Illustrator Special Effects #1: Marine Square Tiles


In this first vector background tutorial, I will be teaching you how to create this marine tiles effect. You will learn how to create it effortlessly with the transform tool. So let’s get started…

Drawing The Tiles


For the marine tiles, you will need a harmonic color scheme to match your pattern. Above is a suitable color palette I found from ColourLovers. Copy and paste it to your document. Next, draw a rounded square by holding shift to constrain the proportion. Use the color picker to pick the turquoise color from the color palette.


Go to Effect>Distort & Transform>Transform. Select 15 copies and increase horizontal to 55pt to leave gaps in between the tiles. Click OK when done. This will create a row of horizontal tile.


Now go to Effect>Distort & Transform>Transform again. Select 15 copies and increase vertical to -55pt to tile it vertically.

Coloring It With Different Tones


We will need to expand the transformation to recolor the tiles. Go Object>Expand Appearance to expand the pattern. Click Ctrl/command+G 2 times to ungroup the tiles. Select some random tiles and use the color picker to picker a lighter tone.


Repeat the steps above to set different randoms tones to your pattern.


We will now resize the tiles randomly. Go to Object>Transform>Transform Each and set both horizontal and vertical scale to 90%.


Select some random tiles you want to transform and press Ctrl/Command+D to repeat the previous transformation again to the tiles. This will resize it 90% smaller. Press Ctrl/Command+D a few more times to make the tiles smaller. Here is the final tiles pattern I have created using this technique. This might make a pretty interesting background effect for the back of your namecard. Good luck!

View the list of all 101 Illustrator special effects tricks at 101 Illustrator Special Effects.
Download Source File

Related Articles

See the list of all Illustrator tutorials.
Learn 101 Illustrator tips and techniques for free.

About The Author: Tony Soh

Hi. I'm the founder of Vector Diary. Illustrator is my passion and I have written numerous tutorials on illustrator helping people learn illustrator. My most popular tutorial on learn illustrator has been a hit. It makes learning illustrator so easy and has benefited more than 20,000 people worldwide. Also, I've revealed some of my secret techniques in the premium tutorials. So don't forget to check it out!

Related Articles

1 Trackbacks

Illustrator Special Effects: Marine Square Tiles | Peppermint Design | Illustrator Special Effects: Marine Square Tiles | Peppermint Design
December 22nd at 4:54 pm

+Add Comment17 Comments

  1. Gravtar for mundo
    mundo May 11th


  2. Gravtar for Kaushik Gopal
    Kaushik Gopal May 11th

    Neat and simple…great job

  3. Gravtar for photo retouching
    photo retouching May 11th

    A nice touch especially with summer on its way!

  4. Gravtar for xxgoblin
    xxgoblin May 11th

    really nice.. I’ll try too ^_^

  5. Gravtar for Kisan
    Kisan May 13th

    Very cool effect

  6. Gravtar for Tim Smith
    Tim Smith June 1st

    Great Tut! I’m gonna try this!

  7. Gravtar for vik
    vik June 8th

    cool, nice and simple!!
    thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Gravtar for JoE
    JoE June 9th

    Well this worked out damn good. I remember learning this a while ago, but I think it was called something like “step & repeat”. Thanks for the lesson!

  9. Gravtar for yarijik
    yarijik June 9th


    Definately will remember this technique.

  10. Gravtar for Snippet
    Snippet July 17th

    Fantastic and it was so easy. Thanks for the lesson!

  11. Gravtar for mhd
    mhd August 1st

    good job

  12. Gravtar for Chester
    Chester October 8th


  13. Gravtar for chester
    chester October 13th


  14. Gravtar for ML
    ML April 6th

    Awesome and so versatile! I did my version with stars instead if rounded squares and in an orange hues palette – turned out as fanatstic 🙂

  15. Gravtar for savita
    savita August 12th

    Simple, Fast & Best, Thanks for sharing

  16. Gravtar for Akhtar
    Akhtar January 1st

    good job… (y)

  17. Gravtar for get rid of wasps
    get rid of wasps January 14th

    If only I had found this site a few hours earlier. Very well presented and easy to follow your instructions!