Surface Pattern Design meets Adobe Draw: the iPad and repeating vector patterns | Skillshare Projects

Elena Wilken

graphic designer & illustrator



Surface Pattern Design meets Adobe Draw: the iPad and repeating vector patterns




My Skillshare Class Outline -


updated class info ::



Surface Pattern Design meets Adobe Draw -
How to create vector repeating patterns using your iPad



Want to design a repeat pattern, and create most of the vector art on the go, not tied to your computer desk?

Learn how to create graphic elements and motifs for your repeating patterns on your iPad, using the Adobe Illustrator Draw app. Being able to create painlessly your drawings, while sitting in your favorite coffee shop or on the couch while the kids play nearby, might bring the same sense of freedom and spontaneity to your workflow that it brought for Elena’s.

Design alongside graphic designer and Illustrator Elena Wilken as she shares her workflow and behind the scenes tricks and tips on how she creates her surface pattern designs, using the Adobe Draw app on the iPad Pro, and watch how she takes the iPad vector illustrations and creates her technical repeats in Adobe Illustrator.



The class is broken into step-by-step lessons that clearly explain Elena’s creative process and workflow from before opening the app, to the final pattern.

You’ll learn about:

  • Brainstorming, deciding on a theme and gathering reference material and inspiration
  • Using the results of your brainstorming to sketch preliminary ideas
  • How to use Adobe Draw to trace over your sketches or simply draw freehand
  • How to refine your motifs and work with multiple layers
  • How to send your drawings to Illustrator and continue your work on a desktop
  • How to design a pattern block and create a seamless repeat.

While a basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator is very useful, the step-by-step explanations should help every student take the motifs created on the iPad in the Adobe Draw app, and create a technically repeating pattern.

For extra help and in-depth look at Adobe Illustrator and its tools, please refer to the links and resources included in the attached class file download (other extremely helpful Skillshare classes and extra outside resources)

This class is perfect for designers, artists, digital or traditional media illustrators, and crafters, looking to expand their skills into surface pattern design. You can use your pattern to create desktop and smartphone wallpapers, an art print, printed fabric, printed wallpaper, stationary… the possibilities are endless, really!

Keep in mind that your patterns can be as engaging, rich and complex in motifs, or beautifully striking in their simplicity, as you choose them to be. Art is an extension and expression of our soul, of how we each see the world. No two patterns will be the same, even when they follow the same thematic.

Embrace fully the freedom that creating away from your computer desk brings, and let your mind - and your Apple Pencil/stylus - run wild and free!

I am so excited to share my workflow with you and see what you all come up with in your class project. Let’s get started!



  • iPad Pro & Apple Pencil*
  • the Adobe Illustrator Draw app* (download the free up here)
  • Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud (begin a free 30-day trial here)

Optional Tools:

  • Pencil(s)
  • Sketchbook
  • Scanner

*While the Adobe Illustrator Draw app is available and enables you to create illustrations on your iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, or android smartphone, the screen casts in this class show Adobe Draw on an iPad Pro. The user interface may variate between iPad, iPad Pro, iPhone and android devices.








I've always turned to traditional mediums and processes to create the illustrations and lettering I've used in my greeting cards and commercial work. Over the last year, I've been creating the vector illustrations and lettering digitally, in the Adobe Draw app. I feel like this has saved me a lot of time and brought a sense of freedom and spontaneity to my workflow.

While at first I had reservations about working digitally (I didn't want to lose the hand-drawn feel of the artwork), I've fallen in love with all the possibilities the Adobe Draw app opened up for me. Especially when it comes to surface pattern design.

I'm looking forward to share my new found excitement and workflow with any illustrators and designers that are interested in creating vector art for their surface patterns (art prints, greeting cards etc) using Adobe Draw and Illustrator.

The class project will take students through the process of creating vector illustrations in Adobe Draw, then opening the files in Illustrator and create a repeating pattern. The deliverable for the final project will be a choice of a desktop + smartphone wallpapers or an art print (I will walk through the process of creating both during the class). 


Adobe Draw illustration time lapse.


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