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Winter is a season of warm cozy clothes, white fluffy snow and clean bright colors. In this tutorial we will get inspired by this magical season and create a cute winter seamless pattern consisting of simple objects. We will go through the process of creation of every element in Adobe Illustrator and end up with forming a swatch using the Pattern Tool. Let's get started!
1. Draw a Cute Bullfinch
This time I won't be using a sketch, because the elements of our pattern will be quite simple. First of all, we need to decide on the color palette to create a harmonic look.
Here are the colors that I've chosen for our future pattern. We'll be using the Eyedropper Tool (I) to pick the color we need.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 600 x 600px rectangle covering your artboard. Fill it with a light-blue color from the color palette that we've made in the previous step.
Let's start forming the body of our bird. Create a red circle with the Ellipse tool (L), holding the Shift key to make it perfectly round.
Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pull the lower anchor point down, extruding the circle.
Move it to the right side, forming the bullfinch's tail. Change the position of anchor handles to make our shape smooth.
Now we have something like a comma symbol.
Pick the darkest blue color from the palette and create another circle above the body. Use Intersect in Pathfinder to form the bird's head.
Draw the next circle for the wing and fill it with turquoise color from our palette.
Cut off the unneeded parts as we just did with the head-shape.
Move the wing under the head using the Control+] shortcuts.
Add two stripes to the wing in the same technique.
Add a round white eye and a small red beak. Use the Polygon Tool for the beak, by setting the Sides value to 3 and forming a triangle.
The last but not the least thing here is to add a pair of small paws. Use the Line Segment Tool (\), set the Stroke Weight to 5pt and Cap and Corner type to the rounded one.
2. Draw a Warm Woolly Hat
Start from a red circle again. Add a green squashed ellipse, Copy it and Paste in Front (Control-C > Control-F). Select green and red ellipses and use Minus Front in Pathfinder to divide the red shape into two parts. Then delete the lower part which you don't need, forming the cap of our hat.
Add a darker green ellipse to create the inside of the hat and a small round pompom on the top of our hat.
Let's make the hat more detailed by adding thin notches. Draw a vertical line with the Line Segment Tool (\), go to Effect > Warp > Arc and Bend the line to -15% over the Vertical axis. Copy the arched shape a few times and spread the copies over the green part of the hat.
Add more arched lines to the other side of the hat and to the bottom of it. Get rid of the unneeded parts with the Eraser Tool (Shift-E) or Pathfinder.
Create a few more arched shapes with white stroke, but this time make the line dashed by checking the Dashed Line box in the Stroke menu and setting Dash to 10pt and Gap to 9pt. Object > Expand the lines and delete the unneeded parts.
Let's add a decorative element to our hat. Draw a white vertical line; rotate its copy to 90 degrees using the Rotate Tool (R) and hitting the Copy button. Then turn another copy to 45 degrees.
Continue the same way and make a snowflake out of these rotated lines. Add small circles to the end of each line. Fill some of them with white color and leave other with no fill, but keep a white Stroke.
3. Draw a Pair of Funny Mittens
Draw an extruded green ellipse and edit its upper part by pulling the anchor handles to both sides and making them longer. This way you'll flatten the upper part of the mitten.
Add another ellipse to form a thumb. Unite both shapes in Pathfinder and edit the position of the anchor point to make the mitten more true to life.
Let's add a bright ribbing in the bottom of out mitten. This is quite easy – just make a vertical line with red Stroke, set its Weight to 12pt and Corner and Cap to rounded type. Duplicate the line and move it to the left a bit. Continue making copies and moving the by hitting Control-D, which repeats your last action.
Finally, copy a snowflake which we've created for the hat and put it in the middle of the mitten. Duplicate your mitten and reflect it over the vertical axis using the Reflect Tool (O).
4. Create a Striped Fancy Scarf
The next element for our pattern is a long trendy scarf. After forming a red rectangle with Rectangle Tool (M), use the Shear Tool and drag the rectangle to the right side, to skew it a bit.
Draw a few white stripes across the red shape, turn them into a Compound Path (Control-8) and use Pathfinder to adjust it properly. Make a copy of the scarf and keep it apart - we will need it a few steps later.
Let's move on and go to Effect > Warp > Arc and Bend your scarf over the Vertical axis to -12%.
Now reflect the copy of the first shape that was kept without arc-effect and place it under the arched piece of the scarf.
Make the colors of the lower copy darker to give it a shadowed look.
Continue decorating the scarf and create two shapes with Rounded Rectangle Tool, then fill them with white and red colors. Spread the shapes along the bottom part of the scarf, making a macramé lace.
Copy the lace to the second part of the scarf. Voila! The fashionable striped scarf is ready.
5. Form a Simple Snowflake
The last but not the least element of our pattern is a snowflake. Start from forming a basic snowflake shape with the Rectangle Tool (M) by rotating and reflecting the copies.
Add smaller rectangles to make the snowflake fluffier.
Move to Effect > Stylize > Round corners and smooth the corners of your snowflake by setting the Radius value to 7. Turn your snowflake into a single shape by Uniting all parts in Pathfinder.
Make one snowflake with white Fill and no stroke, and the second one – visa verse – with no fill and white Stroke.
6. Render a Cute Winter Pattern
All the elements for our pattern are ready!
Let's add an outline for each object to emphasize it and separate from the background. Select the bullfinch, go to Object > Path > Offset Path, set the Offset value to 5px and, keeping the selection, change the fill color to white and Unite the shape.
Repeat the same steps for the hat, mittens and the scarf.
Now select all the elements and go to Object > Pattern > Make.
Distribute the elements over the artboard to your liking. The semi-transparent copies of the elements will help you to see how your pattern will look like at the end. Here I changed the color of the snowflakes to make them visible on the white background. Add several groups of spots to cover the blanks gaps of your pattern.
In the final version our snowflakes will be of two different colors, so in Pattern mode I've filled them with purple and indigo-blue (colors that we don't have in our palette and among our elements), in order to recolor them later fast and easy. I've left all the Pattern Options as default.
Double-click on a free space to quit the Pattern mode to see how it looks above our blue background. Remember that you can always return to Pattern Options and edit any object by clicking the Swatch Options button in the Swatches panel.
Let's do that and change the color of our snowflakes. Double-click on the Magic Wand Tool (Y) and set the Tolerance value to 0, so that the tool selects all the objects filled with one and the same color. Now select one of the purple snowflakes with the Magic Wand Tool (Y) and change the fill color to white. Then select the indigo-blue snowflake and change the color to pale blue.
Let's take a look at our pattern. We can apply our swatch to any shape (let it be a rectangle) and change its scale with the Scale Tool (S) if we select the Transform Patterns check box in the Scale options window.
Yay! The Winter Pattern is Ready!
Our pattern looks complete and balanced. I hope this winter inspires you for more great images. Good luck!