Food illustration experimentation

I started to do some experimentation with materials, doing food illustration.

I first of all started with some watercolour, as I want to use mainly watercolour with my cook book. I did a couple of experiments to see how well they would turn out, and I feel that they worked really well.

I really enjoyed doing the water colour images, as it was a looser way of working, and I could blend the colours a lot more. I feel you can add the detail, but still have a simplistic look. This is probably how I will illustrate my food and my narrative scenes as well.

I also did some continuous line drawings as well, I really liked how the carrots turned out. Although I do like these types of illustrations, they often leave too much white space, and it is harder to add in detail, especially when doing my narrative scenes, which would be very detailed.

I did do some more experimentations, which I will include in my next post.



Artist Andrea Turvey

I looked at this artist as the colours used are really bright and they have a home cooked feel to them. They also again have that kind of narrative aspect to them as you can see the food being plated up, which suggests someone is eating them. I really like this idea of having the narrative come through the food.

These images are more branded, which I won’t be focusing on, but I like how the recipe has been used in the second image, with the paper being a main way of communicating the recipe. It gives the image a more classic home cooking look, which I want to convey with my recipes.

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Looking at artist Enya Todd

I found an artist who does individual food illustration, which I thought would be useful for illustrating the individual ingredients in my recipes.

The first image is a water colour piece, which is something that I have been looking at. I like the fine water colour in the background, and I think the overall image is light and loose which is my desired goal.

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I really like how she has written the text at the bottom of each of the individual cakes. This is a technique that I will be using with my book, and to see how well it works gives me more confidence to use this technique.

I think I will be using the watercolour technique and the text in my book, as they work really well together.


I wanted to go back to the collaged images I found earlier, as I really liked the technique.

I think the way that the images of the food stands out, even when the backgrounds themselves have been collaged is really effective and skilful. Although I really like the technique used, I don’t think this fits in very well with my idea, but it is still something I will look into. The image of the cupcake however does strike me and it reminds me of the idea of memories, which is something I could possibly use.

I will be using collage in my book, but it will be a collage between photography, and illustration more.


Older illustration techniques

Whilst looking at modern techniques of food illustration, I also wanted to look at some older images of food illustration.

The images are done with oil painting, which was a common way of illustrating food in older times, specially when food was celebrate more by royalty etc. The images do tend to be very detailed, but I find they all have a bit of a darker feel to them, which is something I want to avoid with my cookbook, as I want a light and loose feel to the imagery.

These images were again oil painted, but they do tend to have a lighter feel to them. I still feel like they are a little bit too constructed, and not as loose as I would like. I most likely would not use this type of illustration in my book.

Modern food illustration

I looked at some modern food illustration, as I want a more modern look for my book, so looking at more modern process was proven useful.

The first set of images I looked at were more prints. I liked the right vibrant colours they have used, and I like how in the first image, they have also used fine liner in the with print. The illustrations are mostly shape as it tends to work better when doing prints. The simplicity of the designs also make them bold and easily recognisable, which is important when working with food.

The next three images I looked at were  mix between water colour, and and paper cut imagery. I liked the first image as well as the way the two images overlap looks really effective. This is something I will be looking at in the design process. Again I looked at the water colour, which looks really loose and flowing.

This last image is an illustration with added photography, which I think looks effective. I want to add photography in with my illustrations, to give it a more timely feel, and to represent the memories which I want to represent.

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Ideas for the activity chat book

I had the idea of doing a small A5 chat book, which I could distribute the Hay Festival, to get people involved with the production. I had a few different ideas for the activities i would do, and I am working on some thumbnails for the activity pages.


I also wanted to do a print which could potentially be used as a poster for the production, which i plan to do as a lino print. I have started some small sketches for the lino print, which I will show with the ideas for my book. Once I have made my print, I will start to work on the small activities for the chat book.

The Little Black Fish brief

I was also given a new brief today, to do something to support the BA (Hons) Performing Arts students at the Hay Festival. Having done work for the Hay Festival before, I was keen to do more work for the festival. This was the brief I was given off Gillian, the Performing Arts joint course leader.


I spoke to Neil about the brief, and showed my interest for the brief, and have a few ideas about doing a chat book for the Performing Arts to give out at the production. I did some idea thumbnails, and have started to work on some ideas.

Food illustration research

So after I had done my mind map of initial ideas, I began to look at different food illustration types.

I found this first image really interesting because the typography really matches the image, which is a big element I am going to need to look at, as I plan to do the cookbook with hand written text and typography. the colours used are very appropriate the the food that is being illustrated, and I like the fact that the illustration has a bit of a narrative aspect, as it is suggesting that someone is about to eat the pie, which I think works really well.

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The next few images I found were very different, but I wanted to look at as many different types as I could. I particularly liked the jam jar as I liked the colours used, and the yellow background makes the jam jar stand out. I also like the water colour tomatoes, as they look really light and less constructed, giving them a more natural feel, with them being grown produce, I think it works well.

The next few images I really like because they are all so different. The collaged cupcake looks really well thought out and put together. This was the first collaged piece I looked at and I really liked the technique, so I will definitely be looking more into this technique of collage.

I began to look look more at modern food illustration processes, as I want my book to have a contemporary feel to it.


Mind mapping my ideas

Whilst working on writing my brief for this project, I did a small mind map for my ideas, looking at how what ideas I wanted to pursue with the cook book, and what other parts I could have which could widen my range of skills for this project. the mind map was more for ideas that looking at the more technical aspects my cook book will have, but it was a good place to start to decide what areas I will need to research.


The next step I will need is to start looking at different types of food illustration, as this is going to be a large a part of the cook book, as I am looking at illustrating the individual food ingredients.