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