Seamless patterns can be applied to virtually any design to provide visual interest, texture, and harmony. Use this seven step tutorial to learn how to create your own custom patterns in the Procreate app.
A seamless pattern is an image or texture that can be duplicated and placed side-by-side, without distinct borders or separations. These patterns enable a single image to be endlessly repeated to create unique backgrounds, text effects, or brand elements.
The beauty of patterns is that they can consist of just about anything, from detailed floral swirls to trendy geometric shapes to whimsical plants. Patterns help to accentuate websites, branding and print designs, social media graphics, and more.
In just seven simple steps, this tutorial will show you how to create custom seamless patterns with the help of Procreate‘s tools and brushes.
Step 1: Create New Document
Open up a new Procreate document by hitting the plus sign icon at the top right of the program, then select Create Custom Size. Enter in the values for both the width and height; I recommend starting with a square canvas, when making a seamless pattern. Set the DPI to 300 and the Color Mode to sRGB.
Type in a name for your canvas preset size – such as “Seamless Pattern” – then hit Done to take you to your new document.
Step 2: Draw Out Portion of Pattern
On the first layer, draw out portions of your pattern with the Brush tool activated. Inspired by the irregularities of trendy Memphis style patterns, I drew out these organic shapes with the Monoline brush, then used the ColorDrop command to fill in each shape.
The style and look of your pattern is totally up to you. It can be as simplistic as sketching out a few geometric shapes, or as complex as drawing detailed floral illustrations. Spruce up simple shapes by adding in texture, drop shadows, and various brush types.
When drawing the first portion of your pattern, only draw within the limits of the canvas. This is important to remember because drawing outside of the box will crop out your illustration, negatively impacting the pattern later on. Utilize Procreate shortcuts to streamline your drawing process, such as the undo command (tap with two fingers) and the redo command (tap with three fingers).
Step 3: Move Pattern Vertically
To create that seamless look, we’re going to bring in a fill layer and move duplicate layers vertically. Create a new layer by selecting the plus sign icon in the Layers menu. Find a dark hue in the Palettes tab, then click on the layer preview box and select Fill Layer. The fill layer acts as a guideline, ensuring shapes are lined up properly when tiled.
Bring the fill layer’s opacity down by clicking the N, or Normal blend mode. Drag the Opacity slider to around 50%. Bring the fill layer beneath the pattern layer by holding down the layer name and dragging downwards. Group both the fill and pattern layers by hitting the top layer preview box, then selecting Combine Down. Duplicate the new group by swiping left and clicking Duplicate.
Zoom outwards by pinching your fingers inwards – this gives you a better preview when moving each grouped layer. Activate one group layer, then select the cursor icon at the top left of the screen. Drag one layer to the bottom of the canvas, making sure it is lined up and centered on the canvas. Place the layer at the halfway point and click the cursor icon again, to deselect the layer.
Repeat the same step for the other layer. Instead of dragging it to the bottom, place it towards the top of the canvas. This is where the fill layer comes in handy. Overlapping layers will create a subtle line in the middle of the canvas, meaning the pattern will not perfectly align later on. Nudge the top layer pixel by pixel, by tapping directly above it with one finger. Keep doing so until the layers are no longer overlapped.
Step 4: Draw Out Rest of Pattern
Remove the fill layers by swiping left across the layer name, and hitting Delete. Remove the remaining pattern layers from the groups by dragging each one up towards the top of the Layers panel. Swipe across and delete the group folders.
Add a new layer with the plus icon and sketch out the rest of your pattern. Fill in the remaining gaps using the same – or different – Procreate brushes. Once again, be sure to draw within the limits of the canvas.
Step 5: Move Pattern Horizontally
Create a new fill layer, as we did before. Drag the fill layer beneath all illustration layers, then group them together by swiping right across all pattern layers, and selecting Group. Duplicate the group once again.
To ensure seamlessness on all sides of the pattern, we’re going to move the illustration horizontally. Select one group and move it towards the right – take your time to ensure the layer is centered and perfectly aligned to the canvas.
Take the next group and move it towards the left. If any overlap occurs, nudge the layer over by tapping in the direction you want it to go. Utilize the Magnetics tool as your guide.
Step 6: Fill in Remaining Gaps
Delete the fill layers again by swiping left across the layer name, and selecting Delete. Once you’ve moved your pattern in all directions, you may end up with some gaps here and there. Add a new layer, utilizing the brushes to fill in those blank spaces.
If you haven’t done so already, bring in a background color by selecting the Background Color layer, and choosing a hue from the Palettes or customizing a hue from the Disc or Values tab.
Step 7: Export Pattern
Your pattern is now ready to be exported and downloaded. Head up to the wrench icon on the left side of the program and click on Share. Select from various raster file formats, such as PSD, PDF, JPEG, PNG, or TIFF.
From here, you can send the image to your computer or phone via AirDrop, or save it directly to the iPad and transfer to a computer later. These seamless patterns can be imported into any design program, such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, or Shutterstock Editor.