It seems as if it's no easy task to create an interlocking geometric pattern that can be easily set as a pattern within Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. In this tutorial, we'll break down the shapes of a houndstooth pattern so that they fit into a simple, repeating pattern that's easy to create, apply, and edit.
1. Create the Shapes in Illustrator
Create a New Document of 500 px by 500 px. If you need a larger or smaller pattern, fear not: you can resize it as needed. Use the Rectangular Grid Tool to draw a 500 px by 500 px grid of 9 Horizontal and 9 Vertical Dividers. Lock the grid in the Layers panel.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw a 250 px by 250 px square and place it in the top left quadrant of your artboard.
In the bottom left quadrant, use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a diagonal line starting at the fourth vertical line from the left and ending at the third horizontal line from the bottom of the grid. Bring the line down to the bottom corner of the grid and back up and to the right, diagonally, to the center of the line grid. Finally, close the shape with a horizontal line at the origin anchor point.
Using the Pen Tool, draw a triangle in the bottom right corner of the lower left quadrant of the line grid. It should be three squares down and three squares across.
2. Create the Vector Pattern
Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the diagonal strip and triangle shape. Rotate them 180° using the Rotate Tool (R) and place the two shapes in the top right quadrant. Group (Control-G) all black shapes together. Draw a 500 px by 500 px square over the artboard. Make sure it's aligned perfectly.
Delete or hide the line grid. Select the black and white design elements. In the Pattern Options panel, hit Make Pattern. Make sure Tile Type is set to Grid and hit Done at the top of the document to save your pattern in the Swatches panel.
Apply your newly made pattern swatch to a rectangle within your artboard. If you need to resize or edit the pattern in any way, double-click on the swatch in the Swatches panel to edit it in the Pattern Options panel.
3. Creating the Pattern Shapes as a Bitmap
The steps in creating a houndstooth pattern as a bitmap are quite similar to the vector format of Adobe Illustrator. In the case you're using Adobe Photoshop only, I'll review all of the steps below.
Create a New Document of 500px by 500px. Go to View > New Guide Layout and create a Guide Layout of 10 Columns and 10 Rows (no width, height, or gutter values).
With the Rectangle Tool (U), create a 250 px by 250 px square. Make sure the tool is creating a Shape and not a Path. Use the Move Tool (V) to place the square in the top left corner of the layout grid.
Two shapes are to be drawn in the bottom left quadrant of the layout grid. Firstly, set the Pen Tool (P)'s Tool Mode to Shape in the Options Bar.
Secondly, draw a diagonal line starting at the fourth vertical line from the left and ending at the third horizontal line from the bottom of the grid. Bring the line down to the bottom corner of the grid and back up and to the right, diagonally, to the center of the layout grid. Finally, close the shape with a horizontal line at the origin anchor point.
Thirdly, draw a triangle in the bottom right corner of the lower left quadrant of the layout grid. It should be three squares down and three squares across.
Copy, Paste, and Rotate the diagonal strip shape and triangle so it fits perfectly in the top right quadrant. Go to Edit > Define Pattern and give your new pattern a name. Change the size of your pattern file under Image > Image Size as needed. Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill in a new document or selected area with your new pattern.
Fantastic Job, You're Done!
Well done you! By looking at the pieces of an interlocking geometric pattern, like houndstooth patterns, you've learned how to create both a vector and a bitmap version of the seamless pattern.
What fantastic color variations can you create with these simple geometric shapes? Using the grid method, what other interlocking designs can you create? Share with us in the comment section below!