We know chevron patterns are trendy right now. Luckily, they’re easy to make too! With Adobe Illustrator CS6 or even CS5 and earlier versions, you’ll be making your own pattern in no time flat, just check out my latest tutorial:
Have fun creating your own and if you’re still hungry for patterns in Adobe Illustrator I’ll have a new class coming next month that focuses on the new CS6 Pattern Mode. Stay tuned!
In this video tutorial I show students in my Automatic Patterns class how to make an Adobe Illustrator pattern fill swatch from the patterns we create in class. If you’re already familiar with the class, you can skip the introduction and go right to 1:30, where the tutorial begins.
In the class, we create seamless repeat patterns using Transform Effects, allowing you to tweak a pattern and see the changes update instantly in CS4 and CS5 — something unheard of before the introduction of the new CS6 Pattern Mode.
The class focuses on exporting png and jpeg images of Illustrator repeat patterns for Spoonflower fabric, blogging, digital scrapbooking and crafting. The tutorial above shows the steps for creating Illustrator fill swatches, so the patterns you create in class can also be applied to any vector art you’re working on in Illustrator.
The tutorial also highlights one of my favorite Adobe Illustrator tools, the Eraser tool. It’s great for working with expanded pattern art, but I’m sure you’ll discover your own uses for the Eraser. Have fun!
Learning to use the Illustrator Pen Tool and bezier curves takes time and practice. Practicing with paisleys can help you master smooth curves, S curves, smooth points and corner points. Then, you’ll be on your way to creating a groovy pattern.
While not a complete introduction to the Pen Tool, this video tutorial demonstrates using the Pen Tool to create a simple curved paisley shape. We modify the Pen with the opt/alt key to change a smooth anchor point to a corner anchor point with independent curve direction handles. I also demonstrate editing the anchor points and curve handles with the White Arrow and “borrowing curves” from standard circles and ellipse shapes.
This tutorial was created in CS6, but the Pen Tool works the same in other versions of Adobe Illustrator. Have some fun with the Pen — it’s the drawing tool that gives you the most control over your curves in Illustrator.
In this tutorial, I teach you how to create a shape with a scalloped border, and then I show you how to save that appearance as a Graphic Style so you can apply it to other shapes in your file. All of this is made possible through using the Appearance Panel and a feature introduced in CS5 that aligns dashed strokes to the corner points in any shape you create. Follow the steps in the video to create a few scalloped borders of your own.
Once you’ve got your scalloped style applied to some shapes, you can scale the shape while leaving the scallops at the same size, by unchecking “Scale Strokes and Effects” in Preferences > General.
Take it further: play around with adding another stroke to your shape or add drop shadows to get the hang of working with the Appearance Panel. To fix the shape in the form of vectors that you can edit more readily with the Shape Builder or Pathfinder, select the shape and expand by choosing Object > Expand.
In this video tutorial, I show you how to create two custom calligraphic brush tips in Adobe illustrator. Grab your tablet and the Paintbrush tool, and you’ll have the perfect brush for drawing flowing ribbons and flourishes. Drawing with these fun brush tips is a great way to develop freehand skill with your tablet. I also demonstrate how Illustrator’s Smooth Tool allows you to iron out the bumps to make your linework look effortless. (If only it were that easy outside of Illustrator!) I’ll also show you some tips for editing and shading your linework to add to your bag of tricks.
In Adobe Illustrator, the Rounded Rectangle tool may be the first tool you reach for when you want rounded corners, but it’s not the most efficient if you want the option to adjust your rectangles later. Instead, you can apply rounded corners to a regular rectangle as a live effect. This way, you can always go back and change the corner radius without re-drawing your shape. And because it’s a live effect, you can scale your rectangle to any size while maintaining the same corner radius. This tutorial walks you through the steps. (more…)
A fellow artist introduced me to a blog called Design Seeds where visitors are treated to a steady stream of inspiring color palettes. Each palette is “packaged” beautifully by designer Jessica Colaluca with photography and a row of color chips.
When you find such inspiring color in your online travels, you want to bring it along with you into Adobe Illustrator and let it enliven your work. In Illustrator, though, you can hit a speed bump in the process. So, I have a simple tip for those who want to sample color from pixel based images like jpeg and png files. (more…)
While working on this illustrated spa map for US Airways magazine, I discovered a fun shortcut for creating a mosaic tile background in Adobe Illustrator. I decided to share it with you, so here it is!
1. Start by creating a rectangle large enough for the tiles, select it and choose Object > Path > Split Into Grid…
2. A dialog box appears where you can enter the number of rows and columns and the space between the tiles. Check preview, so you can see the results as you change the numbers.
3. Next, select all the tiles, and choose Object > Transform > Transform Each… In the dialog box check Preview and Random and enter low numbers to make subtle and random transformations to the position, scaling and rotation of the tiles. Hit OK.
4. Now the tiles will have a more natural look, resembling a mosaic rather than a perfect grid. You can make subtle variations to the color of the individual tiles to make the effect even more interesting. In my finished Illustration I removed a few tiles to randomize it even more.
If you’re enrolled in my Swirl Shop workshop, and are working in Illustrator CS5, I have a fun new Illustrator demo for you! In this video I show you how to take the swirly curly artwork you’ve already created and enhance it using the CS5 width tool to give your existing art a beautiful new flowing style. It’s an easy, versatile and completely editable way to give your swirls and frames a fine calligraphy brush look. (more…)