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Turning Your Art Into A Pattern Using Photoshop

by Bonnie Kuhl 24 Apr 2019 0 Comments

Turning your artwork from a painting into a pattern can be an intimidating process. This tutorial is easiest if you have some knowledge of photoshop. A Wacom Tablet is also strongly recommended. 



From Art to Pattern

1. Photograph or scan your art

The first thing you'll need to do is get your art from your desk, onto your computer. If you have a scanner, you can achieve this by scanning your artwork. However, my favorite way of accomplishing this is to photograph my art with an iphone camera (perfectly flat) on a white background in natural light. Absolutely avoid using flash.




Turning your art into a digital pattern

2. Edit your art in photoshop


Unfortunately, art with a scanner oh photographed won't look 100% perfect so you'll need to adjust the colors and brightness in photoshop.


Turning original art into a pattern in photoshop

Completely remove the background. This is difficult to do without a Wacom Tablet. Once the background is removed, cut and paste each element onto a new layer. This enables you to edit each element individually.


Turning original art into a pattern

Edit each element until you're what you see on the screen look as accurate as what you see in real life. I always adjust the colors, and the brightness.  It's a long and tedious process. Save this file as something separate. 

Turning your art into a pattern

3. Merge all art/background onto same layer 

Once all the art is edited to your standards, create a new layer by merging all the art and background color onto one new layer. You should save a copy of the layered pattern before merging, so you can easily access the elements without a background for later use. To merge all layers, select all layers, right click, and select "Merge Layers".




Turning your art into a pattern

4. Crop your art as close to the edge as possible.

Using the crop tool, remove as much of the background as possible. 


Turning your art into a pattern

5. Offset your art

Offset your art by 50% by choosing Filter >> Other >> Offset. Offset should automatically offset to half the canvas. This will ensure your pattern is repeatable. 




Turning your art into a pattern

6. Fill in empty areas with more elements

If you've painted and edited more elements, you can add them into the empty area. Sometimes it's hard to guess what shape will fit nicely, so I open the original file I created (with separate elements on each layer) and copy and paste those into the pattern file. To avoid using the same item, I always slightly tweak each plant in photoshop by cutting, pasting, and revising how each flower and leaf fits onto each plant. 


Turn your art into a pattern

7. Save your pattern!

Once all negative space is filed, save your pattern as a jpg. Open a new file to test your pattern. 

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