Layered Pattern Design in Inkpad

by Lindsay in Vector Tutorials

Hi, it’s Lindsay here and I thought it would be fun to show how to create this pattern, which starts off life as one simple oval, but uses several pretty great tools to make it into something rather fun. Then if that wasn’t enough, I’ll add a layered effect like this. If that looks like a technique you’re interested in learning then stick with me as I ramble my way through the process!

I have already created my drawing and gone for a simple 800 by 800 pixels square, seeing as our finished pattern is square, and my grid is set at 100 pixels.

I’m going to Enable Snapping and Snap to Grid to help me draw my shape, but freehand is fine if you prefer.

With the Oval Shape Tool selected, I’m going to create a simple wide oval that reaches just below half way on my canvas.

I can switch to the Selection Tool and move my oval over to the centre. I want my top and bottom to be a bit more pointy. I like to use my grid to help with this, so I’ll change my grid spacing to 10 pixels. This will also help me nudge my oval down a bit so it’s not hanging off the drawing.

I’m going to tap on the anchor at the top of my oval to select it and make the control handles appear. To move the handles in unison I’m going to tap, then tap and hold one control handle. This will make both the handles move together, rather than one at a time.

Once I’m happy with my point I can do the same to the bottom anchor. Because I have my grid active, it will make it easy for me to get the same angle.

Now that’s done and with my shape still selected, I want to use Duplicate in Place from the Edit menu. I have two shapes now and I’ll drag one down. Adding a second finger to my screen once I have started dragging will help me drag my shape in a straight line. This and Snap to Grid will enable me to position my path perfectly.

With the Selection Tool I can drag a marquee that will select both ovals. You can use Select All from the Edit menu if you prefer. Then after using Duplicate in Place, from the Edit menu I’ll switch to the Rotate Tool. This will place a pivot point directly in the centre of my two shapes. I can type in the angle of 45 degrees, and tap the tick to make it happen.

To repeat this rotation I’ll use Duplicate and Transform Again, from the Edit menu, which very kindly performs my next rotation for me. One more time to complete the pattern, very nice.

So the centre of our pattern is a bit messy. To tidy this up I’m going to duplicate my pattern this time in the Layers menu. This will create a copy for me and I can hide the original to keep it safe.

With my new shape I’ll select opposing ovals using the Multi-section Tool. So picking the top and bottom oval, you can see they are both selected by the anchors that appear.

With both selected, open up the Path menu and tap Intersect. The ovals will seem to have disappeared, but if we keep going you’ll see something very clever has happened.

Before I select my next two ovals, I’m going to tap on a blank bit of my drawing, just to make sure I have nothing else selected. Then I can tap on the next two opposite ovals, and use Intersect again from the Path menu. Do this for the four remaining ovals.

Once you are left with this star shape, select all the paths by either dragging a marquee or Select All from the Edit menu. Then from the Path menu tap Unite and this will tidy the central star up nicely.

So, now I need to tidy up my ovals. To do this I need to get one alone in a new layer. In my Layers menu, I’ll create a new layer and make my original pattern layer visible. My new layer will already be my active layer, so closing the Layers menu, I can select one oval and use Duplicate in Place from the Edit menu. This will create a duplicate of my shape into my active layer. When I hide my original layer, back in the Layers menu, you will see I’m still left with one oval in my active layer, very handy. Now I can copy my star shape and paste it in the same layer as my new oval, making sure to hide the other two layers once I’m done.

With that complete I can select both shapes and use Subtract Front from the Path menu. This will remove my star shape, because I pasted it last which means it is in front, from the oval.

That’s a little untidy, but not to worry. With everything still selected, I’ll pop into the Path menu and use Separate Paths. This is because the paths are still linked from being one shape, and separating them allows me to tidy up the excess paths. Now with all my paths selected and still using the Multi-selection Tool, I can tap on my petal shape to deselect it, while leaving all the messy bits still selected. Now I can simply hit delete from the tool bar and pretend that never happened.

Back to the shape we are trying to create. What I want to do is turn this closed path into an open path by removing this star portion, so it doesn’t interfere when I start layering my shapes.

Removing bits of paths is very simple. With the shape selected, tap on this pair of scissors in the tool bar and then tap on any anchor you want to cut or separate. I can now select the two paths independently of each other. With the star fragment selected I can use delete and it is gone.

Rather than go through this with every oval I can just duplicate and rotate this one. To help me with this I want to set my grid back to a larger number, to help me find the centre for my canvas, check I have Snap to Grid still active, and select what has now become a petal shape.

From the tool bar I can make Rotate my active tool. This time I want to move the rotation point to the centre of my canvas. Because I have Snap to Grid on, this will guide me to the exact central point of my drawing, very handy.

With my rotation point moved, I’ll remember to use Duplicate in Place from the Edit menu, and then type in 45 degrees for my angle and tap the tick to make it happen.

Having performed the rotation I can use Duplicate and Transform Again from the Path menu, until I have the desired number of petals. Next I’ll pop back to my hidden star layer, make it active and copy it, hide its layer again, then paste it on top of my newly created petals.

There we have our pattern ready for some layering.

I’m going to duplicate this layer and hide the original, just to keep it safe. I can always delete it later if I don’t mess up!

My shape being black isn’t very inspiring so I’m going to Select All from the Edit Menu and change the colour to the lightest of these yellows I have saved in my swatches, I’ll pop the colour codes in the description if anyone wants them. When using the Swatches menu make sure you have Stroke selected, otherwise you’ll fill your shapes with colour.

Right, now I’m happy with that, I’ll head back to my Layers menu and duplicate this layer again. Out of the two layers I want to lock the top layer, but keep it visible, and select the second layer so I can work on it.

I’m going to delete all but one of my petals, so I only have to work on one and then duplicate and rotate it. It won’t look like I’ve done anything because the top layer is still visible, but they have gone, look!

I’ll zoom in on my one remaining petal so you can see and with it selected I want to use Outline Stroke from the Path menu.

This will take the stroke applied to my path and as the name says create an outline. As you can see the path has moved from the centre of my stroke colour to the edge and my stroke colour is now a fill.

To create my layered effect I only want the inner-most path, but before I can do this I need to make sure my shape is above my star, using Bring to Front from the Arrange menu. When paths are behind other paths, like a stack of paper, certain actions will only affect the top path. So with my shape now brought to the front, I can select the Scissor Tool.

I want the inner path of this shape so I am going to cut this anchor here and again on the other side. This has created two separate paths from my original shape, and has applied the fill colour to both. If I drag out the outer path you can see the two paths.

I’ll delete the unwanted path, turn off the fill colour to my remaining path and apply a stroke colour. If I zoom right in you can see that the path of my new shape passes right alongside the shape in the layer above, which is how we create a layered effect.

Because the stroke of a path is applied to either side, my path appears thinner than the above stroke. This may work for the effect you are going for, but I want my layer to be the same width as the path above, so I’ll double my stroke width.

With that second layer created I can duplicate the petal and rotate it as I did before to complete the pattern.

Now for the star in the middle. First I need to make sure my star shape is at the front of all shapes in this layer. Having selected it I’ll use Bring to Front from the Arrange menu.

Then as before use Outline Stroke from the Path menu. As my star is a closed path, Outline Stroke will create a Compound Path, this means two paths that are linked, in this case to create a shape with a hole.

I only want the smaller of these two stars, so I’ll select only the larger star and tap delete in the tool bar. Just like that, it’s gone, but in doing so I have transferred the fill colour to my remaining star. If I select my remaining star I can use the very handy Dropper Tool from the tool bar. This will transfer all stroke, width and shadow properties from another path to your selected path. With the Dropper Tool active I’ll simply drag my finger across the screen until the colour I want fills this ring. Then I’ll just let go and hey-presto the fill colour is gone and the stroke is the exact width and colour of the other paths in this layer.

To create more layers to my pattern I can repeat the process as many times as I like, always remembering to duplicate each layer and working down the layer menu, so all layers appear beneath each other.

And there you have it, a layered vector shape. If like me you want to cut this design out on a digital cutting machine, I’ll cover the extra steps needed to convert it to a cut file in my next video.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are inspired to get layering!