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How to Create an Easy Geometric Aztec Pattern in Inkscape


Let's learn how to use Inkscape's Grids and Pen tool to create a geometric Aztec pattern. While this may seem like a tedious design, we'll also go over a few tricks to shorten things up!

1. Prepare Our Grid

Step 1

When you've got Inkscape opened up and ready to go, head up to File > Document Properties. For this design, we're going to set the page size to Width 200px and Height 200px.

Then, click the Grids tab and under Creation, click New to create your grid. Make sure your Rectangular grid follows the settings as shown below. Pretty simple stuff.

create a grid

Step 2

Now we need to enable some snapping! Your snapping menu should be either on the top or to the right. We're going to Enable snapping, Snap nodes or handles, and Snap to grids.

enable snapping

2. Spacing With Lines

Step 1

Before we get started, I'm going to list my Zoom (Z:) as this affects how detailed the grid is.

With Z: 200%, grab that Rectangle tool and draw four, 1-space thick lines stretching across the whole canvas. Use the image below as to where to put them, or rows: 1, 11, 16, 23.

draw lines for spacing

Step 2

Do the same thing, but with this nice blue color. Again, you may use the image below for exact positioning, or rows: 2, 29, 34.

draw blue lines

Step 3

On those bottom two blue lines, we're going to create some dashes using that same dark gray color. Make sure they're alternating, you should have five on each line, and they should be four across.

draw dashes

3. Add Background Colors

Step 1

Still using the Rectangle tool, draw a few of these background blocks (as shown below) with this new blue color. Now that we've got some lines and backgrounds, the grid should be easier to look at and not as overwhelming.

draw blue backgrounds

Step 2

Do the same with this new grey color.

draw beige backgrounds

Step 3

Don't forget the final white background block on the bottom! There's nothing worse than publishing your Inkscape files and finding out all of your white is transparent.

one white background

4. Create a Diamond Design

Step 1

It's time to grab your Pen tool and draw some designs. Start by clicking on the midpoint as shown below and keep this 45 degree angle, 4 x 4-type design. Again, make sure snapping is happening every click - in the correct places, of course. One little square mistake will send this whole design off the rails!

drawing with the pen tool

Here's what you should end up with. (I've outlined it in red just to demonstrate.)

finish pen tool drawing

Step 2

Now, get rid of the Stroke entirely and set the Fill to white. Object > Fill and Stroke, just in case.

set fill to white

Step 3

Just repeat on the other side with the dark gray color. It gives it a neat diamond design.

repeat same design

5. Create a Spike and Circle Design

Step 1

Still with the Pen tool, draw this intricate little design in the next sector of our Aztec pattern. Yes, you can get this all in one shape.

draw the spikes

Step 2

Ditch the Stroke again and give it our darker blue fill. It should look like below.

fill the spikes design

Step 3

Coming up, we'll have to repeat the design we just created. I know, that one was pretty tedious. I believe now is the time to turn on Snap bounding box corners from our snapping menu. This will allow you to snap entire selections.

snap to corners

Step 4

Select that design and duplicate. You'll want to Flip vertically before positioning. Bounding box snapping is kicking in at this point and making this alignment very easy.

copy flip and position

Step 5

With Z: 400%, grab your Ellipse tool and draw 2 x 2 circles in between each gap of the spikes. You may also duplicate them as bounding box snapping will work with these as well, just be sure to double check your positioning.

draw circles

Step 6

Now we need to add a blue Stroke with a Width of 3px on each circle (you can select them all and do it all at once).

You may ask why we didn't add the stroke to the circle before hand. If any object still has a Stroke, it will add to the bounding box corners thus making your actual object alignment to the grid 1.5px off (if your stroke was 3px). Position objects first without a Stroke, then add the Stroke after snapping to position.

add stroke to circles

6. Create an Arrow Design

Step 1

It's time to grab our Pen tool once again to draw this 2 x 8 slanted rectangle design with a Fill of dark gray.

draw half an arrow

Step 2

And repeat the opposite on the other side with a Fill of white.

other side of the arrow

Step 3

Now repeat these, spacing two squares in between each. You can duplicate as these should snap by bounding box corners, along with not having strokes.

repeat the arrow design

7. Create a Dice Design

Step 1

With the Rectangle tool, just draw five white squares like on a dice.

draw 5 squares

Step 2

Up next are four squares in a diamond shape with a Fill of dark gray. Make sure one is only one block away from the five squares.

draw 4 squares

Step 3

Duplicate and position these alternating designs, keeping the one block spacing.

multiply and position

8. Create a Triangle Design

Step 1

Once again, get that Pen tool out and draw this super easy triangle. Give it that same dark gray color we've been using.

draw gray triangle

Step 2

Duplicate two more and give them a light blue color. No spacing either, they should all be touching.

copy and paste triangles

Copy another one and give it a dark blue fill.

dark blue triangle

Step 3

Duplicate once more and give it a dark gray fill. Also, we're going to Flip horizontally on this one.

reverse gray triangle

Step 4

One final maneuver for this design will be to duplicate all of those triangles, Flip horizontally, and position on the opposite side. (You'll end up with a dark gray diamond in the middle.)

copy paste position

9. Create the Final Design

Step 1

This will be another somewhat tedious design. You're just going to draw a tall triangle with your Pen tool, 6 tall and 2 wide, light blue. But we want to repeat this for the entire block.

draw tall spikes

Step 2

Just duplicate, then you'll have two. Duplicate, then you'll have 4... 8... 16... and you'll be done in no time. Bounding box corners should snap this whole time as well, making this super easy.

copy paste copy paste

Step 3

When you're finished there, it should look like this.

Wait a second... we're done! Let's see what it looks like without that ugly grid!

finish the final design

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

We've wrapped up the geometric Aztec pattern tutorial, and it looks great! A fairly simple concept, combined with a few tricks to ease tediousness has made a very cool graphic in Inkscape that fully repeats in all directions. Thanks for reading!

aztec pattern vector
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