In this tutorial, Imakethings (known to his mum as Andrew Groves) shows you how to make a repeat pattern based on map-like imagery. He uses simple shapes and icons to illustrate geographical features from a bird’s-eye point of view similar to those used in OS maps.
However, unlike in an official map, Imakethings uses bright colours and adds a few creatures here and there to create a whimsical, magical landscape. The map tiles to make a recurring image that could be applied to any number of surfaces.
The techniques you’ll pick up here can be applied a wide range of other images to conjure up patterns for textiles, T-shirt prints or anything else you put your mind to.
As we’re making a pattern based on maps we need to start with some research. Take a look at old maps created by early adventurers and explorers or the maps that accompany storybooks. Even better, go for a walk and make a map of the things you see. However you do your research, it’s very important that you make some sketches before you get started on the computer.
Once you’ve got your sketches, have a think about what you want your finished pattern to be used for. I’m making mine into a print. I find it much easier to make repeat patterns using squares, so let’s start by making a new square document in Illustrator. Create a square in the corner of your screen that’s a quarter of the size of the document using the Rectangle tool. Fill it with the colour you want the background to be. Split the document into four quarters using the guides.