By the Seashore
Seashells are considered fascinating due to their origins in the depths of the boundless waters and having once homed curious sea creatures.
We value them for their durability as well as their beauty. So much so that we use them to decorate not only our surroundings, but also ourselves wearing them as adornments.
This pattern design 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.
Seashells often act as great souvenirs, bringing back a memory of a summer day spent beach combing. As children, we remember being engrossed in building a precious collection of little treasures found washed up on the beach. In this pattern design series, I aim to evoke a pinch of this sentiment.
“By the Seashore” is a pattern design series commissioned by a client to include in their Spring ‑Summer Collection for girls aged up to 36 months old. The overall colour theme was composed by Kidspattern and is a feminine selection of soft lilacs matched with creamy browns. Each colour palette is indicative of each age group — starting from the top strip: Newborn (0−9 months old) followed by Baby (6 – 18 months) and finally Kids (up to 36 months).
The chosen elements consisted of a precious collection of decorative sea shells matched with pearls and tasselled gems. These were photographed by Kidspattern which formed a starting point for the development of these digital prints.
For the Newborn line, I created both a singular motif and a three-colour images of the heart shaped shell and matched them with three pearls. Additionally, for supporting elements I drew linear outlines of all the remaining shells from the selection.
Finally, the most advanced elements for the oldest age group are based on a fill made from various digitally filtered renderings of the original photograph, which were touched up manually to add gradients of colour. Lastly, to define the shape the outline drawing was added on top.
The first pattern for the Newborn line has the heart shaped shells scattered amongst the falling droplets of pearls in a dynamic and dimensional arrangement. Soaked in a soft pink palette, it’s placed against both coloured and white backgrounds; visualised in both large and small sizes on a baby blanket as well as a baby romper.
The other simplified option has the elements arranged regularly and with even spacing between them. The total number of colours used is reduced to only two and focuses on incorporating aspects of the brown side of the palette.
This pattern was prepared for the Baby (6 – 18 months) age group. Here, I’ve used just the outline drawings of the shells arranged in an even and regular repeat, whilst the stripes on one of the seashells provide a diagonal visual rhythm and adds weight to the design.
This version was placed on white, as well as a milk chocolate background, where for contrast the outlines were recoloured in white. Here I’ve visualised it in both a small and a large size.
In this version, the more complex elements are scattered in a dynamic arrangement. The fine details of the painted digital watercolour fill bring in some wonderful textures.
These patterns explore various spacing between the rotating elements that appear to be suspended in the air mid-fall. Placed in two medium colours — camel and coral shades – these are visualised in two different sizes.
This is the main version of this pattern, which was selected by the client for print as a part of their Spring — Summer Collection. Here, the weight of digital watercolour elements is balanced out by the differently coloured outline drawing. These drawings are woven in between the watercolour elements, which adds to this design’s dimensionality.
In the version placed on a white background the gradients of colours have now gained an opalescent facet.
For contrast, the pattern was also placed on a raspberry sorbet coloured background with all the outlines now recoloured in just white and arranged closer together.
Pattern in Print
Below, please browse through a slideshow selection of a few examples of this pattern in print. These are photographs of the Client’s first clothing samples produced to display at a trading fair as a part of the launch of their overall Spring-Summer Collection. Here you may observe how the pattern was used and printed across multiple items and how it fits within the wider context of the collection.
On the left hand side you can view the items for the Newborn group, whereas on the right I’ve attached clothing aimed at the older age group.
Please note that these images are provided courtesy of the client and Kidspattern and are used for portfolio purposes only.
“Those who look for seashells will find seashells; those who open them will find pearls.”