Creating a seamless pattern in Adobe Illustrator couldn’t be easier since Illustrator CS6. Illustrator has a built in option for creating patterns without having to meticulously plan and cut the image.
Since it’s the holidays let’s make a Christmas pattern. I drew my images on a piece of paper by hand and placed (file/place) the scan in to a new illustrator document. You can also draw the motif directly in Illustrator I just preferred it this way because it’s faster.
Then trace the image and expand it.
Ungroup the objects.
Colour the images. When expanding the image you just need to select the space you wish to colour and set the colour you wish. When illustrating direct in Adobe Illustrator you need to use the live paint/make option (more on that some other tutorial). I also added a bit of flair with some white strokes.
Now place the images in a somewhat square placement. This doesn’t have to be very precise because we’ll be moving the images around later on anyway.
Select all the objects you wish to be part of the pattern. Now go to object/pattern/make. WARNING! Objects cannot be placed in a pattern if they already contain a pattern.
As soon as you click on the menu item, your selected items will be placed in to a bounding box. Outside the bounding box you’ll see your pattern repeated.
In the pattern dialog box that appeared you have some options you could adjust but for this tutorial that’s not necessary.
Now you can move your individual items around the bounding box (or even on it’s edges) to make your pattern arrangement a bit more tidy and visually pleasing.
When you are satisfied with your pattern you need to either save it or just place it in to your swatch library. You do this by either clicking on save or done respectively.
Voila! Your pattern is now in your swathes palette and you can use it on any object you wish. It’s that easy. You can do this with any pattern and with the additional options in the pattern options winfow you can create either simpler or more complex patterns with ease.
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