Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design: Working with Adobe Illustrator | Bonnie Christine | Skillshare

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Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design: Working with Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Bonnie Christine, Surface Pattern Designer + Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro to Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design


    • 2.

      Welcome + Overview


    • 3.

      Painting Techniques


    • 4.

      Scanning our Artwork


    • 5.

      Time to Vectorize!


    • 6.

      Introducing Colors


    • 7.

      Choosing a Color Palette that WORKS


    • 8.

      Applying Color to the Motifs


    • 9.

      Layering and Building Motifs


    • 10.

      Making a Seamless Repeating Pattern


    • 11.

      Easily Recolor your Pattern (!!)


    • 12.

      Saving Images for the Web & for Clip Art


    • 13.

      Your Course Project + Next Steps


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About This Class

This course is designed specifically for the Illustrator looking to incorporate painted artwork and watercolors into their designs, using Adobe Illustrator. Whether you're a budding surface pattern designer or licensed STAR, you'll learn tips and tricks along the way that will help build your career (or hobby!) as a pattern designer. We'll start with the basics and advance to the most technical knowledge you'll need to begin making beautiful artwork.

 PLEASE NOTE: If you're new to Illustrator, be sure to take Intro to Surface Pattern Design and Surface Pattern Design 2.0 first. This course will assume that you're either competent in Illustrator or that you've taken these two courses first. :)


Watercolor artwork is everywhere, but it poses a unique dilemma for Illustrators. Traditionally, watercolors are a Photoshop users best friend, but this course will teach you how to make them work FOR you in Adobe Illustrator. I'll teach you how to paint with Illustrator in mind, scan and vectorize your artwork, make repeating patterns and color (and recolor!) them beautifully.

  • Gather the best tools for watercolor painting
  • Learn to paint with Illustrator in mind
  • Scan and vectorize your paintings like a pro
  • Limit the # of colors in your document
  • Build a repeating pattern with your artwork
  • Choose a color palette for your pattern that works
  • Learn to recolor your watercolor pattern with ease

This course is designed to give you all the technical and creative skills you need to start designing beautiful painterly patterns, plus my hope is that it will motivate and inspire you to start following your creative dream!


Below are a few of the tools that will be helpful in this course.


I am so excited to begin this adventure with you. Let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bonnie Christine

Surface Pattern Designer + Artist


Why, hello!

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

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

Love, Bonnie

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

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

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1. Intro to Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design: Hi, my name is Bonnie Christine and I am textile a surface patterns designer and I live in the Mountains of North Carolina. Everywhere I look, I see painted elements and watercolor and illustrations, artwork in all of our products.This has traditionally posed a unique dilemma for illustrators because achieving this effect using vectors can be difficult. Since Adobe Illustrator is the standard for so many industries, it's been my mission to make watercolors work for me in Illustrator. In this course, I'm excited to teach you how to take your watercolor artwork and vectorize it for use in Adobe Illustrator.This way, we can easily control how many colors are used in a document and make beautiful, seamless repeating patterns from them.I'll also show you how to color your patterns and recolor them with ease. Adding watercolor elements to your artwork will bring in such an inorganic, beautiful handmade feel to your work.Whether you're a budding surface patterning designer,a hobby designer or a licensing star, I think you'll learn some fresh tips and tricks in this course that will help build your career or hobby as a pattern designer. Let's get started. 2. Welcome + Overview: Hi everyone and welcome to class. This is Watercolor for Surface Pattern Design in Adobe Illustrator. I'm Bonnie Christine, from Going Home to Roost and I'm just so excited to have you. So I want to begin class with just a quick overview of everything that you can expect to learn from this course. First of all, we're going to talk about why watercolor? Why do we choose to use watercolor? Why is it a good idea to incorporate it into our artwork and our surface pattern designs? What are some of the traditional dilemmas? Why is this an important class to even have or take? Why do watercolors pose problems for traditional illustrators? We're going to go over some of my favorite tools for use in both illustrating and in watercolor painting. I'm going to teach you how to really paint with Adobe Illustrator in mind. There are some techniques that we can use early on to make our work in Illustrator a lot easier for us. We're going to learn how to take our watercolor paintings and optimally scan them for vectorizing in Adobe Illustrator. We're going to really focus on color in this class and how to choose a color palette that really works. We're going to learn how to build a technical repeating pattern and how to easily recolor that patterns once we have them built using watercolor elements. Then we'll also go over some common problems and some troubleshooting tips that might help you as you work with watercolors in Illustrator. So first let's go over why would it be a good idea to start incorporating watercolors in our artwork if it's not something that you've done traditionally, using Illustrator and vectors can obviously give beautiful results, but it's hard to bring in a really organic handmade feel to it at times because vectors are so straight lined. So bringing in watercolor elements really brings in this breath of fresh life into our work. There also popping up everywhere. They are on products and patterns, stationary fabric, and so much more. So why is it important to incorporate them? I think incorporating painted elements and watercolor elements into our work as illustrators really brings in a unique, fresh, and organic style to our work. It can be really difficult to achieve this style in Illustrator because vectors are so straight lined. But by using the techniques in this course, you can breath some new life into your existing artwork. Also, I want to let you know right off the bat that you did not have to be a traditional painter. I don't consider myself to be a watercolor artist, but I'll teach you how in this course, I can use simple watercolor painting techniques in order to bring them into my artwork. We're also going to go over how to paint with Illustrator in mind. So early on in the process, there are some ways that we can paint differently in order to make our work easier for us once we get our artwork in Illustrator. Traditionally, using painted elements and watercolor artwork in Illustrator has presented some dilemmas for Adobe Illustrator fans. It's the age-old battle between pixels and vectors and which one you prefer to work with. Photoshop fans obviously prefer to work in Photoshop, Illustrator fans love to work in Illustrator. Sometimes it's important that we work in Illustrator due to our industry or just our knowledge base of the program. So traditionally, Photoshop has been better at handling watercolor artwork and objects. But by vectorizing them and bringing them into Adobe Illustrator, we get to gain all of the benefits that vectors bring to us. These illustrations will be endlessly scalable. They won't lose any of their integrity as they get larger. We can easily control the number of colors used in our document, which can be really important depending on what industry you're working with. Then we'll also go over some tips on how to manage file size and keep those file sizes low so the Illustrator works well and smoothly. As I've dove into the world of using watercolors for Adobe Illustrator, I've definitely come across a few favorite tools and that's what I want to share with you now. My favorite watercolor paper to use is by Fabriano and it's a 100 percent cotton. The unique thing about this paper is that it's very smooth and there is no texture to it, which means that it scans in really nicely and doesn't leave us with a lot of background that we have to worry about. So no matter what paper you choose, make sure that it is a smooth, white background that doesn't have much texture to it. Brushes are pretty straightforward. I love this set by Grace Art. It just gives a lot of really nice round brushes in plenty of sizes to use in your artwork. My favorite paint for watercolor is Dr. Phil Martin's fine art watercolor. These are concentrated watercolors that you add water to and use to paint with. They really just push color beautifully and come in really vibrant colors. The last tool that you will definitely need for this class is a scanner. It doesn't have to be top of the line to achieve what we're going for. I use a Canon LiDE series. Mine is the 110. Though it's been discontinued, I think the 120 has replaced it and they're affordable and work really, really well. So make sure that you have a good scanner on hand. The last thing I want to touch on before we dive into class is that in case you've missed them I've taught two earlier classes on SkillShare for Surface Pattern Design and this course is going to assume that you've taken both of those. Intro to Surface Pattern Design will teach you everything about Illustrator from the top left pad, open the program, and how to start designing using all of the tools that are native to Illustrator. Then the second course, Surface Pattern Design 2.0, really dives into pattern design and working in collections and enhancing your illustrator skills. So this course might be considered more of an intermediate course and if you are new to Adobe Illustrator, I highly suggest you going to take my two first classes so that you get really comfortable in the program before we move on to this watercolor course. These two first courses are also where I really go in depth about my story and how I got to where I am today. So if you'd like to join me there, I'd love to have you in those courses as well. So without further ado, let's jump right in to painting with watercolors. 3. Painting Techniques: Let's dive right into painting with watercolors. Like I mentioned earlier, I do not consider myself a traditional watercolor artist, but I do love playing with watercolors and incorporating them into my Illustration work. There are a couple of things I've learned along the way that would really make it easier for us if we paint in a certain way before we get into Illustrator. A couple of things to keep in mind. First, the color is important. The initial colors that we paint are not that important yet. The thing that we're looking for is that really watercolor effect where we have really light areas of an illustration and really dark areas of an illustration. The best way to do this is to use vibrant colors and a lot of water, so you can push the water around to make darker areas and lighter areas of your illustration. The more single-toned or single-colored an element is, the less it's going to render like a watercolor in Illustrator. For instance, this top red flower that I'm working on in the middle here is really not going to register so much as a watercolor, not as good as the one on the bottom left where it's really got some of that concentrated bleed. My other favorite tip on painting, in order to make it easier for us later, is to paint our elements separately. If I'm doing a floral, I will paint the petals or the blossom separately from the stem, separately from the leaves, and even separately from the stamens. That way, we can scan them all in individually, control the amount of colors that we have in it, and then layer them once we get into Illustrator. Keep your watercolor elements separate if you know that you're going to be using them in Illustrator. This is going to be the number one thing that allows us to color and re-color our illustrations with ease. I'm just going to run through a couple of my favorite techniques and let you watch how I do some painting for the watercolor illustrations. In the next phase, we'll go right into scanning our dried watercolor artwork. 4. Scanning our Artwork: Now that we have several watercolor paintings that are ready to scan in and are dry, open the scanner dialogue box on your computer, place the watercolor artwork face down and hit scan. I can already tell that I'll have to run this scan more than once, but I have several tips for you to use while you scanning your elements. One of the most important things to do is to scan in each element by itself. That way, when we go to vectorize it, we can maintain the most control over our colors. If you'll come over to your settings, you want to scan in, in color and I choose millions out of resolution of 600 DPI. Really anything above 300 is going to definitely give us the effect that we want. You can most likely choose which folder you want your artwork to be scanned into and if you are able to do a image correction, I usually open it to manual and go ahead and do some of the work for us so I increase the brightness and the saturation just a little bit. The next point is crucial. What you want to do is scan in each element by itself. You should be able to draw boxes around the elements and this is going to bring them in each, on their own document. This one's overlapping, but I can still draw a square around it. Now it doesn't matter if a couple of pieces of artwork are overlapping in the squares as long as the main element is on it's own art board. That's all I'm going to get from this scan. I'll have to re-scan to bring in these two. Once I'm ready, I'll hit scan one more time and these will pop up on their own art boards. Now you can see that when I hop over to my pictures, I have each of these on their own, art board. I have one more sheet that I'll scan in for class and I've already put it on my scanner. At this point, I'll hit overview and it should have saved all of my settings. I'm on millions of colors at 600 DPI. Auto selection is off. I'm going to scan the center pictures. It's even saved my brightness and saturation. The only thing I need to do now is pick up the illustrations that I want to make sure that I have scanned in, which are going to be these two right there. Then I can go ahead and select scan and it'll just scan in those two pieces for me. You can see that if I pop over to my finder, both of these new scans are right there and they look great. Once you have all of your artwork scanned in, meet me in the next section where we'll begin pulling them into Adobe Illustrator. 5. Time to Vectorize!: In this segment, we'll learn how to start pulling our watercolor artwork into Illustrator and get it vectorized. I'm working in Adobe Illustrator, Creative Cloud or CC. Though, you should be able to use this technique in any version that you have of illustrator. The first thing I'm going to do is open a new document by going to File, New Document or hitting Command N on my keyboard. You can skip naming your document if you like, or you can give it a name. For this purpose, I have chosen a profile called print, and it's set up as a letter sized document and everything else, I mean going to leave just like it is. I'll select "Okay". Now that we have a new document open, we can start bringing in our artwork. If I come down to file, you'll see I have all of the scans that have chosen to use right here in this folder. So I'll select the ones I want to import and simply drag and drop them to my art board. They'll come in all shapes and sizes and really I'm going to leave them just as they are. I'm going to grab my first scan and drag it over to my art board. Now this is running up and down, so I want to rotate it. I'm going to hit R on my keyboard and rotate this to the right, holding down the Shift key to keep it in line. When I drop that, I can now scale it down just a little bit. So I hit S on my keyboard and hold down the Shift key as I drag in to decrease the size. The way that we're going to work with these watercolors is by using live trace. Typically, I'm not a huge fan of live trace unless what you're working on is something like this painting or a perfected black inked scan of one of your sketches, but for an application like this, live trace is great and also really the only option that we have. I'm going to hit B the black arrow tool and I have image trace over on the right side of my toolbar. If you don't have it, you can come up to window and make sure that image trace is selected. This is where you need to make some decisions. Primarily, how many colors you can have on your document. If you are in the paper industry and there's really no limit to the amount of colors that get printed, you can really choose to have as many colors as you like. Though you need to keep in mind that the more colors you have, the more difficult it's going to be to recolor. If you're in the fabric industry like I am or another industry that requires you to have a limited number of colors in your document, then this is where you need to set those boundaries. One thing to keep in mind is that it's easy to continue to reduce colors as you move in your document and more difficult to increase the amount of colors. You'll want to work with something that you know is the most amount of colors that you're going to want. Oftentimes, I'm limited to 18 colors in a document, which means that's 18 colors total. If I want a background color, colors for my flowers, different colors for my stems and leaves and again, different colors for say something like the stamen of the flowers, I have to take all of those into consideration. I think a good starting place for me would be six colors. I have all four of these on the same art board because they were all very similar in color. However, I could take this up to something like eight colors just to make sure that I get all the darkest and the lightest colors and then reduce as I need to go. I'm going to come up to preset, and they have 36 and 16 colors already saved as a preset. I'll just play around with this a little bit. I'll choose 16 colors just so you can see what that looks like and every time this warning is going to appear, tracing may proceed slowly. I'm going to select, do not show again and select Okay. You can see that 16 colors has really kept the integrity of our watercolor. Next, I want to show you something like 50 colors just in case your document will allow it. You can see the 50 colors and you can really almost not tell the difference in our actual watercolor painting and now the vectorized version. All you need to keep in mind is that if you do want to recolor your illustrations easily, the more colors you have, the more tedious process is going to be. I'm going to go back down to eight colors and that way I will be able to easily recolor them and reduce the numbers to six. My goal will be to reduce the numbers to six in each of them as we move forward. You can see here that, while I have lost some of the levels of colors, it still very much looks like a nice watercolor. This is what I'm going to move forward with for our illustration. Because I'm done, I'm going to hit "Expand" and right-click and select "Ungroup" and that way I can remove the background color. I'm going to select this one and the easiest way to make sure that I get everything that's that color is to also select everything that's the same color. I have that under Select Same Fill color. You can see that, that added just a couple of spots and I'll hit "Delete" and that gives us four flowers to work with later. Like I mentioned earlier, the colors are really not key at this point. If your colors aren't dialed in, that's going to be in a later segment and we'll learn how to recolor everything to where it goes together. At this point everything is ungrouped. One of the easiest ways to group these if squares aren't really getting all of it is to use the Lasso tool. The Lasso tool keyboard shortcut is Q and when you hit that, you can just draw around these with your mouse and hit Command G to group that way. That way you're not picking up random bits and pieces from other motifs on your board. Then I can grab all of these and move them to the side of my art board where I will come back and work on them in a little while. The next one I'm going to grab is this one. I'll hit R on the keyboard to rotate it and shift to keep it in line. These are some individual stamens that I painted separately. This way I can layer them on my motifs later once I have control of the colors. Again, these are all on one art board because they're all very similar color. I'm going to come in right to the six colors option. I think this looks great for what I'm trying to achieve. I can go ahead and hit expand, right-click and say Ungroup. Then I'll select the background color, come up to Select Same Fill Color, and hit Delete on my keyboard. That way I can come in with the Lasso tool and just group the ones that I know that I'm going to want to work with in a little bit. Probably this one and this one. That will allow me to grab these and move them over to the side of my art board again. Now I'll just clean up my art board from the scraps that I'm not going to be using. Next, I will want to do some stems and leaves. One limitation with the image trace is that you can only do one photo or scan at a time. It can definitely become a little time consuming. But this is the most time intensive part. Once you really get all of your illustrations scanned in and vectorized, then the building of the patterns will come quickly. I'll hit "Expand", right-click, "Ungroup", select everything that's this fill color. I know I won't need this, and these are leftover bits as well. I'll hit Q on my keyboard for the Lasso tool and come in and group these two stems. I'm going to zoom out here, that's Option Command spacebar. You can see that I've done several motifs, but I also have several scans that I'd like to still vectorize. I'm going to zip through vectorizing these very quickly and I'll let you watch in fast motion. I have all of the elements that I want to use in this course vectorized and reduced in colors. The next thing I want to do is quickly show you how to reduce the number of points we now have on our document just to try to maintain control on the sides of our document. Sometimes our document can get so large that Illustrator gets sluggish and so we want to try to stay ahead of that as much as possible. If I click on these, you can see that with my edges selected, there are tons and tons of vector points, that is necessary bit of using paintings and watercolors with rough edges in Illustrator. But one quick tip on how to reduce this just a little is to select everything on your art board. I'm going to hit command H to hide my edges so that we can really see what I'm doing. then if I come up to Object, Path and Simplify, it'll bring up the simplified dialog box. You can see that right now we have over 122,000 points. If you play with your curve precision, yours may be set to something like 50 percent. Of course, that's going to give us some unique results, probably not exactly what you're looking for over on your art board. But if you take this up to 98 or even 99 percent, chances are you're not going to be able to tell a difference. We've taken this down by nearly half. If I go to 98 percent, I still think that looks pretty good and we've taken it down by nearly a third. I'm going to select "Okay", and that will keep our document pretty manageable. In the next session, we are going to work on getting these colored in the way that we want, all cohesive before we move on to building our motifs. 6. Introducing Colors: Okay, we're back in our document and now it's time to start pulling in the color stories that we want to use for our illustrations. There's a couple of ways that I like to do this. First, you can always run with one of the color stories that you've scanned in for your artwork, so say you really like the colors in this illustration here. You can select it, come over to your swatches panel, say new color group. Name it if you'd like, select, "Okay". Now you've got the seven colors that were used in that illustration. Another way would be to manually pick out the colors that you want to use. So if I just wanted to have some boxes to color, I'll select M on my keyboard for the rectangle tool, and just come in and draw some squares. If I hold the Shift key down and we'll make a perfect square, I am just going to color it black for now, and I'll make some copies. Select the square, drag it over to the right, hold down Shift key to keep it in line and the Option key to duplicate it. Now if I want to repeat that action, I can hit Command D as many times as I like. Now you can select one and come in and use the eye dropper tool on the color panel to select the colors that you'd like. The key in selecting colors is to select a gradient of colors that gradually get darker and darker. You can play around to achieve that effect manually. Another option, I'm going to select these, drag and drop them down by holding the Shift key and the Option key to duplicate them, and I'll just make those black again. Is to select one, and if you have the Pantone swatches library available, you can open it. To do that, you come to Swatches, pull down on the small arrow menu, come to Open Swatch Library and select the Pantone book that you're using. Now these will only be available to you if you have purchased a Pantone book, and if you haven't, just don't worry about the step at all. But if you like, my favorite way to view pantones is, if you pull down the small arrow menu, you can sort them by name, which will put them in order of gradients. If I want to start with a really light green, I'll select that and I can scroll down to select a darker green, select the next one, and keep scrolling down to select even a darker one, and finally, one more, even darker one. Another, let's see if I want to do this again, I'm going to make a couple more of these using the same technique and I'll select them and color them black. Another technique would be to pull colors from the photograph, so I can easily grab a couple of photos that I've taken and pull them into my document to pull colors from those. This is some velvet ribbon that I purchased recently, and if I select one of my squares and hit I on my keyboard for the eyedropper tool, I could come in and start clicking around to find some shades of these colors that I want to use in my document. I've got some really nice greens and here, now these are not stepped out and gradients, but I'll show you in the next segment how to do that. Okay, I can delete those photos now. That should show you a couple of ways that you can start bringing in colors to your document. I'll meet you in the next section after I finalized my color pics and we're ready to start making color palettes. 7. Choosing a Color Palette that WORKS: I'm back in my document and I think I've made some decisions on the colors that I want to use and I've grouped them into two different color stories. We're just going to work with one for right now. I'm going to select the bottom one and move it out of the way. You'll notice that I've selected three colors for three different palettes. This is like a rosy pink for the flowers. This is a brown for the stamens and this is a selection of minty bright greens for the stems. I want you, when you're working with colors, to either pick two opposites that are light and dark or you can add a third one in that's middle of the range, or you can even add a fourth one in that's even darker. But to use this trick, they've got to be from light to dark and I would suggest from two to five colors. Like I've mentioned before, the key to making watercolors really work in Illustrator is using the step out blending of the colors. So the best way to do that is to use the Blend Tool. I'm going to select these top three colors and come up to Object, Blend, and select blend options. This is going to give you several options. You can do smooth color. Smooth color will make a blend of all the colors. But for this application, I want us to do specified steps. You can choose how many you want. This is going to be how many specified steps between each block. So I want three between each block, which will give me six or seven altogether. I'm going to select, Okay, then I need to come back up to Object, Blend, and select Make. Now this is going to make a stepped out version of these colors. For me, if I hit Command H to hide my edges, you can see that it's incorporated the lightest, the middle, and the dark. This will take the colors from the first one I chose to the middle one, and the middle one to the darkest one. It'll also work with this too or how many ever that you like. This is going to create a really beautiful blended palette of the key colors that I had chosen. One thing that you have to do after you do this though, is to, while it's still selected or if you've deselected it, click back on it. You need to come up to Object and expand it in order for it to come into its own unique squares. So you can ungroup it and that way you can pull out colors. I'm going to do the same thing for the next two groups. Though I'll show you something a little unique about this one. If you come to Object and go to Blend options and instead of specified steps to smooth color, select, Okay. Now come back up to Object, Blend, and Make, you can see that it's really blended it perfectly from one color to the next. Though the key to this, the trick to this, is that if I, with it selected, expand it, select Okay and right-click and ungroup it, you can see that it's really only made up of hundreds of squares. Now that it's ungrouped, I can come in and pull squares down of the colors that I really like and that's another way to achieve the same effect. So I'll just do that for this one. I think I'm trying to make a palette of eight or six, maybe one in the middle there. I can delete this middle group here and use this one for the stamens. However, I think I'm going to select those. I like the stepped out option just because it seems to be specified steps, it seems to work a little better for this application. I'll come back up to Object, Blend, and Make, that step those out perfectly and I'll come to Object, Expand to make that, right-click and ungroup. Now in order to use these colors, we need to get them over into our color palette. Just to clean things up a bit, I'm going to select everything I have over here and drag and drop it to the trash can. That way, I can make three new color groups for my flowers. I'll select the blush group, say new color group. I'll name this flowers and select Okay. Then I'll select second group, come to my folder and name this one Stamens. Then I'll select the last one, make a new color group, and name this Leaves. Now you can see I can delete these, I don't need those anymore, and now you can see how many colors you have in the group and if you need to reduce the number of colors that you're going to use in your document, you can do that pretty easily by just selecting one and dragging and dropping it to the trash can. If I want to keep under 18 colors in this document, I need to consider my background color, which will be one, so I need two groups of six and a group of five. So I need to decrease these colors a little bit. Now I have 17 colors that I'm going to use, plus I need to take into consideration the one from my background, and now I can begin recoloring my artwork one by one. I'll meet you in the next segment to get started. 8. Applying Color to the Motifs: We're back in our document and we're ready to start recoloring our artwork one illustration at a time. You do definitely want to recolor each illustration one at a time so that we can really have the most control over where our colors fall. I'll select the first one and I'm going to come up to the recolor artwork tool, select it, and make sure that the number of colors that is currently in the illustration are the same as I have in the group that I want to use. I have six colors in the flowers group, and I also have six colors in this particular illustration, which is perfect. I'll select that and you can see right off the back that it didn't recolor very well. You can use the randomly change color order button to flip through some options. But for watercolor illustrations, it's probably going to be easiest just to do it manually. What I want to do is match up the darkest hues and the lightest hues by manually dragging and dropping these colors in order. You can see that that has rendered much nicer effect. I'll select Okay, and move on to the next one. Again, this one has six so it's going to work out great. I'll manually reorder these trying to eyeball the difference in hues, I'm matching up the lightest with the darkest ones from prior and just zip through this. Now, this illustration ended up with seven colors and now I need to reduce it to six, the easiest way to do that is decide which two you want to merge and simply drag this color down to the one you want to merge in. If you do something that you don't like, you can drag this one back over. That way you can see which one is going to be affecting it the least. I think something like that is probably going to work best and if I select okay and reopen the recolor artwork tool, now you can see that I've merged those two colors, and now I only have six in that illustration. I'll select my flowers group and begin to manually reorder these. I think that looks pretty good. Move on to the next one. This one only has five, and that's fine as well, we'll have one leftover and start to manually reorder them. Now, if you have six colors and you can't see them all, you need to select new row and that'll bring up the one that you're missing. I'm happy with that. I'm going to finish up these flowers and I'll meet you back when we start on the statements. I have my flowers to where at least they're all in the same color palette, all of them have been reduced to a total of six colors and I'm ready to move on to some of the statements. I'm going to be using the darker color palette on these and I think that because they're so close and color, I may be able to do them all at once. I'm going to select the whole lot of them. There are only five colors, which is perfect because that's what I have in my statements color group. I can reorder these to where they are going to make the most sense right there. Then the next one I can move on to are the leaves so I'll select this leaf. I only have four in there, which is great. Its going to give us lots of options. Sometimes it's fun to play around, I think that one looks great and I'll select Okay. I'm going to go through and recolor all of my leaves and I'll meet you back here once those are finished. We're back and I think I'm happy with how all of these have been colored up. Now that we have them all colored in a cohesive color story, and they're all grouped and unified in a way that makes sense, we can start layering are objects and know that we can come back and recolor things with ease. Just to reiterate my point about how important this is, I'm going to just show you if I select all of these colors over here that we're going to use later, I'm just going to use them as an example right now and make a new color palette. If I select a couple of flowers and a couple of leaves and try to come in and recolor them the traditional way, then you can tell that they're really not going to make a lot of sense. They lose that watercolor essence because the colors are all jumbled together and they don't step out like they should. Which is why it's so important to make these unified color stories that are blended and go in and manually recolor them. This is the result that we get, so next I'm going to move on to building our motifs that we're going to make a pattern from. Then at that point, we'll come back and recolor using this other color way that I have over to the left. I'll see you in the next segment. 9. Layering and Building Motifs: Hey everyone and welcome back to class. Before we move on, I decided to go ahead and blend out the colors that I had to decide for the next color option. I used the blend option with three steps in between each of them. I'm just going to go ahead and make three color groups over here. That way we'll have them inside panel, and I can get rid of these colored blocks on my artboard and we'll come back to him after a while. Now I have those colors, I can select these and delete them from my board. My favorite way to work when it comes to building Motifs is to move everything off of my artboard so that I can pull objects back when I'm ready to use them. The first thing I'm going to do is make a bounding box for my repeat, which is also going to be the background to this pattern. I'll select M for the Rectangle tool. Instead of drag and drop, I'm just going to click my mouse and drop a point. That way I can manually input the width and height. This can be anything, but just to make it easy, I'm going make it 500 pixels wide by 700 pixels tall. Right now, it's this green color and I'm going to start with a nice neutral beige. I'll use my Eyedropper tool to come up here and select something that's a little cooler maybe. Just a nice off white. I like to use an off white rather than a stark white to really warm out my patterns and give them a base to work from. Next I'm going to lock this so that I don't have to worry about grabbing it unintentionally and dragging it around my artboard. To lock an item, I'm going to hit Command 2 on my artboard. That way this is completely locked, but I know the dimensions, 500 by 700. I'm going to start pulling over my Motifs. While I do this, I'm going to hit Command H on my keyboard to hide the edges so that you guys can really see what I'm doing. Next, I'm just going to start layering using the right click arrange to bring to front, or send to back. Here am going to zoom in, scale tool to really maneuver these around, and play with how I want these to be set up. This guy needs a stem, so I'm quickly moving between scale, rotate, duplicate. All of these are pretty standard Illustrator keyboard shortcuts. If you're not familiar with them, you can always refer to the keyboard shortcut guide. That's a free download with this course. If they're totally new to you, be sure to watch my first two courses where we go into depth about learning keyboard shortcuts. Once I'm happy with a motif, I'm going to select the whole thing and group it. That way I can move it as one object over to the side. This is where I was saying, it really is nice to have already considered these elements. That way, I can layer them. I'm going to move that back. I think that's cute. It makes building Motifs much easier. I want to keep everything roughly the same size so that it all makes sense when I go to make a pattern from it. Some of these elements I may not end up using, some I may end up using more than once. But the main thing is to keep a consistent look and feel to the work that you're doing. As you can see, I have two more flowers that I'd like to make, but I'm out of fresh stamens, so I'm probably going to come over here and reuse some that I've already used. This is all grouped, so what I'm going to do is double click it to go into isolation mode, select what I want, hit Command C to copy it, double click to exit isolation mode and then when I hit Command V to paste, it will no longer be grouped with the others. I'll send that back. One way that makes reusing Motifs easier is to recolor it and it's less obvious. You can also do things like rotate it, change its size. With this selected, I'm going to come to the recolor artwork tool, and choose my stamens guide and just come in and recolor it so that it looks completely different than it did before. Then I might also take, and reuse one of these stems. I'll double click to enter isolation mode, select stem and hit Command C to copy, double click off Command V to paste. I'm going to reflect it this time. The keyboard shortcut for that is O, and I'll reflect this just around itself and bring it in like so. I can also recolor this that way it won't look exactly like the other one, something like that. I'll select all those and group them. It looks like I just have maybe one more to play with and I'm going to really leave these two elements separate so that I can use them as fillers in the pattern. I think I want to take just maybe part of this that's grouped, but if I double click again and enter isolation mode two levels, I can select just half of it. Command C to copy, double click to exit, and Command V to paste. That way, I can bring them over and use them right there. I need to borrow one more stem from over here and I think I'll do this one, copy and paste it. I think this one, lets see, is also going to look better with some leaves around it. I'm going to come borrow some of these leaves, double click to enter, grab a couple of leaves, copy them, double click to exit and paste them over on my document. To zoom in and out on your artboard, the keyboard shortcut is Command Spacebar, then you can draw a marquee around where you want to zoom in. That way you can see you really up and close what you're working on. Then if you want to pop back out to the size of your entire artboard, you can hit Command 0, which will zoom you back out. Then I'd like to also recolor those, that set of leaves and stem. I'll select them, hit recolor artwork tool and this way I can just go through some different options here until I'm happy with something. Then I need to group all of this together and zoom way out. To zoom out, you hit Option Command, Spacebar and click. Now I have several Motifs and I can begin to build my pattern. That's where we'll pick up in the next class. 10. Making a Seamless Repeating Pattern: We're back in Illustrator and ready to start building our pattern with the motifs that we just finished. I'm going to select all of them and reduce them in size just a little bit. My plan for this pattern is just to make a simple and sweet floral that runs in all directions. I'm just going to start bringing in my motifs and placing them around the art board in a way that feels organic in movement and I've got this guy which is going to be really nice way to break up all the stems. I love making a tossed version of patterns so that it's not directional which means that when people go to use them for stationary or fabric, it doesn't matter which way they cut it or align it because the pattern is going to look good no matter which way you move it. I'm going to start to bring in this element which I think is just fun take on seeds as well as this one that we did and if I have holes, I can always come back and fill them in with leaves or something. But this is typically how I always start pattern. I have several elements that I've crossed over the left axis, so I'll select everything that crosses over the left side of my axis of repeating bounding box, I'll hit right-click, transform, and move. Now, I know that my repeating bounding box is 500 by 700, so I can manually put in 500 pixels to the right by zero up and down. Because I have preview checked, I can preview to see what that looks like. Now, because these were my originals, I want to make sure to hit "Copy" instead of "Okay" and that will make a copy for us. The next thing I want do is, I already have a couple that are crossing over the top and bottom axis. I'm going to select the two that cross over the bottom, right-click and come to transform, and move. This time I want to go zero, left and right and 700 up, so 700 up is actually negative in illustrator, so negative 700 points and I'll copy that. Now, this one, I need to move it down so it transform, move. This time it's positive 700. Copy. I already have my repeat working. Because I don't want the repeat of this pattern to be too obvious, I'm going to duplicate some of the motifs that have already used and place them around in order to hide the repeat a little bit. I'm going to make a copy of this by grabbing it and holding down the "Option" key. Then I can reflect it around, maybe decrease the size and place it somewhere else. I'm going to select this one, rotate it around possibly do that with it, maybe decrease the size of that one. Basically, all I'm doing is trying to fill in the negative space that I have and the best way to do this is by using the duplicate, rotate, and reflect tools. Now, I've gone over the excess there, so I'll hit "Transform", "Move", and positive 700. Now you can see I have a little bit of a conflict because those are touching, so I want to make sure to move this one so that they don't overlap anymore. Now, in order to fill in some of this negative space, I'm going to take some of my less obvious motifs, like the leaves and start placing those around. The best leaves I believe belonged to that flower right there, so I'm going to just grab them and make copies of them and place them around to fill in some of the negative space. When you're ready to check in on your pattern and see how it's looking, you can make a pattern from it. The first thing I need to do is unlock my background. I'll come up to object and select "Unlock all". Now my background is here and the first thing I need to do is make a copy of it by hitting "Command C" and paste the copy of it directly behind it by hitting "Command V". This is the key to making a repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator. The background box has to have an identical box right behind it that has no stroke and no fill. Now I can select everything that's on my pattern and simply drag and drop it over to the swatches panel. Now, I can draw a rectangle by hitting M on my keyboard and fill it with my pattern to see what it looks like. One really quick way to change the scale of this. If you've taken my other courses, traditionally I hit right-click transform, scale, and then you can scale your pattern. Check off, transform objects, and you can scale it just the pattern by say, 50 percent to check the repeat. I like where this is going. There's a lot of movement and I see some holes that I need to fill in here and there. But I want to cancel this and show you another quick way of changing the scale on your patterns. With this selected, I'll hit S for scale and I'll begin to scale this in, holding the "Shift" key to keep it in line and if I were to drop it now, it would just re-scale the whole thing but instead of doing that, what I want to do is hold the "Shift" key and also hold down the "Tilde key" and when I release that, it will have only scaled the pattern. The tilde key is the one to the left of the one, the little squiggly line, and it works for all kinds of things. I can also use the white arrow tool by hitting A on my keyboard and begin to move this pattern around and if I hit the tilde key, then it will only move the pattern inside. That's a great tip on how to quickly maneuver around your documents in illustrator. I'm going to come back over here and just fill in some of the holes, the negative space that I really want to fill in for this particular pattern and I'll come back in the next segment with a pattern that I'm ready to go with and we'll talk about re-coloring it. 11. Easily Recolor your Pattern (!!): Hi everyone. Welcome back to class. I have finalized my repeating pattern. I'm really happy with the colors and the movement in this pattern. In this segment I want to show you how easy it is to recolor our watercolors. This was huge for me because I'm sure as a pattern designer yourself, you tend to use the recolor artwork tool a lot. Just to reiterate my point, if I select this and start scrolling through a standard color option, you can see that it gives some really wild affects, none of which really resemble proper watercolors. These just don't work for watercolors and oftentimes make a really tedious job in coloring. But because of the way that we've set up our document, grouped our items, and colored them up to this point, recoloring them is going to be essential. I'm going to delete this color palette that I was using as an example. This time I'm going to recolor this using the bottom three color palettes that I made just like the top one. I could combine all of these and manually recolor it as a pattern. But I think the easier thing to do is going to be recolor my original repeat. Because this is a rectangle filled with my pattern, I'm going to select it. You'll see my repeating pattern right up here in the Fill box. What I want to do is move this over to the side and drag and drop my repeat fill back to my art board. This is going to give me access to the original repeat that we had just worked on in the last segment. I'm going to decrease the size of it just a little bit so that we can see all of it. Right-click and group this. What's going to work best for me now is if this document is set up slightly differently. We have all of our motifs grouped so that it would be easy for us to play some around our document. Now I want to recolor everything in groups of their colors. I basically need to take back the ungroup just by one step. I'll show you what I mean. If I select everything, I can come up to Object and select Ungroup. It will just take your groups back by one level. Now if I click off, it's not like everything is ungrouped, it's just remembered the last grouping that I had made. Now I can select all of the blush flowers. I'm just holding down the Shift key as I select these. Now I can come up to my recolor artwork tool, and when I select my second flowers color way, I can pretty easily manually adjust these to where the deepness of the hue matches up. The lightest goes with the lightest and the darkest goes with the darkest. Now you can see that instantly this color palette is working for me because of the steps that we've taken up until this point. I'll select Okay. Because I'm done with these, I'm going to hit Command 2, to lock them on the keyboard. Next, I want to come in and grab all of the stamens. Illustrator is remembering that I had those grouped prior to grouping the entire motifs. It is just pulling me back one stage of groups. Now I've got all of those selected and I can come up to recolor artwork tool, choose the greens. It has done a really good job of stepping them out for me. I'll hit select Okay. Because I'm done with those, I'm going to hit Command 2 again so that those are locked. Now, I can just draw a big marquee over my art board and deselect the background by holding down Shift. Now all I have selected are the leaves and stems. Now I can come up to the recolor artwork tool and use my leaves number 2, to change the color of these leaves. It looks like I may just need to change that one there, and these are looking pretty good. I think we were good before. I'm going to unlock everything on my document by going to Object and Unlock all. You can see that pretty quickly, we recolored our watercolor art print entirely. It looks really great. I'll drag and drop it over to the swatches panel, and move over here. Make a copy of this one, and then fill it with our new pattern. You can see two color options that look really great. You could change the background color, you can go wild with this. But in a nutshell, those are my tricks on coloring watercolors and easily recoloring them. Be sure to join me in the next and final segments so that we can talk about the next steps in surface pattern design. I'll see you there. Bye. 12. Saving Images for the Web & for Clip Art: Before we end the class, I wanted to offer just one more video on some tips that you can use in saving your images for the class project, and also teach you how I like to make clip art images just for fun in case you'd like to do the same with your watercolor artwork. First, I just want to go over what I think the best way is to go about saving your images for your class project, and really for the web in general. This is how I save images for everything from blog posts and Instagram posts to things like our class project. What I'm going to do is use this pattern right here to show you, and I'm simply going to make a copy of this on top of itself by hitting ''Command C'', ''Command F''. You can't really tell, but there's now a copy on top of it, so I'll ''Command Z'' to undo that. What I want to do is just make this into an artboard all by itself. With it selected come up to Object, Artboard and Convert to Artboard. Now, if you are working in CC, there is a new feature under File, Export Export for screens. I'm going to show you how to do this even if you don't work in CC, but if you are in CC this is a new feature. You can select which artboard it is that you want to export, and instantly here export it as a PDF, or a PNG, or a JPEG. I'll export this as a PNG, save it to my desktop and then select "Export Artboard", and instantly it has popped up on my desktop. The other way that I go about doing this is to do the same steps I just walked you through by changing this to an artboard, but then I come up to File, go back to Export and you Save for Web, or you can use the keyboard shortcut for this, which is Command Shift Option S. That's a pretty long one, but I always use it, so I oftentimes use the keyboard shortcut. You'll have a lot of presets over here on the right-hand side, and I typically export in PNG-24 or JPEG High. I'm going to select PNG-24, I'll check off transparency for this, and the neat thing that we can do here is change the width and the height. For Skillshare Projects, the optimal width for your project images is 700. You can just manually type in 700 pixels right there and automatically we'II resize it for you, and because we're working in vectors it won't have lost any of its integrity. If the thing is that yours might be set to type optimized, and if that's the case you can barely see it here. Let me see if I can zoom in. You can see there's vertical line right here on my pattern, and that will render itself as a line through your pattern. This line doesn't really exist, it is just there because of the way the Illustrator renders patterns, but it creates an unsightly line through your patterns. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you're on Art Optimized and instantly the line disappears. This is also a great way to test whether you do have a line in your pattern or you don't. If it goes away when you select Art Optimized, you can rest assured that the line doesn't really exist, and if you were to get this printed on fabric or a paper, you wouldn't have a line in your artwork. From here, I'll just select "Save", name it as watercolor class and hit "Okay". That image will be ready for you to upload straight away to the web, and especially your project. Another thing I wanted to talk about in this course which is really just for fun, is how I like to save clip art images, and I think that watercolor illustrations are the perfect place to do it. To illustrate this, I'm just going to use some of the motifs that we already have, and I will just select everything on my artboard and move it over to the right. For instance, say I want to bring just this one motif over to my artboard, I can change the scale here if I want to. The way I'm going to do this is draw a custom artboard, so I'm going to select the rectangle tool by hitting "M'' on my keyboard, and it's pretty easy to eyeball this with your smart guides on. I'm just going to draw a rectangle around this illustration. To change this square into an artboard, I'll come up to Object, Artboard and Convert to Artboards. Really without touching anything, I can hit "Command Shift Option S" to bring up the save for web dialogue box. I'll change this to PNG-24 and this time transparency is checked, this means that when I save this image will have a transparent background instead of a white background. If this was unchecked it would have a white background which would make it difficult to layer, but if I check transparency it'll have a transparent background. I can change the width to increase the size quite a bit, and I think that looks like a great piece of clip art. I'll hit "Save", I'll save it as clip art, so I don't need that anymore. Just to illustrate my point, I can drag an image over to my artboard and then find my clip art image and drag it over to my artboard, and you can see that it will layer right on top of the photograph with no background. That's how you would use clip art, It's great to use on blog posts and to sell on Etsy and Creative Market, and all uses for clip art like that. That's just a fun little extra that I wanted to share with you. In the next segment we will talk about more details with your class project, and also the next steps that you can take towards becoming a surface pattern designer. I'll see you there. Bye. 13. Your Course Project + Next Steps: Hey everyone. Welcome to the very last segment of class, and congratulations on finishing watercolor for a surface pattern design. Before we're in class I want to take just a minute to talk about your student projects and some next steps that you can take in your journey to surface pattern design. For this class, your assignment is to create a single repeating pattern from your paintings. Your final pattern should be complex, seamless, and engaging. Take plenty of time to learn the fundamentals of Adobe Illustrator first, and then carefully paint and construct your pattern. Be sure to choose a color pattern that is unique and engaging and I know your final pattern will be stunning. When you're ready to upload your process and final pattern to the student project gallery, your project should include, your inspirations for your pattern or a mood board, a snapshot of your original paintings, even just a cell phone picture will work there, two color pallets or themes of colors that you'd like to use on your pattern and of course, your final repeating pattern. If you'd like to upload two different color options for your pattern, that would be great as well. We would love to see them. I always say the secret to getting ahead is getting started. Truly getting started is always the hardest part. If you're like me, you feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and it's really difficult to think about all the things that you'll have to accomplish. But one thing that I have found to be really helpful is just to break them down and start doing one thing at a time. Because the very next step is usually clear to me. So try not to get ahead yourself and think long-term, and just start doing one thing every day. If you feel overwhelmed by trying to paint, just start by buying paint brushes and getting the materials that you need. Then the next day maybe get everything set up and then the next day, just with no pressure on yourself, start putting some brush strokes on a piece of paper and just see where it leads you. If you get started, I promise things will start to roll and you'll always know what to do next. If this class did leave you feeling a little overwhelmed or maybe lost on Illustrator, I just want to quickly refer you back to my first two courses here on Skillshare intro to surface pattern design and surface pattern design 2.0. These courses are really going to teach you from the ground up what you need to do and learn in Illustrator. We'll start with opening the program and setting up our workspace. Then going through every single tool that you'll need for your design, for designing on Illustrator and then move on to some of the more advanced techniques on Illustrator that will help you with your design work. So be sure to meet us in those classes as well. Once you've finished those, you might also be interested in my design, print, and bind your own creative portfolio class. This class is not only going to teach you how to build your own portfolio, but also how to really take the next steps in pursuing a career in surface pattern design, how to contact companies, what that looks like, and things like that. One final great resource for you is the Roost Tribe. I want to invite all of you to come join me and my membership called the Roost Tribe on my blog, Going Home to Roost and I will in class with a short video that I made to tell you more about it. Again, thank you so much for being here and I can't wait to see you around Skillshare. Bye. The Roost Tribe is a rich resource of design materials, teaching, and business help for creatives of all kinds. I began the Roost Tribe in 2012 after being inspired to create a special place where I could share what I've learned on my journey and pass along the secrets to my success. I dreamed of a resource that can teach others exactly what I'd taken me years to learn. It's a place where I can express my creativity to its fullest. I share industry insights, pattern collections, Adobe Illustrator tutorials, sewing patterns, and even my favorite recipes. I'm Bonnie Christine, a surface pattern designer, teacher and founder of Going Home to Roost, come join the Roost Tribe and let's see where inspirations will take us together.