5 Must-Know Tips for Using Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

5 Must-Know Tips for Using Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

Texture is one way to instantly bring warmth and pizzazz into your digital artwork. But with so many options available, which do you choose? And how do you know what to do with them?

Lucky for you, pattern texture packs like TransferTone offer a wide variety of textures to choose from. Inspired by dry transfer sheets from the graphic design days of the 70s and 80s, TransferTone is designed to make your illustrations fun–fast.

Watch the video below or read our step-by-step synopsis for quick tips on making your illustrations more interesting with TransferTone in Illustrator.

Can't Watch the Video? Here's what you missed

Three Methods for applying Patterns in Illustrator

  1. Apply patterns with the Blob Brush. Create a new layer within the layer menu after selecting your pattern. Paint on the pattern with the Blob Brush using your mouse or tablet.
  2. Apply patterns to shapes. Select a shape you have already made, or create a shape using any shape tool. Make sure Fill is selected and choose a pattern to apply to it.
  3. Apply patterns with a clipping mask. Create a new layer over the shape where you would like to apply your mask. Select your pattern and paint it using the Blob Brush. Draw a transparent shape over the texture. Select both the pattern and the transparent shape. Right-Click and select Make Clipping Mask.

Two methods for Adjusting Patterns in Illustrator

  1. Resize the patterns. Select the texture with the Selection Tool. Select the Scale Tool and hit Enter on your keyboard to open the Scale Tool's settings menu. Make sure that only Transform Patterns is selected. Type in the new scale in the Uniform section and click OK.
  2. Change the pattern color. Double click the pattern swatch from within the Swatches menu to open the Pattern Options window. Select the entire pattern. Double click the Fill or navigate to the Color menu and select your desired color. Click Done to confirm your choice or click Save a Copy to duplicate the pattern and maintain the color of your original pattern.

Perfect Patterns

A love letter to late 20th century design techniques, TransferTone takes the unique and quirky world of dry transfer textures into the new millenium.

Effortlessly apply high quality pattern textures over your work in seconds. No experience needed! Just pick a pattern and draw.

Other Tutorials We Think You'll Enjoy


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Learn the process of creating a retro t-shirt illustration, from initial sketches all the way through to preparing the final artwork files for screen printing from illustrator Travis Price.

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