ultra-easy pattern making – illustrator tutorial

In this post I will show you how to quickly create a seamless simple geometric pattern swatch in Adobe Illustrator. In the last (extra) step I will show you a very simple way to ‘export’ it as a pattern to Photoshop.

First, have a look at what we aim to obtain (this pattern is inspired by the fabric of my favorite tunic).

Vector pattern swatch - preview
Vector pattern swatch - preview

1. With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle 20 px (width) x 60 px (height). Set stroke to none and fill to black.

2. With the black rectangle selected go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and choose the settings as below. Next go to Object menu and Expand Appearance.
Ungroup the bottom rectangles Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+G.

Multiply your rectangle by four
Multiply your rectangle by four

3. Once the rectangles are ungrouped you can change their fill colors. I used:
Color swatches
Color swatches

4. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the the top parts of your rectangles (so that to include all top apices) and drag it a little to the right holding down the Shift key (drag as you like, don’t worry – you can change it any time). Alternatively you can group your rectangle, select the group and use Object > Transform > Shear…

Shearing the rectangles
Shearing the rectangles

5. Group your rectangles Cmd/Ctrl+G and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and choose the settings as below

Applying reflection
Applying reflection

7. Again go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… Choose Apply New Effect and the settings as follows:

A copy to the right
A copy to the right

8. And once again (yes to Apply New Effect) and:

A copy to the left
A copy to the left

9. Creat a rectangle 80 px (width) x 120 px (height) (80 = number of colorful rectangles x width of a single rectangle; 120 = 2 x height of a single rectangle). Set its fill and stroke to none and send it to the very bottom of the layer Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+[. Select all. In the Align Panel choose: (1) Horizontal Align Center and (2) Vertical Align Top.

Creating bottom rectangle
Creating bottom rectangle

10. Now, drag your selection (make sure the whole layer is selected) to the Swatches Panel or go to Edit > Define Pattern… It’s done!

11. If you want to use this pattern in Photoshop, here is how to do it ultra-quickly: with a Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle 80 px x 120 px and fill it with your pattern (no stroke). Select it, copy and paste in Photoshop into a file that has the same canvas size. Go to Edit > Define Pattern…

Below: the tunic inspiration. Thnx to Pinkonhead for taking the photo and to Joe Vains for suggesting this idea ;) :)

I hope you find this tutorial useful, all comments are highly appreciatied. Please share and bookmark!
tunic

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