In this tutorial you will learn how to create a seamless pattern composed of simple folk-flavored flowers. In the first part we will create an individual flower. In the second we will focus on constructing a pattern and define a seamless Illustrator pattern swatch.
You can download the source file. This tutorial was prepared with Adobe Illustrator CS4 but the source file is back-saved to CS2.
We will use five colors for our flowers: white, black, blue, beige and red as well as some brown background color. In the image below you can see the RGB values of the colors I used.
Choose the Polygon Tool (you will find it under the Rectangle Tool in the Tool Panel). Option/Alt-click and in the dialog box set the Radius to 25px and the number of sides to 22.
Keep your polygon selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat… Set the slider value to 70%.
(1) Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C the bloated polygon and paste it to front Cmd/Ctrl+F. Go to the Appearance Panel and uncheck (or delete) the Pucker & Bloat Effect.
(2) Hold down the Shift-key and Option/Alt-key and enlarge a little bit the polygon.
(3) Select the bloated shape (the one beneath) and go to Object > Expand Appearance.
(4) Select both shapes and choose Intersect in the Pathfinder Panel.
Choose the Polygon Tool and set the Radius to 33px and the number of sides to 11. Fill the shape with red, no stroke.
Again go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat… This time don’t bloat your shape that much, set the value to 21%.
Go to Object > Expand Appearance. Don’t deselect and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… Create a rotated copy of your flower shape (Note that if you rotate your flower by 360/11 degrees the shapes will overlap, that’s why we choose 1/2 x 360/11. Note also that Adobe Illustrator makes the calculations for you!)
(1) Select the two copies, go to Object > Expand Appearance.
(2) Choose Unite in the Pathfinder Panel.
(1) In the Layer Panel put the red shape below the beige one. Align them centering horizontally and vertically.
(2) Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C the beige shape and paste it to back Cmd/Ctrl+B then immediately send it to Back Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+[ (or go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back). Don’t deselect, with the Shift-key and Alt/Option-key hold down enlarge it a bit, my shape is 95px x 95px. Change the fill color to blue.
(3) Keep the blue shape selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and set the offset to -1px.
(4) Select the outer shape and delete it. Now the arms of the star-like shape are a little bit thinner.
(1) Option/Alt-click with the Polygon Tool and set the Radius = 66px and Sides=12. Fill the polygon with black, no stroke.
(2) Bloat it (Effect > Distort & Transform > Pucker & Bloat…) of 17%.
(3) Go to Object > Expand Appearance.
(4) Go to Object > Offset Path… and set the Offset to -0.5px. Delete the outer shape.
(5) Send it to back Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+[. Select all shapes and center them horizontally and vertically.
Select the beige star-like shape so that you could easily determine it’s center point. Go to View > Show Artboard Rulers (or use the keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+R). Drag the Guides so that they intersect in the center of the beige object.
With the Ellipse Tool (L) and the Shift and Option/Alt hold down create a tiny circle starting from the point on the vertical guide as in the image below (the diameter of mine is 5,2px). Fill it with white, no stroke.
Choose the Rotate Tool (R) and Option/Alt-click in the center point of the flower (the point where the guides intersect). In the dialog box set the Angle to 360/22 and choose Copy.
Repeat Cmd/Ctrl+D (or go to Object > Transform > Transform Again) until you have all 11 white dots.
Select all the white dots. The fastest way to do that is to select one then to go to Select > Same > Fill Color.
Group them Cmd/Ctrl+G (or go to Object > Group).
Copy Cmd/Ctrl+C and Paste to Front Cmd/Ctrl+F. With the Shift-key and Option/Alt-key hold down rescale it down a bit as in the image.
Repeat the same enlarging the circle of dots and changing the fill color to red.
Select all Cmd/Ctrl+A and group Cmd/Ctrl+G.
Alt-click with the Rectangle Tool (M) and set the size to 900px x 900 px. Make sure the square is on the very bottom of the layer (send it back with Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+[) and has no fill and no stroke. Copy it Cmd/Ctrl+C and paste to front Cmd/Ctrl+F, set the fill of the copy to the background brown color.
Lock the two rectangles.
Place the flower in the upper left corner of the rectangle, you do not have to be very exact. With the flower selected go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and create five copies as in the image.
Go to Object > Expand Appearance and then ungroup immediately Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+G (or Object > Ungroup).
We will recolor the four inner flowers.
Select the second flower and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork…
By default, this method preserves white and black so we have to update the settings. Click the symbol as in the image, access the Recolor Options and uncheck White and Black.
To recolor the object click the button marked in the image. This way you will randomly change the color order (note that with five colors that we use we might have 120 different flowers). Each time you click, the color order is randomly changed. Choose OK once you are satisfied with the outcome.
Repeat the same individually for three more flowers. Than select the whole row and group it Cmd/Ctrl+G.
Don’t deselect and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and create a copy of the row as in the image.
As you did previously, go to Object > Expand Appearance and ungroup Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+G.
Select the second row (it will be grouped but it will not be grouped with the first row).
Go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork… and change the color order of the whole row.
Now, select both rows and group them Cmd/Ctrl+G.
With the two rows selected go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform… and create three copies as in the image.
Once again go to Object > Expand Appearance, then ungroup Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+G.
Now, all ‘double rows’ are grouped together. With Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork… change the color order for the second and the third group.
Note that you do not change the colors of the last group. In order to create a seamless patterns the objects located on the opposite edges of the no-fill, no-stroke rectangle have to be identical.
Your pattern is ready. Unlock the rectangles created in Step 7. Select all flowers and the rectangles and drag them to the Swatches Panel (or go to Edit > Define Pattern…)