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One of the very first things I wanted to learn in Adobe Illustrator was how to make patterns, and more specifically, perfectly repeating patterns.
I wanted to know how other designers made these things tile and tile well.
Don’t Lie to Yourself like I did
I told myself it was too hard to make patterns and I would never figure it out.
I told myself making patterns would take too much time and effort to make it look right.
Boy, was I wrong!
Making patterns has been one of the most empowering design skills I’ve learned, especially as a self-taught illustrator/designer.
I really felt it was above me the first time I tried to make a repeating pattern in Photoshop. (I still think the Photoshop offset method is a bit cumbersome, but with practice, have become better!)
Dear Friend, it is not too difficult, and there are SO many things you can use this tutorial to create:
- Custom backgrounds on your opt-ins to make them more on-brand (like in my Doodle Days prompts PDF.)
- Patterns for websites (check out my blog page background, awww yeah.)
- Pretty background screens for your phone
- Wallpaper for your computer
- And so, so much more! Just Google: “surface pattern design” and watch your eyes light up like this emoji: ?
What are some of the other reasons (besides for fun) that you would want to design patterns?
Not only are repeat patterns fun to make they are highly valued across all industries that use them.
Think: fabric, scrapbook paper, magazines, books, wallpaper, home decor pieces, etc.
Pattern design is one of the very best skills you can have in your design portfolio. I’m still working on sharpening my own skills, but I bet once you see how it’s done, you’re going to want to start and never stop, either.
What skill level do you need to start?
Anyone can follow this tutorial, no matter what skill level you are at with Illustrator. If you can make shapes (here’s a tutorial to make some simple flowers if you get stuck), you can make patterns.
The quality of your designs will improve greatly with practice. Lots and lots of practice (no one likes to hear that, but it’s the truth!).
So, let’s get started! Click the play button below and rock out your first pattern!
What questions do you have?
I’d love to see you successfully create your first pattern, so please be sure to link to your project below. Don’t worry too much about the aesthetic just yet, focus on getting the technique down. The great designs will come!
Pssst... thinking about learning Illustrator? I'm retiring my flagship course, Clean Cut Illustrator and it's 75% off! But you can snag it before it's gone for good. Click the image below for more info.