I was out one day and took a photo of a seagull on the beach.  Common as muck and yet I bet there isn’t an Aussie out there who doesn’t battle to keep his hot chips from the cheeky birds when lunching by the sea. It is this brazen cheekiness that inspired me. It is very Australian!

I started by drawing the outline of a simple gull. I then played with twisting it to face different directions to create a random cluster and then I played with repeating these shapes to see if there was anything in it as a pattern.


I found once I added the hot chip in the seagull’s mouth I got that attitude I was looking for. I simplified the pattern and pulled out the main gull to colour him bright red to exaggerate the cheekiness.

At the Same time I was working on some artworks around beach life and was playing with putting patterns onto surfboards.


I didn’t want to feature just a seagull. It is a lovely looking bird but not necessarily unique to Australia. This lead to me blending to two ideas of surfboards and seagulls but with a final product of a fabric print I wanted to keep it simple and striking. So instead of patterns in the boards which I will revisit in other designs I went with words. Famous beautiful beaches from around Australia. I also found that when thinking through how many screens of colour I wanted to print I also kept it simple so I had to ditch the chip out of the seagulls mouth. But I felt his attitude was still there as I imagined him saying “What, you looking at?”

So I went with four motifs. Beach names on three surfboards of various sizes and a simple gull and then put that into a tile. Then the tile into a repeat. I felt strongly that the boards and the gull had to be in a line. To keep clarity of what they are and also the attitude in how the gull is positioned. So the pattern repeats upside down every other so I could use the fabric in two directions. Then I concentrated on colour. This design would work well in both sea blues and in warm hues. I found images for colour inspiration (see below) and I landed on the burnt orange reds you get in a great Australian sunset.

So there you go. From a simple seagull to a beautiful design, Aussie inspired.