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Jul 08

How to create a skewed checkerboard pattern in Illustrator

2009 at 04.41 pm posted by Veerle Pieters

A reader asked me if I could explain to him how to create the Bavarian flag in Illustrator. Instead of explaining this with text and images I decided to capture another screencast tutorial instead.

As usually there are probably other ways of doing this. I'm only showing one way. It basically comes down to these simple steps:

  1. Draw 2 squares: 1 black and 1 white
  2. Turn them into a Symbol
  3. Apply Transform effect to repeat them horizontally
  4. Apply Transform effect to repeat the line of squares vertically
  5. Expand everything and move squares to make 1 perfect rectangle
  6. Skew and resize the checkerboard (to match the Bavarian flag)

How to create a skewed checkerboard pattern in Illustrator from Veerle Pieters on Vimeo.

Maybe turning the squares into a Symbol (step 2) might not be needed if you're expanding the squares again, but I thought I show this anyway. If you don't expand the the Symbols and you only expand the Transform effect you can change the color of the squares in one instance by changing the color of the symbol. However, if you decide to expand all the Symbol's instances, all squares become editable and so you can give each one of them a different color.

Want to learn more?

VECTORTUTS+ Vector Tutorials and More A good and not expensive source to learn more about Illustrator, Photoshop, or web design is by joining the Tuts+ sites. You get access to the source files for just $9 a month. So your ONE membership gives you access to members-only content for ALL the Plus sites. I've written a tutorial for the Vector Tuts section.


18served

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permalink this comment Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella Wed Jul 8, 2009 at 04.57 pm

This is awesome, I’m just learning to use Inkscape and most of the illustrator tutorials are pretty easy to adapt to it. Thanks for sharing this, I will make good use of it.


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permalink this comment Matheus Wed Jul 8, 2009 at 05.42 pm

Thanks so much for the video tutorial, Veerle! I love your work and site! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! Could you do that to “How to do a Command Shape in illustrator?”, I’ve tried following the text tutorial, but I found it very hard!

Anyway, thank you, dear!


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permalink this comment CJ Kipper Wed Jul 8, 2009 at 05.47 pm

Nice Tutorial. One observation though…I think you can make it a little easier but applying the “Reflect X” property in the Transform Effect dialogue box in your vertical transform step. This will create your perfect rectangle checkerboard without having to expand and mover the squares individually.


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permalink this comment Marc van den Heuvel Wed Jul 8, 2009 at 07.22 pm

It’s always fun to see how other people are creating things in Illustrator or Photoshop. But i would draw in your first step 1 square with 2 black and 2 white squares. If you then use the Horizontal en vertical transform tool repeating it 3x times, the result is a nice square Chessboard.

But overall keep up the good work!


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permalink this comment DavidLee Wed Jul 8, 2009 at 10.31 pm

Awesome tutorial. i was searching for this.I will make good use of it. Thanks for sharing this…keep it up


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permalink this comment Martin Thu Jul 9, 2009 at 12.56 am

Awesome. Your accent is delightful.


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permalink this comment Alistair Thu Jul 9, 2009 at 10.06 am

Thanks for the awesome video tutorial! I’m also a fan of your accent :)


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permalink this comment Peter Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 03.55 am

Great tutorial. I really like all your Illustrator tutorials, since that’s the most counter intuitive member of the CS in my opinion.

The video is very nice. The full screen is watchable even in the streaming version. What program did you use to capture it?


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permalink this comment Veerle Pieters Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06.09 am

Matheus said:

Could you do that to “How to do a Command Shape in illustrator?”

I’ll keep it in mind ;)

Marc van den Heuvel said:

I would draw in your first step 1 square with 2 black and 2 white squares. If you then use the Horizontal en vertical transform tool repeating it 3x times, the result is a nice square Chessboard.

That’s very well spotted indeed. How did I totally overlook this!? Uhm, because I just start and don’t think really, I know my answer here hehe :)  With your method you wouldn’t have to correct things to achieve a prefect rectangle at the end. Very good. Thanks for sharing this ;)


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permalink this comment Deano Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11.30 am

Excellent site - I’ve been visiting here for many years but that’s the first time I’ve ever heard your voice - WOW!

Good qualifier on the use of conversion to smart objects - not really needed.

Should have finished with a warp to really impress the folks though!

Keep the AI tuts coming! GR8 work - Deano


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permalink this comment Luis F. Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 01.49 am

Well, you have a cool voice, i loved this tutorial, i promise you, i will feature this on a next design and share it with you. I also want you to answer a little interview, are you interested? Cool blog, keep rock’a'designing


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permalink this comment Karen Sat Jul 11, 2009 at 08.26 am

All that in less than 6 steps is way awesome I figured this was going to be a long tutorial when i first clicked over to read it but it seems simple enough for even me to try, thanks for posting your awesome know how!


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permalink this comment Cody Tue Jul 14, 2009 at 05.03 pm

Thanks for the tutorial, I’m still trying to figure out how to do things in Illustrator.  This was simple and easy to do.  Thanks!


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permalink this comment Pascal Wed Jul 15, 2009 at 06.26 pm

Very Nice Tutorial. Could you also use the “Reflect X” property within the vertical transform step from the Transform Effect dialogue box?
Anyway there are many ways to create great looking designs from Illustrator.
Thank you for the good work.


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permalink this comment Mal Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 10.47 pm

Perfect tutorial for today… I’m summer schooling my 11 year old boy and 10 year old girl with Illustrator and Corel Paint and moving into PS next. I got making symbols, the repeats and the transforms out of this quick lesson… Thanks !!


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permalink this comment Andreas Reiki Sun Aug 2, 2009 at 07.56 pm

Today it is my first Visit on your Blog, it´s awesome Design is significant, it makes it easy to get in touch with illustrator.


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permalink this comment Manuel Sun Aug 2, 2009 at 10.36 pm

Thanks for the bavarian flag tutorial,
- your blog is so cool, every time so refreshing - thx :)



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