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Create Colorful Kaleidoscope Patterns with Artboard’s Polar Duplicate

This geometric pattern looks like mosaic tiles blooming into an intricate flower pattern. Better yet, it is deceptively simple to create using Artboard’s Polar Duplicate function. Inspired by the hip textiles of Verner Panton, this awesome design is made up of squares, increasing in size as they move outwards and creating an abstract, kaleidoscope-like form. Here’s how.

Tutorial Details

Program : Artboard 2.0 for Mac OSX
Difficulty: Intermediate
Topics Covered: Polar Duplicate; Style Inspector
Estimated Completion Time: ~15 minutes

Step 1

Choose File > New from the main menu. Turn on Graphic > Snap To > Graph Paper in the main menu.

In the Styles & Symbols palette, choose a stroke style (any color) from the “Basic Strokes & Fills” category. Using the Straight Line [l] tool, hold the SHIFT-key and draw a vertical line down the center of your drawing canvas. When you hold the SHIFT-key it constrains the angle of the line making it easier to get the line perfectly vertical. Hold SHIFT-key and draw another line horizontally across the center of the drawing canvas. We’ll use these lines as reference to center our pattern (alternatively, you could use Guide lines…).

Step 2

Choose a solid color fill from the “Basic Strokes & Fills” category in the Styles & Symbols palette (we’re using Maraschino red). Use the Rectangle [r] tool and hold the SHIFT-key to draw a small square – about 1-cm square (if you are using different drawing units this will be different) – aligned along the right side of your reference line. With the square still selected, double-click onto the “Angle” setting in the Geometry panel and type “45” to rotate the square 45-degrees. Click onto your drawing canvas to return the focus back to to your drawing.

Step 3

In this step you’ll create several copies of the square positioned around in a circle. Use the Select [s] tool to select the square. Choose Edit > Duplicate > Polar Duplicate… from the main menu. You have the option to enter X,Y coordinates for the center point of the circle, or to set the center by clicking the drawing at your desired position – we’ll use the point-and-click method. First click the “target” button in the Polar Duplicate dialog, then click onto your drawing at the center point where your reference lines cross. The X,Y coordinates at your click position will automatically be entered for you.

Next, type  to make “11” copies of your selection (there will be 12 total). Click into the “Angular Increment” box and it will be calculated for you based on how many copies you are making.Make sure “Rotate copies around center” is still checked. Click “Duplicate.”

If your squares are too close together, try making the starting square smaller or position it a bit further from the center.

Step 4

Use the Rectangle [r] tool to draw another square, slightly larger than your first – approximately 1.5-cm square. In the Geometry panel, set the rotation angle of the square to 30-degrees. Use the Select tool to move the square so it sits above and to the right of the first square.

Step 5

With the new square still selected, choose Edit > Duplicate > Polar Duplicate… from the main menu. This time, Artboard remembers the previous center point, so only enter “11” copies, click into the “Angular Increment” box to calculate 30-degrees. Make sure “Rotate copies around center” is still checked. Click “Duplicate.”

Step 6

Repeat steps 2 and 3 using a slightly larger square (about .5-cm larger each time) positioned slightly further to the right of the first square. Repeat step 5 to polar duplicate.

Step 7

It’s really starting to take shape now. Repeat steps 4 and 5 using again a slightly larger square than the previous. In this screenshot we’ve made the original four squares blue to help you visualize their final arrangement. Delete the reference lines.

Step 8

Congratulations! You have finished making an awesome geometric pattern!

Now you can spice up the pattern by changing the colors and styles of the squares that make up the pattern. It’s a playful pattern so experiment and have fun. Once you’re ready, you can select-all and group the mosaic to save as a clip art for future use. You can even combine several groups into interesting new formations.

For our final image, we made an new fill style. We selected and copied the pattern, then pasted it as an image in the Style Inspector- Expert pane for a Fill style component. We also added a Gradient Fill style component as a background. We could name and save this completely new style to apply to any shape – spectacular!

Final Image

This colorful kaleidoscope design shows how you can create interesting patterns quickly with Artboard’s Polar Duplicate function. We hope you have fun experimenting with your own designs. We’d love to see what you come up with!