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Illustrator Tutorial: Pattern Swatches

Here's a semi tutorial to create pattern swatches in Illustrator. I followed this tutorial from 99Designs. I started out by drawing a square, being sure to show and snap it to the grid from the View menu. Next I placed a bunch of cute flower vectors that I found from BitBox. I turned off "Snap to grid" at this point because it really limited how I could position the flowers. 
The next part was kinda confusing, and the tutorial I used explains it way better than I can. But after turning back on "Snap to grid" from the view menu, select everything that overlaps the rectangle and the rectangle. Then hold the "Option" Key and drag it to the other opposite side. What this does is imitate the left side to the right side, and holding the option key duplicates the things you selected so it doesn't mess up the original. (Also, to perfectly align the raw left side to the right side hold shift. It basically snaps it perfectly for you.) Do the same process Right to left, left to right, top to bottom, and bottom to top. It seems redundant, but if you don't you'll get half flowers in your final pattern if you don't. (you can delete the extra green square you made, it was just for alignment)



So now you should have a symmetrical pattern over a green square. Select ONLY the green square and hit "Command + C + F". This duplicates the green square behind all the flowers. In the swatches menu, change both the fill and stroke to transparent (the one with the red line through white). Now send that square to the very back by hitting "Command + Shift + ]". The invisible square is what your swatches menu will read when it makes the pattern. If you mess it up, you'll have a white pattern with some green squares in your final thing.


Now select everything and drag it to the swatches menu (a green little plus sign should show up) and drop it. 


Notice on the third row down and fourth box over is my pattern? That's your new swatch. Draw a big square and select your new pattern from the swatches menu. Below is what it should look like. Double check that none of your flowers are cut in half from the edges.

Now save the swatch. Click the swatch you made from the swatches menu. Then click this button in the bottom left corner.
At the top is a "Save Swatches" option. Title your swatch and double check that you're in the "Swatches" Folder when your files open up.

To find you swatches click that same button on the bottom left corner and open the "User Defined" library. (As you can see in my picture it took me a while to figure it out so I ended up saving it four times)


TADA! This was surprisingly simple. Now you can use your swatch on different projects later on. I see so many new things I can do with this. Let me know how you liked my tutorial or if you want specific things.


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