Tag Archives: illustration

How to Make a Repeat Pattern Swatch in Illustrator

Repeat pattern swatches are great to know how to do as patterns can be applied to just about anything to give that extra fancypants factor.

Here, I show you how I go about making seamless pattern swatches in Illustrator. It’s pretty simple and ~ hot dang ~ fun!


My next tutorial will feature some ideas on how you can use your newfound pattern wizard skills. Woot woot, hey!

Anything else you’d like to know regarding graphic nerdery? Leave your question below.

Pattern Development > Steps 7, 8 + 9: Present, Build the Repeat, Tweak & Finalize

allofusrev_designsketches_bji I’ve finished work on a custom pattern for All of Us {r}evolution and here are the rest of the steps regarding creating custom patterns and my whole artistic process.

Other links in this series:

Steps 1-3 > Question, Prep & Sketch Like a Mad Thing

Steps 4-6 > Scan, Manipulate, & Colorize

On to Steps 7-9 > Present, Building a Repeat, Tweak & Finalize…



Step 7: Present the Pattern Sketches to the Client


I will have repeated Steps 1-6 several times to come up with a variety of pattern sketches. Usually I only include 3 options, but this time I was inspired to try all kind of options and went hog-wild with 6! Zoinks!

From here, Kristin and Shannon loved #4, but wanted the feathers to be more filled-in, like #2. I created a new sketch for them, in two different color ways. They loved it, with a few minor tweaks, so I went ahead and built the repeat!


Step 8: Build the Repeat

In this example, I will show a basic repeat. This is the simplest way to repeat a pattern.


Within Photoshop, I worked to fill in the artwork within the artboard as pleasingly as possible, not going past the edges.

Next, perform the following:

  • Select All (Ctrl-A)
  • Copy merged (Shift-Ctrl-C)
  • Paste (Ctrl-V)


You will now have a merged layer of your artwork. I rename this layer “1st merge offset” but you can call it whatever sexy thing you want. I usually put this layer above the artwork, and keep the artwork layers in a grouping below, calling it “1st merge”.


Checkout the image size. (Image > Image Size). Take note of the width and height. Divide each dimension in half. Note that on a scrap piece of paper or memorize if you like.

With the newly pasted layer selected, Filter > Other > Offset.


This is where you’ll need those dimensions you noted. Input them in the correct horizontal and vertical boxes. Click the “Wrap Around” radio button.

Now you can see the image was turned “inside-out”. And there are “seams”, or, in this case, negative spaces without art.

In order to create a smooth, seamless pattern, we will need to fill in those spaces with art and make some adjustments to make the pattern flow and not look like tiled.


For this pattern, I grabbed feather layers from the “1st merge” grouping to fill in the seam. I like to put the seam-covering parts & pieces in a grouping called “seam”.

Once I have the pattern filled in pretty nicely, I like to check the flow of the pattern. To do this:

  • Select all (Ctrl-A)
  • Edit > Define Pattern
  • Fill in pattern name, click OK
  • Create a pattern fill layer (Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern)


To see how the pattern flows, I usually input 50% scale or smaller. Seeing the pattern in this way helps to identify weird anomalies within the pattern, so you can twerk that stuff OUT.

Note: Within the creation of one pattern, I will go through the cycle of tweaking the artwork and then creating a pattern fill to view the pattern flow several times to get it looking just right. The above image is the result of going thru this cycle probably 10 or more times! Yikes!

Step 9: Tweak & Finalize


Once the flow of the pattern is just right, I will present the design to the client and ask for feedback. If the pattern is for a specific application, I sometimes do a quick mockup of how the pattern will look to help them visualize scale and final usage.

If all looks good, I prep the file at the correct size/scale and send it on it’s way!

Thanks for following along! Do you have any questions? Leave them below in the comments or tell me what you think of this series.

Pattern Development > Steps 4, 5 + 6: Scan, Manipulate, & Colorize

step4_sketch-scanI’m working on a custom pattern for All of Us {r}evolution and thought it might be neat to share with you how I go about creating custom patterns and my whole artistic process.

Other links in this series:

Steps 1-3 > Question, Prep & Sketch Like a Mad Thing

On to steps 4-6!

Continue Reading →

Inspiration ~ Cate Parr


I’m in awe of the work of England native Cate Parr. The color combos and use of blurry watercolor evoke sensuousness and hidden wonder. Makes me want to get out those paints right now and let colors slide into one another. Sexiness alert.

It’s been awhile since I’ve painted a sexy lady. Perhaps it is once again time? Well, if I do so, you’ll be the first to know.




Now living in Los Angeles, Cate has an etsy shop stocked full of gorgeous prints to buy. You’ll have a hard time deciding which ones pick up, so you’ll probably just click off after the terrible indecision plagues you. Just sayin…

PS: This inspiration bleeds over into the next fantastical project I have to tell you about! Well, but not just yet. By the end of the week I’ll spill all, though, I promise.


Boston Terrier hooping like a debonair pro


For the Boston Terrier lovers out there, here’s a debonair fella showin’ off his mad mad hooping skillz. Only thing missing is a monocle and  top hat. That just gets in the way of astral projections anyway (…hooping joke not funny to anyone but me).

Not really sure what I’m going to do with this guy. Will he be a limited edition print? A t-shirt? A bag? Nay, I’m afraid I do not know yet.

All I know is that I have to make a 2nd version that looks more like our BT ~ without the full mask that BT’s are known for. Hurrah for the American Gentleman!