In this tutorial, calligrapher and designer Jenny (aka @miss_papperista) will show you how to illustrate beautiful flowers and make a colourful background to create a truly awesome pattern in Adobe Illustrator.

What you'll need

Create a flower

First, you’re going to draw all the pieces you need to create your pattern. Start by drawing the flowers using the Ellipse tool from the left toolbar. Draw four circles by clicking, holding and dragging and create a flower. Make sure your circles are all slightly different sizes and shapes to add a bit of personality. Position them all together to mimic petals. Next, click the Selection tool and select them all. Then click Swap Fill and Stroke to make the circles black. Feel free to move, resize and rotate the circles to get them looking how you want. Once you’re happy, select them all again, go to Pathfinder on the right panel and click Unite – your four circles have become one shape. Using the Ellipse tool, create a circle in the middle of your new shape to make it look more flower-like. Fill it by going to the Swatches panel and choosing a white filling. Then, select both objects, go back to Pathfinder and choose Minus Front – the white circle should now be cut out from the black petals. 

Start duplicating

Select your flower and copy and paste it (Command/Control and C, followed by Command/Control and V) a few times to create more. Then start rotating and resizing them so they don’t all look the same. Remember to always place your elements in a square – this will make it much easier to create a seamless pattern.

Add some colour

Next, simply click on one of your flowers, go to the Swatches panel and choose a nice bold colour. You can do this for each of them. Using the Ellipse tool, draw some small circles inside your flower petals to add detail and even more colour. 

Add a background

Now it’s time to add a background to make sure your design really pops. So, select the Rectangle tool and click, hold and drag while holding the Shift key to create a square over your flowers. Go back to Swatches and pick a nice light colour. Next, right-click on your square and click Arrange > Send to Back. Make sure your background square is as tight to the flowers as possible to make your pattern seamless.

Create the pattern

Using the Selection tool, select your background and flowers. Then, go to the top menu and click Object > Pattern > Make. A pop-up window will tell you that your pattern has now been added to the Swatch menu, click OK. In Pattern Options make sure you name your pattern, so it’s easier to find later. Tile Type lets you choose how your pattern will repeat. You can also choose the size of the pattern. Play around with these until you’re happy. When you’re ready, go to the top panel and click Done. You now have your very own pattern. To use it, draw any shape you like and go to the Swatch panel to apply it.

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