The Funghi Hunt
Welcome to a surface pattern design series inspired by a wild mushroom hunt in a dew covered forest during late summer. It aims to evoke the spirit of this most absorbing quest of spotting their hiding places amongst the grass and moss.
Afterwards, as the sun is setting low, equipped with a filled wicker basket, the hunters head back home to assess their precious unearthings.
This surface 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.
To begin, below you can find insights into the beginning of the surface pattern design process where the sketchbook pages show hand drawings of these designs’ main motif. These explore the various shapes and sizes of different types of mushroom, marvelling at their plethora. The selection of the motifs had to universally suit both male and female designs, and also be appropriate for two different age groups as well.
This surface pattern design series began with working in pencil on paper as opposed to working digitally from the offset – this gives the work, a more earthy and authentic feel.
This surface pattern development series was commissioned for a kidswear client to include in their Spring — Summer Collection for children aged up to 36 months old.
Below please view the breakdown of the patterns’ structure which was directed by Kidspattern, along with the respective colour palettes with shades transitioning along with the age and sex group they’re indicative of. For girls, we have a soft blue, the ever popular lilac and a raspberry ice cream pink, matched with a light fawn and contrasted with a milk chocolate brown. Whilst the boys’ colour palette shares the same browns and blue, but has an addition of moss green and deep taupe. Overall this makes for a beautiful selection encapsulating the dreamy mood of a bright woodland.
These were shared in both sex and age groups, hence we needed to find a way to differentiate between the specific designs. To accomplish this, we used various types of arrangement and ways of colouring.
In the first age group, 1 – 3 year olds, all the mushrooms are kept as an outline drawing with no or, a flat one colour fill.
In the second age group for 3 – 6 years olds, two types of watercolour fill were added to the outline drawing; both painted using a digital painting brush. The first design, covered the whole of the shape, whereas the second filled it the mushrooms only partially with smaller strokes.
Age Group 1–3 Years
Within this age group, the sections for boys and girls are differentiated by the pattern arrangement. Firstly, for boys, mushrooms were organised regularly in an upright and straightforward seamless repeat. This simple, one colour pattern design is easy to use on any coloured fabric in any colour combination. In these examples, we focused on the tints of brown and taupe.
Secondly, for the group for girls, the same mushrooms were arranged into stripes. With the outlines in one or multiple colours these versions explore different sizes and coloured backgrounds.
Included are some ideas for a few placement prints resembling a thick mushroom forest where the elements are layered on top of one another in different sizes. As they float and rotate further away from the main busy strip they create an interesting transition, through having these stripes enlarged and placed along the top and the bottom of the dress. Meanwhile, the oversize version has one running along just the hem of the garment.
In the age group for 3 – 6 year olds, the mushrooms were filled in with digital watercolour shading.
This is the main version from this surface pattern series that was selected by the client and went into production. Using a digital print technique allowed the use of multiple colours and highlighted the tonal transition between them.
The first option places the many hued mushrooms on the fawn background. Then, the second option uses a white background, which sharpens both the colours and the painterly effect.
In these patterns the watercolour fill was approached in a monochrome manner, offering a subtler option, in tune with the exact pantones from the brief palette.
Each mushroom is thus recoloured separately. The first recolouring full of earthy tones was intended for the boys’ group.
Meanwhile, placing a flat white shape under the watercolour fill allows the elements to stand out from the coloured background and so prevents it from blending in with the fabric. In the last version, which is simplified to the use of only one pantone, the mushrooms softly come to light from the warm hazelnut background.
Brush Strokes Fill
To conclude, the last outline drawing used a partial fill, done with a broad watercolour brush without filling in the whole of the shape. As a result, this approach is more graphic and subtle, so it offers a happy medium between the other two techniques.
In these surface patterns the mushrooms are recoloured in monochrome tones from their respective colour palettes. Consequently, this provides a selection of designs with the elements softly blending in and simultaneously standing out against both white and coloured backgrounds.
Pattern in Print
Below, please browse through a slideshow selection of examples of this surface pattern applied as a fabric print. These photographs are by Kidspattern and were taken in the client’s brand shop upon the launch of their Spring — Summer Kids Collection.
These aim to provide you with an insight into how versions of this surface pattern were used on clothing and how those fitted in with the wider context of the colour group and other items. Also included are a few close-ups of the print details.
These examples cover both colour releases, with the first one focusing on the pastel blue and lilac, whilst the other is suffused in warm browns with an addition of mauve.
Please note that these images are provided courtesy of the client and Kidspattern and are used for portfolio purposes only.
“Advice is like mushrooms. The wrong kind can prove fatal.”