How to create, scale and edit fill patterns in Adobe Illustrator
Patterns are a useful tool for creating a design within a shape without having to duplicate the item and use a clipping path increasing the file size.
Follow these simple steps to create your pattern. We have used a simple geometric bird design in this tutorial that you are free to download.
1. Create the pattern you wish to duplicate and turn into your fill pattern
This can be any shape or size you want to fill your area. If you want a seamless background make sure your shape is symmetrical. When you are happy with the shape or design, drag the whole shape into your swatches panel to create a new fill.
You can also use seamless patterns created in Photoshop. Open the psd, png, or jpg file in Illustrator and then drag it to the Swatches panel. Use it as a fill the same as any pattern. Start with a high resolution image for best results.
2. Fill your shape
Select the object you wish to fill, and click on the new fill you have created in your swatches panel.
3. Scale, move or rotate your pattern
You can easily transform the pattern within your shape, by moving, scaling or rotating it. Select the shape containing the fill pattern. Go to the Object Menu and click Transform, here you can select move, rotate, reflect, scale or shear.
Select the transform option you want to use. When the transform box appears, ensure you click Patterns in the options, this way you are only scaling the pattern and not the object.
4. Edit the pattern swatch or customize an existing swatch
To edit the pattern swatch, click and drag the swatch onto your art board. Once you have finished editing your pattern, you can either replace the swatch you have edited by clicking alt and dragging it over the previous swatch, or you can create a new swatch by simply dragging the pattern into the swatches menu as before.