Patterns

When I was a little girl I used to visit a haberdashery store in the north of England with my mother called Leons. We would spend hours in there looking at different types of fabric from all over the world. So many different patterns from different eras and cultures.  Sometimes my mum would let me choose a fabric and she would make me a little dress or top out of it. 

It's not just textile design that inspires me. I'm fascinated by the history of wallpaper, furniture, ceramics and decorative design, I see patterns in nature and architecture too. 

As a little side hobby, I make my own patterns now and again. Here are a few of them.

 

Movies & Games wallpaper

This was the biggest illustration project I have ever done in my life! Over the course of two months I worked on this wallpaper design which combined different characters and motifs from some of the most loved movies and video games of all time. This was such a fun project!

How to make your own patterns in photoshop

People are always asking me how I make my patterns. The truth is that it is actually really easy. There are many different ways to make a seamless pattern but I love to use photoshop. I thought I would make a handy little guide to explain the process.

1. Create your tile size

Your pattern tile can be tiny or huge depending on how detailed you want your pattern to be. I usually make tiles at around the size 1500 pixels. However my movies and games pattern above was a huge tile of over 16000 pixels. The most important thing here is that it is a perfect square and is easily dividable by three. Make a new photoshop document that is the size of the tile you want.

2.  Add guides

Click on 'view' and 'add guide'. You will need to add guides both horizontally and vertically to your document. This image is 1500px so I have added guides at 0, 500, 1000 and 1500px, both horizontally and vertically. Now you should see your document split up into 9 squares. When you are done, lock these guides and hide them so they don't bother you whilst you are designing.

3. Design

Add your designs or start designing directly in photoshop. Its important that your design does no reach the edges of the document. Its also important that you select a background colour, but have this on a separate layer from your designs and you may need to delete it later. When you have this part of your design ready, group all the layers together.

4. Tiling

Make your guides visible again and make sure 'snap to guides' is selected. This will help you make your tiles seamless and pixel perfect. Then simply duplicate your grouped layers 3 times and tile them like this.

5. Fill me in

Now it is time to fill in the space. You can use elements from your design that you can copy and pull out of one of your layers, or do something new there. Once you get the hang of pattern making you can see that the possibilities are endless.

6. Balance

Now you are ready to see if this pattern actually works. Save off your document as a png or jpeg and test it out by tiling your desktop background with it. What do you think? Have you spaced out and balanced the elements of your design enough to make a great pattern?