Pattern design on Illustrator
SymmetryWorks Tutorials

Creating Ikat Patterns in Illustrator with SymmetryWorks

In this tutorial, we apply Illustrator's Wrinkle tool to a SymmetryWorks pattern with the Double mirror symmetry. An ikat pattern appears in no time.

Get the Document Ready

1 Open the file, which accompanies this tutorial, or draw a few shapes and make a pattern with the Double mirror symmetry yourself.

Lock Objects You Want to Protect

2 Some objects in your artwork need not be wrinkled. You can lock those parts to get them out of the way. One is the background. If it is not locked, as in the file, click the background rectangle with the Direct-Selection tool and choose Object > Lock > Selection (or press Ctrl-2 on Windows or Cmnd-2 on Mac OS).

3 Similarly, you definitely don't want to wrinkle the control path in your pattern. Click anywhere in your pattern with the Direct-Selection tool and then click the Select Control Path button in the SymmetryWorks panel. Lock the selected control path.

Prepare the Wrinkle Tool

4 Now choose the Wrinkle tool. It can be found under the Width tool in the Illustrator toolbox.

5 To configure the Wrinkle options, double-click the Wrinkle tool in the toolbox. In the dialog, increase the Complexity setting to 2 and the Detail setting to 5. You can experiment with these and other options later to give your ikat patterns a different look.

6 Adjusting the brush size is easier to do directly in the artwork. Hold down the Shift key and the Alt key (Windows) or the Option key (Mac OS), click somewhere in the artwork, and drag the mouse diagonally up or down until the size of the brush becomes roughly equal to the size of larger elements of the pattern. Other sizes make sense too. With a bigger brush, your ikat strands will overlap while a smaller brush will produce finer ripples.

Wrinkle, Wrinkle

7 Time to apply the Wrinkle tool. Choose Select > All (Ctrl-A on Windows or Cmnd-A on Mac OS), position the brush over the bottom elements of the seed, click, and hold down the mouse for a short while. You can also just make a single click and that will apply the Wrinkle tool as well, but holding the mouse down after the click makes the effect somewhat more pronounced.

8 Move the mouse up to the next group of objects and apply the Wrinkle tool again. Now the central part of the seed gets the ikat look.

9 Finally, move the mouse up to the remaining undistorted objects and apply the Wrinkle tool yet again, this time for a little longer, to make your ikat pattern more interesting.

Print Your Ikat Design on Fabric

Your ikat is ready. Click the Save Pattern Swatch button in the SymmetryWorks panel to add the pattern to your Illustrator swatches or click the Make Bounding Box button to create a rectangular repeating tile and send it to your favorite fabric printer.