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Design a basic repeat pattern (seamless)
In this tutorial, I explain how to create a pattern tile that repeats seamlessly. I used Procreate on the iPad, but the basic idea can be applied to other drawing programs and even drawing or painting on paper. Create awesome patterns for all sorts of things, like scrapbooking, decoration, or even have them printed onto fabrics and products! Procreate is a little trickier to use for this, so sorry for the extra steps!

Posted by Abbi Laura from Wimborne Minster, England, United Kingdom • Published See Abbi Laura's 7 projects »
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  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 1
    Step 1

    Start with a blank canvas or piece of paper. When using Procreate, I fill a layer with white and scale it down to 75% - I do this because Procreate deletes any artwork that goes beyond the edges of the canvas, so working within a smaller square makes it easier later on when moving things around!

    Start drawing your pattern elements. You can sketch them in and polish it up later, or even use finished elements you've already drawn and pasted in. On paper, you can draw or use collage elements! Just make sure nothing touches the edges of your paper or white box.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 2
    Step 2

    Procreate: Turn on the Canvas Guides and increase the grid size to the maximum. This will give you guidelines cutting the canvas into quarters. Create 4 boxes on 4 separate layers, each a quarter of the size of the area you drew in. Fill these boxes with black and set all the layers to about 30% opacity. (I'm only showing 2 boxes in the image, so you can see them.)

    On paper: Cut your paper into 4 equal quarters. It's that simple.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 3
    Step 3

    Duplicate the layer with your pattern sketch 4 times, so that each of your 4 quarters has it's own pattern layer. Separate these into 4 folders. Each folder will have a pattern layer and a black square, like shown. This is so you can move the square and pattern sketch simultaneously. It might also help if you name which corner each folder contains, so you can keep track!

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 4
    Step 4

    Procreate: Swap diagonally opposite corners. Do this by tapping the folder for one corner and tapping the transform button. Make sure you have "Magnetics" turned on. Move the square along the diagonal - this is where the low opacity black boxes come in! You can easily see if you've moved the square too far or not far enough by zooming in to see if the edges of the black box line up with the canvas guides.

    On paper: you can just move the squares physically!

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 5
    Step 5

    You should end up with something like this: what used to be in the top left corner is now in the bottom right, top right is now bottom left, etc. Check that all elements on the left repeat on the right, and all elements at the top repeat at the bottom.

    If you're working on paper, use a bit of cellotape on the back to join the four pieces in their new places!

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 6
    Step 6

    Fill in the gaps! Just make sure you don't draw anything that goes off the edges.

    If you're struggling, try moving some of the original elements around! Anything that is completely in the safe area (ie no part of the element goes beyond the edge) can be moved around without risking any repeat issues.

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 7
    Step 7

    Once you're happy with your pattern tile, crop it to the edges of the white box. If you're working on paper you may want to either trace it onto another blank piece of paper, or scan it in and fix it up digitally. And there you have it! A finished pattern tile which will now repeat seamlessly!

  • How to create a drawing or painting. Repeat Pattern - Step 8
    Step 8

    Here, I've repeated my tile several times to show the seamlessness. The red box highlights one single tile.

    If you want to print this pattern onto fabric or products, I suggest bringing it into Photoshop or another similar program just to check that the repeat is perfect and there aren't any mis-matched edges.

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