Drawing Vector Graphics: Patterns
Illustration by John Hersey

Drawing Vector Graphics: Patterns

with Von Glitschka

Video: Using pattern tiles with the Pattern tool

When you understand how to build a pattern from scratch by drawing out your design, What I'm about to show you is something you've already seen me do.
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  1. 5m 24s
    1. Welcome
      1m 32s
    2. Exercise files
      49s
    3. What are patterns?
      3m 3s
  2. 1h 6m
    1. Drawing out and refining your design
      9m 39s
    2. Building your vector pattern with a bounding box
      15m 22s
    3. Creating and using pattern swatches and libraries
      9m 29s
    4. Organize, size, rotate, and adjust your pattern fills
      9m 45s
    5. Using transparency to create depth
      8m 46s
    6. Using textures in your patterns
      13m 26s
  3. 1h 37m
    1. Pattern tool basics
      11m 16s
    2. Selecting appropriate artwork
      13m 19s
    3. Using the Pattern Tile tool and tile types
      11m 42s
    4. Using pattern tiles with the Pattern tool
      12m 55s
    5. Adding depth using the Appearance panel
      9m 39s
    6. Pattern tool limits
      9m 22s
    7. Good pattern-building habits
      15m 37s
    8. Exporting your pattern files
      13m 44s
  4. 30m 15s
    1. Creating a brush pattern
      9m 48s
    2. Creating a traditional border pattern frame
      4m 8s
    3. Using brush textures and clipping masks with patterns
      10m 6s
    4. Creating complex designs using a pattern brush
      6m 13s
  5. 24m 21s
    1. Patterns in the context of illustration
      6m 54s
    2. Patterns in the context of graphic design
      5m 0s
    3. Patterns in the context of visual identity
      8m 6s
    4. Patterns in the context of product design and accessories
      2m 21s
    5. Patterns in the context of textile designs
      2m 0s
  6. 14m 33s
    1. Ekaterina Panova, Russia
      1m 51s
    2. Raul Villanueva, Peru
      1m 6s
    3. Anastasiia Kucherenko, Ukraine
      1m 30s
    4. Andi Butler, United States
      1m 40s
    5. Dennis Bennett, Germany
      1m 34s
    6. Samarra Khaja, United States
      1m 44s
    7. Jenean Morrison, United States
      1m 25s
    8. Laura Coyle, United States
      3m 43s
  7. 1m 27s
    1. Final thoughts
      1m 27s

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Watch the Online Video Course Drawing Vector Graphics: Patterns
4h 0m Intermediate Apr 22, 2014

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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.

Topics include:
  • Establishing the bounding box for your tile
  • Drawing your design
  • Creating a pattern swatch
  • Refining art with the Pattern tool
  • Saving your design
  • Creating a pattern brush
  • Using your pattern in designs
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Von Glitschka

Using pattern tiles with the Pattern tool

When you understand how to build a pattern from scratch by drawing out your design, and using a bounding box, your end result will provide you with a pattern tile. And using a pattern tile with the pattern tool, is a simple way to work with your pattern designs, in any type of print related design project. So let me show you a few examples that demonstrate the creation and use of pattern tiles, in context of the pattern tool.

What I'm about to show you is something you've already seen me do. In the course of creating the other movies in this course but, I want to specifically focus on how you can take a pattern tile, and use it with the pattern tool. And, this first one that I want to go over is a somewhat complex pattern, but, it's relatively easy to discern and figure out if you first draw it out. So this is my with refined sketch.

And this pattern is called Head Case obvious, for obvious reasons. A bunch of funky looking heads and people and characters, all kind of interacting with one another to form an overall pattern. And you can see my established bounding box. So when the happy guy at the bottom goes off the bottom, he comes in just a little at the top. And where the little geeky guy with glasses and the goatee goes off on the right, he comes in on the left, so on and so forth. So with that established, I'm going to go ahead.

And change the opacity on this, and we'll go ahead and lock the layer. Once we have our drawing firmly established, we can go ahead and create the final artwork that is going to be the essence of what our pattern is made from, and this shows the base vectors for this pattern design of all the heads. The blue ones are the actual repeat. The green are just where that repeat is going to replicate itself as it tiles out.

So, it's like almost a strange U shape if you look at the blue, which will make up the repeat. And, because we're building this from scratch, and we've established a bounding box, we'll be able if we wanted to, to create this as a free floating design, much like we did with the deep six pattern of all the sea creatures, if we wanted to ever do that at some point. But for this specific movie, we're going to focus on creating a stand alone pattern tile.

With all of this available to us now and the bounding box. All we have to do is trim our art appropriately to create the final pattern tile. So if I turn off this layer, we'll go here. And you'll see what a final pattern tile looks like, and if I go to keyline view, you can see what it looks like, this is all the vector art. I basically, taking the pattern design and trimmed it off and now it's in its final pattern tile format.

When I have a pattern tile created like this, it's easy. You just take it, drag it into the swatches palette, and we've already done that here. So I'm going to go ahead and click on this, and you can see how it immediately creates our tiling for us. If I zoom out a little. You can see how that tiling is replicated and we get a good idea if we go to the copies in the background we'll bring it up 40%. You get a good idea of how this pattern is going to look and feel when fills whatever shape we're doing.

I think this one will make a great funky shirt, as well as some other ones that I've shown in this course, and at some point I might do that with this specific tile, but, this is how we are going to utilize this pattern tile. So, once we have this pattern tile established, I'm going to go ahead and name this, so we'll give this in this case, it's just Head Case. And, we're going to do a couple color variations, so I'll call this Head Case one, and we'll go with that.

I'm going to double-click on the background to exit. And go back to art board, and if I turn on this next color variation. So it's the exact same tile, I'm just approaching it with a new color scheme. And that's the nice thing about creating like this is, is that it makes doing variations and explorations of possible alterating skews a lot easier to do. When you build from scratch. So, with this specific one, we've already once again, drag it into the swatches palette.

And If I double-click that, you can see how this one tiles out exactly the same way. And in this respect, we named it colorful heads. So, it's really easy to work with a pattern tile, and the pattern tool, it's always actually work that way with the Adobe Illustrator if you knew how to build your patterns from scratch. They've just made it a little easier, with floating-oriented objects such as we've shown in the previous movie. So, once we have our pattern established we can go ahead and fill the shapes.

So we're going to select this rectangle shape, select our original fill. And go ahead and fill it, and you'll see how that works. Once again if you see little artifacting those, faint white lines in this case showing up in a tiling, that is a preview bug within Illustrator and, just don't worry about it, it won't show up when you print. It's just when it's previewed on screen. For whatever reason it shows up. Hopefully, Adobe's going to fix that bug at some point, but as is, right now it still exists.

And once you have this fill in place, we can easily fill it with the other colors skew, just to give you and idea of how those two compare and look. And so that's how you can use one type of pattern tile. Now, a pattern tile doesn't have to be a square, it doesn't have to be a standard rectangle, kind of how this one was. I want to show you a pattern I created for, it was a company that does learning software, and part of the learning software and the feature they were working on, they wanted me to creat a pattern that played off of the brain's ability to think through and process information.

So, this is my graphic interpretation of the synapses that fire in our brain and allow us to come up with ideas. Now, this is a good example of a pattern that would just virtually be impossible, or just very, very, very difficult to create with free floating shapes, it just, I just don't think it'd be worth the time to invest, to try to do that. Because you're never going to get it to look as good as if you build it from scratch such as I did this one.

Once you have your pattern swatch in place, we can simply drag it to the swatches pallet, and if we go into that now in the pattern tool, you can see how it automatically replicates the repeat. And on this one, we're just going to call this brain power I guess. And, we'll double-click on the background. We'll open up a rectangular shape, and I'll show you how this fill works, and we'll fill it. Now right now I think this is a little big so if we go to the Scale tool, we can click on that, turn off, Transform Objects.

And you can see how 70% is looking pretty good. And we're also going to play with the rotation a little bit. So we'll go to the Rotate tool. Right now, it's at 45. I think we're going to try 35, and that looks good. And so, that's how you can easily use. A tile pattern with the pattern tool and then adjust it as needed, and, you can even use the tilt key as I shown in other video to adjust the positioning of that fill if you need to for layout purposes.

And I'll switch right now to another file. Now this is an example of a tile design that really there is no way to create this using free floating objects in the pattern tool. You really need to plan this out well in the drawing stage. And, if you do using a bounding box as you see here. I've drawn one out. I'm going to go ahead and select this sketch and I'm going to set it to 20% opacity, and go ahead and lock this layer.

Now my base vectors, when I built on this, this is what they look like. Now, I've obviously, all you need to create this entire design is what's showing right here in this sketch, but on my base vectors, I've gone ahead and copied. Those elements, and used the bounding box just to make sure that my pattern is working and repeating correctly. Now, I also did this just so I could scrutinize how various elements, there's a lot going on in this design, and I want to pick up on areas where I feel there's gaps, such as right here, and other areas I felt I could improve on.

So, that's a big thing. You should be paying attention to those areas, always look for ways you can improve your artwork, and, don't give anybody else opportunity to spot those areas for you, be diligent and really scrutinize what you are doing and pay attention to negative, positive, how shapes interact and make sure you are not creating visual tension. But you're improving the overall aesthetic of you design. So in this case you can see how I changed this area down here.

All these green leaves represent areas where I've adjusted the artwork to balance better overall. Once I have these shapes established, I have the base vector art. The pattern art basically, I can create my final pattern tile from, so this my piece of artwork here. I can select the bounding box now, which has served its purpose to define the edge, to define the repeat, and to trim my artwork, and I can now build it out the way I think this is going to look good.

So we're going to go ahead and colorize this with the fill color and remove the stroke from the bounding box so you can see how that looks here. Now what we're going to do is, we're going to go ahead and clone the vine here, we'll go ahead and make a clone, which is Cmd+C, Cmd+F if you don't have the F key set up, and we're going to go ahead and color that white, so we'll go to Fill, we'll go to White, we'll rotate this 180 degrees, and you've seen me do this on other designs already.

And this is just an easy way to add depth and I think creates a nice interest. We'll go ahead, kind of copy that, and paste it behind Cmd+B, our other vine shape, so it's more subtle. And, we're going to select the vine shape on top. And we're going to go to Transparency Pallet. We're going to go to Multiply, instead of full strength, we want a little more opacity in it, so we're going to hit 85. And go, Okay.

And I think that looks really nice. And if I zoom in on this, you can see the characteristics we're picking up. It's changing colors as it's overlapping the lighter background and that just adds a nice overall element to the pattern design. Once we have this, once again you just simply select it. You can go to Object > Pattern > Make. Or in this case, we'll just drag it right into the Swatches palette. And if I double-click on this, you can see how it automatically replicates it.

In this case we'll name it Viney. And we're done. It's that simple. Double-click the background. We'll open up a shape that we can select. And, just to make sure we're on fill, and we can fill it with our new vine pattern. So, remember, new tools and features and software programs doesn't mean you need to retire old methodologies. Knowing how to create a pattern from scratch is going to provide you with a well crafted pattern tile that you can use.

With ease via the pattern tool, so experiment with these methodologies, and, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you creatively discover in the process.

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