How To Create a Seamless Pattern in Adobe Illustrator

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial Today we're going to play around in Adobe Illustrator to create a seamlessly repeating pattern

Since it's almost Halloween — or at least it is at the time this video was recorded! — we'll make a pattern out of spooky illustrations, then add a couple of cool finishing touches to give the artwork a retro style print effect with subtle ink bleeds and misregistration The illustrations in this pattern are based on some quick sketches I did with one of those drawing stick tools they used in the olden days If you want to follow along with this tutorial you can download the scan from the description area Open up Adobe Illustrator and create a new document You can give yourself a nice large work area by going to View > Hide Artboards

Go to File > Place and navigate to the scanned sketch image Scale it down in size while holding the Shift and ALT keys, then reduce the transparency to 50% so it will be easier to see the vector artwork over the top of it Go to Object > Lock > Item to avoid accidentally selecting and moving this reference image out of place Clear the white fill from the default settings in the fill and stroke box, then select the Pen tool Zoom in to the first drawing and begin tracing it with a vector path

There's a few different techniques you can use with the Pen tool, but I like to simply click and drag as I go, then when I need a sharp corner, you can give the end point an extra click to remove the bezier handles Whenever you want to leave an open end, hold the CMD key while clicking on some empty space to deselect the path so it doesn't continue onto the next point Using Smart Guides, which are accessibly under View > Smart Guides, make it easy to snap to existing paths It takes some practice to get a feeling for how much to drag out each handle to make the right size and length or curve, but you soon get the hang of it Since the theme of this design is quite sketchy or doodly it doesn't really require extreme precision

Any slightly wobbly lines just add to the cartoon like style Once you have a bunch of drawings traced in vector paths, move them to one side into some empty space on the artboard and collate them together Draw a selection around them all and increase the stroke weight to around 3pt and add the round cap and round corner settings Hold the Shift key and carefully select all the negative shapes them require a fill rather than a stroke, such as the eyes and mouths, then switch the fill and stroke settings around Go to Object > Expand and hit ok to convert the stroked paths into solid outlines, then we can produce a subtle bleed effect by going to Effect > Distort and Transform > Roughen

Change the Points setting to Smooth then change the Size to around 03% and the Detail to around 20 Draw a selection around all the illustrations and hold the ALT and Shift keys while dragging the shapes to create a duplicate Change their fill colours to orange, then click the Unite option from the Pathfinder to merge the various pieces that make up each illustration into one outline Right click and select Ungroup so they can be selected as individual objects

We want these orange shapes to be fully solid rather than outlines, so use the Direct Selection tool to delete the paths that form the inner parts of the shapes Select all the shapes and use the Unite option from the Pathfinder a second time to blend any left over shapes into these main silhouettes Move the shapes back over to overlap with the original versions with the black outlines Rather than line them up perfectly, offset them slightly to give the design an old school print vibe The orange backgrounds are currently sitting over the black outlines, so press CMD+Shift+[ or right click and go to Arrange > Send to Back

Draw a selection around each individual illustration and press CMD+G or right click and select Group to join the two parts of each drawing together Roughly rearrange the elements to space out the different doodles, then with them all selected, go to Object > Pattern > Make This new pattern editor has been in Illustrator since CS6 and it makes it much easier to create seamlessly repeating swatches without the hassle of carefully setting the bounding box You can change the opacity of the preview so you can clearly see your original elements and how it affects the pattern when you move them around Tweak the layout to fill any unsightly gaps in the pattern

You can then toggle off the Tile Edge and bring the opacity back to 100% to see a fully repeating example, which makes it much easier to see any awkward spacing Hit OK in the top toolbar and your pattern will be saved in the Swatches panel This swatch can then be applied as a normal fill to repeat your pattern infinitely Here's one extra Pro Tip You can scale the pattern separately from its container using the Object > Transform > Scale command by selecting the Transform Patterns option

With the design being in vector format, you can scale it up or down as much as you want to alter the density of the pattern So I hope you find these tips for creating patterns in Illustrator useful for your future designs If you did, a Like on YouTube would really help spread the word You can also subscribe to the channel if you want to be the first to see my future tutorials, or if you're watching this on YouTube, I have loads more written tutorials over on my website So as always thank you very much for watching, and I'll catch you all later

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