In this session, we were joined by the lovely Addie Hanson, self-described as a "full-time dabbler".

Addie has an extensive background in fashion design and creative entrepreneurship. After designing children’s clothing for a national department store’s private label brand for 5 years, she broke out into creative content and community building around her passion for digital art. Addie now runs Wooly Pronto, providing education, inspiration and tools to help digital creatives.

During this session Addie showed us all how to create perfect half-drop pattern repeats, entirely in Procreate, featuring a Risograph print look. Risograph is hugely popular right now so we can't wait to see what you start creating off the back of the new skills you're bound to learn. Addie's enthusiasm is infectious, so we know it will happen! Make sure to follow along using these freebies.

To help you follow along, you can use the written tutorial below.

Let's Kick This Off...

Want to make patterns by preserving all your layers? Wish to have the flexibility to edit colors and placement? Try this by the amazing Addie Hanson of Wooly Pronto! Create Seamless Half Drop Repeat Patterns in Procreate, in a Risograph Print Style. 

But first, let's look at the difference between a half drop pattern and a full drop (or standard) repeat.

In a full drop repeat, the pattern is tiled in a grid, aligned horizontally and vertically. So, if each square is a one full repeat, and we put a dot in each to represent a motif, you’ll see that it looks pretty rigid and linear.

In a half drop repeat, the repeat is still aligned vertically as it is tiled up and down, but horizontally, the repeat is staggered a half step down. This can help a pattern appear more organic, and can help hide the actual repeat.

While following the steps below, we’ll be building the pattern, we’re working in a square, but any elements that cross the edge of the repeat will be staggered half a step down on the other side of the repeat.

Setting Up the Canvas

Use a 2000x2000 canvas. Pick any color palette that you like. Set selections for four quadrants, and then also for each vertical half of the canvas.

With the first layer, start by filling it with color by using Color Drop to drag the circle of color into the canvas until it fills the entire square, keeping your pencil to the screen the entire time. 

A blue slider bar appears at the top - this indicates the color drop threshold, meaning the amount the color fills. Slide the pencil back and forth to adjust the threshold amount. Set this really high, close to 90’s.

Once the layer is filled, tap the transform tool and set the mode to “Uniform” so that the object transforms proportionately. 

Set the interpolation to Bilinear, as this setting controls how the pixels render when the object is scaled, and will ensure things stay precise. 

Tap the icon for Snapping to bring up this settings menu and turn on Magnetics and Snapping. Then, set the sliders for Distance and Velocity to max.

    • Distance - controls how far the object can be from a guide before it snaps into place, so at Max, it will snap into place within 50 pixels of the guides - indicated on the canvas by gold and blue lines. 
    • Velocity - controls how freely you can move an object around the canvas, so when set at maximum, it will be the most “sticky” so to speak - the object will jump from one guide to another.

With these settings, you can now resize the square. To do so, drag the object over until it snaps into the upper quadrant. Alternatively, you can drag from the corner node to resize the square, which allows the box to pop up, indicating the pixel dimensions of the object. 

Since this is a 2000 pixel square, the quadrant we want to set is 1000 pixels square. Lift up the pencil, and open the layers panel. This will also release the object.

Now select the layer contents by tapping the layer to open the side menu and by choosing “select”, or use two fingers to press and hold on the layer until the selection appears. When it is selected, tap “save and load”. Then tap the plus sign to save this as Selection 1.

Now repeat for the second quadrant. 

Use color drop in the empty space outside the square to fill the rest of the layer. Then, tap the transform tool to scale the layer contents, by dragging from the lower left corner.  Scale the square until it has snapped into this quadrant. Tap the layers icon to release the object, and select the layer contents. Then save this as Selection 2.

Now repeat for the third quadrant - color drop to fill, then tap the transform tool. Drag from the upper right until it snaps into place. Tap the layers icon, select the layer contents, and save the selection. Repeat one more time for the lower right quadrant.

Once the four quadrants are saved, use color drop to fill the canvas again. Then tap the Transform tool to set the vertical halves by dragging the entire object over until it fills just half of the canvas. 

The top and bottom nodes of the object should be aligned with the canvas corners, and ensure the guide lines appear - one vertical line in the very center, and three horizontal lines, indicating that it’s aligned to the middle of the canvas.

Then tap the layers icon, select the layer contents, and save this as Selection 5.

Without leaving the selection, on the bottom toolbar, tap “invert” to select the other half of the canvas. Save this as selection 6.

Now the canvas is entirely set up. 

Patterns Creation

Keep the Blue guides layer visible, and then move to the Background Fill Layer within the pattern group. 

To have a transparent background, you can delete this fill layer at the very end, but you’ll need to have a fill layer while making the pattern to ensure the selections are pixel perfect. 

Use a soft pink color and Color Drop to fill the entire layer with color.

For the first painting layer, choose an orange color. Use the Squid Ink brush. With the brush size set around 10%, draw in some citrus fruits by drawing an oval, and then adding little bumps on each end. Cluster the first elements to the centre of the canvas. The empty space along the outer edge will be filled after we make this into a repeat.

For the second painting layer, with the same brush, choose a bright blue color. Layer in little sprigs of leaves with the brush and make sure to keep consistent with the leaves. 

To have a tossed appearance, you can make the orientation and direction of the springs as random as possible, so that the pattern won’t have a clear up or down.

When adding these elements, be sure not to cross the edges of the canvas, or else it will interrupt the repeat.

Add a little more detail on the citrus layer, by hiding the leaves and use Scattered Stamps brushes to “cut out” shapes from the fruit, using the eraser tool.

Starting with the Crisp Stars brush, stamp in a few separate times on each element to add this detail.

Switch to the Burst brush, and sparsely add a few of these shapes in.

Use the Blot brush to add some small circles. These brushes can also be used to easily add “filler” to patterns too.

Back in the layers panel, turn the leaves layer back on.

Riso Texture

Add the Risograph texture by creating solid layer masks using the two painting layers that we’ve drawn on. 

First, use two fingers to swipe right on each of the painting layers to turn alpha lock on. You can also access Alpha Lock by tapping the layer and choosing it from the side menu.

Next, go into colors and choose a solid white. Then go back into the layers, tap to bring up the side menu, and select “fill layer” to fill each of the two painting layers with the white. Now we have our solid masks.

To paint in the texture in these two top Riso layers, set to Multiply. Tap the first Riso layer to work in. With this layer still selected, use two fingers to press and hold on the Citrus mask layer to select the layer contents. Making sure to paint in the Riso layer - not the mask layer.

Choose the same orange which was initially used to draw the fruit with. Use the Light Riso Shade brush, set to a large size. Using one continuous stroke, color in the selection. Add a little variation in color intensity along some of the edges.

Next, to work on the second Riso layer, use two fingers to press and hold to select the contents of the Leaves mask layer. Switching back to the same blue as before, use one continuous stroke to fill in this selection.

Add some variation here with the brush set at a slightly smaller size, painting from the base of the stems and fading out at the leaves.

To help add to the Risograph Print look, shift the layers off register. To do this, select the leaves mask layer, and tap the transform tool. Now tap outside of the bounding box a few times to nudge the mask in that direction. Be sure to still stay well within the bounds of the canvas, away from the edge. Repeat for the citrus mask layer, shifting it slightly.

Now do the first step of making this into a repeating pattern. To do so, collapse the layer group. Keeping the group selected, tap the selection tool, and then tap Save and Load, and then choose Selection 1. 

Then tap the transform tool, and in the bottom bar that pops up, tap “Flip Horizontal” and “Flip Vertical”, which will transverse the selection so that the outside corner is now in the center. Then tap the transform tool to release the selection.

Next, tap the selection tool again, and under Save and Load, choose selection 3. Repeat flipping it horizontally and vertically.

Finally, do these steps for Selection 6, flipping horizontally and vertically,  and then releasing the selection.

Now we can fill in some of this empty space. To do this while maintaining the risograph print layers, go into the pattern group of layers, and add a new empty layer at the top of the stack.

Then switch back to using orange and the squid ink brush. And draw in a few more elements. You can also move around any existing elements that aren’t touching the edges. If you do, be sure to select both the riso layer and the mask layer, and then use the Freehand selection tool to draw around the object you want to move.

When you get to transform, you might find you need to turn snapping off in order to move the object more freely. Don't spend too long futzing about and shifting elements. You can spend forever trying to make it perfect, but you’ll always have a much better idea of any spacing needs and constraints when you test out the repeat and see how it looks when it’s actually tiled. So just try to place things as best you can. 

Get the placement and scale of these new elements to fit in nicely with the first set. Once they’re placed, with the same Scattered Stamps that was used before: starting in with the Crisp Stars on the eraser tool, and then the Bursts, and finally the blots.

Once this layer is set, move it down in the stack so that it is directly above the first mask layer. Then add a new layer on top of the stack, change my color to blue, and draw in some leafy sprigs here.

In the layers panel, hide the blue guides, and turn on the red guides. 

For transforming the pattern, in the layers panel, move the top leaves layer down to sit above the leaves mask layer, so it’s below both the Riso layers. 

Now, just like before, make these into white layer masks before adding the Riso texture. Use two fingers to swipe right to alpha lock this layer, and then also the citrus layer. Then by changing the color to white, you can fill each of these locked layers.

Next, switch back to the orange, and the light Riso Shade brush. In the layers, use two fingers to tap and hold on the newest citrus mask layer to select the layer contents, and paint in the top Riso layer. Paint these with the texture in a single, continuous stroke. Add a little more intensity and variation with this same brush.

Change the color to blue,  in the layers panel. Work on the Leaves Riso layer using two fingers to press and hold on the newest leaves mask layer to select the layer contents. Once again use a continuous stroke to fill these leaves with texture, and then add some variation.

Next, while they are still separate, shift both of the new mask layers slightly off register. Merge these with the respective main mask layers.

Repeat Patterns

Collapse the layer group, and keep it selected. Then, using the red guides as reference, tap the selection tool, then tap Save and load, and then choose selection 5. Tap the transform tool, and then flip it horizontally and vertically.

Then tap the transform tool again to release.

Next, do the same for selection 2 - flipping it horizontally and vertically. 

Finally, load selection 4, flipping it horizontally and vertically, and then tap the transform tool to release the object.

Now the full half drop repeat is established - for example, the elements on the right side of Selection 4 will match up perfectly at the top left of Selection 5, and the lower left will  match up with the right edge of selection 2. 

To fill in this gap between Selection 2 and 4, add a new layer at the very top of the stack to draw the additional elements. Switch back to the squid ink brush and change the color to orange. Adjust some of the existing elements to space things consistently here. Once the elements are added, with the eraser and the Scattered stamps, add the same cutouts before.

Now drag this layer down to sit above the citrus mask layer. Add in one more new layer at the top of the stack to draw in a couple more leaves and move around some of the existing leaves a bit. Select both the leaves mask layer and the Riso layer to do this re-arranging. Use the same blue as before, and move up to the empty layer, to draw in a couple new leafy sprigs. 

Once these are drawn, drag this new leaf layer down so that it is directly above the leaves mask layer. 

Use two fingers to swipe right to alpha lock both of these additional layers, change the color to white, and then tap to select “fill layer” to make these both into mask layers.

Use two fingers to press and hold on the newest citrus mask, and switch to the orange and the light Riso shade brush and fill in.

On the leaves rise layer, use two fingers to select the newest mask layer. Then select the blue, and paint the riso texture in.

While the mask layers are still separate, shift each of them slightly off register to match the rest of the print, tapping outside the bounding box to nudge it slightly. Pinch to merge them together with the respective mask layers. 

Now, hide the remaining guides and test out the repeat!

Testing Repeats

To test it out, collapse the pattern layer group, making sure that it stays selected. Then, use three fingers to swipe down on the screen to access the Copy/Paste menu. 

Tap “Copy All”. Then use three fingers to swipe down once more, and tap “paste”. This will paste a flattened version of the group on top. In the layers panel, duplicate this flattened image until there’s a total of 5. 

Then, select the topmost layer. Tap the transform tool, and make sure that the Snapping is turned on. 

Grab the node on the center right side. Drag inward to resize the layer until the edge snaps in to align with the center of the canvas, indicated by the gold guidelines.  Lift up the pencil, and then tap the Layers icon to move to the next layer down.

Now, drag from the lower right corner node to resize until it snaps into the upper right quadrant.

Then, move the repeat up until it is halfway off the canvas, and the gold guides appear. You’ll also see that the pattern is aligned on this intersection.

Next, move onto the third layer, and this time, resize by dragging from the upper right corner node. Then move this layer down until it is halfway off the canvas and the gold guides snap into place.

Now, move down to work on the 4th layer. 

Tap the transform tool, and for this one, drag the lower left corner node to resize until it snaps into the quadrant, and aligns with the rest of the pattern.

Finally, move onto the 5th layer, tap transform, and resize this one by dragging from the upper left corner node, until it snaps into place, aligning with the rest of the pattern.

And there’s the finished repeat! Hope you enjoyed doing this!

You can tune into the full video tutorial above to follow along!

If you enjoyed this, why not follow an earlier tutorial by Addie as she shows How to Design Seamless Repeat Patterns in Procreate.