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Library: Creative Design


Enhance your Illustrator drawings using patterns

Added on Sunday 4th of January 2009 09:23 am EST

Application > Adobe Illustrator CS/CS2
Operating Systems > Macintosh, Microsoft Windows

Creating patterns in your illustrations can be an involved process. But it's time well spent if they enhance the effectiveness of your artwork. Patterns are a great way to add visual interest to relatively simple artwork, as shown in FIGURE A. They're also useful for adding necessary texture or accent to drawings such as maps, textiles, and 3-D objects. Let's first start with a brief discussion about the makeup of patterns. We'll then create one, and learn how to alter its appearance.

Understanding the nature of patterns
Simply stated, a pattern is a repeating, (i.e., tiling), design. You can create one in Illustrator by first drawing the design, and then dragging it to the Swatches palette. But before you make the design, you should understand how it will tile so you won't get unexpected results.
Patterns always tile from left to right, perpendicular from the x-axis. The pattern originates from wherever the ruler origin is located. If you draw an object, fill it with a pattern, and then move the ruler origin, the object remains constant but the pattern moves. Conversely, if you move a pattern-filled object, the pattern remains constant relative to the ruler origin.

Design a pattern swatch
Turning an object into a pattern is easy. Making a pattern that tiles seamlessly is a bit trickier. There are a several ways you can go about it. First, let's go over the traditional method:
1. Launch Illustrator and open a new document.
2. Press cK ([Ctrl]K in Windows) to open Illustrator's Preferences dialog box.
3. Enter 1 in. in the Keyboard Increment text box. Then, choose Units & Display Performance from the Preferences pop-up menu and set the General pop-up menu to Inches.
4. Click OK to apply the changes.
Create the bounding box
Now we want to create a bounding ...