In last week’s vector illustration tutorial I used my free set of distressed halftone patterns to add cool screentone effects to my artwork in Photoshop, then I thought; Why not create a similar set of patterns but in vector format to allow the same distressed halftone effects to be added directly in Adobe Illustrator? So I’ve been working hard to create this new set of free halftone patterns in the same distressed styling, but this set makes use of Illustrator swatches to allow the effects to be scaled to any size, keeping your artwork 100% vector.
This free set of distressed halftone patterns for Adobe Illustrator contains 10 seamless vector swatches that can be applied as fills to add retro comic book style print effects to your illustrations. There’s a range of dot pattern densities so you can effectively shade your designs by using the different pattern fills across your artwork. Unlike your typical halftone pattern with clean, perfectly formed circles, these patterns have a distressed style to give your designs that grungy rock poster vibe.
How to use the vector halftone patterns
Open up the AI file from the download. You’ll find a series of squares with the pattern swatches applied. Copy and paste these elements into your own documents to transfer the fills into the Swatches panel.
These pattern swatches can then be applied as a fill to your shapes. Overlay a duplicate of the shape with the halftone pattern onto a normal fill to retain the colour of your design.
One cool feature of these vector patterns is the ability to scale them. Check the Transform Patterns option in the Object > Transform > Scale window to alter the size.
These patterns also work great with the Blob tool. Set up a halftone pattern fill, then paint across your design to apply awesome comic book screentone style shading.
You might see some awful tiling between the more dense patterns, but this is just a visual glitch in Illustrator. Export your artwork as a PNG with Art Optimized Anti-Aliasing to eliminate this problem.