In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a seamless arrow pattern. We will go through steps like creating the elements for the pattern, drawing a fox illustration, scattering everything on the
background, and then cropping.
1. Drawing a Stalk Using a Special Brush
Open a New document, and first let's create an arrow. For this, we will need the Pencil Tool (N) and the fill color R=123 G=130 B=94.
So, check Round Cap on the Stroke panel, make sure that the options of this tool are Fidelity 3 pixels, Smoothness 50 %, and check Fill new pencil stroke. Draw a line using the Pencil Tool (N).
Let me tell you a little trick: if your hand is shaky and you can't draw a long, straight line, draw a very short line, for example, a few millimeters long, and then use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to stretch this line. Using the Pencil Tool (N), continue to draw the arrow. But of course, you can draw your own beautiful arrow.
Create a few more arrows by following my examples below, or create your own. Add a feather at the end of one arrow, and make a copy of this feather as a separate item. To draw the tip of arrow, use the Pen Tool (P) with the same fill color and with no stroke.
Use those stroke colors to add colors to the arrows.
In the end they should look like the image below. If you're satisfied with the result, expand all of the arrows (Object > Expand Appearance).
2. Creating Other Elements for the Pattern
Again, with the help of the Pencil Tool (N), draw another element of our
pattern—a square spiral. Multiply it to have four elements in one column. Rotate
the second and the third spirals by 45 degrees using the Rotate Tool (R).
Draw a few simple triangles: four of them in one column.
Now let's draw a sun. Make a very thick stroke and place a big dot, forming the body of the sun. To create the beams, you can use the Pencil Tool (N) or the Pen Tool (P) again—whichever you like the most. Using the Rotate Tool (R), multiply them.
To create the last item of our pattern, I used a thick Brush Tool (B) (Brushes > Artistic > Artistic_Calligraphic > 20 pt. Oval), and then I added a few more elements.
Now we have four different pattern items along with the arrows. Expand all of them (Object > Expand Appearance).
3. Drawing the Fox
I made this sketch directly in AI, using the Pencil Tool (N) and the
Eraser Tool (Shift-E). So you can draw it by copying the image below, or
create your own beautiful fox. To adjust the options of the Pencil Tool
(N) in the new dialogue window, under the Tolerances section, make
Fidelity 3 pixels and Smoothness around 40%. In the Stroke panel set
Weight 1 px, and also I like to check Round Cap.
After finishing your drawing, select everything in this layer (Control-A), go to the Transparency panel, and make the Opacity around 20%. Lock the layer where you have drawn the fox.
Create a new layer under the layer with the sketch, and start to outline your illustration. Choose dark orange for the fill color (R=206 G=99 B=52) and no stroke.
Add the ears, the eye and the nose. Remember to make the closer ear lighter and the further ear darker. The eye and nose are black.
Keep the fill color which you used for the darker ear and draw the left legs.
Change the color to R=96 G=71 B=54 and draw the lower part of the fox paw.
Make the fill color darker (R=81 G=58 B=41) and draw the same for the right paws.
Cut off the unneeded parts of the brown paws using the Intersect button in Pathfinder.
Set the fill color to R=241 G=240 B=236 and using the Pen Tool (P) draw a shape roughly as shown in the image below, overlapping the fox's tail.
Also draw a curved shape over its face and belly.
Cut off the unneeded parts of it using the Intersect button in Pathfinder.
At the end the fox should look like this:
4. Creating the Seamless Pattern
Let’s draw a large square by using the Rectangle Tool (M). Set the fill color to R=216 G=219 B=202 and draw a square with Width 600 px and Height 600 px.
Scatter the arrows and pattern elements all over the square. Try to place the elements so they are overlapping just at the top side of the square.
Then randomly add the foxes.
Select all the elements without the background and group them (right-click > Group). Press the Enter key and Move window should pop up. Enter Horizontal Position 600 px, Vertical Position 0 px, Distance 600 px and set the Angle 0 degrees. Now, press the Copy button.
Select all the elements inside the artboard again and press the Enter key. In the Move window, make Horizontal Position -600 px, Vertical Position 0 px, Distance 600 px and Angle 0 degrees. Press the Copy button.
Select all the elements inside the artboard once again and press the Enter key. In the Move window, make Horizontal Position 0 px, Vertical Position 600 px, Distance 600 px and the Angle 90 degrees. Press the Copy button.
Select all the elements inside the artboard for the last time, and press the Enter key. In the Move window, make Horizontal Position 0 px, Vertical Position -600 px, Distance 600 px and the Angle -90 degrees. Press the Copy button.
Now, you must to ungroup everything. You need to delete all the elements that do not cross the background.
The important point: if you want to move, for example, the arrow at the top of the wallpaper, you need to select the corresponding arrow at the bottom of the wallpaper at the same time, and then move the two of them. Or if you need to move the feather from the bottom side of the wallpaper, you need to move the same corresponding feather from the top side of the wallpaper.
Then create another copy of the background and put it over everything. Your result should look like the image below:
Now we will crop the image. Select everything without the lower background—all the pattern elements and the background on the top. Then press the Crop button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder). And last but not least: while keeping the cropped wallpaper selected, go to Object > Path > Clean up, then OK. You need this to delete the paths without the fill and stroke.
Your image should look like this:
Let's check whether our pattern is fully functional now. Keeping the
image selected, drag it to the Swatches panel. Now draw any shape from
the Tools panel and apply the newly created pattern. Look closely to check
the seams—they have to be perfectly matching and aligned!
Good job everyone! Now you have a beautiful ethnic pattern with fox and arrows, which can be used for wallpapers, banners, and everything else you can imagine. Hope you have found this tutorial useful and your head is exploding with other pattern ideas!
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