Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tiled patterns

Hi, Terry Grant here. While I love to draw by hand, I also love doodling around on my computer using Adobe Illustrator. Making tiled patterns is endlessly entertaining. I start by drawing a simple square design, like this leaf. This design element is called a tile. If you were making a patchwork quilt you'd call it a block.

Designs with a strong diagonal orientation, like the leaf are especially versatile and will make endless variations on a tiled design. Most obvious, but reliably interesting, is a simple repeat.

The fun really begins, however, when you start to rotate some of the tiles.

You open up a whole new world of possibilities when you flip your original tile to create a mirror image and use the two together.

You can go on and on!

The easiest way to make tiled patterns, in my opinion, is with a drawing program like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw, but you can also make them using paint programs like Photoshop. You can even create tiled patterns by hand with tracing paper, colored pencils and patience!


  1. Terry, I also love playing in these programs and exploring the possibilities of just turning the tile! Great post, love your designs!

  2. Which Adobe illustrator are you using for the designs? I've been indecisive on which software to get to obtain the same type patterns.

  3. Carol, I am currently using Adobe Illustrator 10, which is not the most recent version, but it works great for me. I started using Illustrator about 17 years ago and have been through several upgrades. It doesn't really matter much which program you choose. CorelDraw works in the same way as Illustrator. These are vector based programs, as opposed to raster based, like Photoshop. There is a definite learning curve involved in using vector programs and a tutorial or class is almost essential to get you started, but once you get the hang of it, they are wonderful to use!

  4. Thank you so much for the information. I'm now on my to designing some of my own patterns without a lot of copying and pasting.

  5. I loved this post Terry! I'm not that good with computer software so I sometimes do the draw/paint/cut/flip thing on my studio table. It sounds a lot easier on the computer though...I'll have to check this out!


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