Quick Tip: How to Create a Monstera Leaf Pattern in Adobe Illustrator
This tutorial is very easy and quick. However, despite its brevity and simplicity, you will still be able to add a few important skills to your designer’s arsenal. We will use the option Object > Pattern > Make, which will automatically create a pattern for you.
If you are in a mood to create more patterns, then check out GraphicRiver. There you can find many images that you can use to create your new patterns.
So grab a cup of coffee, and let’s start!
1. How to Create the Monstera Leaf
Create a New Document (File > New) with 850 px Width and 850 px Height.
We will start by creating the main image of the pattern, which will be the leaf. For that, take the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a green ellipse. Rotate the ellipse slightly to the left. Now select it, right-click the mouse, and select Transform > Reflect. This will bring up the Reflect dialogue window, where you should enter Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. Move the copy of the oval to the right, as shown in the image below.
After that, while keeping the two shapes selected, go to the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and press the Unite button, and you will get one shape from these two ovals. You will now get a heart-like shape, which will be the base of our leaf.
As you can see, the bottom of this shape is round, and we don’t want that. So, to get a sharp bottom point, hit the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the bottom anchor point. Then look up, right over your artboard, and a bit on the left side. There you can find the AnchorPoint options, where you want to select “Convert selected anchor points to corner”. After that, select the top anchor point using the same Direct Selection Tool (A), and select “Convert selected anchor points to smooth”.
Now, we will add the holes for the monstera leaf. For that, we will use the Eraser Tool (Shift-E). To set theoptions, double-click on the Eraser Tool and enter Angle 0 degrees, Roundness 100%, Size around 10 pt (depends on how big your leaf is), and then hit OK. Now you can start to drag the Eraser Tool from the inside to the outside. Don’t do it straight from the center, but rather more from the sides. Remember to do this on both sides of the oval. The erased lines don’t have to be exactly symmetrical, as that will give us a more realistic look.
We will add a few holes to the leaf, which are also typical for a monstera’s leaves. Remember, you don’t have to worry if something you have done does not satisfy you, because you can always hit Control-Z to Undo.
Now we have the base of our leaf. As you go through the tutorial, you’ll see how we will modify this leaf, so it will become even more realistic.
In this step, we will create the veins. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a dark green, thin, horizontally aligned ellipse. Then select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and slide the top and bottom anchor points up. This will be one of the veins that we will use for our leaf later on. As it is not needed right now, set it aside.
In this step, we will continue to create veins. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw a dark green, thin, vertical ellipse and place it in the middle of the leaf. This is the primary vein of the leaf.
Now, take the vein created in the previous step, and place it on the left side of the primary vein. Make a few copies of the vein (Control-C, Control-V) and place them on the left side of the leaf. If necessary, you can make some of them slightly smaller or bigger, to make the size more appropriate for the base of the leaf.
After that, select all the veins on the left side, and again right-click your mouse, select Transform > Reflect, select Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and press Copy. Move the vein copies to the right.
Make a copy of the leaf and make it a little darker. Did you know that you can change the position of the holes in the new leaf? As you remember, these holes are not separate shapes that we added, but erased parts of the leaf shape. To change their positions, we need to use a special mode of the image.
So double-click on the main shape of the leaf. Your image will be in isolated mode. Being in this mode, you can move the holes of the leaf. Be sure you select the side of the hole to be able to move it, do not click in the middle of the hole. When you finish the modifications, double-click on the artboard to exit the isolated mode.
Now group the leaf (the light and dark one should be grouped separately), (right-click > Group), make a few copies of them, rotate them in different directions, and resize them as you want.
2. How to Create the Pattern
Place the leaves in a similar way to the image below. This will be the base of our pattern. If you have large gaps between the larger leaves, you can fill them up with small ones. To do that, create some more copies of the leaves, and rotate them in different directions.
Select the set of leaves you’ve created. Now, go to Object > Pattern > Make. Your illustration will appear in a special isolated mode, which will give you a preview of your final pattern. A new dialogue window will appear, which is called Pattern Options. Play around with the options to get a result which satisfies you.
Here you can choose the Tile Type (Grid, Brick by Row, etc.). The Width and Height will be given to you automatically, so don’t change anything here. Be sure to check Move Tile with Art. You can also play around with the Overlap and Copies here. Make sure you have checked Dim Copies to: 50% (it allows you to see the boundaries), and Show Tile Edge.
In this mode, you can also freely modify the pattern by moving the leaves, deleting or resizing them, and changing the color or making other copies of the leaves. When you like the pattern, hit the Done button on the top left side of the window. Now the pattern is saved in the buffer of your AI. To make sure the pattern is saved, take a look at the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches). As soon as your pattern is saved, you can delete all of the leaves from your artboard.
Select the pattern and in the Swatches panel for the fill color, grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and click on the artboard. Enter Height and Width 850 px, and press OK. As a result, you will get your seamless pattern to be in a square shape.
As our created pattern has a transparent background, or it doesn’t have a background at all, you can add any background color you want without changing the pattern. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a beige square with Height and Width of 850 px. As I said before, you can add any background color you want, but here I chose a pretty beige color.
Place the background behind the pattern (Control-X, Control-B).
Finally, we need to align the background and pattern to the artboard. To
do this, open the Align panel (Window > Align). Set Align To:
Align to Artboard (open the fly-out menu and go to Show Options if you
don’t see the Align To:), make sure that your pattern and background are selected, and
click the Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center buttons. And
we are done!
You did a great job! I hope it was clear and easy for you. Now you are ready to create any seamless patterns you want. You can use other objects also, and by repeating the second part of the tutorial, you can create amazing seamless patterns.
I really like the look of all the monstera leaves, which give our final image a beautiful look. I think it looks a little bit like a tablecloth, a scrapbooking background, or even a piece of clothing! As you can see, a seamless pattern can be used for many things, which will hopefully put you in a mood to create more!