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Create a Seamless Anchor Pattern in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Need a seaworthy pattern for your summer designs? A patterns with anchors and life preservers might just do the trick.

In this tutorial, we’ll be designing a simple and stylish nautical geometrical seamless pattern, creating the perfect pattern for a light touch of summer. Armed with the Pattern Tool, basic shapes in Adobe Illustrator, and a very handy free script, you'll be able to make great geometric patterns using any design you want in no time.

1. Create a Simple Anchor Using Basic Shapes

Step 1

To start, create a New Document of 600x600 px size. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make an even circle by holding the Shift key. Use the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) to move the anchor handles in the bottom of our circle. Set them perpendicular to their initial position, so that we get a sharp corner at the bottom of our shape.

Create a Simple Anchor Using Basic Shapes 1

Here is how our shape looks now.

Create a Simple Anchor Using Basic Shapes 2

Step 2

Copy the shape and Paste it in Front (Control-C > Control-F). Move the created copy up a bit. We will need only the bottom part of these two crossing shapes, so use the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M) to delete the upper part that we do not need. Hover the cursor over the unneeded part: you’ll notice this part becomes grey, then just click while holding the Alt key to delete this part.

Create  Anchor base with shape Builder Tool 1

Step 3

Delete the big middle part of our shape in the same way. Now we have only the bottom part left—just what we needed. Fill this shape with black color.

Create  Anchor base with shape Builder Tool 2

Step 4

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a narrow rectangle shape running up from our anchor’s bottom part. Select two lower anchor points with the Direct Selection tool (A) and move them to the opposite sides from each other in order to make the rectangle wider at the bottom.

Create  Anchor base bottom part

Step 5

Now make a smaller rectangle and put it across the middle part. Add a small even circle on top of our anchor.

Create  Anchor base top part

Step 6

Keep the circle selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Set the offset value to -15px or adjust this value to the size of your anchor, according to the screenshot below. Use the Shape Builder tool (Shift-M) again to cut out the smaller circle, thus creating a nice ring.

Create  Anchor base with Offset path

Step 7

Make a triangle by using the Polygon Tool and setting the Sides value to 3. Go to Effect > Warp > Arc and set the Bend value to 20%, Vertical in order to make our triangle slightly curved.

Create  Anchor base fluke 1

Step 8

Place the curved shape over the left part of our anchor to create a fluke.

Create  Anchor base fluke 2

Modify it slightly by adding the anchor point in the middle of the base and moving it up a bit. Convert it to sharp corner by clicking the point with the Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C).

Create  Anchor base fluke 3

Step 9

Use the Reflect Tool (O) to reflect out fluke over the vertical axis and place the copy on the other side of our anchor.

Create  Anchor base fluke 4

Step 10

Make the bottom part of the anchor a bit wider and more massive and Unite the shapes in Pathfinder Panel.

Create  Anchor base bottom

Step 11

Select the anchor point in the bottom of the middle part and use the Convert selected anchor points to smooth option in the control panel above in order to make a smooth curve, as shown on the screenshot.

Create  Anchor base Convert Anchor points to smooth 1

Step 12

Make the handles shorter with Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) to straighten the center shape and use the Guides to make both sides of our anchor symmetrical.

Create  Anchor base Convert Anchor points to smooth 2

Our anchor is ready! We can move to the next part and create a stylish pattern!

Create  Anchor base finished

2. Design a Simple Anchor Pattern using the Pattern Tool

Step 1

Select our anchor and go to Object > Pattern > Make. After entering the Pattern Mode, you will find the Pattern Options window, where you can change the Name of your pattern and play with other options. Here I’ve set the Width and the Height of the Tile to 600px (which is equal to the size of our Artboard) and left other options as default. You can still change the position and size of your objects, recolor them, add new shapes and do whatever you like to improve the overall composition. I’ve added one more anchor, turned it upside down and  placed a couple of circles to make the pattern more fanciful.

Anchor seamless pattern tool 1

Step 2

Return to normal mode and use the Scale Tool (S) to reduce the pattern’s scale smaller by half. Don’t forget to uncheck all other boxes except the Transform Pattern box in the Scale options window.

Anchor seamless scale tool 1

Step 3

Go to Object > Expand after you are satisfied with the size and overall look of your pattern, thus turning it into a set of separate objects. Don’t worry, you can still find and edit your pattern in the Swatches Panel.

Anchor seamless pattern expand appearance

Step 4

Select the expanded pattern and click it with right mouse button to Release Clipping Mask.

Anchor seamless pattern release clipping mask

Select all the black shapes and turn them into Compound Path by hitting the Control-8 keys combination or finding this option in Object > Compound Path > Make.

Anchor seamless pattern make compound path

Step 5

Create a square white background of a size of our Artboard and Send it to Back (Shift-Control-[ ). Now select both the black compound path and the background and use the Minus Front function in Pathfinder to cut out the anchors.

Anchor seamless pattern minus front in pathfinder

Here is how our pattern looks now: the pink part has anchor-shaped holes, under which the background is clearly seen. I’ve applied random contrast colors to show the effect of Minus Front function.

Anchor seamless pattern minus front in pathfinder 2

3. Render a Stylish Geometrical Texture with Pathfinder and Scripts

Step 1

Let’s move on and create a geometrical background for our pattern. Firstly, create a straight vertical line with the Line Segment Tool (\) and align it with the left side of our Artboard. Keeping the line selected, press the Enter key to open the Move options window. Set the Horizontal Position value to 20 px and Vertical – to 0 px, leaving all other options as default. Hit the Copy button in order to duplicate your line.

Create vertical line and move

Step 2

Press Control-D keys combination several times to make more copies of the line, covering the whole Artboard.

duplicate vertical lines

Step 3

When you have enough lines, select them and use the Rotate tool (O) to rotate the lines to 90 degrees and press the Copy button, thus creating a set of horizontal lines.

Create crossing lines with Rotate tool

Step 4

Create another line and this time rotate it to 45 degrees with the Rotate Tool (O) or by holding the Shift button and rotating the line manually with the Selection tool (V). Place it at the top left corner of your Artboard. Be sure that your line is long enough to cross the whole Artboard. Better make it as long as possible, because later you can delete the unneeded parts.

create a 45 degrees line

Use the Move option again to move the line 20 px by vertical axis and Copy your line.

Move and duplicate the line

Duplicate the line multiple times by pressing Control-D.

Move and duplicate the line 2

Step 5

Select all the lines and Divide them in Pathfinder.

Divide lines in Pathfinder

Step 6

Delete the parts outside the Artboard. Now we have a nice grid, consisting of separate triangles.

Geometrical triangles grid

Go ahead and set the Fill color of these shapes to a bright blue color and the Stroke color to none.

Fill the grid with blue color

Step 7

Now we need to apply a vivid color effect to our geometrical pattern. We could set the color of every triangle manually, but that would be very time-consuming. Luckily, we have an opportunity to use a great free script by John Wundes, called “Vary Hues / Randomize Colors”, which you can find here, in John’s Scripts. Check out this article if you’re not sure how to install and launch the script in a right way. All in all, using scripts is pretty easy and saves a lot of time.

To start with, Ungroup the shapes.

Ungroup the shapes

Find the Vary Hues script by opening Other Script menu with Control-F12 combination and execute the script. Firstly, we need to vary the Fill colors. Follow the instructions on the pop-up window and enter a number from 1 to 100. The bigger the number, the more variations you get. Set the value to 25 and hit the OK button.

Use the vary hues script 1

Step 8

Secondly, we need to vary the Opacity of our shapes. The result already looks quite intricate, however, let’s try it out. Enter two numbers, for example, 5 and 60, separated by comma. These numbers represent the opacity range.

Use the vary hues script 2

Step 9

Our pattern became more transparent.

Use the vary hues script - transparent background

Now we can put a nice background under it. Add a square of a size of our Artboard and fill it with a vivid radial gradient from bright blue in the center to darker blue on the edges, making our pattern sparkling and bright.

create radial gradient backround

Step 10

Place the anchor seamless pattern that we’ve created earlier over the geometrical texture.

place anchor pattern over the geometrial background

Now you can drag the whole pattern to your Swatches Panel and apply it to any shape of any size!

create a swatch

Great job! Your Geometrical Seamless Pattern with Anchors is finished!

We’ve managed to design a pattern using a trendy geometrical background and still preserving a nice nautical look and simple neat shapes. You can create your own similar pattern with other objects and colors if you like. Have fun experimenting!

eometrical Seamless Pattern with Anchors final result
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