Hummingbird Grove

This rich and multidimensional pattern encourages its viewer to follow the humming sound created by the extremely rapid beating of tiny wings and get enveloped in a labyrinth of tangled vines that seem to be forming an impenetrable curtain that conceals an entrance to a secret passage.

This project was a part of my ongo­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with Kidspat­tern. If you’d like to learn more about them please vis­it their web­site HERE. Alter­na­tive­ly, view the archive of our pre­vi­ous projects HERE, in which I dis­cuss in detail the his­to­ry and nature of our work.

All cloth­ing-mock­ups pre­sent­ed here are pro­vid­ed cour­tesy of Kidspat­tern and are used for visu­al­i­sa­tion pur­pos­es only.

Brief Overview

This ele­gant design was com­mis­sioned for our client’s Spring Sum­mer Col­lec­tion for a colour group aimed at girls up to 36 months old. The sug­gest­ed, sooth­ing palette com­posed by Kidspat­tern com­prised of fad­ed blush, warm beige and brown matched against a vibrant orange.

In this dynam­ic, mul­ti­lay­ered pat­tern, the palette was enriched by incor­po­rat­ing the bright blood orange red to add a pop of colour to high­light the hum­ming­birds’ most eye-catch­ing fea­ture. The bril­liant colour of the iri­des­cent plumage of the male bird con­trast with the white back­ground and cor­re­sponds with the detail in the out­line of the flow­ers. 

A tint­ed sil­hou­ette of the vine was placed in the back­ground, in order to deep­en the dimen­sion­al aspect of the design. The reg­u­lar, col­umn repeat keeps the com­po­si­tion bal­anced and organ­ised. Visu­alised in a medi­um size on a white girl’s top, the ver­sion that you can view above end­ed up being the one that got pur­chased and select­ed to go into print.

Hand Drawn Elements

Above short process ani­ma­tion shows the lay­er­ing of sep­a­rate colours of the main illus­trat­ed ele­ment. The over­all theme for this series was cen­tred around a hum­ming­bird, which has a long his­to­ry of sym­bol­ism. In leg­ends, it is often por­trayed as a spir­it being, a heal­er or a helper and a sign of good luck. The Aztecs even saw him as a mes­sen­ger between them and their ances­tors or the gods.

To best com­pli­ment this nec­tar-sip­ping, New World bird we chose to illus­trate it hov­er­ing amongst climb­ing vines full of ‘Morn­ing Glo­ry’ blooms. Please view a group of the pre­lim­i­nary, hand drawn, sep­a­rate­ly pre­pared botan­i­cal ele­ments, which I then used alike puz­zle pieces to arrange them into trail­ing stems and swirls.

Next, I added a touch of dark out­line round the stem to bet­ter define its shape and to bring all the ele­ments togeth­er. Addi­tion­al­ly, I added the hummingbird’s sil­hou­ette into the back­ground to add to the design’s dimen­sion­al­i­ty. This forms the base for this commission’s repeat mod­ule, which was then fur­ther lay­ered as the com­plex­i­ty of the pat­tern design grew along with its tar­get­ed age group.  

Newborn Collection

Selec­tion of two sim­pli­fied pat­terns, aimed at the New­born Col­lec­tion (0–9months). First ver­sion has the sep­a­rate ele­ments com­posed in a very spa­cious arrange­ment in small size and a reg­u­lar repeat.

Sec­ond ver­sion is com­posed out of a sin­gle row of climb­ing vines. Both remain plain and mul­ti-use, with all their ele­ments bal­anced against white back­ground, which is always the most pop­u­lar choice for this age group.

Pink Dream

This light and airy ver­sion was cre­at­ed by reflect­ing the mean­der­ing vine mod­ule on itself. To com­pli­ment this dreamy vision the design was recoloured in a range of pale, pow­der blush and beige for a soft, roman­tic fin­ish. The result is a bal­anced, sym­met­ric arrange­ment, which plays on the fairy-tale asso­ci­a­tions com­mon­ly ascribed to ser­pen­tine, vine-cen­tred designs.

Fol­low­ing this, I’ve recoloured it to fur­ther match a dark­er shade of pink. In this ver­sion, the hum­ming­bird is pared back to a sim­ple, reg­u­lar, sin­gle col­umn arrange­ment placed against a sil­hou­et­ted lay­ered back­ground. 

Darker Palette

To assure that the design is applic­a­ble in mul­ti­ple colour­ways, I’ve devel­oped a range to fit dark­er back­grounds. First­ly, the hum­ming­bird is reversed against the dark coral back­ground and the com­po­si­tion becomes a lit­tle more irreg­u­lar and unruly to cor­re­spond with the dynamism of the tor­tu­ous vines.

Last­ly, a kalei­do­scope arrange­ment plays on under­lin­ing mys­te­ri­ous aspects of the tan­gled vines. These recoloured ver­sions increase the con­trast, depth and over­all weight of the design, which now seems more fit­ting with the late Sum­mer sea­son col­lec­tion, tran­si­tion­ing into ear­ly Autumn.

Pattern in Print

In con­clu­sion, please browse through a selec­tion of exam­ples of the final use of this Hum­ming­bird inspired pat­tern in print. These are client’s first cloth­ing sam­ples made to dis­play at trad­ing fairs as a launch of their over­all Spring-Sum­mer collection.

As well as items from the Kids age group (up to 36months old), these slides also include pho­tos of their New­born and Home­ware groups, hence apart from baby body­suits these exam­ples show match­ing bed­sheets, blan­kets and pil­low cases.

Please note that these images are pro­vid­ed cour­tesy of the client and Kidspat­tern and are used for port­fo­lio pur­pos­es only. 

“A flash of harm­less lightning,
A mist of rain­bow dyes,
The bur­nished sun­beams brightening
From flower to flower he flies“

Father John Ban­is­ter Tabb Amer­i­can poet, Roman Catholic priest, and pro­fes­sor of English