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Classic Pattern Styles - Learn To Design Damask Patterns

via Skillshare


Have you ever looked at a Damask pattern - perhaps on a wallpaper, or the fabric on an elegant sofa, or a coat - and wondered how it’s done? Perhaps you’ve wanted to create a Damask, or medallion pattern yourself, but can’t wrap your head around how to do it or even where to begin?

Damask and medallion patterns can seem like very complex designs - and some of them are - but as with anything, if you study it up close, dissect it’s components and composition, you’ll discover that it’s actually not that difficult.

In this course on Skillshare I’m sharing everything I’ve learned about Damask pattern making - from hours of studying and days of practicing this specific style. This course is the a-z of Damask patterns - from the history behind it, to how to draw the motifs and create intricate pattern repeats.

During the course we will study some really beautiful examples of Damask patterns, both vintage textiles I’ve found in museum archives and designs by contemporary designers and brands (including some of my designs).

You will get a whole bunch of drawing exercises (13 to be exact!) to practice creating typical Damask motifs and layouts.

I’ll also show you my step by step process to create a Damask pattern - from planning your design - to creating the final repeat in Illustrator.

At the end of this course you will have the skills and knowledge to create 3 different Damask types - from simple to more advanced designs.

You will also have a Damask pattern of your own, ready to include in your portfolio, or use for your own products.


  • Love the beautiful and evocative designs of Damask patterns
  • Love historic, classical pattern design styles
  • Want to get a broader, more academic perspective of pattern design to include in your personal pattern design education
  • Want to know and learn how designers back in the days designed and drew patterns and repeats by hand
  • Want to prepare for learning how to create Arts and Crafts pattern designs (hint, hint)
  • Have already started creating patterns or have been at it for a while, and now want to take on something a bit more advanced and develop your design skills further

Although some of the steps are quite advanced, I will show them in a good pace so that it will be easy to follow along.

This course is not for beginner levels, you need to be acquainted with Illustrator at least a little bit and also know the basic principles of creating pattern repeats.


  • What a Damask is and why it’s called that
  • The history behind the pattern style, where it comes from and how it has evolved over time
  • The most commonly used Damask motif elements 
  • 2 techniques for drawing Damask motifs
  • How to manually draw patterns like the designers did before computers
  • How to turn your sketches into vectorized illustrations
  • How to create reflected, symmetrical medallions
  • How to create diamond/diagonal pattern layouts
  • My step by step process for planning and creating a Damask pattern
  • How to create 3 Damask types: simple composition, composition with intertwined motifs and an advanced double composition
  • How to manually arrange and compose Damask motifs into pattern repeats in Illustrator
  • Working with a limited color palette of only two colors or tones


In this course I will show you how to create the motifs and pattern repeats using Illustrator, but if you’re a fan of Photoshop I’m sure you can translate my steps for that as well. Same goes for iPad and Procerate users. But in order to be able to follow my exact process you need to have and be acquainted with Adobe Illustrator.

I will not show you how to create Damask patterns using the pattern tool in Illustrator. Only the old school way ;-).

For the exercises and for creating our Damask motifs you will need:

  • Pencil
  • Paper. Sketching paper or ordinary printer paper works great
  • Ruler
  • Black fineliner, medium sized nib (around 0.5-0.8 is what I mostly use)
  • Brush pen. For example a Bimoji Fudo brush pen from ZIG Kuretake, or a Sakura brush pen from Pigma.
  • A lightbox or tracing paper (window+daylight works fine too)
  • Scanner, camera or iPad for digitalizing our sketches
  • Adobe Illustrator

Here is a link to my Pinterest board where I've gathered a lot of Damask patterns including some of the images featured in class:
Damask Pinterest board >>


  • Course Trailer
  • Welcome & Intro
  • What is a Damask?
  • The History Behind The Pattern Style
  • Typical Damask Motifs
  • Techniques For Drawing Damask Motifs
  • Drawing Leaves - Exercise 1
  • Drawing Leaves - Exercise 2
  • Drawing Leaves - Exercise 3
  • Drawing Leaves - Exercise 4
  • Drawing Leaves - Exercise 5
  • Drawing Flowers - Exercise 6
  • Drawing Flowers - Exercise 7
  • Drawing Fruits - Exercise 8
  • Drawing Fruits - Exercise 9
  • Drawing Birds - Exercise 10
  • Composition and Layout
  • Drawing For A Sparse Repeat - Exercise 11
  • Drawing For An Intertwined Repeat - Exercise 12
  • Drawing For A Double Repeat - Exercise 13
  • Planning Your Damask Pattern
  • Drawing Your Damask Motifs
  • Digitalizing Your Motifs
  • Creating The Reflected Medallion
  • Creating The Reflected Medallion Continued
  • Creating The Sparse Damask Repeat
  • Creating The Intertwined Damask Repeat
  • Creating The Double Damask Repeat
  • Color And Recolor
  • Next Step & End Note

Taught by

Bärbel Dressler

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