Illustrator pattern

by Design Workshop Sydney

Creating repeat patterns in Adobe Illustrator is an easy process – we show you how in both our general Illustrator and our Illustrator for Fashion coursesIllustrator-pattern
Patterns are used for all sorts of things, from textile design to simple background textures for maps and diagrams. Patterns are referred to as prints in the textiles and fashion industries. The method of creating patterns was updated in CS5 with the introduction of the Pattern Maker. But first the older method.
Create some rectangles or spots of colour (best with no stroke). Drag them into the Swatches panel – this creates a new pattern which is saved in the document. Then select an larger object like a garment outline > click on the new swatch and the shape is filled. To scale the pattern double-click on the Scale tool >  untick Objects & change the scale to 50% or 200%, etc. Double-click on the Rotate tool to rotate the pattern by 45° (for prints cut on a bias). To move the pattern incrementally go to: Object > Transform > Move. To move the pattern within the object: Object > Transform > Move> highlight the field > then use arrow buttons on keyboard to adjust its position.
In CS5, however, this rather clunky method was replaced by the Pattern Maker. Create your spots or shapes as before, but instead of dragging to Swatches, go to the Object drop-down menu > Pattern > Make. And the pattern is opened in a new dialog. You see the central tile which consists of your original shapes. Surrounding this is a greyed out version of the repeat pattern. Move any of the shapes and see it updated in the pattern. You can also add new shapes or change their colours. Note also the tiling options on the left panel. When you are happy with the result, close the dialog and see it included in your Swatches for this document. You can then apply the pattern to a new shape like a garment outline. Scale and rotate the pattern as above. And if you need to modify the pattern simply double-click on its swatch to reopen the Pattern maker.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or self-taught, our courses will help you gain self-confidence in your Illustrator workflow, as well as adding to your professional skill-set. See many examples of our Illustrator clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Illustrator Blog Posts:
Illustrator workspace
Illustrator basics
Illustrator clipping masks
Illustrator live trace
Illustrator brushes