artboard is in front or in back. But this way it pastes it directly behind or in front of your original square. If we look in the layers panel, you can see there are two squares now with one of them selected, go to object artboards, convert to artboards. I'm deleting the first artboard that I don't need anymore. If you click on the artboard tool next to the zoom tool, you can click on an artboard and drag it to move it. Much like with objects, you can drag it, hold down Shift to keep it aligned and option to duplicate it. You can exit the artboard tool by hitting V to switch to the selection tool or by clicking on any other tool. That's how I easily create documents like this with multiple color ways of the same pattern. I just click and drag while holding Shift option to copy them and then change the colors. If you're used to raster programs like for example Photoshop, Coral Paint or procreate, then you're used to thinking about layers in a certain way. Layers and illustrator behave differently than they do in programs like Photoshop. Every object that you draw, trace, or build within Illustrator is automatically separate from all the others, even if they're on the same layer. So it's not quite as important to keep layers separate as it is to do so in a program like Photoshop, layers can still come in handy for multiple reasons though. So you want to hide something temporarily to clear your workspace so that you can focus on something else. You can easily do so by clicking the eye symbol to toggle that layer hidden and unhidden. You can do that with individual objects within a layer as well. But sometimes you want to hide more than one thing. It can be useful to organize your layers accordingly. You can also lock entire layers so that they are temporarily uneditable. That word should be used in a vocal exercise for diction anyway. You can lock a layer by clicking the box next to the eye symbol so that a lock symbol shows up. When I'm editing one colorway and I want to make sure that I don't affect the other layers. I will lock Colorway 1.2 so that I'm safe to work on Colorway three, for example. You can lock and unlock individual shapes in the layers panel as well. When you have a large document full of a ton of shapes, it can be difficult to find a particular shape in the layers panel. There are a few different circumstances in which you'll have to search for an object in the layers panel. And sometimes it can be pretty tedious. You need to select the object you want to find, then scroll down somewhat slowly. Wow, I really found a good example. Here may be too good. This is the layer that never ends. There we go. You scroll down until you see a colored square on the right hand side. Every object that's selected will have a colored square next to it, indicating that it's selected. You can drag an object to change the position or you can right click, arrange and choose any of these positioning commands. Bring to front or shift command right bracket. We'll bring it to the top of the layer. Send to back shift command left bracket. We'll send it to the bottom. Bring front and send back command right bracket and command left bracket respectively. We'll move them one position up or down. You can also re, arrange layers by dragging them easily. Move objects from one layer to another, select them and then drag and drop the colored square from one layer to the next. 6. Zoom In & Out: There are a few different ways to zoom in and out in Illustrator. The first way is by hitting Command + to gradually zoom in and hitting Command - to gradually zoom out. You can use the zoom tool or Z on your keyboard to drag and select where you want to zoom into. You can hit Command 0 to zoom out to the size of the artboard that you're currently working on. Or my favorite way to zoom in is to hold down Command Spacebar and select where you want to zoom in like with the zoom tool. You can also hold down Option Command Spacebar and click to zoom out. The reason why I like using Command Spacebar over the zoom tool is because when you hit Z to switch to the zoom tool, it completely switches over to that tool and stays on it until you select another tool. Whereas, when you hold down Command Space, zoom in and let go, it automatically switches you back over to the last tool you were using. It makes the whole process much quicker and smoother. When you're using the zoom tool, you can also hit Option and click to zoom out. If your zoom tool and Command Space zoom commands aren't working the same for you and instead they're scrolling in and out, that would be because you need to go to Illustrator, Preferences, and then go to the Performance tab, and make sure that your Animated Zoom is unchecked. When it is checked, this is how it works, and same with the Command Space command, so you want to make sure Animated Zoom is unchecked. For Mac users, if you want to be able to use the Command Space and Option Command Space zoom controls in Illustrator, and trust me, you do, because they are so useful once you get used to them, you're going to have to go into your System Preferences and change some of the default Mac keyboard shortcuts that you most likely don't even use anyway. Go into your System Preferences and then go to Keyboard. Then from Keyboard, go to Shortcuts. Then from here, go to Spotlight. The Spotlight default keyboard shortcut is Command Space, and then the Show Finder search window is Option Command Space. I actually really do like having a spotlight search function, so instead of unchecking it so that they're not in use, I'm going to change mine to Command O because that's not in use by anything else on Mac and I can remember it because a spotlight makes a circle or O of light. But you can just uncheck yours if you don't care about having a keyboard shortcut. I'm keeping this one unchecked myself because I don't think to use this one anyway. Now in Illustrator, it's not going to compete with the Illustrator commands. 7. Functional Tools: Selection, Direct Selection, Lasso, Duplicate, Scale, Rotate, & Reflect: The first functional tool I'm going to cover is the tool that everyone uses the most often, the selection tool. The keyboard shortcut for it is V. You can remember because Vs create an arrow shape. The selection tool is pretty self-explanatory. You click to select or click and drag to select single objects or grouped objects. The next tool is the direct selection tool or A on your keyboard. Once again, an A forms an arrow. You can select individual objects within a group with the direct selection tool without needing to enter isolation mode to do so, as long as you click somewhere within the middle of the shape. Here I'm selecting just one the shapes in this beehive made of multiple grouped shapes. If I zoom in with the direct selection tool, you can select the individual anchor points in a shape or line. The selection tool cannot do this. If you need to edit your shapes by editing the anchor points, use the direct selection tool. If you want to select multiple objects by dragging over them like this, be careful not to use the direct selection tool because you run the risk of only selecting some of the anchor points within a shape, and then when you go to move them, you can end up in a weird situation. One really useful thing to know about these selection tools is, say you're making a color palette. I've created some rectangles. If I hit "I" for the eyedropper tool, I can then click on another color to change the color of the rectangle. Then instead of hitting V to switch back to the Selection tool, if you hold down Command, it will turn your current tool into the last selection tool that you used. You can select the next rectangle, take your finger off Command, and it will automatically go back to the last tool you were using, in my case, the eyedropper tool. I've selected color and now I'm holding down Command, which switches it to the selection tool. I'm selecting the next rectangle, taking my finger off Command, and it switches it back to the eyedropper and so on. I just find that this makes things go a lot faster and is less laborious than clicking between I for the eyedropper and V for the Selection tool over and over again. Next is the Lasso tool, which is Q on your keyboard or it can be found in the Direct Selection Tool menu. With the Lasso tool, you can select a group of objects by drawing around them. Next is duplicate. I've selected the rectangle tool, or M on your keyboard, and if I click and drag while holding down Shift, it makes a perfect square. Then once you've clicked on it and started to move it, hold down Shift to make sure that it stays aligned with the original square and Option to duplicate it. Then I hit Command D to duplicate that action. Clicking and dragging an object while holding down Option, duplicates that object, while Command D duplicates the last action. If I just hit Command D over and over, I can make a line of perfectly aligned squares. Then I can also select them all, click and drag down, hold Shift to keep it aligned, and Option to duplicate, and Command D once again to duplicate that action. You can also just move an object and only hold down Option, to duplicate it if you don't need it to be perfectly aligned. Next is the scale tool or S on your keyboard. You can hold down Shift to keep it proportional as well and then drag up in a diagonal to change the size. A lot of the time, I just like to use the bounding box and hold down Shift to keep it proportional because I feel like I have better control that way. You can also right-click and scroll down to transform and scale. Then you can more precisely change the scale. If you hover over the percentage and scroll with your mouse, it will scroll the percentage. Otherwise, you just have to type it in. Next is rotate or R on your keyboard. Here I'm just using the bounding box again and the little rotate symbol shows up when you click by a corner. If you hold down Shift, it will snap into position, which can be really useful. Or you can find rotate, scale and reflect over here next to the text tool. Click Rotate or hit R. You can do the exact same thing, holding Shift if you want to snap it into place. One thing you can do with the rotate and scale tools that you can't do with just the bounding box is you can move the anchor point or crosshairs so that it will rotate or scale from wherever that point is, instead of from just the middle. Reflect is O on your keyboard. You can remember that because an O is a perfect reflection of itself, you can reflect it vertically by clicking and dragging up to down, or horizontally by clicking and dragging from left to right or right to left. Once again, holding down Shift while doing so will snap it into place, perfectly reflected. If you move the crosshairs by clicking somewhere to the side, you can then click and drag it over to reflect it on the other side of the crosshairs. If you hold Shift, it will align perfectly and if you hold down Option or Alt, it will duplicate. This takes a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it is such a fun thing to use. 8. Drawing Tools: Pencil, Pen, Blob Brush, Eraser, Smooth, & Puppet Warp: The first drawing tool is the pencil tool. You can find it over here on the toolbar by the other drawing tools or it's N on your keyboard. The pencil tool creates lines rather than shapes. Right now it's set to no stroke, so you can give it one by making sure stroke is in front of fill which means it's selected and then selecting a color in your swatches panel. Then you can come up to the control panel and change the size of the stroke. If I draw close enough to the previous stroke I made, it will automatically connect. If you don't want that to happen, you can double-click the pencil tool and it will bring up an options panel. You can double-click every tool to bring up an options panel for it. In the pencil tool options panel, there's an option to close paths when ends are within a certain amount of pixels, with the default setting being 15 pixels. You can uncheck that and also uncheck edit selected paths if you don't want your lines to automatically connect. The fidelity controls the accuracy and smoothness of your strokes and that goes for all of the drawing tools. If I set it all the way over to accurate and draw something, you can see that it's a lot more accurate to what you draw. If I set it all the way over to smooth and draw a similar line, you can see the difference there. Personally I like to keep it somewhere in the middle usually. Another really cool thing that you can do with the pencil tool is you can use it to clean up your illustrations or your lettering. I wrote this on a piece of paper and scanned it in, then traced it in Illustrator with image trace using the black and white logo custom setting. But I don't quite like how it traced it. I'm not a big fan of these weird points that Illustrator makes a lot. What I can do to really easily and really quickly fix that instead of coming in with the direct selection tool and editing it this way which can be really time-consuming if you have a lot of these, you can take the pencil tool instead or hit N on your keyboard, and then if you just draw along the path, you can fix it that way. This is a time-saver like nothing else. As soon as I learned this trick, oh my gosh, the amount of time I've saved is just astronomical. One thing you do you have to be sure of is that you start out on the path and then end on the path. If I started here or even just right off the path, I would just make a new pencil path. It's actually really precise. It's really just so awesome. I can't believe it took me years to discover this. I'm not doing this very well because I'm using a mouse and I'm not very good at the mouse but you get the idea. See there, I didn't quite meet the path so I'll just undo that. Then from here I can also use the smooth tool and smooth things out a bit, but I'll go over that tool a little bit later. Next is the pen tool. It takes a lot of practice to get comfortable with the pen tool if you're not used to it and there are entire classes that are dedicated to just the pen tool. This is definitely going to be an abridged lesson on it. You can create lines and shapes with the pen tool. You just click and then click again where you want it to connect and so on and so forth. To end the line, just click on another tool or hit V for select. If you click and drag with the pen tool it creates handlebars off the anchor point that you can use to create curves. I'll just really quickly make a weird shape so I can show you how to close it. If you hover the pen tool over the first point that you made, a little circle shows up next to the pen tool symbol and then you click and that closes the shape. From here you can choose to give it a fill color and no stroke if you want. If you want to switch between a curved line and a straight line, before you place your next point, hover over the last point until a little arrow shows up and click. Then from there your line will be straight or curved depending on what your last point was. You can also select an existing anchor point, go up to the control panel and click either of these two buttons here next to convert. One is convert selected anchor points to corner and the other is convert selected anchor points to smooth. If you click off of a path and want to revisit it, all you have to do is hover over it with the pen tool until a little slash symbol shows up next to the pen tool cursor and then click and you can continue with the shape that you're building. If you want to edit an anchor point but you only want to affect one handle, just hover over the anchor point with the direct selection tool and hold down Option, and then click on the handle that you want to affect and it will only move that handle. Next is the blob brush tool which can be found right here or it's Shift B on your keyboard. I'm changing the size of the brush by hitting the left and right bracket keys. The blob brush tool is definitely my favorite drawing tool in Illustrator. You actually draw with it like you do with the pencil tool. But instead of making a line, it makes a shape with anchor points surrounding it. If you're drawing with the same color, it will automatically connect the strokes that you make. As you can see when I click on it, it's a shape with anchor points surrounding it and the strokes are connected because they're the same color. If you don't want them to connect just switch colors and then you can always change the color of any shape after that. If you double-click to bring up the options panel and check off Keep selected, the same color won't automatically unite into one shape, so these two strokes that I've made with the blob brush are now separate. If you double-click to bring up the options panel again, you can change the fidelity and I like to set it closer to accurate for the blob brush tool. If you're using an iPad or a Wacom tablet, you can set it so that it has pressure sensitivity so that there's variation in line thickness depending on the pressure used while drawing. You click on this menu down here and select Pressure, then I like to set my line variation to 10 points because I like having a lot of variation. If you come down here on the tool menu bar and hover over the symbol, you can see that it's automatically set to draw normal. You can change it to draw behind and that makes it so that anything you color will automatically end up at the bottom of the layer you're working in. This can come in handy if you have a lot of line work that you want to color under. It's easier than constantly selecting the color and sending it to the back. You can use the eraser tool on all vector objects, including lines made with the pencil tool or line segment tool. As always, make sure you've selected the object you want to effect, hit Shift E, and drag across it to erase. You can also hold down Shift to keep it locked in a straight line. As you've probably come to realize, with many of the tools, holding down Shift has some alignment function. Next is the smooth tool. I have it custom set to Shift S but otherwise it's this one here that looks like the pencil tool but with candy cane stripes. As always, make sure the object you want to edit is selected and then just slide it along the edge like so. You will most likely use this tool a lot so I highly recommend creating a custom keyboard shortcut for it. If you zoom out and use the smooth tool, the effect is a lot more drastic. The closer you are the more precise you can get with the tool. Finally we've come to the puppet warp tool which for me is one of the most useful tools. It can be found next to the shape builder tool on the toolbar and looks like a little pushpin. I've custom set mine to the keyboard shortcut U since I use it so often. Once you click it, it usually generates a few pins itself. I don't want this many, so I'm just clicking them one at a time and deleting and then clicking again to create my own new pins. From there you can move the pins to move the shape. The other pins will act as pins pinning down the shape until you click on them to manipulate them. I use it a lot on flower stems and for arranging things more precisely in a composition. It's truly one of the best tools ever and so incredibly useful. You can also hover over the circle that shows up around selected pins until there's a rotate symbol and click to rotate it. 9. Blob Brush Pressure Issue: If you have an iPad and Apple Pencil, and you want to use the blob brush tool with the pressure sensitivity turned on, you may find that Pressure is grayed out in the blob brush options panel, as shown in this image here. Since you can't select it, the blob brush tool is unable to change thicknesses depending on the pressure that you apply when drawing with it. Since that's pretty much the main appeal of the blob brush tool, it's pretty frustrating. But this does have a workaround. I discovered earlier this year that Illustrator can only enable pressure support when a Wacom driver is present, whether or not you have a Wacom product. You need to download and install a Wacom driver to your computer, even if you're just using an iPad Pro with Astropad or Sidecar. I used to own a Wacom tablet myself. I didn't have this issue on my last computer because I had a Wacom driver installed on it for my tablet. I switched to an iPad Pro and it worked on my last computer just fine because I already had the driver installed. Then I got a new desktop computer and was so confused when my pressure sensitivity was suddenly not working with the iPad. I did some googling, figured it out, and once I downloaded and installed the Wacom driver software on my new computer, the option to enable pressure was available to me. I know this is an odd requirement as you wouldn't think you'd need a Wacom driver when using an iPad, but alas, it is what it is. I don't understand why it's not just automatically a functionality built into Illustrator, but I also don't have any clue how these programs are built and run, so what do I know? [laughs] I've included a link to where you can download a Wacom driver for both Mac and Windows under the Projects and Resources tab. I've also included a downloadable PDF with links and instructions on how to install a Wacom driver. 10. Building Shapes: Pathfinder, Shape Builder Tool, Scissor Tool, & Offset Path: You will find that often within Illustrator there are multiple ways to do the same thing. I want to show you how that applies to building shapes within Illustrator. The first thing I want to go over is Pathfinder. If you have your space set up like I do, you'll find the Pathfinder menu over here on the right. There are a bunch of different commands in the Pathfinder menu separated into two sections. Honestly, I'm not sure why they're separated like they are, especially since there is a minus front button in the Shape Modes and then minus back is in the Pathfinders. They seem to do the same thing but just opposite of each other, so I'm not sure why they're separated like they are, but I wouldn't worry about that. Just worry about what each individual command does. The first button is called Unite, and this one is pretty self-explanatory. I've selected these two shapes and by clicking Unite, it unites them into one solid shape. Always remember that you need to select the shapes you want to change. The minus front command is the next one over, and what that does is it subtracts where they overlap plus the shape that is sitting on the top. Minus back does the opposite and subtracts where they overlap plus the shape on the bottom. Intersect only keeps the piece of the shape where the two shapes overlap. Exclude does the opposite and keeps everything that isn't in the intersection. It also automatically groups these shapes so you can right-click and ungroup them to move them around. Divide creates three separate shapes, but again, you have to right-click and ungroup them to move them. Trim basically does what minus front does except it keeps the top shape whole. To be honest with you, I find trim a little confusing and I don't really use it that often, but some people like it once they get used to it, so I wanted to mention it. Next is the shape builder tool, which is my preferred way to build shapes within Illustrator. It does pretty much all of the same things that Pathfinder does, but in my opinion, it's a little bit more intuitive and easy to understand. So that is what I use most of the time. You can access the shape builder tool over here on the toolbar, or by hitting Shift M on your keyboard. But I've already made a mistake because I haven't selected anything that I want to change. I'm going to hit V to go back to the selection tool and select these two shapes. Then hit Shift M again. Now a little plus sign shows up next to my selection tool arrow. That's how you know that the shape builder tool is chosen. When I hover over these shapes, a little grid shows up. There's a few things that you can do with it. You can click each section to make them separate from each other. I'll hit Shift M again, and another thing you can do is click and drag across all of the sections until they're all highlighted with the little grid, and you can unite them into one shape. Lastly, if you hold down Option, a little minus sign replaces the plus sign, which means that you can delete the shapes that you've highlighted over. Something I like about the shape builder tool is that it doesn't automatically group objects, so you don't have to right-click and ungroup them. They're just already ungrouped, unlike with Pathfinder, where it automatically groups everything. A lot of the time you will end up wanting to group them, but I personally prefer to make the conscious decision to group things myself know, I don't really know, I just do. [laughs] Anyway, this tool is so useful. The more you use Illustrator, the more you'll realize just how useful it is. I'll demonstrate with one of the Image Traced sketches that I have. If I hit Shift M, and I'm hiding my edges by hitting Command H, I can drag through the leaves to fill them quickly. One of my favorite things to do is to use the blob brush tool, and I'm going to up the size of my blob brush. Whoops, I'm still selected on this, so I want to hold down Command to switch to the last selection tool I used and click off of it, so now I'm not selected on it. Because I held down command to access the selection tool, it automatically changed back to the blob brush tool without me having to hit Shift B. Now I'm going to select another color and I'm going to draw along these leaves. From here I can select all of these shapes and hit Shift M for the shape builder tool. Hold down Option and drag or click to delete the pieces that I don't want. Now I've created these nice highlighted edges that fit perfectly along the existing shape. This is just so helpful. I love this tool so much, so I'll show you one more way that I used it. I created this eyedropper icon for the keyboard shortcuts PDF that I made for you to download and reference, and I created it with the shape builder tool. First, I hit M on my keyboard to access the rectangle tool and created a rectangle. I used the circles in the inner corners to click and drag to round the corners. Then I created another rectangle. I hit the Horizontal Align Center button to align them, and I will go over the Align menu in more detail later. If I select these two shapes, hit Shift M, and drag them together, I have one shape. Similarly, I made a long rectangle for the tube, then I hit L for the ellipse tool. Started dragging, held down Shift to keep it a perfect circle. Placed that along the rectangle, then I selected both shapes and used the Shape Builder Tool to unite them into one shape. You could also unite them with the Unite command in the Pathfinder menu. Remember there are multiple ways to do the same thing. When it comes to shape tools like the rectangle and ellipse tools, there isn't much to demonstrate other than that you can hold down Shift to make a perfect square or circle. But otherwise, they're pretty self-explanatory. One thing I want to show you with the Star and Polygon tools though, is if you select the Star tool, as you click and drag, you can hit the Up and Down arrow keys to create more or less points or sides if you're using the Polygon tool. That's really useful to know, especially if you're wondering how to make a perfect triangle. Once again, if you hold down Shift, you can keep it locked in place. The next tool I want to demonstrate is the Scissor tool. I rarely use this tool, but I wanted to show you how it works just to give you an idea of what is possible within Illustrator. You can access it under the Eraser or by hitting C on your keyboard. With the scissor tool, you have to click on anchor points rather than dragging or drawing along a shape. But you can create your own anchor points with the scissor tool as well, so I'll click here and randomly again here. What that's done is it's separated this shape out like this. Again, I don't really use that tool very often, but it's good to know what it does. A similar tool that I actually really like that I use a little bit more than the scissor tool is the Knife tool. It's not in the default tool menu. To add tools to your menu bar, you can find them by clicking the three dots at the bottom that say, "Edit Tools." Then you scroll down and search for the tool you want. Here's the Knife tool. I'm just going to drag it onto my toolbar and into the Eraser and Scissor menu. Click this to exit. Now I can just access this within the menu. I'm considering creating a keyboard shortcut for this one, or actually just overriding the scissor tool shortcut for the knife because I use it more often. But anyway, with the knife, you can just draw across it and slice it into pieces. So it's created all of these new shapes, and you don't have to worry about clicking on anchor points or any of that. The thing that I use it the most for is, say I wanted to get rid of one of these leaves. If I select it and click on the knife tool. Again, I'm just going to hide my edges with Command H. And if I slice right through it, I can delete it. If you can't select one piece, that probably just means it's grouped automatically, so you can double-click to enter isolation mode and delete it. I used to use the eraser tool to essentially slice things for various reasons, but the knife tool is better because it is a lot more precise. The final thing I want to demonstrate is called Offset Path. There's actually a couple of different ways that you can apply offset path. You can go to Effect, Path, Offset Path and apply it as an effect. Or you can go to Object, Path, Offset Path. I much prefer doing it via the object menu, because what object does is it creates a fully separate shape underneath the existing shape that follows the shape exactly. I'll make this bigger just to show you what I mean. Once I click Okay, this now is two separate shapes with the bottom shape being the thicker version. With effect, you're applying an effect to it, which means you will eventually have to expand it. I explain later on what expanding is and when you need to expand in detail. But for now, just trust me on this. It doesn't create a separate shape when it's an effect, so if you're using offset path merely to thicken something, applying it as an effect and then expanding it automatically makes it one solid shape. Whereas with Object > offset path, you're creating two separate shapes that you'd have to select and unite. Sometimes it can be a pain to select both objects. Say if there's a lot of objects around it or it's a huge document with a ton of objects making it hard to find the particular objects in the layers panel. In those instances where you just want to thicken something, applying it as an effect isn't a bad idea, as long as you remember to expand it. I hope that makes sense. I think it should eventually. [laughs] If you use Object, Path, Offset Path, and click Okay, it creates the two separate shapes that you'd have to unite with Pathfinder or with the Shape Builder tool. The reason that I like to use it via the Object menu is because I like to use it as a sort of outline more often than I like to use it as a line or shape thickener. So...First of all, my document is in inches, but you can type in pixels still. Even if your document isn't in pixels, you can still work in pixels. I like how that looks, so I'm going to click Okay. It automatically selects the shape that's in the back that you just created with offset path, so you can change the color and it creates this nice outline. I'll show you an example of how this can be useful. Here I have this big complex pattern tile, and if I zoom in here, you can see that this one is a bunch of grouped shapes creating this succulent motif. It's competing with all of the shapes and colors that are behind it and surrounding it. The colors are too close in hue and it just doesn't look very good. So I'll go to object, path, offset path. I know this looks confusing because it's a bunch of grouped shapes, but what you want to pay attention to is the edge here and how thick it is, and that is way too thick for my liking. I'm going to try three pixels. Then you can click Preview. That's still a bit thicker than I want it to be. I'm going to try 1.5 pixels. There we go. That's the thickness that I want. You can switch between meter and round. Meter just allows it to have corners, whereas round does not. I'll click Okay. Again, it's automatically selected the shapes I just created through offset path. Without clicking on anything else, just go to the color you want to apply to it. I'll just click the background color. Now it looks so much better. It fits in the design and isn't warring with the shapes around it. I used it on almost all of the shapes in this pattern. It's one of the most useful things I've learned how to do. But remember, there's often multiple ways to do the same thing within illustrator, so something else you can do is double-click grouped objects like this to enter into isolation mode. Then select all of them and apply a stroke to it. Open up your stroke menu. I'm going to try 1.5 pixels...there. Then in the Align Stroke menu, you can choose align stroke to the outside. You may want to...yeah rounding the corners helped organize that a bit. This essentially does the same thing. The only problem is that some of the shapes aren't in the right order. You get these little corners from the other shapes that are budding into the next shape. You have to click and arrange, bring to front. You'd have to go through all of them and make sure they're arranged properly. The thing that I like about offset path is that it automatically puts the outline behind all of the other shapes. You don't have to worry about that. That's why I don't use stroke for this most of the time. I just find it easier to use offset path. But if you have a simpler shape than this, if you have just one shape and you're applying an outline like that, then it's probably easier to use stroke and change the alignment to the outside. 11. Stroke & Fill: Stroke and fill can be found in a few different places. It's in the color and swatches panels, as well as over in the toolbar. All of these serve the same purpose. Whichever is on top, is what you can edit and color. You can click on it to switch between them or hit X on your keyboard to toggle between them. You can quickly apply no stroke by clicking this button here and you can apply color by clicking here. You can change the stroke weight in the control panel by clicking the up and down arrows, or clicking the drop down menu and selecting a number. I have the stroke menu setup in my workspace and you can edit weight here as well. But my favorite thing about it is that you can edit the caps and corners. So if I zoom in and click round cap, this now has rounded ends, and same with the corners of the square. This third command changes the positioning of the stroke. So now it's aligned to the inside instead of the default center alignment. This isn't something that I've had to think about a ton, but it has come in handy for me to know that this feature exists, so I wanted to share it. If you were to expand a square like this that has a stroke. Again, I'm going to go over expanding in much more detail in a later video, I promise. But if you were to expand it, it turns the stroke into a separate object that's grouped to the square. So I'll enter isolation mode, and as you can see, it's no longer a part of the square. But it looks like this when you expand it which confuses people sometimes because it appears as though expanding it did nothing and there's still a stroke, but it's just the edge of the original shape, in this case, a square and it's showing up as if it's a stroke because they're grouped together. This does make sense, I promise. This really isn't the most common issue but I have seen it confuse some beginner Illustrator users before and it's such a simple solution, so I wanted to address it here. Also, this is a quick way to make a border shape if you ever need to. You can also turn your strokes into dashed or dotted lines. So with it selected, if you click dashed line, I believe it saves the last setting you placed on it and I used it earlier in this document. So that's why it's showing up like this. But basically, what you do is, you click round cap if you want a dotted line, and then input the size of the dash that you want and then next to that, the size of the gap between the dashes. You'll have to experiment with the numbers here to get exactly what you want. This button preserves the exact dash and gap lengths, whereas the default setting aligns the dashes to the corners of the stroke line that you made and adjusts the end dashes to fit. So the ones on the ends could end up being different sizes than the others if that matters to you. You can apply this to any shape. So here's what it looks like on a circle. You can then expand your line, turning it into a line of individual vector shapes. 12. Isolation Mode & Align: Isolation mode is useful for when you have grouped objects that you need to edit, but you don't want to ungroup them in order to access individual objects. You technically can move individual objects in a group with the direct selection tool, but it's a little tricky and it's much easier to just double-click to enter isolation mode and use the regular selection tool. This deer is grouped, so once I double-click to enter isolation mode, this horizontal menu at the top shows up. The background rectangle and leaves are desaturated quite a bit to indicate that they're outside of the isolation mode and can't be edited. You can have groups within groups, and you can access each individual group by double-clicking on them. I've sorted these into quite a few groups. Now that I've clicked all the way in here, I can access each individual shape to edit. If you want to go back to a previous group, just click on it in the Isolation Mode menu at the top. Now I can select the eyes and nose, for example, click into them and edit them. To exit isolation mode, just double-click on either the blank workspace or the desaturated, temporarily inaccessible elements. You can also double-click on a single object to enter isolation mode and edit it. This is basically a quick way to essentially lock all of the other objects so you can edit it without worrying about accidentally editing anything else. You're not actually locking them, but it's the same principle. Moving onto Align, I want to align this square to the artboard. To do that, you can open up your Align menu, and you can also find some of the most commonly used align commands up here in the control panel. To access all of the align commands though, you need to go into the menu. You want to make sure that the Align To menu in the bottom right corner is selected on Align to Artboards. I'm pretty sure that Align to Artboards is the automatic default setting, but it's good to know about just in case you switch it accidentally and you think it's not working or something. Then you can hit Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center to perfectly center it. You can also use Horizontal Align Left and Right, and Vertical Align Top and Bottom. If you switch it from Align to Artboard to Align to Selection and select both objects, you can then align them to each other. If you wanted to keep one of the objects static, you select both objects, then hold down Option and select the objects you want to keep static. Then when you click Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center, you're only moving the one object. I use this feature constantly. Another thing that's useful in align is Distribute Spacing. I hit Command 2 to lock my square background or you can make sure that this little symbol in the layers panel is clicked. What I can do is select all four bees and click Horizontal Distribute Spacing, and it perfectly spaces them based on where the outside two bees are. This is because I have it set to Align to Object. If it was set to Align to Artboard, it would space out perfectly along the artboard. You can do the same thing with Vertical Distribute Spacing, or you can align it to a key object by selecting all four bees, holding down option, and then clicking on the object, in this case the bee, that you want to align the rest to. Select Vertical Distribute Spacing, and it will align like so. You can also adjust the spacing manually in this little box here. Just remember that if it's not distributing how you want it to, chances are it's because you have it on the wrong setting. To demonstrate, when I switch it to Align to Artboard, I can then use the Distribute Objects and Distribute Spacing commands to align it to the artboard. Obviously, you can end up with some funky arrangements. So just know that it takes a little bit of getting used to. It all makes sense and can be super useful. It's just that you have to remember certain little steps, or it can be frustrating when it's not spacing how you want it to. 13. Color and the Swatches Panel + The Magic Wand Tool: When it comes to color, I usually have a general idea of the color palette I'm aiming for because color, to say the least, is pretty darn important. But when I'm working digitally, I don't finalize my colors until I'm finished building a pattern. Even then, they will often change once I've created an entire collection. That said though, I like to build my patterns with a color palette that's at least close to what the final colors will end up being. I put together private Pinterest boards for all of my collections, so I like to sometimes draw colors directly from those Pinterest boards. I also like to search Pinterest proper for color palettes. When I search "Halloween color palettes" specifically, here's what comes up. Then you can just right-click "Save Image As" to the folder of your choosing and then open it up in Illustrator. Another resource I like is called Pattern Curator, where the creator, Kristine Go, makes these really gorgeous mood boards plus color palettes underneath them that you can save to your computer and/or pin. I could seriously scroll through these endlessly, but I like this one a lot. It's got the earthy oranges I'm looking for. Once in Illustrator, you can select colors from a photograph with the eyedropper tool. First though, you can come over to your swatches panel and delete all of the colors that you don't want by clicking on one, holding down Shift and clicking on the last one to select all of them in between. Then you can drag and drop it over the trash can symbol to delete it or click on one, click on the trash can, and click "Yes". Now I'm going to make some rectangles. Click and drag while holding the Shift key to keep it in place and the Option key to duplicate it, and then you hit Command D to duplicate that action. I'm still using the eyedropper tool, and remember this is one of the times when it's useful to hold down command to bring up the selection tool so that you can quickly switch between rectangles and switch between the selection and eyedropper. Once you're happy with your color choices, select all of them, come over to your swatches panel and click this folder symbol that says New Color Group. You can change the name of it if you want to and click "Okay". Now it's created a new set of colors that you can access from the swatches panel here and up in the left corner of the control panel. I'll do the same thing with this set of colors. You can click a folder to select all of the colors in that color group and delete them. You can also move a color out of its color group and into another by clicking and dragging it. You can change the size of the swatches by clicking the menu symbol i.e., the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the swatches panel, and then you can select medium or large thumbnail view. You can also save your color palettes by clicking Menu and scrolling down to Save Swatch Library as AI or ASE. I believe that an ASE file can be shared across Adobe programs, like Photoshop. You could open up the ASE color palette in Photoshop as well. Whereas I'm pretty sure you couldn't open up the AI file color palette in Photoshop. So it's up to you which one you want to use because they both work the same within Illustrator. You can name it. Then from a new document, you can go to Open Swatch Library, User Defined, and click on your saved color palette. It pops up like this, and you can click individual colors or entire folders to quickly pop them over into your swatches panel, or you can drag it to your right-hand side menu and access it from any document that you have open at that time. Now that we have our colors, we can color objects by, of course, selecting them and clicking on a color or you can use the Live Paint bucket tool. The Live Paint Bucket tool can be found over on your toolbar, or it's K on your keyboard. I have this motif that I made in Procreate on my iPad, where I drew each element of the flower on a separate layer and then I exported them as JPEGs, brought them into Illustrator together, and Image Traced them one by one. Honestly, it probably would have been easier to just draw each element of the flower with the blob brush tool within Illustrator but sometimes it is more convenient to work on the iPad, so that's why I did it that way. Once you select a color, three little squares show up at the top of the Live Paint Bucket tool. Then with the left and right arrow keys, you can switch between those colors pretty easily. From there you can hold down command to select an object, release and it will automatically revert back to the Live Paint Bucket tool. You can quickly fill in an object and easily switch between colors with the left and right arrow keys. If you select no fill, you can click the lines to make them appear as though they've disappeared. You can also use the Shape Builder tool to both fill in colors and delete lines by holding down option to subtract shapes. But you don't have the option of switching between colors with the left and right arrow keys like you do with the Live Paint Bucket tool. The downside to the Live Paint Bucket tool though, is that it acts like an effect. I believe they're called special objects, and essentially, they're limited in what you can do with them, just like with an object that has an effect applied to it. You can't apply certain actions like pathfinder commands or apply a clipping mask to a Live Paint Bucket shape. If you want it to act like a normal shape, you have to expand it. Regular expand doesn't work, so you have to go to Object, Live Paint, and Expand. You do not have to expand shapes created with the Shape Builder tool. There's pros and cons to each and it will just be up to you which tool you prefer using. Lastly, I want to talk about the Magic Wand tool or Y on your keyboard. With the Magic Wand tool, you can select all of the same color in a document by clicking on just one object, so you can see why that would be extremely useful. If you forget to click "Ignore White" when you're image tracing something, you can use the Magic Wand tool to quickly select the white background and delete it. It's selected all of the little white shapes in between the lines as well, and I can just delete them easily. Sometimes the Magic Wand tool will pick up on multiple colors that are very close in hue, so if you were trying to select this cream color, for example, it's also selected the lighter cream of the background foliage because they're close enough in hue. This can be pretty frustrating for obvious reasons. But luckily, you can fix this by double-clicking on the Wand tool to bring up its options menu. From there, you can see that the fill color tolerance is set at 20 by default. You want to change it to 0 or 1. The higher the number, the less precise it is, so changing it to a lower number will make it so that your selection will be more exact. There is an option to go to Select Same Fill Color, which does the same thing. It selects all of the same fill color. But since learning that the Magic Wand's color tolerance could be changed, I just use that tool now all the time. As you can see, I can now select just the background cream color. Just so you're aware, you can click here and switch it to stroke instead of fill, which makes it so that you can select all objects with the same stroke color. I've only ever rarely needed to do that, but it has come in handy before. 14. Inspiration & Sketching: I think it's super important to sit down and really dedicate some time to brainstorming inspiration. Then following that, either look up photographs or take your own photographs of whatever subject you're wanting to illustrate. Zooming past the inspiration and reference, and sort of mood boarding stage, if you will, I think makes the rest of the creating process more difficult and less successful. Having a clear idea of the direction you want to go in for a collection or even just one pattern, but especially a collection, is so helpful. So obviously, subject and theme, but also aesthetic, what mood you're after, that sort of thing. I will also write down a list of words -- nouns, adjectives, verbs, whatever -- just anything that you can think of that has to do with the theme that you might want to include. I find myself referencing my list of words all the time throughout a pattern collection process. If you're doing something that's maybe a bit more abstract, whether that's visually or conceptually, I can see this not being quite as important of a step, maybe. Also, some of my favorite patterns were born out of accidents and playing around with existing motifs. But that's not always the case, and most of the time, I find find really helpful to have more direction. I do think it's really important to source your own inspiration whenever you can. Going outside and taking your own photographs, really being present with the things that you are inspired by. It doesn't have to be a special trip even, just anytime you see something that sparks inspiration, take a photo of it and save it for later. You can have a catalog of things that you can use on future projects. If you can't do this for whatever reason, whether it's physical ability or maybe the thing you want to draw is extinct or imaginary, just remember to take inspiration from many different sources and not just one artist. Because you don't want to run the risk of emulating someone's work too closely. It can be really inspiring to look at other artist's work, and it often is for me, so inspiring. But it can also bring us down. As hard as it is to admit, we may feel envious or jealous of someone's talents and unfairly compare our work to theirs. If you feel particularly vulnerable to that possibility, sourcing your own inspiration can help you avoid that sort of mental block. I'll expand on these ideas more in my second pattern design class on designing in collections, and go over my own process for brainstorming inspiration. But I wanted to touch on that briefly here. I like to sketch and/or build within Illustrator everything I can possibly think of that I want in any given pattern. If I end up having too much artwork that I don't use it a pattern, guess what? That's okay because I can potentially use it in another pattern. Most of the time, I'm working in collections so that works out really well. Once I'm at the point where I'm actually building a pattern, I would much rather have too much than not enough artwork. Because I want to try to avoid having to go back to the sketching stage. If you don't mind working in a way where you're going back and forth between those stages of the process, then, you know, disregard my advice [laughs], but this is something that I do and it works nicely for me. 15. Scanning & Taking Pictures of Your Work: Unfortunately, I can only demonstrate how this works on a Mac, but I do know that scanning on a PC isn't too dissimilar. Anyway, I've got my artwork on my scanner already and it's automatically doing an overview scan. It's set to black and white, which is what I want since this is just line work. You want to set it to a higher DPI or resolution. Generally for scans, I think 300 and up is what you want to go with, so that it's nice and big and high-quality. Then I'm clicking the Use Custom Size option, so that I can adjust the scanning box to my liking. Then from here, instead of having it scan to your desktop, you can scroll down and click Other, and choose a specific folder for it to scan to. So I'm just making a new folder for this project, then click Choose, and then underneath that you can also name your scan. You can also scan individual pieces by just drawing a box around each element. When I open up the folder I scan them to, you can see that it separated out each element. If you don't have access to a scanner, you can take photos of your drawings as well. I made sure I had good lighting and took this photo with my iPhone. You may end up needing to lighten the background in Photoshop if your lighting wasn't good enough though, so if you can get access to a scanner, I recommend using one. But as long as what you're vectorizing in Illustrator is a JPEG or PNG, it doesn't matter if it's a picture or a scan. 16. Vectorizing Your Artwork: Now that I have my artwork on my computer, it's ready to be brought into Illustrator. There's a couple of different ways you can do that. You can drag and drop like so, or you can hit Shift Command P to place your artwork. You select them, hit "Place" and then you can drag and drop to the size that you want. Once that's done, we're going to use Image Trace to vectorize them. If you don't have Image Trace setup, just go to Window, Image Trace, and it will show up outside like this. Then you just drag it over and slide it in like so. If something is not showing up in Illustrator, 9 times out of 10, you can find it under either View or Window. Select your scan and then in Image Trace, there's a Presets drop-down menu. For line work, I'll like to use the black and white logo preset. If you click "Advanced," it brings up a whole set of controls that you can play around with. I like to adjust the Threshold, or thickness, as well as Paths and Corners. The higher the paths percentage, the more detail it's picking up and the rougher your line work will look. If you lower the corners percentage, it becomes smoother. I also like to make sure Ignore White is selected. I like to try clicking Snap Curves to Lines and seeing what that does. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not entirely sure what it does, but sometimes I prefer how it looks with it selected, so I always try it. This looks good to me, so I'm ready to hit Expand. Expand turns your trace to scan or photo into a vector object or grouped vector objects. You can right-click and ungroup it, and then use the Lasso tool or Q on your keyboard. The way that I remember this shortcut is that the symbol for the Lasso tool, looks a bit like a capital Q. Anyway, you can use it to select a group and then hit "Command G" to group each individual section. I want to show you what it looks like to image trace a well-lit photograph. I have the photo that I took with my iPhone. Even though I have this selected, when I click on Image Trace, it's not allowing me to use it. This happens sometimes and I'm not sure why. The fastest way I've found to fix that is to just double-click your screen to enter isolation mode and then Image Trace works. You can leave isolation mode by double-clicking on the background workspace when you're done. Anyway, it looks like I need to up the threshold quite a bit. Okay yeah, I expected this to happen. This is happening because there is a bit of shadow in the photograph and image trace is just picking up on it. I'll bring the threshold down a bit looks like the sweet spot is about 227. I'll click Expand. Now I want to get rid of the extra bits created by the shadows. If I double-click on this to enter isolation mode, I can use the Lasso tool to select the pieces I want to get rid of and delete them. I actually like that these look a little messy and sketchy. Sometimes it can be fun to try image tracing pencil or rough pen work. It doesn't always have to be clean black lines. But you see what I mean about scanning things if you can, because it can be tricky to avoid the sort of shadows you can get with photographs. With scanning, you most likely won't need to enhance your JPEGs in Photoshop in order to vectorize them successfully in Illustrator. Instead of image tracing everything, I also like to trace over some of my sketches with the Blob Brush tool using my iPad or Wacom. You can technically do it with a mouse too but it is difficult and there's no pressure sensitivity. I like to lock the sketch JPEG in place by hitting Command 2 or by going to Object, Lock, Selection so that I can trace over it without worrying about accidentally moving it. To unlock it, hit Option Command 2 or go to Object, Unlock All. In the 2020 and 2021 versions of Photoshop CC, there's now an option to click on the little lock symbol that shows up to unlock individual objects, which is pretty nifty. 17. To Expand or Not To Expand?: To expand or not to expand? That is the question. It's important to understand exactly what expanding does in order to understand when it's helpful or even necessary to do so. Here I have two identical lines created with the line segment tool, and below them are two identical lines created with the pencil tool. These are all lines and not vector shapes. Expanding lines created with these sorts of tools, turns them into shapes like the ones you can create with the blob brush tool or various shape tools. If I click on one of these and go to Object, Expand and click Okay. It is now turn this line into a vector shape like the blob brush creates. I'll do it again with this line. If you look at it in outline mode, which can be accessed by typing command Y or by going to View and Outline, you can more clearly see the difference here. If I create a circle and apply an effect. Let's do distort and transform and roughen. Now that I've applied that effect, you can see that the circle stays as circle, and doesn't match the rough shape itself. Because effects in Illustrator are just that, they are effects applied to objects. They are completely editable until you apply them, or rather expand them, apply them to this shape. I don't know, it's hard to explain. For some reason with effects you have to click Expand Appearance first, and then go to Object and Expand. I'm not actually entirely sure if you need to go back in and click expand, but I always do just in case. Now you can see that the anchor points match up with the roughened into shape. I'll click Command Y to view it in outline mode again. If you're unsure if you need to expand something, looking at it in outline mode is an easy way to tell if you want to expand it. If it doesn't match up with the shape and you want to expand it. Also, as far as I can tell, expanding something that doesn't need expanding doesn't really do anything. It won't hurt your document to accidentally or needlessly do it. It's good practice to expand things primarily because it keeps your documents cleaner. There's not as much information that Illustrator is storing, so it's less likely to be laggy. I've included a PDF that lists all of the times you need to remember to expand objects. You need to expand after applying an effect, after using the paint bucket tool, because it acts sort of like an effect, after using the brush tool, after image trace. This last one isn't totally necessary, but I like to expand things after I've applied a stroke to it, because I find it easier to work with shapes than strokes because it's easier to recolor everything if all of your shapes are shapes without strokes for one, but also for other reasons that you will probably pick up on the more you use Illustrator, but strokes won't make your document laggy, so you don't have to expand them. 18. Building a Simple Repeating Pattern: First of all, I have all of the motifs that I make for a collection saved in a separate document. Then I copy and paste the ones I know I want to use over into a new document where I'll build my pattern. I tend to start with a square. Then if I find that a rectangle will work better down the line, I will edit it. But I will usually start with something like an 8 by 8 inch square. If I know I'm going to be building a complex hero pattern, so the main hero pattern of a collection, which are generally the largest in scale, I may start with a bigger square, like 12 by 12 inches. But because Illustrator is a vector program, it's relatively easy to resize things. The quality of vector drawings won't change depending on the size. They're basically infinitely scalable. So you really don't have to worry about the resolution quality or size in the beginning. If you're used to working in raster programs like Photoshop, where you do really have to think about resolution and size from the start, it's a pretty novel concept. I'm going to demonstrate how I resize patterns later on. The main thing you need to understand when it comes to creating a perfectly repeating pattern tile is that everything that crosses the top needs to be duplicated down to the bottom exactly and everything that crosses one side needs to be duplicated to the other side exactly. Then you can place everything within the square anywhere you want, as long as the motif doesn't overlap an edge. Since I know that my square is eight by eight inches, I need to duplicate this motif over to the right side by eight inches. To do that, select the motif, click Return on your keyboard or Enter if you're on PC, to bring up the move menu. Under position, since we want to move this motif horizontally to the right, type in 8 inches next to horizontal. Then we don't want to move the vertical positioning of the motif at all, so that needs to stay at zero. Unchecking and rechecking Preview makes it so that you can see the movement. It looks good. Then instead of clicking OK to move it, we want to click Copy. Now, this motif has been copied perfectly across to the other side. When I hit Return to bring up the menu, I want to type 8 in vertical and 0 in horizontal and click Copy. Now that's copied down 8 inches. I'm clicking and dragging this jack-o-lantern while holding down Option to duplicate it and I'll hit O to reflect it and position it somewhere overlapping the bottom of the square. To move a motif from the bottom to the top, hit Return. Then all you have to do is add a minus sign in front of the eight in vertical. So a positive number will move the object down and a negative number will move the object up. That's confusing at first because it's the opposite of a graph in geometry or algebra. Right? ...You would think it would be the opposite but it's not. Yeah. [laughs] Anyway, on the other hand, to move an object from right to left is exactly like a math graph. You know, a math graph. [laughs] So if I put a -8 in horizontal and a zero in vertical, it will copy to the left. A positive number will move the object to the right and a negative number will move the object to the left. Because the left side of a graph is the negative know? I'm probably just confusing all of you, but I promise you that you will use this so much that you won't even have to think about it anymore and it will become second nature to you, like, midway through your first pattern probably. I'm going to continue working on this simple little pattern and speed up the process for you a bit. Then I'll show you how to turn this into a pattern swatch. I think I want to do a simple diamond repeat with these two motifs, so I'll just delete the motifs I'm pretty sure I don't need. Here I used the Align panel. With all three cat heads selected, I chose Align to Selection and clicked Vertical Distribute Space. This repeat is pretty simple. I just want to do alternating rows of the jack-o-lanterns and cats. So I'm moving and duplicating the jack-o-lanterns over so that they're about equidistance from the cats on the opposite side. Instead of making more rows of cats and jack-o-lanterns and trying to align them properly to this existing square. I can instead get away with shortening the width of the square and turning it into a long rectangle so that there's only these three columns of motifs in the repeat tile. So I'm moving the right side of the now rectangle to about where the pumpkins need to overlap. Where the pumpkins overlap the rectangle on the left side is where I need to line up the right side of the rectangle on the right-hand side column of pumpkins. I hope that makes sense. I don't need to worry about it being super accurate yet as long as it's pretty close. Because now what I'm doing is checking the new width size of the background rectangle in Transform so that I can now copy the pumpkins over by the new width size. In this case, 5.1366 inches. Now I can just fill that new number in the horizontal window and copy them and I know they're copied over perfectly. Okay, what you need to do is unlock your background square and select it. Now, hit Command C to copy it and Command B to send that copy all the way to the back. With that copied square selected, give it no stroke and no fill. This no stroke, no fill box essentially indicates to Illustrator where the constraints of the repeat tile are, so that everything outside of the no stroke, no fill bounding box won't show up in the pattern swatch. For those of you who are familiar with clipping masks, it basically acts as a clipping mask for pattern swatches. It's really important that the no stroke, no fill box is on the very bottom of everything you want in the pattern. So if the background color box is beneath it, or even if a single motif is beneath it, it won't behave correctly. Once you've done that, select everything and drag and drop it over to your swatches panel, like so. Then you can create a rectangle, or literally any vector shape you want, and apply the pattern swatch to it to test it and see it better in its full glory. I like to adjust the scale to see the pattern better. You can right-click, Transform, Scale, and adjust it here. Be sure to click off of Transform Object so that it only affects the scale of the pattern. Or you can select the scale tool or hit S and use Shift Tilde to adjust it from here. The Shift Tilde shortcut tends to trip people up, including me when I first started trying to use it. The key to it is in the order. You select the shape, hit S for the scale tool. Then click within the object again to start scaling it before you hold down Shift and Tilde. You know how when you click and drag to make a rectangle, you can hold down Shift after the fact to turn it into a perfect square? Well, think of the scale within a shape shortcut in the same way. You can start dragging the scale before you hold down Shift and Tilde. The Shift Tilde will make it so you're only adjusting the pattern. The problem is that once you've managed to successfully scale the pattern within the rectangle, it switches to the Curvature tool because Shift Tilde is the default keyboard shortcut for it. Because I got tired of having to hit V to switch back to the Selection tool every time, I decided to just get rid of the keyboard shortcut for the Curvature tool. I just deleted it since I don't use it often enough for a keyboard shortcut to matter much to me. So if that keeps happening to you, that's why. You can also move the pattern within the shape by starting to move it and holding down just the Tilde key. That's pretty nifty. This looks okay, but I think I need to adjust the center cat head a little bit. It feels like it needs to be a little bit higher. You will almost definitely need to adjust your pattern multiple times before you're happy with the composition. For some of my most complex hero patterns, I literally adjusted them and created a new pattern swatch to test how it looked dozens and dozens...and dozens of times. What's a word for under a hundred but way more than a dozen. What I'm trying to say is you will get very familiar with dragging and dropping your pattern tile into the swatches panel. [laughs] Once you're done adjusting your pattern and you're ready to present it to the world. Make sure your background color layer -- not the empty no stroke, no fill bounding box, that needs to stay exactly where it is -- but make sure that the background color extends past the artboard on all sides. Or you run the risk of ending up with some weird rendering effects or a transparent line in the pixels at the edge of your tile, which is very annoying. But when you expand the background color past the artboard, it basically acts as a bleed and you won't run into that issue. 19. Building a Complex Repeating Pattern: Complex repeats don't necessarily have to have a ton of motifs. Sometimes even when a pattern only has a few motifs, the repeat can be tricky for various reasons. With this Christmas lights pattern that I made, there's only the one light bulb motif in different colors and then I think the little detail in the center isn't the same in all of them, but essentially it's just the one motif and then the chords. It almost feels like it should be a simpler repeat. My original plan for building the pattern was to place the lights in an interesting composition and then draw the chord after, following along with the lights. But about a third of the way through this, I realized, "Oh wait a minute, I'm going to have to make these chords repeat seamlessly too." So the way I was doing it wouldn't have worked and I had to rethink the process. For example, I placed this pink light and drew the chord coming out of it and then I copied the chord over to the right...and then from there I had to make the chord on this end work with the rest of the composition. Same with this one here and here and so on. The way that the lights were placed originally was very different to how it ended up because of the constraints of having to make sure that it can repeat. I also had to make sure that the lights weren't too close or bunched together in any spots. It was definitely a challenge, but it was pretty fun and I love how it turned out, and I would not have gotten to this particular composition had I not had to make it a technical repeat. It's interesting because sometimes being constrained by certain parameters can result in a better composition. This landscape pattern that I made called "Buzzing Meadow" from my "Harmony" collection was one of the more difficult patterns to compose. I knew I wanted heavily filled areas interspersed with some negative space, and I knew I wanted them all to connect with the smaller floral elements and the bees, but I didn't really know how I was going to do that. So I pretty much just winged it. First, I spent a significant amount of time assembling this big section of the meadow here. I copied over the flowers that overlap the left edge to the right and then added these flowers based on where the overlapping ones ended up. I thought it was probably a good idea to figure out how this section would look repeated. Before I moved on to building another patch of the meadow, I tested the repeat. I definitely made some adjustments to it. It did not work this well this quickly, but once I got it to this point and I was happy with how this section of the meadow was repeating horizontally, I started assembling the lower patch here, repeating the same process, but working from the right to the left this time. Before I even repeated the flowers over to the left side though, I tested it to see how these two patches of meadow were looking together. Obviously, there's a lot of missing parts here still. But I at least liked how the two patches were looking arranged kind of like how bricks are stacked, offset from each other. My # 1 tip for making a pattern composition work is to try arranging your motifs in either a faux brick or half-drop repeat, which I talk about a little bit more in a later video. Once I was finished with that section and I tested it, it was clear to me that the upper section needed another patch of meadow. So I assembled the smallest patch and tested it. Also, I'm pretty sure I must have moved this little patch of meadow a bunch of times before I was happy with the positioning. There were a lot more test pattern swatches than what I'm showing you here. Also also, I think I started adding the little pebbles and I guess ground cover elements at around this point because it was looking a little bit empty without them and I wanted to create certain shapes with the patches of meadow that I wasn't getting with just the stemmed flowers and that took just ages to assemble all of those tiny little shapes. So just keep in mind, these hero patterns can take a long time to assemble, and that's okay. As long as you have a little bit of patience and you just keep working at it, you'll make some really cool, beautiful stuff. Anyway, this is the point when I was like, "Okay, it's coming along now. I can see the finish line, I think it's safe to start adding the bees now." So how I did that was I built this dotted path plus the bee, then I copied it over to the other side and deleted everything that was falling off of the square which gave me this one dot on the edge. From that dot, I could build the rest of the path, knowing that it would connect smoothly with the rest of the dotted line on the other side. So then I built the rest of this path and did the same thing with the bees down here, testing the pattern multiple times as I went along. It clearly needed more here. So I added this bee path as well. I'm pretty sure I built the whole path up here at the top and then hoped that the path would copy down to the bottom. I was pretty sure I had room down there, but it probably didn't work at first. This is what I ended up with. Looking at this test swatch, there's still some connections missing. So I added these final bits in the corners. This little section here in the repeat is actually made up of all of the four corners. I did the same process of copying from top to bottom and side to side, testing and adjusting it. Lots of adjusting and trial and error that was worth it because I ended up with something pretty cool, if I do say so myself. I find this process really fun, actually. It's really satisfying to sort of slowly unfold a good repeat, but remember to periodically save your document as you go because you definitely do not want to lose any of that work. Also remember that every adjustment of a motif that's overlapping an edge needs to be copied in the motif on the other side. If you're just moving it, you can select both motifs and move them simultaneously. But if you rotate one, you'll need to delete the copy on the other side and recopy the newly rotated motif over. For example, I deliberately moved this motif and didn't move this one on the right. In the pattern, it looks off and we don't want that. You can fix the individual motif, of course, but what I do, once I'm fairly sure that I'm happy with the composition, I delete everything on the right side and everything on the bottom, and recopy them from the left to right and from the top to bottom. This way, I know that everything is copied perfectly and I won't run into any issues. 20. Adjusting & Testing Scale: Once you've got your pattern to a point you're happy with, testing the scale can be a little bit tricky. For me, the easiest way to get a good idea of the scale is to go to View, Actual Size, or it's Command 1 on your keyboard. I'm a little paranoid, so I usually get out a ruler to make sure it's actually the right size [laughs], and it always has been, so I really don't need to keep doing that. But I do not own a printer because I like to encourage happiness and a lack of strife in my household, and owning a printer has always been a source of frustration for me in the past. [laughs] I would rather take periodic trips to OfficeMax or the county library when I need to print something. But your mileage may vary, so you can try printing out your pattern on an 8.5 by 11" piece of printer paper, or whatever size is standard where you are, make an artboard at the correct size, slap a rectangle on it, apply your pattern, right-click Transform, Scale, and make sure that it's at 100%, and then go to File, Print, and print that artboard out. Then you'll have a tangible piece of paper with your pattern on it to scale. If you need to resize your artwork, click on the artboard tool, and then you can come up here to the control panel and change the size. Once again, this chain symbol means that you can constrain the proportions. You can also click the Artboard Options button to bring up an options panel for it. Unfortunately, it doesn't affect the artwork on your artboard, but now at least it has given me a better idea of where I need to size up the artwork. Click the selection tool to leave the Artboard tool. I'm going to make the background color match the no-stroke, no-fill bounding box so that it's easier to see as we match it to the artboard. I'll just delete the background color, select the no stroke, no fill bounding box, hit Command C to copy, and Command F to send it to the front, and then reapply the fill color. If you scaled your artboard up to twice the size or some percentage that's easy to figure out, all you have to do is select the artwork, right-click Transform, Scale, and then because I scaled this from a two-inch square to a four-inch square, I know that I need it to be twice the size, so I can put 200% This is off-center because of the artwork falling off of the edges, so I want to select it and move it as close to the artboard as possible. Now, I can select just the background color and no stroke, no fill box, and align them to the artboard using the align commands. Make sure that Align to Artboard is selected. To make sure that it's a perfectly repeating tile, you'll want to, once again, delete everything that crosses over the right side and everything that crosses the bottom and recopy them over and down. But because I made it line up with the artboard so closely, the change is so small that you really don't need to worry about moving anything in the middle of the tile that doesn't overlap an edge, you won't be able to see the difference. But the slight difference could show up on the edges if you don't perfect them, so I just like to air on the side of caution and recopy them. If you didn't scale up the artboard to an easy-to-figure-out percentage, you have to carefully scale it up to match the artboard as closely as you can. I'm just using the bounding box for this rather than the scale tool because I find it easier. You want to check the box to make sure it's at the right size that you're going for, let's say I just wanted to bring this up to three-and-a-half inches. Let's pretend that that's not an easy percentage to figure out. [laughs] I'm just going to check the box and make sure it's at 3.5, and it's really close, so I'm going to select the background color and the no stroke, no fill and transform them both to 3.5. Then I'm going to repeat the process I showed you before of copying from the left to right and top to bottom. Basically, if you get it super close that the difference is so small that it doesn't really matter if those motifs move that much, that's how I go about resizing things. It can be pretty tedious, but sometimes it's necessary, and I've successfully managed it many times, so I believe in you. Also, if there is an easier way to resize things perfectly to an artboard and align them, please let me know. I just don't know what that way is, but I am always open to learning new things. 21. The Recolor Artwork Tool: The Recolor Artwork tool has a ton of functions and I'm not going to cover all of them in this class, but I do plan to expand on it in my next class on designing in collections. I've also linked to a Skillshare class by another teacher that is dedicated to the Recolor Artwork tool under projects and resources. That said, I wanted to cover the most essential functions of the tool here. Select your artwork and click this color wheel symbol up here on the control panel. I don't know of anywhere else you can access the recolor artwork tool, so if your control panel isn't visible, just go to Window and click Control. Click on it, and... First of all, this is locked so you can click and drag one of the colors and it will drag all of them so that the hues stay harmonized, which is pretty useful. You can find some pretty interesting color ideas. You can also unlock it and then click and drag just one color. If you want to go back to the original colors, just click Reset at the top here. Then if you go to Advanced Options, it lists all of your current colors. This is perfect for demonstration purposes. For some reason, there's two dark greens listed, which means that I somehow accidentally selected and applied two slightly different dark greens to my artwork and the recolor artwork tool is picking up on them. Who knows how that happened, but you can drag and drop colors from the left side over to the right side to replace them. I'll drag this dark green on top of the other to replace it, so now these two greens are the same. You can't really see it in the artwork because they're so close in color, but it has been reflected in the artwork even though it's hard to tell visually. Click OK. Re-open the tool and now there's just the one color listed. That's one way to easily reduce the number of colors in your document. So that it's more clear how this works, if I click and drag the yellow on top of this reddish color, it automatically applies the yellow to everything that was previously red. I can change it back to red by dragging the left panel of red over to the right. If I drag the yellow over again and click OK to exit the Recolor Artwork tool...and open it back up, the red is gone from the list of colors. I'll just undo that with Command Z though. You can move colors around manually like this... ...or you can click this symbol here to Randomly Change the Color Order. This doesn't really work well with this pattern because when there's so many colors in a pattern like this, it can be hard to find random color combos where all of the hues work harmoniously. I think the background needs to be a dark color in order for the rest of these colors to work with it and I really only have the dark green in this set of colors, so I need to lock the background color so that it can't be changed. To lock a color, click the arrow between the two panels until it becomes just a straight line. It's still using the green as a color option for the other elements, but the background and everything else that was originally green can't be changed. If you have color groups set up in your swatches panel, you can click them to apply them to your artwork and flip through colors again with the new group. With a more complex pattern like this that has so many colors, it can be tricky to use this feature. It's most likely not going to give me a finalized combination of colors. But what it can give me, and what it did give me, was a better idea of the direction I wanted to go with the second and third colorways. I really liked the yellow ocher, mustardy color as a background here even though all of the floral elements aren't working yet. So I took that idea and then just re-color the rest of the floral elements manually and individually. You can also edit patterns that are applied to a rectangle with the recolor artwork tool. With a pattern like this where there's fewer colors, in this case five, you can pretty easily land on something that works well. I can seriously scroll through this endlessly. I HAVE scrolled through this endlessly. [laughs] It can be really hard to narrow down your colorways sometimes because it's so much fun seeing all the different color combos, a lot of which I would never come up with on my own. Just so you know, when you're using randomly change the color order to flip through color combos, be sure to stop on the color combos you like and save them because there's no way to go back to one, so you might just miss out on it if you keep clicking. I think this is pretty, but I feel like it needs one of the other colors that I have in my color groups. If you want to access a specific color that you have saved, you can do that by double-clicking on the color you want to change here on the right, which opens up a color picker menu and you can obviously change it from here. Or if you click on color swatches, you can access all of the swatches you have saved in your swatches panel, so scroll to find the color you want, select it and click OK Once you're happy with the changes you've made, click OK, and it will ask you if you want to save changes to the swatch group that you applied to it and you want to click No. So now it's shown up as a pattern swatch in the swatches panel in that new colorway. The Recolor Artwork tool is so useful and so much fun and you can really spend a lot of time with it. Like, sooo much time . [laughs] It's kind of addictive. But yeah, it's probably my favorite tool in Illustrator, honestly. Also, if you click on any of the three fill swatches, if you click and drag onto your workspace, a little green plus sign shows up and release and you can edit the actual pattern tile itself with those new colors applied. You can always access a pattern tile with all of the motifs and elements from a pattern swatch like this. Actually, THIS might be my favorite thing about Illustrator. I love that you can save patterns this way and just access them and edit them. I use it all the time and it's probably the number one reason why I use Illustrator over Photoshop [laughs], because you can't do that in Photoshop. Maybe not the #1 reason, but it's high up there in my reasons for preferring Illustrator. 22. Exporting Your Pattern: First of all, this may seem obvious, but for clarity's sake, when you save a document by going to File and Save or by hitting Command S, it is set to save it as an Adobe Illustrator file or AI file. When it comes to exporting your artwork as a JPEG or PNG, there are a few different ways to do so. One way is to use the Save for Web function. Go to File, Export, and Save for Web. The keyboard shortcut for it is Shift Option Command S, which is a lot to memorize but it's still useful to know. I'm going to turn the percentage up just so we can see this a little bit better. You can change your file format to PNG or GIF, although you don't need it for a static image. I know that dithering makes a GIF look more natural, I think, but I'm not sure how it applies to PNGs. I also don't really know what the numbers imply. I don't think the higher number necessarily means better quality. I've looked it up before and it was just a lot of confusing computer jargon. It flew into my head and straight out again. [laughs] But suffice it to say, I've used both PNG-24 and PNG-8, and I don't notice a difference. So take that as you will. PNGs make it so that you can have a transparent background as long as "Transparency" is checked. Howmstever, I want my background color. So I'm going to cancel that, turn on my background color. Actually, I'm going to click on this artboard to indicate to Illustrator that that's the one I want to save. Re-open Save for Web. It is default set to convert to sRGB, which is the color mode. RGB is the color mode you want to use for images uploaded to the web. If you save it as CMYK, which is the color mode for printing, the colors will most likely look off on screens. You can click here and resize the percentage or you can type in a specific pixel size. Because this chain symbol is locked to retain original image proportions, it automatically changed the height as well. You want to keep it selected on Art Optimized. Once you're ready, you can click "Save" and save it to a folder of your choosing. Save for Web saves your images at 72 DPI automatically, which is the preferred web resolution. If you want to save your work at 150 DPI or 300 DPI, you need to go to File, Export, Export As, choose the file format you want, save it to a folder of your choosing, and click "Export." Then an options panel pops up and you can save it at 150 PPI or 300 PPI. PPI is the same as DPI essentially. It stands for points per inch, I believe, and DPI is dots per inch. With a PNG, you can choose to keep it transparent or change the background color to white or black and click OK. If you've built your artwork on a huge artboard, sometimes Illustrator can't save it because it's too big. For pattern work, it really shouldn't ever need to be so big that you can't export it. You can safely just resize your artboard and the artwork on it if you really need to export it at a high resolution. I'll open up the folder I saved these to, and there they are. Now I have a lovely JPEG that I can show off online and a perfect repeat tile that I can upload to a print-on-demand site such as Spoonflower. Because I expanded my background color past the artboard, I don't have to worry about any transparent edges which can cause lines in your patterns if you don't expand it past the artboard. Be sure to do that when you're exporting a pattern tile for something like Spoonflower. You can also save files as a PDF from Illustrator. It's actually under File, Save As, but instead of an AI file, you want to choose Adobe PDF. Click "Use Artboards," so it knows to constrain it to the artboard, and you can select All or a Range of artboards by typing in 1-3 or what have you. There's a lot of different settings, but most of the time I just keep it at Illustrator Default and that seems to work fine. I have had a huge file before that I needed to compress, so I chose Smallest File Size for that, but it's rare that you'll need to do that. The last thing I want to show you is the Asset Export menu, which is really useful. I can't remember if it's in older versions of Illustrator or not, so I apologize to those of you using older versions if that's so. I created these graphics to go in my introduction video. Instead of creating a little artboard for each one, you can take grouped objects. This light bulb is made up of multiple grouped shapes, as is the smiley face, and just drag them over into the Asset Export menu. It automatically separates them based on their groups. You can double-click and name them. Click "Export Settings" and change the size to two times its size or three times, etc., or you can click "Resolution" and type in a specific resolution. You can change the format as well, but I want these to be PNGs. So I'm going to keep it at that. You can even save it at different scales by clicking "Add Scale." Make sure you're selected on them, so they've got a blue border, and then click "Export." Choose the folder you want to save them to, and there they are. This is a really nice way to save a bunch of graphics really quickly. 23. Common Mistakes & Concerns: Over the past six years, I've been a member of many different surface design communities, and I've found that there are some fairly common mistakes and particular concerns amongst pattern designers, especially new designers, and I wanted to address them here. I personally have made all of these mistakes multiple times and have had these same concerns myself. The first thing I want to address is stripes in your pattern. There are a few different things you can do to figure out if the lines are actually there and it's something you need to fix, or if it's just the way that Illustrator sometimes previews or displays patterns. The first thing you can do is simply to try zooming in quite a lot. If you see the lines at some zoom levels, but not others, then the issue is just Illustrator doing a bad job of displaying the pattern at certain zoom levels. If the hairline is still there, no matter how far you zoomed in the most likely reason for that is that the background color box and no stroke no fill bounding box are off. I purposefully selected the background color and moved it one pixel down and one pixel over from the bounding box so that it would create these lines. You really want to be careful not to move those boxes. I will often lock them so that I can't move them on accident until I'm ready to test the pattern. Because I always make my background color a little larger than the bounding box so that the color falls off the edges of my repeat, I pretty much never have this issue anymore. The final thing you want to check is if you accidentally applied a stroke to the background color box. In this example, I purposefully applied a one pixel black stroke to the purple background color, creating these pesky lines. To review, zoom in and out and if the line disappears, it's not there. Check if the background box and no stroke no fill bounding box are off by a pixel or more. And check if there's a stroke applied. The next thing I want to address is when you've created a pattern and you've created the no stroke no fill bounding box and you're ready to drag it over to your swatches and create a pattern tile swatch and...this happens. A lot of the time it's simply because you have the boxes in the wrong order. In this instance, I've accidentally placed the no stroke no fill bounding box on top of the background color. The no stroke no fill will not act as a bounding box for the pattern tile. Illustrator won't be able to read it correctly unless it's on the very bottom. You can tell that you're selected on the correct square by looking at either of the color swatch fill and stroke panels. As you can see here, this indicates no stroke and no fill. So all you have to do is move the bounding box to the bottom, select everything again, drag and drop...and boom. This has only happened to me once, but I know that a lot of people have run into this issue as well, where the bounding box is at the bottom, you've deleted it, and recopied it, and it doesn't appear that you're doing anything wrong. But it's still not working the way that it's supposed to be. In those rare instances, it's most likely an Illustrator glitch. My guess is that it happens when it's a bigger file and the program becomes a bit overwhelmed, maybe. I'm not sure, but basically what you have to do is rebuild the pattern. When it happened to me, I created a new doc altogether and then created a new background rectangle and bounding box. Then I copied all of my motifs from the first document over into the new document so that I wouldn't have to recompose them and that worked for me. If that still doesn't work, take a screenshot of your first document so that you'll at least have a blueprint to follow when rebuilding the pattern from scratch. Then copy the motifs one at a time over to a new document. Next up is when you accidentally fill a shape or group of shapes with a pattern. When I'm testing a pattern and making the final edits to the composition, I go back and forth like this quite a lot. Sometimes I'm in too much of a hurry because I forget to deselect all of the objects and reselect the test rectangle before clicking on the pattern swatch to test it and that ends up applying the pattern to a group of objects. Doing that takes a lot of juice, apparently, because it always causes both the program and my computer to lag and sometimes causes Illustrator to crash altogether. Because I guess it just cannot handle the amount of work you're trying to make it do, which can be pretty frustrating, so just try to remember to deselect and reselect the correct objects. I mentioned this briefly before, but I wanted to include it here as well. I see a lot of beginners struggling with the Direct Selection tool. Often someone will accidentally select multiple points when they either want to select the entire object or just one point. Generally speaking, when you want to select an entire object, it's easiest to use the selection tool, or V on your keyboard. You can select an entire object with the Direct Selection tool, or A on your keyboard, by clicking once somewhere in the center of an object. But using the black-arrowed selection tool makes it so that you won't run the risk of accidentally selecting just one point or multiple points. I think what happens is some people will use the Direct Selection tool, the white arrow, to try to select multiple objects by dragging over them, like so. But it only selects portions of the objects. You want to use the selection tool, or the black arrow, to select multiple objects by dragging over them like this. Just remember, if something weird is happening with the points, it's probably because you're using the Direct Selection tool when you should be using the Selection tool. Always try undoing the move you made with Control Z and switching to the correct selection tool. If you want to manipulate just one or multiple points and not an entire object, that's when you use the Direct Selection tool, or the white arrow. The next issue is probably the most common thing I see in new designers' work, which is an apparent grid in repeats. It's okay to have an obvious, clear repeat as long as it's intentional. I actually really like diamond repeats myself, so I use them quite often. It's okay because diamond repeats are meant to be noticed. Whereas if you're going for a design in which you don't want the repeat to be immediately apparent, like in a tossed or scattered all over design, for example, you want to try to hide it as best as you can. With experience, you start to recognize the patterns, pun very much intended [laughs], and placements of motifs that cause this visual issue and you're able to avoid it more often. However, I still run into the issue myself a lot, but luckily, I am much better at spotting it now. This happens sometimes because the repeat square or rectangle is too small for the motifs and there's not enough space surrounding the primary motifs to hide the fact that it's a block. I'm not talking about negative space necessarily because the space surrounding the primary bigger motifs can be filled with smaller motifs and it can still look like an apparent grid. For example, I made this super filled in complex pattern tile. As you can see, there's almost no negative space here at all. The repeat originally looked like this. You can see the grid and it just doesn't flow as nicely as it should. It doesn't look intentional. Eventually, after a lot of time consuming tweaking, moving things around, filling in spaces that I felt were creating the grid, breaking up some of those spaces with bigger motifs, etc, I was able to bring this. Now it's not so immediately obvious that it's a repeat. If you look closely, you could still see the repeat by connecting the bigger motifs, like this one here, but it's still hidden enough that it's not jarring or visually unappealing. Aside from the tweaking that I already mentioned, a good way to fix this issue would be to make sure to copy motifs and replicate them in other places in the same pattern a little bit differently, so rotated, reflected, resized, etc. This can help trick your eye into not noticing the repeat so quickly. Something else I like to do is to make a half-drop repeat. Or actually I usually make a faux half-drop repeat because I find making technical ones a little more work than it's worth because it takes math and I don't like math no matter how easy it is. [laughs] Making faux half-drop repeats works just as well for me. With this pattern, first of all, I used the Pattern Make function to help me out with this repeat because I was having trouble with making it work. When the pattern make function makes a pattern tile for you, it automatically gets rid of the elements that don't overlap the actual repeat tile, as defined by the no stroke, no fill bounding box. That's why these motifs are broken up in the way that they are. I usually like building my repeats manually from scratch, but I was feeling pretty stuck here and the pattern make function helped give me a base that I could then tweak to my liking. Anyway, what I've done here is I've placed the gingerbread men in the four corners and then I also have one more in the center widthwise and about halfway in between the other four gingerbread man lengthwise. It's not technically a half-drop because it's not perfectly centered and it's also rotated differently from the others. With half-drops, it's the same motif copied just halfway down. But this fifth gingerbread man is meant to break up the rectangle in the same sort of way and create a triangle or diamond repeat within the tossed repeat. I also did it with the cocoa mix tins. This tin over here is about halfway in-between the others give or take. This is the original repeat that I made. It looks far more stripe-like than I wanted it to, so all I did was I rotated the tins a bit and that alleviated that issue. However, while I do think that the faux half-drop effect with the gingerbread men is working here to break up the pattern, I still didn't like how obviously repeated the cocoa mix tins looked. Another thing you can do is change the color of a duplicate element. Just changing one of the tins to red, I think, helps a lot. I also did that with the hot chocolate mugs. They used to all be pink and in this final repeat, some of them are light green. To review, things you can try to hide grids. Sometimes just rotating existing motifs a little so that they're tilted is all you need to do. You can make your repeat tile bigger, giving your motifs more room, whether that includes more negative space or not. You can copy motifs and replicate them differently, so rotated, reflected, resized, recolored, etc. Or you can try a half-drop or faux half-drop style pattern repeat to break up the square repeat within a tossed design. One final thing I want to address is a conundrum that traditional artists who love texture struggle with a lot. I see it pop up over and over again in the various pattern design communities I've been a part of over the years. People really want to figure out how they can utilize their traditional mediums or existing textured styles in Illustrator in a satisfying way for them. I struggled with it myself. How do I keep the integrity of my traditional work using Illustrator? The unfortunate truth is that it's just not possible to keep every detail once you vectorize something. There isn't much point to vectorizing a complex watercolor painting, for example. Because what that does is it creates thousands of little vector shapes in thousands of different colors, which makes your documents super heavy and super laggy for one. A big part of the appeal of Illustrator is that it makes it easier to limit colors and keep things graphic and organized and clean even when you add textures and make your vector illustrations look a little more hand-drawn. If you have a more complex watercolor, where you're unwilling to sacrifice any of the quality, at that point you might as well just bring it into Photoshop instead, which is a raster or pixel-based program where you won't lose any of the detail. I'm not an expert on this, but I think part of the reason why Illustrator and vectors are so popular is that, as far as my understanding goes, I think having clean vector shapes makes the screen printing process easier. And a lot of industries still do screen printing. Whenever I go into a project where I know I want to eventually work in Illustrator, I have to go into it with the intention of vectorizing it. So if I'm using watercolors or gouache, I try to make simple motifs where the various elements are separate from each other. So like, flower petals will be separate from stems, for example. This helps to make the vectorizing process as smooth as possible. It's important that I work simply so that I won't get too attached to how they look traditionally. That way once I vectorize it, I'll be much happier with the results and be okay with the fact that it's just a watercolor-esque effect. I actually have a whole class on how I do this with gouache. Some of which would be repetitive because I demo how to use a bunch of Illustrator tools, but you can always skip those videos and just watch the relevant ones. Bonnie Christine also has a whole class on watercolors for surface pattern design that is really useful as well. I used to only work in Photoshop, but then I learned and fell in love with Illustrator and pattern making, and I essentially spent three years developing a style that works in Illustrator. I personally like the process of building patterns in Illustrator a lot more than in Photoshop. I find it easier and more streamlined and more fun. That being said, there are plenty of artists who use both Photoshop and Illustrator pretty regularly to create wonderful pattern work. Dylan Mierzwinski for one, Bari J is another. If you, say, love watercolors and you don't want to simplify your watercolor style so that you can bring it into Illustrator successfully, but you want to get your work on wallpaper or fabric, where limited color palettes are required, it is possible to limit colors in Photoshop as well. I've linked to some classes under the Projects & Resources tab, where you can learn how to do that and also where you can learn how to build patterns in Photoshop in general. None of this is meant to be discouraging. I'm not saying you absolutely have to use Photoshop if you have a painterly style. Just that figuring out the best way to use various traditional elements in Illustrator is a journey for sure and it takes experimentation. It's going to depend on your style, or styles, and what you feel works for you, but don't give up! There was a period where I really didn't think I could find a place I'd be happy with when it comes to vector-based artwork, but I did and now it's my favorite way to work. 24. Closing Thoughts: Now, it's time to create your own pattern and post it in the class projects. I'm really excited to see what you come up with! Once again, I linked to additional resources, including my recommended Skillshare classes, under the Projects & Resources tab. If you enjoyed this class, please leave me a review. If you want to stay up to date with what I'm posting here, don't forget to hit the Follow button. Stay tuned for my next class in which I'll cover designing in collections, and talk about the do's, don't s, and myths of pattern collections and surface design portfolios. You can also follow me @melissaleedesign on Instagram, or sign up for my quarterly newsletter on my website. Thanks so much for joining me and as always, I can't wait to see what you create.