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Design Surface Patterns From Scratch

Lesson 28 of 31

Fun Stuff: Gift Cards & Tags

Bonnie Christine

Design Surface Patterns From Scratch

Bonnie Christine

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Lesson Info

28. Fun Stuff: Gift Cards & Tags

Lesson Info

Fun Stuff: Gift Cards & Tags

I wanna show us how to make like a five by seven gift card. This is great for a couple reasons. Obviously it's great to do on your own so you can print and use gift cards. You don't even have to purchase one ever again. You could just design your own. You can give these as gifts for holidays or birthdays or something. You can offer them as downloads on your blog. And you can sell them if you sell [Unintelligible 00:00:28] or have an Etsy shop or something like that. So really great, pretty easy and I'm gonna walk you through it. So command, N opens us up a new document. I'm gonna name it gift card. And the standard that I usually work with is a five by seven gift card. I believe that fits an A5 envelope? Somebody, if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me. But that information's readily available on the web too. So I have my document set to pixels. I'd like to keep it in pixels but I don't know what five inches is in pixels, so I can just type it in in inches. So I'll do five inches by sev...

en inches and click OK. So I'm gonna start building out this card. I've hand-lettered a little bit of text that I think I wanna put on this card. We're gonna see here in just a second. It is right here. I'm just gonna drag and drop this photo on to my Illustrator document. It's gonna be huge, so I'm gonna scale it down by using the scale tool. Keyboard shortcut is S. I'm gonna hold the shift key as I drag in from a diagonal to keep it proportional. And I'm not even sure if I should call this hand-lettered, but I just quickly wrote out "oh, hello" in my sketchbook with my favorite uni-pen which is really dark and nice. I took a photo of it with my iPhone, uploaded it to Dropbox, and dropped it in this Illustrator document. We went over this in great detail in session two, segment two if none of that is familiar to you, you can learn how to do it by referring back to that session. So I am gonna try to use the live trace tool on this and to do so I just select the image, come over to image trace, and I believe the black and white logo is gonna give us the best result. It's gonna say this may proceed slowly because the image is large. Yes, you wanna proceed. So that looks pretty good, but it's too light in a couple of areas. So the way to fix that is mess with your threshold. So increasing your threshold will pick up more of that dark pen line. It might be able to come up a little bit more. If you go up too high, it finally just turns completely black, but if you go up too high it'll start picking up little bits from the paper maybe, or if you had a drawing on the previous page it'll start picking that up. So just play with that until you get it just right. So the other thing I like to do is ignore white. So right now, that picture has a white background on it. You can't tell because my art board is white but now it's transparent. It also deepens those lines just a little bit. So I think I'm good with that. So I'm done with the image trace. I'll collapse that and zoom out. I need to expand this, so expand is right up top in your window. Next, I need to un-group it so I'll right click and un-group all these elements. And because I took away the white, wherever the white was got filled with a no-stroke and no-fill. So this big box has no stroke and no fill, and all these little segments like all the holes that are inside my text have no stroke and no fill. So I wanna get rid of all those little elements because you can see there's a lot of them. So I'm gonna select one, you can tell that it has no stroke and no fill. I'll select same, fill color, and hit the backspace button to delete those. So we're gonna use these elements maybe in a minute, but I'm gonna work with "oh, hello" first. I'm gonna group those together by hitting command, G. So that I can move them around and they'll stay together. So let's choose what pattern to use on this. And I am thinking that, let's see... Let's use the flower vase. I may even pull a single flower vase out to use for these gift cards. So I've selected the flower vase pattern, copied it, and I'm gonna paste it right here. So one trick that I wanna show you is that if you want access to the individual elements that you have used to create a pattern, you can grab access to those really quickly. I have already deleted the actual build that I made for this pattern. I deleted it, and I don't have access to it anymore. So if I need to get in here and make some edits, all you have to do is come over here to fill color, grab that box, and drag and drop it to your art board. And it's gonna bring up the exact repeat that you had been working on originally. So I'll zoom out here and I'm just gonna bring this over here because it's pretty big. I'm gonna just get rid of the pattern swatch. And I wanna grab just the vase. So everything's grouped together and it will have maintained the integrity of my groupings as well. So I believe when I un-group the first layer, all these vases are then gonna be grouped individually as well because that's how I built the pattern. We went over that in session one, why it's important to work in groups, and this is a great example of why it's important because if you need to get back in to edit some of your patterns, you want that process to be easy to work with. I'm just gonna bring over the one vase and delete this background. But before I do so, I wanna steal all the colors from that. So I'm gonna create a new color group in my swatches panel. I'll name it vases, and select OK. So now I have all the colors that I used in that illustration over here in my swatches panel. So let's zoom in here a little bit. I want this to fill the page. So just select it and with a scale tool, I'm just gonna size this up a little bit. Gonna hide my edges so we can see it nice and clear. And I'm thinking about bringing this banner over to work with. Something like that. Okay, so the first thing I wanna do is warm up the background. I usually never like to work with stark white, not sure why, but I like things to be a little warmer. So I'm gonna just drag a rectangle back there. And I don't work in black either, so I'll change that to this kinda off-white color. Maybe that one. Yeah, I'm working in layers so I'm just gonna get rid of my layers. You can move things away in your layers or you can select everything, group it together, which puts everything on the same layer. Then you can delete the layer that has nothing on it and then un-group your illustrations. So I wanna color this little banner. I just drew it with a pen. So to color it up, I'm gonna select it and use the live paint bucket tool. We used this tool a whole bunch in session two and so we're just gonna revisit it really quickly. So I'll maybe grab this pink color. And I think the insides of this should be a little darker. I'm just gonna delete the black stroke by grabbing the no-fill and no-stroke box and coming in here and just grabbing the black. So if I hide my edges, you can see what that looks like now. If I wanted this to be super perfect, I could grab the pen tool and trace over it. I'm okay with this kinda hand-drawn look for this application. So the next thing I need to do is expand this so I get rid of this no stroke and no fill action around it. So to do that, I'll go up to object and expand. So that leaves me with a nice clean illustration and the only other thing I might do is just clean up some of this little blips just a little bit by using the smooth tool. It's available under the pencil tool's fly out menu. So I'm just gonna come in here and quickly do this. I'm just using my mouse for this. In fact, I believe I have used my mouse all day long. So if you don't have a Wacom tablet, you are gonna be just fine. So this just kinda smooths out some of the imperfections that scanned in and actually, let me remind you that this was not a scan, it was an iPhone picture. So scans do definitely work a little better, but pictures from your phone will definitely work well too, so. I'm gonna bring this to the front and just see. I'm gonna hide my edges and just start playing with what it might look like. Might even cover up the triangles underneath just for this little card. Or I could go into isolation mood, mode. You ever get into isolation mood? (laughter) I'll take it down. This may not stay like this, but we'll see what that looks like if I just want to keep those. Yeah, I think that's fine. This bothers me now, so... Just to get to these grouped items, we just go into isolation mode by double clicking and then double click off of everything to get back out to your illustration. So I think that's better and I wanna play with adding "oh, hello" on top of here. (clicking) You could also grab the text tool and just start with some text, like thank you or something like that. This is all grouped, so I have it selected, and I'm gonna double click to enter isolation mode again. That way, I can just not worry about grabbing the background, anything in the background, and just work with this text, so. I could have probably illustrated it. I didn't know that I was gonna put it on this banner and so I probably could have illustrated it a little more curved to fit on here, but this is gonna be fine. (clicking) Something like that. Okay, so I'm good with that. I like where this is going. In order to print this card, you have to take into consideration the fold and the back of the card. So what we really need is a back to it and I think this means you have to come over to the left so that way when you print it you fold it right down the middle and it's really nicely presented. So this is five by seven, that is seven by ten? Is that right? So you'll be printing on a regular eight and a half by eleven inch piece of paper, and this is gonna work great. So I think I'll just delete this art board and make one big art board. We don't need the two smaller ones. So I'm gonna draw a point here and what did I say? That's gonna be ten inches by seven inches and that's perfect size. I'll convert that to an art board by coming up to object, art board, convert to art board. I also have my art boards over here on the right. So they're right here. I don't need this art board number one anymore and I can just drag and drop that to the trash, that way I just have the one. Now, it's nice to have color on the back of your card, but if you don't wanna waste your ink, you can absolutely just use white back there. But I always like to have fun on the back of a card 'cause it's kind of just like an extra surprise, so I am going to grab my logo, I'll put it on the back. Not too big, but just so they know that it was handmade with love. And you can also, this is a great time to use a clipping mask. So if I just make a copy of my whole vase and bring it over here, I might grab some elements to bring into the back of this card. So I can un-group everything, delete my vase, and possibly just play with adding some elements over here. So you can just grab these elements, rotate them using the rotate tool, reflect them... All the tools that we've been learning how to use, this is when you get to have fun using them. So if I was at home, I would probably spend a pretty good afternoon on perfecting all these little bits, but I'm just gonna throw some on here so you get the idea of what you can do. I think this is too big. So I can even bring this over here some. And the way we're gonna make sure that none of this gets printed, is by using a clipping mask. Something like that. So to use a clipping mask, all you have to do is grab the rectangle tool, drop a point, and this is five inches by seven inches. I'll make sure, I think it is already, but I'm gonna make sure that it's brought to the front because I wanna clip what's behind it. So I'll select the rectangle and then any little illustration that's falling off the edge here. Zoom way in and grab all that. So to create a clipping mask, you hit command, seven. So I would play with that some more but that's just a kinda nice way to add some design elements to the back. I wanna make some gift tags that match the gift card, but first I'll show you how to save this. You're probably gonna wanna save it as a PDF in order to print it. So to save a PDF from Adobe Illustrator, my favorite way to do it is just to come up to file and save a copy. If you save this document as a PDF, you won't have had an Illustrator copy made, so if I ever make a PDF, I usually have two copies, a PDF copy and an Illustrator copy. So I'll save a copy of this. That brings up my save a copy dialogue box and from the format, you can choose PDF. Gift card copy, I don't really need it to say copy because I can see that the extension is PDF. So I'll just do gift card and select save. That's gonna give us some new options. The Illustrator default is gonna be a larger PDF file. It's also gonna preserve Illustrator editing capabilities. So if something happened to your original Illustrator file, this is gonna allow you to open the PDF using Illustrator and still be able to edit it and all the vectors. One thing to keep in mind is that if you're sending this to somebody, they will have Illustrator editing capabilities. Sometimes you want that, sometimes you don't. Also if you're sharing this on the web or on your blog as a download, you'll just wanna keep in mind whether you want the end user to be able to edit your original Adobe Illustrator file or not. So I don't in this case, I don't think. So I'm just gonna come down to smallest file size. So smallest file size is optimized for the fast web view, it is a small enough file to where you can e-mail it really easily, you can upload it to your blog really easily, but it's big enough to where it prints really well. So I'll save PDF. Saving this document, it's gonna alarm you that you're about to save this to where you won't be able to edit it in Illustrator anymore. And I'm okay with that, I know what I'm doing. So, did I save that to... Right there on my desktop, gift card PDF. If I double click on that it's gonna open it right up for me and this is ready to print at home or send to a printer to print your five by seven gift card. And all I would do once I print this out is I would trim it and then I would use maybe like a bone folder and a ruler to crease the center and fold it really nicely. Any questions about gift cards or anything like that? Yeah, well we have one question here from Daniel2Alexis, and they say, "Do you have a specific printer "that you recommend for printing these cards?" Now, these are all easy enough to be printed at home, right? But do you have any particular guidance when people are printing these? I would, and maybe I could show one of the gift cards that I've already printed. This might be a good time to do that. Thank you, thank you. So we showed these in session one but I just showed again. So this I made using the same exact method. This is just a little gift card. It says thank you. I've paired it with what I believe is a five sized craft envelope and I didn't doll up the back on this too much, but I put my logo, and so it's just blank on the inside. But you can see on the back it's really nice and it looks really nice paired with a craft envelope and placed in a cellophane bag. I get these bags from and I get the craft envelopes from maybe Paper Source, I think? But all this information is on my industry resources. All my secrets are on this like three page PDF. So my printer and my paper and everything is on there. I use an Epson Photo Styles printer and the exact model is on the Industry Resources PDF. The paper is Epson Premium Presentation Paper. It has a really beautiful finish to it and I usually use Epson ink, so that I am through and through using the same brand. I should also mention that this is the same setup I use to make my portfolio, same printer, same paper, same setup in Illustrator. That's great. You know I'm always confused about A5, A7, all these different things. But Tracy in the chatroom says, five by seven equals A7. Thank you Tracy, for chiming in. We always love to get the info from the chatroom. Yeah, great, I was hoping somebody would chime in. So A7 is five by seven and that should be easy enough to remember. Okay, so what if we want to make like a set of gift tags to go along with this gift card? Get back in Illustrator. I'll add an art board that's regular size, eight and a half by eleven, so grab my rectangle tool, eight and a half inches by eleven inches. Enter. And I'll create this art board, convert it to an art board by coming to objects, art board, convert to art board. Something I use all the time, as you can see. So usually I'll just start kinda drawing a rectangle here. Usually, gift tags are either just rectangles. Sometimes they have kinda these edges that are chopped off. I'm just gonna start playing a little bit. If I wanna chop the edges of this off, maybe just on one side, I can draw a square, rotate it 45 degrees by holding my shift key down as I rotate it, and I'm just gonna change the color so we can make sure to see what I'm doing, but I can drag and drop this over to where the corner meets. I can do the same thing down here. I just hold the shift key down and keep that in line. And the option key to replicate it. So let me zoom in. I wanna make sure that, I think this is gonna do exactly what I want. So if I select the object on top and the object below and I wanna just cut the corner off, I can use the Pathfinder minus front command. So that has chopped that corner off and I can do the same thing down here. Okay, so this kinda looks like one of those sales tags, but I think it's really cute to use these as gift tags. So I think I'm gonna rotate it around, should have cut the corners off the other side, but I'll just select it, hit R for rotate and rotate it right around. And I'm gonna put a hole here so that we will know exactly where to punch our hole to put a string through it for our gift tag. And this, since I have my smart guides on, I believe it's gonna show me right where the center is. Make it a little bigger. Somewhere here. If that's not exact, I can select both of those. And under the align menu, I can make sure these are both aligning. I want to align them to each other, so I'm gonna select align selection and align them horizontally. Then I can basically punch a hole in this by selecting both of those and using the same Pathfinder command, minus front. So that way, if this was on top of something you can see the background behind it. So I will come over to our previous document and I wanna play with adding this triangle pattern to our gift tags, so I'll grab this, just hit command, C, Command, B to paste it. And I'll just fill the entire gift tag with pattern using the eyedropper tool. So eyedropper tool and just select that to fill it with the triangle. I'm gonna add a rectangle on top of it so we can have a place to write. So that's easy enough. You just grab the rectangle tool and draw a rectangle here. I still want us to be able to see our pattern, but just something like this. So again, I can align these two on top of each other by using the align panel just like so. And I might scale this one out here just a little bit, just get those edges even. So I also threw in a little to, from. You know, my handwriting is not really lovely but I think it is so nice when you're designing something like this to use your own handwriting, because it brings just a little added personality to it. So we'll say to and from. You can bring this to the front. So I right click, arrange, and bring to front. And we can change this color to orange to match everything and we'll scale this down as well. And change that to orange too. Now you could also... Maybe we'll put a couple dotted lines out here. I can grab my blob brush tool by hitting shift, B. And I'll just come right in here. I'll just use my mouse for this. It doesn't have to be perfect. I'll just start going blip... I'll decrease the size a little bit by using my left bracket tool. We'll go blip, blip, blip. And I don't have to do it all across the page, because I know how to duplicate. I'll select all three of those, start bringing them over, just holding the shift key down. And I'll hit options to replicate, to make a copy. Zoom out here. And then if you wanna keep going, you just hit command, D to duplicate that action. So very quickly and easily, we have kinda this handmade little dotted line, which is pretty cute. They're not grouped together, so I'm gonna come in here and select all of that. Hold my shift key down to deselect the background and group those together by hitting command, G, and I'll just replicate that right down here for the from. And we have a little gift tag. Now I'm gonna group this together. Gift tags are usually two by three inches, so I'm not sure if that's gonna be exactly proportional. I should have started with that. But I can at least make it three inches wide by using the transform tool. We'll go just select everything and I'm glad I noticed this, I have my link unlinked, so right now it would scale it un-proportionally, which will mess up my text. So I'm gonna link these back together so that it scales proportionally and change my width to three inches. You should know that you can also do three in. Illustrator is smart enough to follow all those commands. So that is three inches. And I can just fill a page with these. Hold the shift key down and option key to duplicate that. And then do the same thing all the way down the page to quickly fill your page with that. So this is ready to save as a PDF just like the gift card. You can bundle these together. If you were selling them or something, you could bundle them together as a gift or you could print these, cut them out or print them on sticker paper and cut them out, and then just stick them right on your gifts.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Did you know that you can turn your sketches, drawings, and doodles into patterns? Join Bonnie Christine for an introduction to creating patterns to use in your very own fabric prints, stationery designs, website backgrounds, cell phone covers, and much, much more.

This course will take you through the process of working with Adobe Illustrator to create digital versions of your artwork. You’ll learn tips and tricks for working in Illustrator and how you can use the software to create repeating patterns of your very own drawings. Bonnie will guide you step-by-step through the process of transforming sketches and tracings into vector art which can be used for an endless array of printable and online projects from customized stationery to computer wallpaper. You’ll also learn how to assemble your collection of designs into a portfolio you can use to impress potential collectors and buyers.

This course will lay a solid foundation for those new to Illustrator and open up exciting new possibilities for people already familiar with the program. If you are ready to bring your drawings to life in new ways this class is for you.


Adobe Illustrator CS6

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Desktop and Smartphone Backgrounds

Grow Your Blog eBook

Jouney to Becoming a Surface Pattern Designer

Design Printables

Color Palettes and Pattern Mockups

Keynote Session 1

Keynote Session 2

Keynote Session 3

Math Made Easy with Rotate Tool

Industry Resources and Supplies

Keyboard Shortcuts

My Creative Story


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Emily Leggett

I am so glad I took the time to sit through all 3 days of this course. I have been to hour long classes that I can't wait to get out of and this one I sat in for 3 days and I am wishing it wasn't over. I take a lot of continuing education classes and am always trying to learn new things and I have to say this is by far the absolute most informative, educational, inspiring, and motivating classes I have ever taken. Bonnie Christine was an amazing teacher. She took the time to take us through all aspects of the process and even beyond showing us so many things that can be done with everything she taught us in this class. I think she did a great job with the class, was easy to follow and is someone I would love to learn from again. Great job on everything. I would recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn about surface pattern design and Illustrator. Great job to everyone involved in putting this course together!

a Creativelive Student

Awesome awesome awesome course! Thank you Bonnie! Thank you Creative Live! I have learned so much... so much great information packed together in one class. I am so glad I bought the course so I can rewatch it any time I need to.

a Creativelive Student

I'm about halfway through my first viewing of the course and I have to say, its been electrifying! There is so much quality information here, its an excellent starting point, and I do think I can start working towards a career in design now. It also makes me want to find more information and courses in the art and design area. Bonnie is such a joyful, honest and enthusiastic instructor and really, it feels like she';s hosting an amazing party for her friends. Thank you Bonnie for doing this course and thank you CreativeLive for pricing it so affordably