- Open the swatches palette: windows->swatches
- Make sure your tools palette is open: windows->tools
- Create a pattern using shapes (elipse or rectangle)
For this tutorial I created some circles with different colors using the elipse tool (L). I then filled them with different colors and added a brown outline. You can add the fill/stroke from the tools palette, or, the swatch palette.
Select the rectangle tool from the tool bar (R). Draw a marque around your pattern as shown below. A little trick: If you hit the space bar while you are drawing a shape, you can move it around on the page. I chose an outline so I can see the bounderies of the box.
Now we will select the box we just created, and change the stroke to none. With the selection tool selected (V), draw a marque around your pattern to select everything, or, from the menu: select->all, or, "command a". With your pattern and defining box selected, drag and drop them into the swatches palette. You will then see your new pattern in the swatch palette, you can change the name by double clicking on it.
Now we will fill our drawing with the texture we just created. Select you drawing with the selection tool and (make sure the fill is in the foreground on your tools palette) and click on your pattern to fill it.
You can then create new variations of the pattern by simply dragging and dropping it onto your canvas. For my drawing I changed the size and color of the circles, and following the steps above, created a series of patterns. I then saved my file, imported it into Photoshop and created several layers with filters and layer adjustments for the final image below.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to create patterns in Illustrator. There are limitless combinations for your creations.