how to make a pattern

learn how to draw patterns step by step

Learn how to make a pattern in this easy drawing tutorial!

 Once you learn how to make patterns, you can use them in your art in all kinds of ways.

Patterns in Art Painting by Thaneeya

For instance, take a look at the colorful painting to the right. This painting is basically row after row of different patterns!

Patterns show up in all kinds of art, from contemporary abstract art to tribal folk arts from various cultures around the world. You can see more examples of patterns in art here.

When you look at patterns, like the ones in the painting on the right, you may (falsely) assume they are so complex that you could never draw them on your own - let alone come up with your own similar designs… Well, get out your pencil cause I'm gonna show you how to do it!

By the end of this lesson, you'll be able to draw a pattern like this in no time:

Pattern Making Example

 

Even the most complex patterns start out easy. In this drawing tutorial, you'll find out how patterns are made, so that you can add them to your own art.  

Remember: All patterns start out simply.

First, let's take a look at several examples of very basic patterns:

dots

Row of Dots

circles

Row of Circles

raindrops

Row of Raindrops

waves

Lines of Water

loops

Loops

right angles

Squarish Pattern

crosses

Crosses

squiggle

squiggle

Any of the above patterns can be the starting point for creating more detailed patterns – all you have to do is add onto it!

Now I'll show you how to make cool patterns - all starting with a single dot! 

Click on each pattern to jump to that tutorial:

Pattern 1:

Pattern 2:

Pattern 3:

After you've mastered how to make a pattern by starting with a single dot, learn how to make a pattern using other starting shapes – such as the pattern below, which began as a single wave!

Pattern 4:

Let's begin!

Pattern 1

First, I'll show you how to draw this pattern step by step:

How to Draw a Pattern with Thaneeya

On your paper, draw a row of dots:

Begin with a row of dots

If you need help keeping your dots in a straight line, use lined paper, graph paper, or a ruler.

Now, add raindrop shapes around each dot:

Adding raindrops around each dot

Next, add another raindrop shape around the raindrop shapes you just drew:

Adding shapes to your pattern

At the top of each double raindrop, add a small circle:

Adding small dots to your pattern

Draw a little curl sprouting from the top of each circle, twisting to the left:

Adding shapes to your pattern

Now draw a curl sprouting to the right:

Adding curls to your pattern

Voila! You've just drawn a pattern! That wasn't so hard, was it?

As you can see, drawing patterns is simply a matter of drawing basic shapes, one after the other, all in a row.

You can even draw each shape in a different color, or color them all in when you're done.

Pattern 2

It's more complicated than the previous pattern, but remember: it all starts with a single dot!

How to Draw a Pattern on Art is Fun

Draw a row of dots:

Draw a row of dots

Now draw a small circle around each dot:

Draw a circle around each dot

Draw a bigger circle around the circles you just drew:

Now draw bigger circles

Now draw bigger circles

Now draw flower petal shapes around each circle:

Add flower petal shapes to your pattern

Under each flower, draw a small circle:

Under each flower, draw a small circle:

In between each flower, draw 2 raindrop shapes. One raindrop shape will veer left and the other will veer right.

In between each flower, draw 2 raindrop shapes

In between each flower, draw 2 raindrop shapes

Underneath each circle, draw a spiral squiggly:

Underneath each circle, draw a spiral squiggly:

In between each spiral squiggly, draw a small circle:

In between each spiral squiggly, draw a small circle:

Around the circles you just drew, draw bigger circles:

Around the circles you just drew, draw bigger circles:

Draw three flower petal shapes sprouting from the bottom of each circle:

Draw three flower petal shapes sprouting from the bottom of each circle:

Congratulations! You've just drawn your second pattern!

Pattern 3

Now let's do one more pattern that starts out as a single dot. This is what you're going to draw:

Pattern Making with Thaneeya on Art is Fun

Draw a row of dots (you're getting good at this by now!):

Draw a row of dots (you're getting good at this by now!):

Draw a small circle around each dot:

Draw a small circle around each dot:

Draw another circle around each circle:

Draw another circle around each circle:

Draw a very small circle at the top and bottom and left and right of each circle:

Draw a very small circle at the top and bottom and left and right of each circle:

Draw a curve connecting each small bottom circle to the one next to it:

Draw a curve connecting each small bottom circle to the one next to it:

Draw a curve connecting each small top circle to the one next to it:

Draw a curve connecting each small top circle to the one next to it:

In between each circular shape, on the bottom draw 2 raindrop shapes: 1 leaning left and 1 leaning right:

In between each circular shape, on the bottom draw 2 raindrop shapes

In between each circular shape, on the top draw 2 upside-down raindrop shapes: 1 leaning left and 1 leaning right:

In between each circular shape, on the top draw 2 upside-down raindrop shapes

In between each circular shape, on the top draw 2 upside-down raindrop shapes

On top and on bottom, draw a row of "bumps" or "humps":

On top and on bottom, draw a row of "bumps" or "humps":

Awesome – you just made another pattern!

Pattern 4

I bet you're starting to really get the hang of how to make a pattern now, so let's try something different. Instead of starting with a row of dots, we'll start with a wave to draw this pattern:

Create a Pattern in this Lesson

Draw a wave:

Draw a wave:

On top of that wave, draw another wave:

On top of that wave, draw another wave:

On the point of each top wave, draw a loop:

On the point of each top wave, draw a loop:

In between each loop, draw a circle:

In between each loop, draw a circle

Underneath your bottom wave, draw a straight line:

Underneath your bottom wave, draw a straight line:

Draw a series of vertical lines connecting the bottom wave and the straight line:

Draw a series of vertical lines connecting the bottom wave and the straight line:

Draw another straight line at the bottom:

Draw another straight line at the bottom:

Draw a row of circles below the straight line:

Draw a row of circles below the straight line:

Cool! You're becoming a real champ at pattern-making!

Now that you know how to make a pattern, you can create all kinds of patterns off the top of your head.

Just remember that a pattern is simply a repetition of shapes, and to make complex patterns, you just go step by step, one shape at a time.

For inspiration, look at books that contain different patterns, such as Mayan, Japanese, Indian, African… every culture around the world incorporates its own set of distinct patterns in some way or other - in their architecture, textiles, artwork, etc. Let them be a springboard for your own unique patterns!

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Pattern Sourcebook: Chinese Style

Pattern Sourcebook: Nature 2

Pattern Sourcebook: Japanese Style

Pattern Sourcebook: Around the World

Decorative Patterns from Italy

Experimental Pattern Sourcebook

See more patterns in art!

Now that you know how to make patterns, try this fun Henna Hand Designs Art Project where you'll make a self-portrait of your hands using abstract patterns and designs!

Click to return to the Abstract Art Table of Contents, where you can...

If you like my abstract art, check out my printable Abstract Coloring Book with 20 pages of intricate abstract line art to fill in with COLOR!

For more abstract designs, check out my printable Mandala Coloring Book, with 23 pages of mandalas that you can color!