Sparrows could be thought of as a common and plain species of bird. However, paired with forget-me-not flowers they offer a tender portrayal of the understated beauty found in the ordinary. We tend to associate these little birds with simplicity and community and thus this avian design is intended as a subtle reminder not to disregard the small gems that unfold in our everyday lives. The design acts is a gentle encouragement to mindfully observe our surroundings and savour the pockets of joy within it. 

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.

Oversize Drawing

Hav­ing a back­ground as an illus­tra­tor I often like to build my pat­tern designs around a hand-drawn ele­ment. The plan for this pat­tern was to cen­tre it around an over­sized image of a lit­tle bird and there­fore I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take my time and cre­ate this very detailed, nat­u­ral­is­tic depic­tion. I’ve also attached here a zoom-in on the drawing’s details and a colour palette strip, from the group­ing with­in the ear­ly Autumn-Win­ter col­lec­tion that this pat­tern was intend­ed for.

Sparrow Pattern 

This ver­sion of the pat­tern fol­lowed through on the orig­i­nal plan of hav­ing the main ele­ment be an over­sized, place­ment-print of the spar­row — with small flo­rals and dots scat­tered around it. The bird is set on a white back­ground, in a reg­u­lar arrange­ment, with plen­ty of space around it. The detailed, mul­ti­coloured draw­ing of it is the hero ele­ment here, and what makes it a sig­na­ture print. I broke down the orig­i­nal draw­ing into a few sep­a­rate colour-lay­ers, mak­ing it real­ly stand out against the white mate­r­i­al. This was the final design, which got select­ed into production. 

Feel free to browse the selec­tion of alter­na­tive ver­sions pre­sent­ed below. These ver­sions dif­fer in the arrange­ment of the ele­ments, their colour and the spac­ing between them. They also vary in terms of the rel­a­tive size of the ele­ments with­in the pat­tern and the over­all size at which the pat­tern is pre­sent­ed on the mock-up. Some inter­est­ing con­trasts are cre­at­ed by dras­ti­cal­ly chang­ing the scale of the bird in con­trast to the petite flo­rals and by hav­ing it print­ed in oversize.

Here I want­ed to ful­ly explore the breadth of the coral colour palette and to bring in some of the browns into it. Reduc­ing the num­ber of colours makes the design very cost effec­tive. Addi­tion­al­ly, this sim­pli­fied arrange­ment is also more appro­pri­ate for a younger age group (under 3 years old). It is always intrigu­ing how sim­ple changes to attrib­ut­es such as size, arrange­ment and colour alter, fun­da­men­tal­ly, the mood of a pattern.

Pattern 1

Hav­ing exper­i­ment­ed with the dark-brown side of the palette I then cre­at­ed this mono­chro­mat­ic solu­tion, which uses only two flat colours. This ver­sion also appears much fuller because the spac­ing between the ele­ments has been reduced, the flow­ers are slight­ly enlarged and I’ve scat­tered small, dot-like petals in-between them. As for the bird, I’ve jux­ta­posed it against an out­line sil­hou­ette of itself. This blends in with the colour of the back­ground and in doing so gives the pat­tern more depth.


Pattern 2

This ver­sion of the “Spar­row Pat­ten” con­tin­ues to explore the range of options with­in the colour palette. Though the spar­row illus­tra­tion is reduced in size it still remains the focal point of the pat­tern. To keep empha­sis on it the bird’s out­line was recoloured into a cof­fee brown, whilst its body was filled-in in white. This makes it a fuller shape, that stands out clear­ly against the dark­er-coral back­ground. I arranged it in a very reg­u­lar, one-way man­ner and sur­round­ed the bird with a slight­ly enlarged array of For­get-Me-Nots. Last­ly, I put one of the sprigs in the bird’s beak, tying it in more with the rest of the over­all design.

Pattern 3

In this last ver­sion I want­ed to exper­i­ment with bold and strik­ing colour­ing and arrange­ments. I’ve jux­ta­posed two birds here, posi­tion­ing them to face in oppo­site direc­tions, and sur­round­ed them close­ly with a myr­i­ad of For­get-Me-Nots. This turns the print into a busy and ful­some Flo­ral. For good mea­sure I also used a vibrant blood-orange from the palette and chose a con­trast­ing colour match. This was all in an effort to cre­ate a very mod­ern feel­ing, state­ment print. 

“I once had a spar­row alight upon my shoul­der for a moment, while I was hoe­ing in a vil­lage gar­den, and I felt that I was more dis­tin­guished by that cir­cum­stance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”

Hen­ry David Thoreau