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Making Seamless Patterns

My Experience with Making Patterns

I haven’t written about seamless patterns on this blog before but I started learning how to do them several years ago around 2016 when I first got a copy of Affinity Designer.

I even got paid by Affinity for making my first ever pattern design as part of there promotion of the software when they asked people to submit art for their marketing campaign.

My first pattern was one I hand drew and then digitized with Affinity Designer. It was a good way to start learning how to make patterns and vector art.

I kept making patterns and opened a shop on Spoonflower with some of my designs. I hardly made any money doing this, getting my first payout of around £10 in 2021 several years after I opened the store. I made a loss considering you have to buy the designs in order to proof them before you can sell them. It was a bit disheartening but that’s the way things go sometimes and you just have to keep trying different things.

My attempts at vector art petered out around 2019 when I decided to focus more on learning 3D and focusing more on drawing and painting. A consultant from the Association of Illustrators told me not to bother with the vector art. Perhaps I’ll just have to keep trying to improve my skills or combine them with my drawing and painting skills more.

My last vector design was called “Snails in the Garden“. It was a fairly complicated pattern to make but I think snails are an acquired taste for most people. I have to work on doing more “popular” things.

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Plans for the Future

Recently I’ve been thinking about re-visiting the design to improve it, I want to make it look a bit less flat.

Getting back to seamless pattern design I’ll be making my hand drawn Illustrations into pattern designs instead of using vector art or mixing the two creation methods. I made a set of hand drawn seamless textures in 2020 as well which I’ll be incorporating into my work. I also want to explore the use of 3D models and pattern design.

I made some videos demonstrating seamless pattern creation last week.

I also found a new software called McFab’s Pattern Designer which I tried out.

Seamless Pattern Making

Making patterns can be a fun and challenging thing to do. It gets you thinking about colour combinations and themes.

You can make them as simple or a complicated as you want. You can use any medium to make patterns from analog to digital and it is a good thing to learn because it has many applications from graphic design, Illustration, 3D textures, textile design, game design, website design, craft making etc.

Digital software does make the process of making the pattern easier and there are many options available. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop has tools for making patterns, you can use Gimp, Krita, Inkscape, Affinity Designer or Affinity Photo to list just a few of the available software these days.

It is possible to make them by hand and scan them in of course. I started learning how to do them this way with my first pattern. The technique is useful to learn because it can be applied to a digital process as well.

There are many tutorials available on YouTube and sites like Skillshare for learning how to make seamless patterns or “surface design” and Spoonflower’s book on the subject is very useful. I also found “a Field Guide to Fabric Design” very useful. Give it a go!

Thanks for reading!

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