How to create a baroque pattern in Illustrator
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a decorative pattern in Illustrator starting from a sketch. The process is really easy to follow. You’ll need only 10 steps to create a baroque stylished pattern. Have a try!
This tutorial starts from paper. It’s more difficult (for me) to draw baroque ornament directly in Illustrator. Anyway decorations we are going to draw are really simple to do. So don’t worry, this is not a tutorial for professional drawers.
I love baroque, so after have spent hours creating these kind of illustrations, I’m able to re-create them without lots of troubles. If you need an inspirational reference, take a look at home wallpaper design galleries (for example theinspirationalgallery.com/wallpaper).
The last thing before start: I’m going to create a pattern using a baroque illustration, but you can use any kind of decorative element.
Here is my sketch. You will notice that it’s only a half of the whole decorative element. This is because Illustrator will allow us to reflect that half part to complete the decoration.
Scan the sketch and open it in Illustrator. Select it and click on the arrow on the top-right of the layers window. Then select “template”. In this way we will reduce the opacity and lock the sketch layer in order to use it as a reference while working with the pen tool.
Create a new layer and title it “ornament”. Press ctrl+R to activate the rule, then click and drag from the rule to create a vertical guide. Place the guide in correspondence of the sketched vertical line.
Set stroke color to black and fill color to transparent. Then start tracing every decoration.
Once you’ve outlined all the decorations, select all of them and switch fill color to black and stroke color to transparent:
Hide the guide. Then select all decorative elements, open the pathfinder window (Window>Pathfinder) and press Alt+Unite shape button. Then hit “Expand”. This will create a single compound path.
With the path still selected, grab the reflect tool. A blue anchor point will appear. This is the point around what the shape will be reflected, so place it on a point along the right edge of the shape. Then press alt+shift and drag to create the second half of the illustration.
Why to press alt while reflecting? Because in this way you’ll create a duplicated shape
Why to press shift while reflecting? Because it makes easier to place the duplicated shape in the correct position
Select both the shapes and merge them
At this point you can delete the sketch layer. In order to create the pattern you have to establish the distance from a decoration to the next one. For this purpose create a rectangle and place it below the illustration (the color is not important. I choose this light green to show where to put the rectangle.)
Tip: do you want to align the rectangle with the illustration? Select both of them and use the align buttons in the option bar (top)
Duplicate the illustration (click+alt on the illustration and drag). We will now divide it into 4 parts that will be placed at each corner of the rectangle. To do this grab the line tool and create 2 lines that intersect the illustration (the duplicated one. You can hide the first illustration with the rectangle for the moment):
Divide the illustration in 4 parts using the pathfinder (hit the divide button) and place each part at each corner of the rectangle
Switch the rectangle color to transparent. Select everything and create a group (ctrl+G). Finally drag the illustration into the swatches window. Compliments! You’ve just created a nice pattern
The pattern in action
Create a yellow rectangle. Copy (ctrl+C) and paste in front (ctrl+F). You have now 2 overlapped rectangles. Select the upper one then click on the pattern in the swatches window.
Note: I created a new pattern for the image below. I used the same decorative element but a different color (blue instead of black).
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