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.

Mushroom Sketchbook 

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.

Pattern Elements

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.

Full Palette

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.”

Charles E.McKenzie