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Patterns have been a part of cultures around the globe for centuries. From fashion and branding to interior design and signage, patterns blanket and beautify our world. Designers are often asked to create new patterns from scratch, and although digital tools make the process easier than ever, it can still be a perplexing task.
In this installment of Drawing Vector Graphics, Von Glitschka demystifies the pattern design process, explaining tessellations (mathematical tiles that lie at the heart of patterns) and visiting the various methods of creating new patterns. He shows how to build repeating patterns with Illustrator's pattern tools and pattern brushes, and incorporate patterns into your design. The course also features patterns from some of the industry's most inspiring designers.
The only thing equal to the enjoyment of creating a well crafted repeat pattern is using your pattern in the real world. Once you have a design created in vector form, your opportunity to use it is virtually limitless. Today's digital world makes it easier than ever before to reproduce your patterns in a diverse range of applications. Patterns are a great way to spice up an illustration and add a level of complexity without having to do a lot of heavy creative lifting.
Let me show you an example of how I used a pattern to bring some fun authentic flair to a brand character illustration. The great way to use pattern designs is within the context of illustration, and a lot of the methodology that I'm going to show in this movie, and a lot of the examples you're going to visually see, I cover in greater detail in my Drawing Vector Graphics Color and Detail course for Lynda.com. So, make sure to check that out.
But, this exercise file will be In the files for this course. So, you can deconstruct this and really pull it apart and see how it was built specifically. And once again like patterns, like illustration, it all starts in the drawn forms. So this is my refined sketch for a character I developed for a company. And this guy is called the Coupon Professor for whatever reason. Sometimes I don't ask clients why they name things certain ways.
In this respect, he is a professor and he provides coupons. So that's what the theme is here. It all started with building my base factor art, based off of my refined drawing. Once I have my base factors, I can go ahead and colorize it. So this shows my base colors on this character and what I want to do now is after I was looking at him, I liked him. I thought he looked good. But, I thought he could be even better and actually a little more authentic in terms of a professor.
When I think of a professor, I think of, you know, smoking pipes or a tweed jacket. And I really think a tweed jacket is where we can go with this. So, that's what I want to do now. I want to show you how I used a pattern, in this case a tweed jacket pattern, and this is my actual pattern tile,my finished pattern tile. And it's a simple, geometric shape. This isn't very illustrative. It's literally like a tweed jacket in terms of its pattern.
If I go to Keyline view, you can see it's just simple, kind of arrow shapes, going in different directions to form the pattern. When you have a pattern tile, whether you're using it for illustration or you're running it out for fabric, your repeat, meaning how big the repeat is on the final product will be determined by the size of your tile. This tile is how big I created it, but it's obviously too big of a repeat for usage in this illustration, which is at a 100%.
So I sized it down to create a smaller version that's going to work well in context of this illustration. And for explanation's sake, we're going to turn of the detailing on this arm, and on this part of the suit. And we're going to do that by clicking this layer off. And if you want to know more information about adding this type of detailing, we're using a base color here, and then on the top, if I turn off the illustration really quick, you can see how we're blending from a darker, tonal value of that base color and blending out to 0% opacity.
Those are all the methods I cover in my Drawing Vector Graphics Coloring Detail course. So if you check that out, you'll fully understand what I'm doing here. But in this case, we're just going to show how to apply a pattern to the context of illustration. With our pattern swatch size determined, we're going to go ahead and drag that right in to the swatches palette down here. So we'll go ahead and do that. And once we do that, if we go double click it, and go into the pattern tool, you can see how it's already automatically repeating because it's set up as a pattern tile.
So we can go tweed pattern, and double click on the background to go back to our art board. And once we have that set up we can start using it, so we're going to click on his jacket here, and we're going to fill it. Instead of the fill color being flat, we're going to fill it with tweed. So you can see how cool it adds to the overall aesthetic. We're going to select his lapel, and we're going to fill that too. And now this is where adjusting the orientation of the pattern's going to come in handy.
We're going to go over to the tool palette, and we're going to select rotate, and we're going to double click on that, and we're going to make sure Transform Objects is off. We don't want to rotate that. We want to focus on rotating the pattern. So, we're going to rotate it until it's kind of running at the same angle of his lapel, and that looks about good, and we're going to click OK. So you can see how offsetting a pattern orientation will contrast with the pattern next to it so, it doesn't all bleed together, and you still have that surface dimension to contrast with the other.
We'll go ahead and select his arm. We'll fill that one with a pattern, as well. And, in this case, I think we might, no, you know what, I'm going to just leave it. That one doesn't bug me running that way. I think it looks good. If we turn on our detail layer, you'll see how the detailing interacts with the surface of the pattern fill, and so you can still add the dimension we had before, but now it's even greater with the pattern fill in it. And here's another point of this illustration.
The pocket, where we have further usage of that pattern. And if we compare this, if you look at his pants and the left side of his suit, that's without the pattern. The right side shows the pattern. We're going to toggle on and off between completely the pattern being used and the pattern not being used. And so I think you can really see the contrast of without a pattern and with a pattern. So that's how you can use patterns in context of illustration.
I think it's a great way to really liven up an illustration or a surface, especially in this context, 'cause it adds to the overall concept.
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