In this Quick Tip tutorial, I'm going to show you how to create a simple and trendy geometrical pattern, the quick and easy way. First, we will create a special repeating shape, and then we will move this object using the Smart Guides tool. In the end, we will have a pretty and modern pattern that we'll recolor.
I'm showing you an old method in case you have an older version of Adobe Illustrator. However, if you have a more recent version of Illustrator, you can create a seamless pattern using the Pattern Options function.
1. Create a Background for the Pattern Template
We will start by drawing a background for our pattern. Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and click on your art board. In a new dialogue window, enter 100 px Width and 100 px Height. Then click OK.
I chose a mint color, but if you'd like something else, feel free to make a square using any color.
2. Create a Repeating Shape for the Pattern
Now let's create a repeating shape for our pattern. Delete the fill color and set a black stroke color. Later we will change it to white, but now we want to see it clearly.
Take the Ellipse Tool (L) on the Tools panel and click on the art board. In the new dialogue window, enter 20 px Width and 20 px Height, and click OK.
Holding down the Alt (creating a copy) and Shift (moving straight) keys, move down your circle. See? Now you have two of them. Keep them selected. Hit the Rotate Tool (R), and then on your keyboard, press the Enter key. A new dialogue window will pop up asking how many degrees you want. Enter Angle 90 degrees and press Copy.
We're almost done making our shape—just need to turn them into one shape. Go to the Pathfinder panel and press Unite. Now we have our repeating shape.
Place the shape on the mint background that we created in the previous step. Change the black stroke color to white. Set the stroke Weight on the Stroke panel to your liking and when you are satisfied, expand the stroke of the repeating shape (Object > Expand).
Let's align everything here. Be sure to check the Align to Selection option on the Align panel. Keep these two objects selected (the background and the repeating shape), and press Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.
3. Create the Pattern
Now we want to move our repeating shape freely. But to move it precisely, we need to enable the Smart Guides. So let’s go to View > Smart Guides (Control-U).
Press down the Alt key and move the repeating shape (now we will call it just RSh) from the middle of the square upwards. You need to hold down the Alt key, because this helps to create a copy. The Smart Guides will help you to put the center of the RSh exactly on the upper side of the square.
This time, press down the Alt key again and move down the RSh.
Holding the Alt key, move the RSh to the left.
Holding the Alt key, move the RSh to the right.
In this step, I didn't take the original RSh from the middle, because it's hard to drag the shape exactly diagonally. That's why I took the left RSh and dragged it up.
Below, you can see how it looks when I tried to drag the original middle RSh diagonally. You can see that dY is not 50 px, but 49.67 px, which is not precise. If yours looks like mine, just take another RSh that you can move straight, not diagonally.
Holding the Alt key, drag the upper RSh to the right.
Holding the Alt key, drag the right RSh down.
Holding the Alt key, drag the left RSh down.
If you select everything (Control-A), you will have the same picture as
below. Select all the RSh (first select just one, then go to Select >
Same > Fill Color) and group them together (right-click > Group). We want to group them, because later it will help us to crop easily.
Now select just the mint background and make a copy in front (Control-C, Control-F). Then cut out this new copy (Control-X) and place in front of everything (Control-F). Keep it selected and then select the grouped RSh. Go to the Pathfinder panel and press the Crop button. Your result should look like this:
To create a pattern from this, you need to drag the entire pattern to the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches). Select everything (Control-A) and using your mouse, move it to the Swatches panel.
4. Create the Pattern
Since you've created a new swatch pattern, you can safely delete everything from your art board. Then take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a square with 600 px Width and Height. Go to the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) and choose the new pattern that you just created. Look how adorable it is!
Now, let’s see how we can change the color of the pattern.
Select the square with the geometrical pattern and go to Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork. In the new dialogue window, press the Edit button, and then press the tiny button that looks like a chain, Link harmony colors (located at the bottom right), and then simply drag the color handles to your choice of color. Enjoy how the color is changing on your pattern!
Look how beautiful it is with this sky blue color:
If you want the same pattern but with smaller RSh, select this pattern and right-click > Transform > Scale. Enter the following options in the new dialogue window:
Yay! You're Now Done!
We are done! Now you can call yourself a master of geometrical patterns. Because you have learned how to create an original shape for your pattern template, you now know how to make a swatch template from the pattern template, recolor and even scale your artwork! I'm certain that you are an expert already.