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How to Create a Flag Bunting Pattern Brush in Adobe Illustrator

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What You'll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a flag bunting Pattern Brush in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters you will learn how to setup a simple grid and how to create the flags and the rest of the shapes that will make up the side tile of your Pattern Brush. 

Next you will learn how to create the the shapes that will make up the corners and the start and end tiles of your Pattern Brush. 

Finally, you will learn how to save a bunch of simple pattern, how to create your own Pattern Brush and how to easily use it.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width box and 400 in the height box then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 1px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 1 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid, it will ease your work and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut. 

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

Flags Pattern Brush

2. Create the Side Tile of the Pattern Brush

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke then select the fill and set its color at R=230 G=231 B=232. Move to your artboard and simply create a 105 x 26px rectangle, the Snap to Grid should ease your work.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 2

Make sure that the Rectangle Tool (M) is still acrive, set the fill color at R=165 G=165 B=175, create a 105 x 1px shape and place it exactly as shown in the following image. Once again, the Snap to Grid feature should ease your work.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 3

Make sure that the Rectangle Tool (M) is still active, set the fill color at R=39 G=170 B=225, create a 13 x 14px shape and place it exactly as shown in the following image. Focus on the bottom side of this blue rectangle, grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and simply click on the right anchor point to remove it. 

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the remaining bottom anchor point and simply drag it 8px to the right. In the end your blue rectangle should turn into a simple triangle as shown in the second image.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 4

Make sure that your blue shape is selected make four copies in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select these copies one by one, place them as shown in the following image and replace the existing fill color with the ones shown below.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 5

Select your blue triangle and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 6

Select your yellow triangle and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Flag. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 7

Select your red triangle and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Flag. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 8

Select your orange triangle and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Lower. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the attributes shown below and go to Effect > Warp > Flag. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 9

Select your green triangle and go to Effect > Warp > Arc Upper. Enter the properties shown in the following image, click OK and go to Effect > Warp > Flag. Enter the attributes shown below, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 10

Grab the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the ten anchor points highlighted by the blue circles in the first image, focus on the control panel and simply enter "1px" in that Corners box. In the end things should look like in the second image.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 11

Reselect the five shapes that make up your flags and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F). Select these copies and simply hit Control-8 to turn them into a simple Compound Path. Make sure that your compound path is selected and replace the existing fill color with R=245 G=124 B=174.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 12

Reselect your pink compound path and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). 

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 105 x 1px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the second image. Select this thin rectangle along with the copy made in the beginning of the step, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Intersect button. 

Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected, turn it into a new Compound Path (Control-8) and focus on the Appearance panel. Simply click on that "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel, lower the Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 13

Reselect your pink compound path and make a new copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). 

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 105 x 1px shape, set the fill color at white and place it as shown in the second image. Select this thin rectangle along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 14

Reselect your pink compound path and new make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). 

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 105 x 3px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the second image. Select this new rectangle along with the copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 15

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 105 x 1px shape, set the fill color at black and place it as shown in the second image. Select this new rectangle along with your pink compound path and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new Compound Path (Control-8), lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 16

Reselect all the shapes made so far and hit Control-G to Group them. Move to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), simply double click on your new group and rename it "sideTile"

Flags Pattern Brush

3. Create the Outer Corner and the Inner Corner Tiles of the Pattern Brush

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 26px square, set the fill color at R=230 G=231 B=232 and place it as shown in the first image. Using the same tool, create an 11 x 1px rectangle and a 1 x 11px rectangle. Fill both shapes with R=165 G=165 B=175 and place them as shown in the second image.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 5px circle, set the fill color at R=100 G=100 B=115 and place it as shown in the first image. 

Make sure that your new shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the newly created shape, replace the existing fill color with R=135 G=135 B=145 and go again to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting circle and replace the existing fill color with R=209 G=211 B=212

Reselect the three concentric circles made in this step along with the three rectangles made in the previous step and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel and simply rename this new group "outerCorner"

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 3

Duplicate your "outerCorner" group (Control-C > Control-F), select the copy and drag it several pixels to the right as shown in the first image. 

Focus on the Layers panel and rename this new group "innerCorner". Keep focusing on the Layers panel, open your "innerCorner" group, select the three concentric circles and simply drag them 1px up and 1px to the left as shown in the second image. 

Next, select the 11 x 1px rectangle and move it 1px up then select the 1 x 11px rectangle and move it 1px to the left. In the end your "innerCorner" group should look like in the fourth image.

Flags Pattern Brush

4. Create the Start and the End Tiles of the Pattern Brush

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 15 x 26px square, set the fill color at R=230 G=231 B=232 and place it as shown in the first image. 

Using the same tool, create a 12 x 1px rectangle, set the fill color at R=165 G=165 B=175 and place them as shown in the second image.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 5px circle, set the fill color at R=100 G=100 B=115 and place it as shown in the first image. 

Make sure that this new shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1px Offset and click OK. Select the new circle, replace the existing fill color with R=135 G=135 B=145 and go again to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter that same -1px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape and replace the existing fill color with R=209 G=211 B=212

Reselect the three concentric circles made in this step along with the two rectangles made in the previous step and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel and simply rename this new group "startTile"

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 3

Make sure that your "startTile" group is selected and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box then click the Copy button to create a horizontally flipped group copy. 

Select the newly created group, drag it several pixels to the left (as shown in the third image) then move to the Layers panel and rename it "endTile".

Flags Pattern Brush

5. Save Four Simple Pattern and Create Your Pattern Brush

Step 1

Reselect the five rectangles with the fill color set at R=230 G=231 B=232, focus on the Appearance panel and simply remove that color from the fill. This should make your shapes invisible.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 2

Select your "outerCorner" group and simply drag inside your Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save it as a pattern. Double-click on your new pattern and rename it "OuterCorner". Select your "innerCorner" group, save it as a new pattern and rename it "InnerCorner".

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 3

Select your "startCorner" group, save it as a pattern and rename it "StartTile". Select your "endCorner" group, save it as a pattern and rename it "EndTile".

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 4

Select your "sideTile" group, open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes) and click the New Brush button (pointed by the little, blue arrow in the following image). Check the Pattern Brush box then click OK to open the Pattern Brush Options window. Enter "FlagsBrush" in the Name box then focus on to the Tile boxes. Open the Outer Corner, the Inner Corner, the Start Tile and the End Tile drop down windows and simply add your saved pattern. Once you're done, click the OK button and you should find your new pattern brush inside the Brushes panel.

Flags Pattern Brush

6. Save a Simple Graphic Style

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and simply click on your artboard to open the Rectangle window. Enter 610 in the Width box and 410 in the Height box then click the OK button. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and set its color at R=234 G=240 B=255

Next, you will need to center it, so open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set the aligning to Artboard (open the fly out menu and go to Show Options if you can't see the Align To section as shown in the following image), make sure that your shape is selected then simply click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. In the end your square should cover the entire artboard as shown in the following image.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 2

Using the Pen Tool (P), create a simple path roughly as shown in the following image. Make sure that it has no color set for the fill then select the stroke and simply add your "FlagsBrush" from the Brushes panel.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 3

Reselect your path, focus on the Appearance panel, select the stroke and add the four Drop Shadow effects (Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow) shown in the following image. Make sure that your path stays selected, open the Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles) and simply click the New Graphic Style button to save a new graphic style.

Flags Pattern Brush

Step 4

Finally, create any shape or path that you like, make sure that it is selected and simply add your saved graphic style from the Graphic Styles panel.

Flags Pattern Brush
Flags Pattern Brush

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

Flags Pattern Brush
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