Life & Style tutorial: Design stunning skate deck art using patterns

Ben Beach of ilovedust reveals how to use Illustrator to create chaotic, repeating vector patterns ideal for skatedeck art.

Skate decks are a mini art canvas on wheels – and some of the hottest designers around have honed their talents in pursuit of the status of design legend in the half-pipe circuit. Yet creating deck art is more than recreating yet another urban art scene and slapping it onto a strip of maple.

This speedy canvas should be home to more imaginative renderings, as Ben Beach shows for this work created for Friends With You ( ).

This masterclass shows you how to use repeating, tiled patterns based on vector workings of real-world objects. By taking the everyday, such as vegetables and kitchen utensils in this case, and reworking them as stylized vector art, you can add a real twist and create some thought-provoking art.

After designing the objects, next comes the part that, while requiring patience, is like working with a digital jigsaw puzzle. Thanks to some clever tiling techniques and tricks, you be able to turn a few vector objects into a multi-layered, highly complex design that will have some people scratching their heads.

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Some advice – stick to bright, contrasting colour palettes for maximum impact, and ensure that objects are a mix of short and long – adding pace to the composition. Once done, head to your nearest skate emporium and prepare to dazzle with your astounding deck.

Step 1
Start with a new document in Illustrator and get your reference images ready. You may want to keep your references in a separate, locked layer. We’re only going to use them as a rough guide so make sure you leave yourself a space to draw on.

Step 2
Display the grid by going to View> Show Grid and turn on snap to grid by going to View>Snap To Grid. As we’re going to be drawing quite symmetrical, simple objects this will help us in keeping the shapes consistent.

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