Let's face it...we're all busy. Life is busy, work is busy, sometimes even dreams are busy! We need to save on time where we can. So today we're not going to work harder...we're going to work smarter. This method shows you how to draw repeating patterns by drawing and cutting a design that, once digitized, can be repeated seamlessly at any size. So let's get started!!
Paint and paint brushes (optional)
1. Prepare your paper
Measure and mark the center of your paper both vertically and horizontally. Use your ruler and X-acto knife to cut the paper into four separate pieces. Keep track of which pieces fit together!
**Cutting with a ruler and X-acto knife is ideal because it gives perfectly straight, clean cuts. Scissors will work, just be extra careful to cut one straight line.
2. Number the pages
With the four cut pieces of paper laying in order, number the edges that lie next to each other so that each edge has a corresponding number.
**I reinforced the numbers below to help see them clearly in photos, but make sure to use a pencil for these markings. You'll erase or cover them up later.
Now switch the left and right sides and label those edges in the same manner.
Finally, swap the top and bottom pages and label the last four edges. Each edge should now have a number and corresponding number assigned. These will be super helpful when drawing your design. Even if you accidentally get the pages out of order, you'll easily be able to identify how to put them back together so your drawing aligns.
3. Start drawing!
The pattern can be anything from simple shapes to an intricate, solid floral. I'm currently working on our next scrapbook line, so I'm doing a scattering of fireflies.
Start in the middle and leave the outside edges blank for now. The trick here is to have at least parts of your design crossing the cut intersections. This will ensure that the final design looks like one seamless drawing instead of four distinct sections.
4. Finish the edges
Once you have the middle portion done (you can always adjust it later), swap the left and right sides and the top and bottom portions so that the blank edges are now in the middle
Now all you have to do is finish your drawing! If you find that something needs to be adjusted, swap the pages and draw/redraw as needed. Just make sure that the edges are always aligned with their corresponding number.
The base for your repeating pattern is done! Each outside edge lines up perfectly with the opposite outside edge.
5. Finishing touches
From here you can decide how you want the final pattern to look. You can leave it a simple line drawing (I recommend outlining the pattern with a fine-tip pen so the lines are crisp and defined once you scan) or color it in using markers, paints or pencils.
I used gouache paint to finish my pattern. Use the same technique for painting as you did drawing -- start in the middle and then swap all the pages so the painted portion is on the outside and you're left with the unpainted portion in the middle. While you're finishing the pattern, be sure to blend your painted edges into the previously painted border so there are no color differences or seams.
Scan all four sections of your repeating pattern and open the scan in Photoshop. Delete the background, move the edges of the pattern to line up right next to each other (you may have to use the Clone tool to clean up the edges and erase any hint of a line), and save it as [Pattern]-Tile. This file is now the tile that will be repeated indefinitely to make any size pattern you'd like!
The four painted sections come together to create the pattern tile
Duplicate the tile several times to make a bigger repeating pattern
The final repeating pattern!
And you're done!! I hope you had fun with this tutorial...comment with any questions!
:: Haley, 1canoe2 Artist + Marketing Director ::
Comments will be approved before showing up.