#45 A MEDLEY OF PORTFOLIO ILLUSTRATIONS

I have enjoyed sharing about my illustration career. On this blog there are almost 2,000 images. This will be my last post as I am concentrating on writing a book based on my life entitled, “Music From Her Heart.”

I find the blog format fascinating, as my stories about my illustration career “unfolded” in their own way. I had no idea when I started writing my blog where it would go.

All of my stories, tips and information move forward from the first post. Therefore, because the blog’s format is backwards, this last entry has become the conclusion! However, because it is the “Home Page,” it is important for me to explain a few things that I have shared earlier in my blog. There are people reading this who have not seen anything else I’ve written.

I have already shared many of my “Portfolio Pieces,” but they have been scattered and it seemed like a great way to end my blog by putting them all together on this “Home Page.” For those who are not familiar with my painting techniques, most of my illustrations are completed with Dr. Martin’s dyes. I also use Prismacolor pencils and Badger acrylics for details. Some of my illustrations are done using only Admarkers (with pencil and acrylic, also) such as the Banana Split below.

A NEW BEGINNING FOR ME

From the time I graduated college until the present time, I considered myself an illustrator. My career suited me perfectly, because I was able to balance many things in addition to being an artist.

At times, being an illustrator was very stressful. There was a lot of “performance anxiety,” that went along with ridiculous deadlines and the pressure to please many people involved in projects. Often I worked with people who all disagreed with one another and gave me conflicting art direction!

However, I was always reliable and tried hard to do my best. I improved over the three decades that I was an illustrator.

I reached a pinnacle and felt very competent illustrating food, florals, and any still life object I could find reference for.

And then it was over. It was not my choice; it was just that there were very few calls for work anymore. That was not a bad thing.

When something ends, it also means that something begins. For me something wonderful began.

I discovered how much I loved sharing what I’ve learned with other people.

It has given me a lot of purpose and meaning to write about those lessons in my life. On this blog, I write about those lessons from being an illustrator, and on my other blog www.myjourneysinsight.com I write about other “life lessons” due to some of the many challenges I have faced.

I was very blessed to have had such a wonderful career as an illustrator!

ON MY PAINTING, I AM VISIBLE HOLDING A CAMERA IN THE REFLECTION ON THIS BOTTLE.

I LOVE THE TEXTURES AND COLORS OF THIS PAINTING.

PORTFOLIO ILLUSTRATIONS

When people see any of the illustrations in my portfolio I am often asked this question: “These paintings look like photographs? Why not just take a picture instead?”

Here is my answer:

1. Using an illustrator was often cheaper than photography. (No stylist, retouching, photo-shoots required). Sometimes the products did not even exist yet to photograph.

2. It was much easier to fit an illustration into the design of a packaging label.

3. And this was my favorite answer: I liked to think that my paintings were more than just a photograph. They were idealistic, because I attempted to make my images look exciting – shinier, more brilliant and more perfect. I tried to achieve this through the use of color, contrast and simple composition.

When I graduated college, I had no idea that I would specialize and become a “food illustrator.” However, I did have two pieces in my portfolio that steered me in that direction. One I called, “Vegetable Medley.” For some reason, I liked using the word “medley” to name many of my portfolio pieces. The other was a black and white painting of liquid pouring into a glass.

I DID PERFECT MY WATER DROPLETS LATER ON IN MY CAREER.

My portfolio was initially about sharing my best paintings. That never changed throughout my career; it was always more important than proving I had published work.

Therefore, my definition of a “Portfolio Piece” was a painting that would showcase and sell my abilities as an illustrator. It needed to be something that depicted my “strengths” and displayed what I could do best.

I kept my portfolio simple and didn’t show anything that might be detrimental – even though art directors were notorious in wanting to see examples of something close to a job they were looking for. Most illustrators know that clients often lack imagination about making a leap in subject matter.

Statements like these made me laugh and I heard them so often!

“I see you have a chocolate bar, but do you have any examples of melted chocolate?”

“I see you have tortilla chips, but can you do potato chips?”

“You’ve done cold cereal, but can you do hot cereal?”

Artist representatives told me only to share portfolio pieces of the work I wanted to do. That was perplexing at times because I had some nice paintings of beverages, but didn’t really want to illustrate them under a lot of time pressure (they are VERY complex). I demonstrated that I could do lettering on products, but always hated that part of illustrating.

When I began my career, I used to take my portfolio to appointments with local art directors. I painted two of what would probably be the most important paintings to guide my style of illustrating. It was my Nestle Crunch bar and Coca Cola glass. Those paintings opened up a lot of doors for me.

I had done the lettering by hand on both of them, and in the advertising domain it was not considered “perfect” enough. I had to find a way to create perfect lettering.

Eventually, I did.

After that, I indulged myself to create paintings that truly allowed me to explore what I loved through textures, colors, and contrast. I used my own photography as my reference and painted a “Portfolio Piece” every year or two. My purpose for these paintings would be to use them for self-promotion.

Because I was usually busy with assignments coming in, I wasn’t always that motivated to paint something for which I wouldn’t be paid. However, it was important for me to advertise almost every year in a “Source Book” for art directors to see my work.

Below are some examples of my ads that were very useful for gaining credibility with art directors and for getting jobs:

THIS WAS MY VERY FIRST AD (THE WORKBOOK). IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE FOR ME. AT THAT TIME, IT COST ABOUT $3,500.

I RECEIVED A LOT OF COMPLIMENTS ON MY ADS DESIGN. I LEARNED HOW IT WAS FAR MORE INTERESTING TO “CHANGE UP” THE LETTERING ON MY NAME, AS WELL AS TO USE OTHER SHAPES BESIDES RECTANGLES. I PAID THE DESIGNER $400 FOR HER SERVICES.

THIS WAS MY LAST AD IN THE WORKBOOK. I DESIGNED IT MYSELF AND INCORPORATED THE NICE LETTERING FROM A DESIGNER’S PRIOR AD.

Painting portfolio pieces helped create colorful advertisements  that showcased my style. Printed job examples were also important, but they were never as impressive as something that I created to please myself.

I still have boxes of the expensive ads that I had printed. There is no need for me to do time consuming “envelope stuffing” anymore. The Internet is a far easier way for an art director to find me, and most of the places I used to mail my samples to have gone out of business.

I did design my own ads for many years, but with success I decided that even the ad design needed to be more professional. Because I was never very comfortable with graphic design, I hired a designer for the last six ads that I did. It made a huge difference. I always had admiration for designers, and even more so after that because I saw what an improvement it was over my own “boring” placement of images.

My postcard promotion with my Snicker’s and Nestlé’s candy bars was also very helpful for my career. It was often easier to share a postcard than a larger tearsheet.

So much of what I have shared is not relevant in today’s career marketplace. I don’t know if there will be more projects for me “down the road.” Working digitally is certainly much faster and easier on my eyes.

For me, my journey into becoming an artist started when I was very young. I do not believe that talent alone guarantees success.

My passion to do my best is what truly guided me.

I continue to do that now as I pursue writing and music.

ICE BECOMES VERY “ABSTRACT” WHEN ILLUSTRATED UP CLOSE!

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF MY HAND LETTERING USING WHITE GUACHE AND A TINY BRUSH.

SINCE I HAND LETTERED, MY SKETCH NEEDED TO BE VERY ACCURATE. I WAS VERY GOOD AT TRACING.

MY PHOTO REFERENCE FOR THE COCA COLA CAN.

THIS WAS PAINTED USING CUSTOM, RUB DOWN LETTERS AS A MASK. I CUT AWAY AREAS OF DROPLETS WHERE THE LETTER CONTOURS WERE ALTERED.

I PAINTED THE ICE USING MANY VARIETIES OF BROWN.

I LOVED CREATING THE REFLECTION OF THE MELON IN THE SUNGLASSES.

I FELT LIKE A KID SETTING UP MY PHOTO REFERENCE IN A SANDBOX!

IT WAS FUN PUTTING THIS SANDWICH TOGETHER!

I LIKED THIS IMAGE SO MUCH AS A MARKER SKETCH, THAT I DID IT AGAIN MUCH TIGHTER WITH THE MARKERS.

I DID BEGIN PAINTING THIS IMAGE, BUT DECIDED I PREFERRED WORKING WITH MARKERS INSTEAD. THE WHIPPED CREAM IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW I INCORPORATE MANY COLORS EVEN INTO SOMETHING THAT IS WHITE.

MY PHOTO REFERENCE TO PAINT MY NESTLE CRUNCH BAR.

I STARTED OVER WHEN I WASNT SATISFIED WITH THE WATERCOLOR PAPER. IT WAS DEFECTIVE, AND THAT SOMETIMES HAPPENED. AFTER THAT, I ALWAYS TESTED THE PAPER BEFORE I BEGAN.

MY PHOTO REFERENCE FOR THE BRACH CANDY MEDLEY ILLUSTRATION.

A TOOTHBRUSH WAS ALWAYS HANDY WHEN I NEEDED TO “SPATTER” A TEXTURE.

SKETCH FOR MY FLOWER MEDLEY ILLUSTRATION.

TO CREATE THE PHOTOGRAPH FOR MY “FRUIT STRIPE” PAINTING I ENDED UP WITH A LOT OF LEFTOVER FRUIT!

ITS HARD TO APPRECIATE HOW LONG THIS PAINTING IS. I WORK FAIRLY SMALL AND IT WAS ABOUT TWO FEET LONG.

THIS IS ACTUALLY A “STOCK IMAGE” I CREATED DIGITALLY BY MOVING PARTS AROUND FROM MY EXTREMELY HORIZONTAL FRUIT PAINTING.

THIS CANTALOUPE TEXTURE WAS A CHALLENGE!


MY PHOTO-REFERENCE FOR DESSERT MEDLEY. I DID FOLLOW IT RATHER CLOSELY.

I USED A LOT OF DELICATE COLORS IN THE WHIPPED CREAM, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS “WHITE.”

I USED THIS PHOTO TO CREATE “RUB-DOWN” LETTERING THAT WAS MORE PERFECT FOR MY PAINTING. THE RUBDOWN LETTERS WERE ONLY USED AS A MASK, AND LATER ON REMOVED.

© Judy Unger and http://www.foodartist@wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in TECHNICAL INFORMATION | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

#44 SOME UNUSUAL AND USUAL ILLUSTRATIONS, PART 3

A CLOSEUP OF A "RECONFIGURED" DIGITAL PAINTING.

For this post, I have an assortment of jobs that range from early in my career to very recent. On the most recent assignment, I am proud to say it was completed digitally and no original artwork exists. Of course, I did not “paint from scratch” on my computer, but I created my image by assembling elements scanned from prior illustrations and “reconfigured” to match in a unified composition.

Usually I work chronologically, but I prefer to start with this recent job. When assembling images from different paintings, unifying my painting is very important for me. Painting over a print certainly helps to “unify” or pull all the elements together so they don’t look like they were painted separately. This job was not “painted over.”

On the computer, I always make sure all the elements have the same light source and I create shadows to help tie everything together, just as if I had painted my illustration on paper.

About a year ago, I created several illustrations for a supermarket, Price Chopper, Inc. It was exciting for me to know that I embraced the computer after so many years. I received a nice note from the art director, and that’s sweet to share also.

MY FINAL, DIGITAL ARTWORK WITH THE TYPE FOR THE LABEL IN POSITION. I NOTICED IT WAS POSITIONED DIFFERENTLY ON THE PRINTED LABEL BELOW!

THE PRINTED LABELS HAVE LOST A LOT OF DETAIL FROM THE ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATION.

I DID A FEW OTHER LABELS FOR THIS COMPANY.

I have illustrated a lot of dried fruit packaging. Below are ones from an early assignment with General Foods followed by some “Fruit Dinosaurs.”

THIS WAS A MARKER COMP. THE COMP WAS GLUED TO ACETATE AND DIFFERENT COLORED BACKGROUNDS COULD BE INSERTED BEHIND IT.

I FOLLOWED THE ART DIRECTOR'S SKETCH CLOSELY.

MY MARKER COMP.

Early in my career, I received a large assignment for General Foods. It consisted of several illustrations of Fruit Rollup packaging, with two accompanying landscape/crate illustrations. The landscapes were for a “point of purchase” in the store where the dried fruit products would be sold. The art direction was clear as I followed the art director’s sketch very closely.

The landscapes were interesting because they were inserted into another illustration, which needed to resemble a wooden crate. I used markers to create the wood texture on a separate illustration. The landscapes themselves were enjoyable. I loved painting the sunrise and sunset skies so much, that I continued to collect photo reference of those images for many years after.

MY ORIGINAL, JOB LAYOUT FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT.

THESE PRINTED TEARSHEETS SHOW THE WOOD CRATE TEXTURE I ALSO ILLUSTRATED.

One thing I have often lamented, is that I always find great reference “after the fact” when I would have loved having it for a certain job. When I was truly “stuck” while searching for reference, I sometimes used a local company called Warner Research, which the movie studios also used for printed items. An example of something I was looking for once was an image of a banana tree and a camel!

I have been gathering photo reference for thirty years, so I have a rather extensive collection. It consists mostly of food images, but also many other photos that might have been useful for prior jobs if I’d only found them sooner. Examples would be holiday related items, hands, landscapes, and many other still-life subjects.

I received jobs throughout my career that were not food related. The most important part for me on any job was obtaining good reference I could follow.

When I did an illustration for Sparklett’s, I was driving around my neighborhood looking for brick walls that had cracks. Once again, a lot of preliminary work was helpful and the job went smoothly.

PURCHASE ORDER.

JOB LAYOUT FOR AN ILLUSTRATION OF A CRUMBLING, BRICK WALL.

AN EXAMPLE OF MY PHOTO REFERENCE. I LIVE IN NORTHRIDGE AND THERE WAS PLENTY OF CRACKED WALLS TO LOOK AT DUE TO THE '94 EARTHQUAKE!

A GOOD EXAMPLE OF MY MARKER COMP "IN PROGRESS." I MUST HAVE SUBMITTED SOMETHING ELSE.

A TEARSHEET WITH THE FINAL ILLUSTRATION.

The current FSI inserts in the Sunday newspaper do not carry illustrations very often anymore. Everything is very bland and boring for me, as I look to see if there are any exciting illustrations. Photoshop has truly replaced the need for the style of illustration that was once widespread.

A few years ago, I created a marker comp for a design agency of an agricultural scene. I did not spend much time creating the comp – perhaps only a few hours. However, the subject matter was very useful for me to have. Because the sky on my marker comp wasn’t too exciting, I experimented digitally and utilized the sunrise sky from my General Foods assignment. Of course, I needed to reflect the sky into the winding river, and that was also easy to do on my computer. I also inserted another sky with clouds.

MY MARKER COMP WITH THE SKY AND MOUNTAINS I CREATED IN A FEW HOURS. I DID GO OVER THE COMP WITH COLORED PENCIL AND ACRYLIC.

I worked with the same designer on some illustrations for Parmalat (milk in a box), and created two, marker comps with breakfast scenes. I’ve always enjoyed working with markers because the looser style helps me to feel more like I’m a “true” illustrator!

I created an illustration for “Professional Write Software” and it involved photographing my husband’s watch, a sandwich, a cup of soda, and inserting a box of the software packaging. I used custom, rubdown letters for the packaging that were made from my photographs. I loved the straw’s reflection in the soda! The watch dial was definitely a challenge.

I HAD NO IDEA THAT LATER ON THAT SANDWICH HAD OTHER USES!

Years later, I modified the painting so that it could be “more generic” and useful for stock purposes. I was not utilizing the computer yet for digital techniques – which is ironic since I created images of computer items. I worked with markers to create a mouse and mouse pad and then cut the paper and glued it over the other illustrations.

I HAD TO WRITE ON THE MEMO IN PERSPECTIVE WITH A PENCIL.

I have shared both versions – I don’t have a scan of the original painting with the Pro-Write package, but I did have a tearsheet.

I wrote earlier about a menu that I illustrated for Spires restaurants. I found some of the menu’s interior illustrations. These images depict the bright and simple dye technique I used early in my career. There was less photorealism, and the images translated nicely when they were reduced. For the examples below, I simply scanned an old menu – which I had taken from the restaurant because I could not get any samples!


Two of my old projects came together for me on one of my few ventures into the world of licensing and fabric. I was only paid an advance of a few hundred dollars to have at least twenty of my illustrations utilized to create fabric designs with a “deli theme.” The fabric was not a big seller.

MY DELI FABRIC - IT DID MAKE A GREAT APRON!

Five years later, I was told that a manufacturer was interested in making towels and potholders from the fabric; however, I would not be paid for the use of that fabric. If I chose to let them go ahead with the project, my compensation would be twenty sets of towels, potholders, aprons, napkins and tablecloths.

THESE FRENCH FRIES CAME FROM THE SPIRES MENU FRIES.

WOULD YOU EAT THESE BURGERS OR EVEN WEAR THEM?

THIS SURE LOOKS FAMILIAR TO ME!

THIS IS NOT HOW I ENVISION MY WATER DROPLETS SHOULD LOOK! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HIGHLIGHT?

I decided to allow for it. I enjoyed seeing my artwork on towels! However, when I ran out of the twenty, I had to pay for more. I did that because I felt that it was such a great gift idea for me one year!

Below is a fruit juice label. There’s not much for me to write except the cherries were an “add on” to some other illustrations that were used to create a flavor “medley.”

However, I am sharing these “cropped illustrations” to once again state how sorry I was that the fruit wasn’t completely painted. I wanted to enlarge the peach to indicate how colored pencil was helpful to create the “fuzzy texture” that I was looking for.

THESE FRUIT ILLUSTRATIONS WERE CREATED TO BE USED ON JARS OF JAMS.

THIS IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF A PEACH THAT I MADE "FUZZY" USING COLORED PENCIL OVER THE DYE PAINTING.

I painted three illustrations for a large company where I signed a confidentiality waiver. Since the agency involved is out of business, I’ve decided I could share the illustrations. However, I won’t share invoices, etc. and I’ve cropped the product name off.

There were three, basic flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Below are the job layouts, line drawings, and comps. Those share the process of creating my final paintings, of which I only have a color copy.

JOB LAYOUT.

MARKER COMP FOR THE STRAWBERRY FLAVOR.

A SCAN OF THE FINAL ART TAKEN FROM A COLOR COPY.

LAYOUT FOR THE VANILLA FLAVOR.

THE MARKER COMP HAD TWO, SMALL ORCHIDS AND THE FINAL ART BECAME ONE, LARGER ORCHID.

LAYOUT FOR CHOCOLATE FLAVOR.

IT WAS INTERESTING TO COME UP WITH SO MANY COMPOSITIONS OF CHOCOLATE CURLS. THE CLIENT ENDED UP WANTING A "SQUARE" IN THERE ALSO!

THESE CURLS LOOKED TOO BRITTLE, ALTHOUGH I WAS INSTRUCTED TO ORIGINALLY PAINT THEM THAT WAY.

A SCAN OF THE FINAL ART TAKEN FROM A COLOR COPY. THE CURLS ARE NOW "SMOOTH."

On this project, I had a “paid revision” because it was decided on the final painting that the chocolate curls were preferred to be smooth instead of “striated.” I followed instructions and always hated when the final art was completed with a change of mind. Especially when I created a color comp that clearly showed what the illustration would look like!

The very last image I want to share is a digital one that I created for a friend. It is an illustration of her Maltese and I used Photoshop filters and worked over a print. It was a lot of fun and certainly a lot less time than if I had rendered it from a plain, white sheet of watercolor paper!

I no longer lament that I don’t have the tactile sensation of holding a paintbrush anymore. I am far more passionate about the other things in my life, which include music and writing. I have embraced the computer as a wonderful, efficient, timesaving tool.

Creativity can be found in life and one should never rely on technical aspects to be of the most importance. I became technically proficient perhaps, but it is what is inside my heart that is most important for me at this juncture in my life.

A CLOSE UP.

© Judy Unger and www.foodartist@wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in JOB EXAMPLES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#43 ILLUSTRATING YOGURT MADE ME CULTURED, PART 2

Some printed examples of my labels.

For this post about yogurt, I am sharing the illustrations that I did for Darigold. Each group of fruit that I illustrated was mirrored and used on another part of the label. Probably the most challenging flavor to illustrate was the plain yogurt – a white dollop on a spoon!

Plain yogurt flavor for Darigold (Final art is from a color copy). I did have the marker comp and it had more detail to share. It was also somewhat yellow.

Since I have most of the original paintings for this project, I have provided many close-ups. Certain flavors required more design development and my line drawings indicate how the illustration was cropped.

All of my yogurt paintings (with the exception of the cottage cheese ones for Crowley’s) were created using watercolor/dyes. I sometimes added colored pencil for more detail. Acrylic was always used to create “peel textures” and strawberry hives. Friskit (the peeling kind) was used to create crisp and clean edges between the elements. I also masked my work to prevent smudges or imperfections.

Peach flavor for Darigold.

A close-up of the peach texture. Pink and white colored pencil helpful create the fuzzy texture.

Cherry Vanilla flavor for Darigold.

Key Lime Pie flavor for Darigold. It is a very popular flavor.

Strawberry Banana flavor for Darigold. I have illustrated a lot of cut bananas, and "delicacy" of strokes is definitely required!

Below are examples of the different kinds of leaves for this project. Because these illustrations were so small, I did not make them “super realistic.” I did always keep in mind the color of the fruit next to the leaf. I would incorporate that color into the shadows, as well as the leaf I was illustrating.

I hardly require reference anymore in order to paint most leaves anymore. I have painted so many that I could do them from memory. I never thought that would happen for me!

Strawberry flavor for Darigold.

A close-up of a strawberry leaf and stem. I like the droplet showing the hive underneath it.

A close up of the strawberry hives. I like the little droplet on top. I learned later on how to add droplets to the contours of objects.

Cherry flavor for Darigold.

A close-up of a cherry leaf.

Blackberry flavor for Darigold.

Marion berry flavor for Darigold. It is also called "Huckleberry," I learned.

A huckleberry leaf.

Raspberry flavor for Darigold

A close-up of raspberry leaves and stems. The center stem usually has spikes and hairs on it.

I began my freelance career right out of college in 1981. I was an illustrator for thirty years. I have enjoyed sharing about my art career on this blog.

On my other blog, myjourneysinsight.com, I share about my passionate love of music and writing. Sometimes there is a “crossover.” Just for fun, I thought I’d share my dialog (in blue) with a few friends regarding the pun choice for this post. I have always loved puns.

To my friends:  I am writing a post for my art blog on Yogurt. Here is what I have so far: ILLUSTRATING YOGURT MADE ME CULTURED. If anyone has any better pun ideas for me – please share!

I like the title, though I wonder if your culture was ACTIVE enough. Of course illustrated art is pretty GREEK to me, and I’m not RUSSIAN to take it up at this late date, HONEY. Susan

Ps. Don’t give me any RASPBERRIES about this!

Wow, Susan, great puns. I just got CREAMED! I like active – that is possible a good addition for me. Maybe I’ll do: “I was actively illustrating yogurt when I became cultured.”

If the yogurt is good enough, I say Clean YO PLAIT!  On the other hand, I can see that I might soon SOUR on these puns. Susan

I am letting out a blood CURDling scream because these puns are so bad!

Well, if that’s the WHEY you feel about it. Susan

I know I feel that way because it’s a “COTTAGE” industry. I’m a “KNUD SON of a bitch.” I can’t believe I just wrote such a bad pun!

You guys are MILKing this subject for all it’s worth! Carol

I DAIRY you to come up with another one!

There’s no TOPPING that! Sam

I’m afraid I LACTO the enzymes to DIGEST all these puns. Susan

Oh, CHEESES, you’re really making me work for this one! Carol

I don’t know how everyone has been able to keep CHURNing these puns out! DANNON it! I am so tired from blogging on this post that I am going to go eat something. It will definitely not be yogurt or cottage cheese!

Estimate for Darigold.

© Judy Unger and www.foodartist@wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in JOB EXAMPLES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#42 ILLUSTRATING YOGURT MADE ME CULTURED, PART 1

I have illustrated many flavors of yogurt for different companies over the course of my art career. I had so many images that I decided to break this up into two posts.

What was fascinating for me about illustrating yogurt, were the “trends” I encountered. I illustrated some unusual flavors and often more than once! I even illustrated packages for companies that were competitors.

It always seemed to me that associating a yogurt flavor with a dessert or something fattening was certainly a TRICK! I have yet to taste that “pie crust” or anything remotely as delicious as the “deceptive illustrations” I put on those labels!

However, it didn’t stop me from doing those jobs and was quite educational. I actually learned how “Key Lime Pie” wasn’t supposed to be green the way I had illustrated it prior to illustrating it for Publix Supermarkets. That was because Key Limes grew in Florida close to where Publix was located. They wanted their pie more accurately portrayed!

I am going to share some yogurt lines from three companies, although I illustrated many others. It was very hard to share the illustrations for which I only had color photocopies. On those lines of illustrations (Crowley’s and Publix), I grouped them smaller. I figured the gist of the concept and design was still conveyed.

There was no way that the yogurt tasted like this!

A close up of the cinnamon roll texture.
A close up of the cinnamon roll texture.

I did have a transparency of an illustration of a cinnamon roll (deceptive yogurt flavor!) I share it as a larger version with a close-up to show the texture. I used a toothbrush to add the stipple effect indicating cinnamon. I used liquid friskit to create “white” highlights, and tried to create many varieties of brown.

When I illustrated yogurt for Crowley’s Foods, it was part of an extensive assignment that also included many varieties of cottage cheese, sour cream, and even orange juice. I became very close with the art director and enjoyed our working relationship very much.

This was a wonderful, purchase order to come across. Sigh – those were the days!
I see on this line drawing that I saved a lot of work not completing the fruit. I regret it, though.I illustrated over sixteen flavors of yogurt where I cropped the illustrations. My line drawing of peaches above, shows that I saved some work by not completing all the fruit. However, I regret that a lot. Although it saved me time, unfortunately, cropping the illustrations didn’t allow for flexibility of different usage on a label later on. If the fruit were completed, I could have reconfigured the illustrations to utilize in my stock illustration library.
There were also some other challenges, particularly when illustrating pineapples. The crown had to be shortened to fit the label’s perimeters better, which looked a bit strange to me.The job layout for Crowley’s cottage cheese label was too “blue.” My photo reference was very pink when I pasted it together to create a “photo comp.
Solving the texture of cottage cheese was challenging, but the preliminary comps and practice paid off. I decided that the best way to capture the texture of the curds was to use marker and colored pencil. I put my translucent, marker paper over my photograph on a light table. I added the light gray marker tones and used colored pencil to add delicate definition. It worked! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any examples of my final illustrations.
I inserted my marker comp. I liked the technique and it's "forgiveness." I'm fairly certain I used markers for the final painting.

Another marker comp for this illustration. Pasting my comp in position was important.

Above the two, marker comps for this illustration show my marker sketch pasted in position. That was important.

There were several types of sour cream to render and those were fun because of the colorful products using the sour cream as an accompaniment. I am sharing one with cantaloupe. I did another two illustrations of a dollop of sour cream on a taco and a baked potato. Below is the art director’s layout and my marker comp. I didn’t have any examples of the final art on this either.This was the art director's concept. I illustrated several flavors of sour cream - this was a pretty illustration to render.

This is my marker sketch for the sour cream. I did not have any copies of final art.

Later on, I was contacted by Crowley’s to do some additional illustrations. Those later illustrations were done with “full bleed,” as I no longer cropped any of my illustrations any more. I noticed how I illustrated the Key Lime Pie very green for them!

A group of only a small portion of later flavors that were done for Crowley's yogurt. This company is based on the East coast.

The group above is only a small portion of later flavors that I did for Crowley’s yogurt.I couldn't help but fix my photo reference (I took away the background). My photo gave me the information I needed to make my painting more realistic. It didn't hurt to have a few candies nearby to eat and look at while I was working!

I am sharing my photo reference, which I couldn’t help but fix (I took away the background). My photo gave me the information I needed to make my painting more realistic. It didn’t hurt to have a few candies nearby to eat and look at while I was working!

Pina Colada was a common flavor. Even though I had only a color copy, there was enough detail on it for me to show it larger. I was used to illustrating cut pineapples and I have illustrated them cut vertically, as well as horizontally.  To capture the texture on a coconut, I used a crowquill with acrylic.

An example of a “repetitive, unusual flavor” would be white chocolate raspberry. I have actually illustrated that flavor numerous times for different companies!

Prices for my yogurt label illustrations ranged from $1,000 – $2,000 per illustration. I have included estimates and invoices on some of my projects.

Ironically, I eventually painted groups of fruit later on for Crowley’s that were used on “Multi-pack” labels.  It turned out that there was a lot more fruit to paint since it wasn’t “cropped!” Those illustrations thankfully paid more! I illustrated approximately, four multi-pack labels and had transparencies of two of them, as well as examples of the printed labels. My illustration reflects the strange shape where the blueberries had a space for the type to go!

My illustrations definitely improved upon the layout!
I can share a thank you note from the art director at Crowley’s. Crowley’s was based in upstate New York and the art director, Randy, relocated to the state of Washington and worked for Westfarm Foods. Later on, he contacted me to work on an assignment for Darigold through his new position at Westfarm. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to work together again!

Working with Randy was always a pleasure. I still get a Christmas card from him every year, even though he is now with a different company.

Working with Randy was always a pleasure. I still get a Christmas card from him every year, even though he is now with a different company.

Below are a medley of my illustrations for Publix Supermarkets, based in Lakeland, Florida. Putting all those illustrations together makes them look adorable!

I included my line drawings to demonstrate the importance of designing and indicating how my illustration would fit on the label. Of course, it should be obvious from my scans that I used a photocopier prior to using a computer!

In my file cabinet, I have a lot of magazine clippings for photo reference. I probably have several hundred images of pumpkin pie because I find it so appealing! That was helpful for this particular design.

It was a challenge to come up with this flavor. I always was curious which one the art director would choose!
Banana berry yogurt. I loved illustrating the "huckleberry!"
On this flavor “banana berry yogurt,” I loved illustrating the “huckleberry!”

A really “deceptive” flavor for me and quite imaginative was “Wild Berry Crumb Cake Yogurt.” Just thinking about it, did make me hungry. It was fun to create the photograph for this flavor. My photo wasn’t that appetizing, but it still gave me the information I found helpful for my illustration! The client did not want any dripping, for sure!

I couldn’t help but try to enhance this photo. It was very dark and not easy to paint from. I did work from several photos, and the information for the crumb/sugar texture was very important for my painting.

© Judy Unger and www.foodartist@wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in JOB EXAMPLES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#41 I HAD A HOLE LOX OF FUN ILLUSTRATING BAGELS

In 2003, I received another large project from the same design firm in San Francisco that had awarded me the Spice Island’s “Quick Meals” and Beechnut baby food projects.

JOB LAYOUT FOR LENDER'S.

By the time this project was completed, I had illustrated fifteen flavors of bagels for Lender’s, as well as a few additional illustrations of ingredients that would indicate the flavors on the label. I also illustrated a bagel with filling for a new product concept. Each illustration paid approximately $1,000.

Although it would seem like all bagels would have the same shape, they did not. The client was adamant that each bagel display its unique quirks; from the variances of the oval shape to how the ingredients were stippled or “swirled” within the dough. In some cases, the texture and ingredients affected the contours.

BLUEBERRY BURST FLAVOR.

CINNAMON RAISIN SWIRL FLAVOR.

I LOVE THE ART DIRECTOR'S COMMENTS ON THE PHOTO - MORE "CHIPPY" - THAT'S A NEW WORD! WHEN HE SUGGESTED I "FUDGE" IT, I WONDER IF HE REALIZED THAT WAS A PUN!

I wasn’t sure what technique would “lend” itself best for this project. I did two versions of a plain bagel, the first one was with watercolor and the second one was with a marker technique that incorporated colored pencil and acrylic. The art director preferred the second version.

WATERCOLOR TECHNIQUE FOR A WATER BAGEL!

MARKER VERSION OF A PLAIN BAGEL - MORE TEXTURE EVIDENT.

It was hard to visualize the illustration with only line drawings, although those were important for the contours. Since the job was in markers, it seemed repetitive to do marker comps. I simply shared my photo reference instead. Once the project was underway, everyone knew what to expect – there were very few revisions.

I STILL DID LINE DRAWINGS, BUT IT WAS HARD TO VISUALIZE THE PAINTING WITH THEM.

I received hundreds of bagels to pick from and took many photographs. I sent copies of the best shots to the art director once I “cut them out” to indicate the shape better. Photoshop would have been easier then!

It was helpful when the contours were indicated with lines drawn over the photographs by the art director. When photographing the bagels, even the best ones were very “imperfect.” I always photographed them against darker backgrounds because it allowed for brighter images.

A “hero” is an artistic term for an item in a painting that “stands out.”

Berries that were “heros” were important, as far as placement went. Below, the art director indicated some revisions to the final paintings by drawing onto a color copy.

STRAWBERRY SWIRL FLAVOR BAGEL.

 

BLUEBERRY SWIRL FLAVOR BAGEL.

CINNAMON SWIRL FLAVOR BAGEL.

Technically, I used solvent-based Admarkers and mounted the paper on a thicker, flexible paper. Texture was created with Prismacolor pencils over the initial, marker drawing. After that, I utilized acrylic washes to brighten up the colors and add detail.

CRANBERRY FLAVOR BAGEL.

BLUEBERRY FLAVOR BAGEL (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE LARGER, "BLUEBERRY BURST" FLAVOR)

EGG FLAVOR BAGEL.

CINNAMON RAISIN FLAVOR BAGEL.

GARLIC FLAVOR BAGEL.

The sesame seeds and detail for the “Everything” bagel worked splendidly with the acrylic. Once again, my “whatever works” motto came into play. I used a toothpick for poppy seeds. I made sure that every, single seed had a shadow!

SESAME SEED FLAVOR BAGEL.

EVERYTHING FLAVOR BAGEL.

Colored pencils were very useful for textural elements. When needed, I was able to melt and blend pencil areas using an Admarker blender marker. I could easily erase areas with that, as well.

When using acrylic, I pumped up the entire illustration by washing transparent glazes of color over everything in order to “unify” or bring all the colors together. I had learned that when the Badger acrylics dried there was a shininess I found distracting. Therefore, I used a matt medium, also sold by Badger, on the illustration when it was completed. This allowed everything to look smooth again.

Below are line drawings and illustrations for the flavor indications on some of the labels. I was instructed to paint these items realistically, and to stylize them also. I think the stylization is noticeable on the onion stem and cinnamon stick shape.

This was one of those projects that left me wondering. I never received any printed packages or copies of the final labels. I’ve never seen any of my bagel illustrations in the stores. What happened?

It’s a mystery!

A COLOR PHOTOCOPY OF ANOTHER BAGEL CONCEPT THAT NEVER WENT ANY FURTHER.

Here were my alternative post titles:

THIS PROJECT MADE A LOT OF DOUGH FOR ME!

I WENT IN CIRCLES ON THIS PROJECT!

© Judy Unger and www.foodartist@wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in JOB EXAMPLES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

#40 WHEN I WORKED FOR BEECHNUT, I COULDN’T PUT A LID ON IT

A MEDLEY OF APPROXIMATELY 20% OF MY ILLUSTRATIONS FOR BEECHNUT BABY FOOD.

A MEDLEY OF APPROXIMATELY 20% OF MY ILLUSTRATIONS FOR BEECHNUT BABY FOOD.

I wasn’t exactly sure what I would write about the project that was the most lucrative and largest of my art career.

Perhaps I did not share much about my illustrations on this project because I had not a single, good example of any of it. For many years, I either shot a slide of my artwork, or I went to a local, copy shop. If I had a special painting, it was a major expense of time and money to have a professional transparency made from my art.

I can share that whenever I’m in a supermarket – I enjoy passing the shelves where I can see so many of my illustrations displayed!

EXAMPLES OF PRINTED LABELS.

My project for Beechnut consisted of many different “phases” and probably amounted to perhaps two hundred paintings. Each painting was a miniature; a cluster of items that later on might be repeated and combined with other items. Since this project was at the beginning of the “digital age,” there was the awareness of the advantage of painting parts that could be “attached” to other paintings.

I diligently gathered and shot my own photo reference for every illustration, even though sometimes the size relationships were uneven. I used a local, one-hour photo and most of my photos were quite “off.” Because I love using Photoshop, I couldn’t help but “clean up” my banana photo below.

I ALWAYS SHARED MY SKETCHES IN POSITION, AS WELL AS SEPARATELY.

MY PAINTING WAS VERY FAITHFUL TO MY PHOTO-REFERENCE ON THIS SUBJECT.

I have an extensive, photo reference collection in my file cabinet. That was very helpful for many of the meat illustrations. I still do not look at turkey drumsticks or lamb chops quite the same way anymore!

I shared a lot of my “photo-comp” reference with the art director. There were certainly a lot of possibilities for those chicken drumsticks and meat slabs. I spent a lot of time and money at my local copy store – everyone that worked there knew me well. I certainly appreciate the ability I have now to scan and create my layouts so easily on my computer. Unfortunately, now I have no more illustration work because the Photoshop program eliminated the need for my illustrations!

A LOT OF POSSIBILITIES FOR THOSE DRUMSTICKS.

MY EXAMPLES OF MEAT REFERENCE SHARED WITH THE ART DIRECTOR.

MY SKETCHES FOR THE LAMB FLAVOR.

A LATER FLAVOR THAT WAS INTERESTING. I DID A LOT OF “DESSERTS” AND USED A CERTAIN CUP WITH A STEM FOR EACH ONE.

Certainly, my working process became very streamlined and efficient with a project of this size. I did not require anyone to “assist me” and I loved working small. Technically, all of my paintings were done on watercolor paper. I used friskit to give clean, crisp edges to all of the elements.

ONE OF THE MANY LONG LISTS OF FLAVORS I WAS GIVEN.

ANOTHER LIST OF THE MANY FLAVORS THAT NEEDED ILLUSTRATIONS.

SKETCHES FOR BUTTERNUT SQUASH.

I DID NOT PHOTOGRAPH THE HAM FOR THIS FLAVOR. I HAD EXISTING REFERENCE.

SKETCH CHOICES FOR TURKEY DINNER – YUM!

MY WORKING PROCESS – A-D SKETCHES TO CHOOSE FROM.

A COLOR COPY MADE OF MY PHOTOS TO SHOW THE ART DIRECTOR.

A COLOR COPY OF ONE OF MY PAINTINGS – VEGETABLE BEEF.

Because the Beechnut project encompassed probably two years, I became very close to the two, art directors that I worked with. I gave an original painting to one of the art directors on his fiftieth birthday, because I had worked with him for many years before this project. The agency, SBG Partners, is no longer in business, as are most of the design firms I used to work with. Both of the art directors were named Thomas, so sometimes that became confusing.

We often discussed that some day I would fly up to San Francisco and meet them; Barb and I would go sailing with them when our project was completed. That never did happen, but it would have been nice!

Barb Hauser, my San Francisco representative, made things go very smoothly as she usually did. One of the things that was so impressive for me about Barb, was how easily she was able to get “deposits.” In no other time in my career was I ever able to bill for something ahead of time. It was truly helpful to have money coming in as I worked on so many illustrations.

I ENLARGED THE PART THAT BARB WROTE ABOUT MY HAVING CHILDREN. I LOVED THAT!

BARB’S INVOICE.

One of the more interesting parts of this project was when I was able to convince the client and art directors that I could paint an “impressionistic landscape,” which would be used on all of their fruit juice labels. I had already illustrated the juice pitcher and fruit; however, the background landscape was a very different style.

It was a lot of fun for me to create something different, and I did many “comps” first to show them different possibilities.

FOR MY LANDSCAPE, I USED A MARKER TECHNIQUE. I USED TRANSLUCENT PAPER AND PUT THIS SKETCH UNDERNEATH.

A PRELIMINARY COLOR LANDSCAPE SKETCH – WAS NOT THAT CLOSE TO THE VERSION THAT WAS USED.

ANOTHER LAYOUT FOR THE APPLE JUICE COMP.

A “PASTED UP” COMP FOR THE PEAR JUICE LABEL.

AN ACTUAL, PRINTED FRUIT JUICE LABEL.

A SCAN OF THE CURRENT, BEECHNUT APPLE JUICE LABEL.

Ten years after doing Beechnut, a small company asked for an illustration of peapods similar to the one I did for Beechnut. The company name was “Munchkin Meals.” Below is an example of a digital version of my paintings. I don’t believe the company ever got off the ground and my painting was never printed. Just to show how my career changed, I was willing to do that illustration for $300. I worked with two moms locally, and wanted to help them as they started their new business.

When I illustrated all those paintings for Beechnut, the price for almost all of them was $1,500 each. The Toddler food was around $2,000-$2,500 each.

A COPY FROM A SLIDE OF THE PEAPOD ILLUSTRATION FOR BEECHNUT.

MY CHOICES FOR MUNCHKIN MEALS. I USED DIFFERENT PHOTOSHOP FILTERS.

When I did the toddler food later on for Beechnut, it was challenging. I had to design a pattern for each bowl and I disliked painting perfect ellipses. However, the worst part was rendering the product. I don’t want to say anything “negative” about the food, but similar to my “Quick Meal” project – it wasn’t easy rendering chunky mixtures in a beige color!

I DESIGNED MANY DIFFERENT PATTERNS FOR THE CEREAL BOWLS. SOME INCORPORATED RATTLES. THIS IS A COLOR COPY OF A MARKER COMP.

AN EXAMPLE OF A LAYOUT FOR THE TABLETIME PROJECT.

SOME ART DIRECTOR NOTES FOR THE TABLE TIME PROJECT.

EXAMPLES (COLOR COPIES) OF MY TABLE TIME TODDLER FOOD ILLUSTRATIONS.

I TRIED MY BEST TO MAKE IT LOOK TASTY!

© Judy Unger and http://www.foodartist@wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in JOB EXAMPLES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#39 I TOOK A SHOT AT ILLUSTRATING LIQUEUR

So far on my blog, I’ve already shared most of the technical aspects of my “working process.” From this point forward, my posts will consist of mostly images with less technical information.

Illustrating liqueur flavors was simply a perfect project for me.

When I did my first, liqueur illustrations for Allen’s labels, I worked traditionally with my watercolor dyes. I only did marker sketch ideas for the sour flavors.  It was rare for me to develop final art from just line drawings; however, I had adequate reference, which was helpful.

As with many assignments, I never saw or tasted any of the products I illustrated. My first liqueur assignment never provided me with any printed labels, even though I was persistent in trying to get copies.

In 1998, I illustrated eight labels for a liqueur brand named “Allen’s,” through an ad agency out of New York. The budget for those labels was $1,000 each, and that was the price I received for my second project also.

I began my illustrations by giving the art director line drawings with “lettered” choices. Most of the time, I indicated about four to five varied compositions. Sometimes, I had to develop a flavor further than that, but I never minded too much. It was always optimal to spend time in the preliminary stages. It certainly saved a lot of time revising artwork later.

I’ve enjoyed sharing how my line drawing technique improved over time. Below are the line sketches, some photo reference examples, and final paintings for this first, liqueur project that I did for Allen’s Liqueur’s.

PHOTO REFERENCE

 

PHOTO REFERENCE

PHOTO REFERENCE

PHOTO REFERENCE

A few years later, I illustrated another line of liqueur labels for Allen’s, and those paintings were for “sour” flavors. The art director was not sure on the concept, so initially I created a color comp that showed sour suckers. After that, the art director preferred “sour balls” instead. To add to the challenge, he wanted me to incorporate splashes with those candy balls amidst fruit. I was pleased that I was able to pull it off.

My second, liqueur illustration assignment was for Du Bouchett Liqueurs. On this assignment, I collaborated with another illustrator. My San Francisco representative, Barb Hauser, arranged for another artist to illustrate “splash backgrounds,” which were digitally inserted behind my paintings. Since I disliked painting splashes, I didn’t mind that at all!

ART DIRECTOR'S LAYOUTS WHEN THE PROJECT BEGAN.

I completed three, liqueur projects for Du Bouchett. At the time of the first project, I was not yet adept with utilizing my computer to design the composition. I only provided line drawings, and marker comps were not required.

However, a few years later, I definitely had acquired digital skills, which I utilized to create my paintings. Once my composition was “composed” on my computer, I printed it lightly onto my watercolor paper. Then I painted over it and added highlights, as well as other details, with colored pencil.

PHOTO REFERENCE

 

For two, subsequent assignments from Du Bouchett, I scanned my reference and created a “digital clipboard.” I then manipulated the compositional elements on the computer.

Early in my career, I discovered that “giving too much information” confused some of my clients. As my digital abilities improved, however, I found this changed for me.

Later on I eliminated line drawings, because my clients usually preferred my digital, color layouts. Therefore, it became simpler for me to share them right away.

To create my color layouts, I incorporated many varieties of photo reference into them. Most of time, I took my own photos and sometimes added Internet reference for items such as “sloe berries.”

Once again it was interesting and educational being an illustrator. Now I know that Sloe Gin is from the sloe berry! I used to think it was called “Slow” Gin (I guess I thought it was drunk slowly!).

I developed my compositions considerably once a choice was approved. It wasn’t necessary to spend a lot of time on the preliminary choices, except to indicate the placement of the elements. Once the art director finalized the layout, I used Photoshop filters and attempted to make all the layers consistent and unified. For sure, I wanted to avoid a “cut out” appearance.

I am going to share the line drawings and illustrations for Du Bouchett below. Unlike my first project, the line drawings don’t always correspond to my painting. That simply reflects that there were revisions to my drawings that I haven’t shared. On one flavor, chocolate, the art director wasn’t clear about how he wanted it depicted; my first drawings shared cacao beans.

The simplicity of these illustrations was apparent for me. Using friskit, created very crisp edges between the elements. For me it was almost like “painting by numbers.”


PHOTO REFERENCE

MY DIGITAL LAYOUT WITH THE LAYERS SHOWN. I PRINTED THIS ONTO WATERCOLOR PAPER AND PAINTED OVER IT.

PHOTO REFERENCE - COLOR "PRINT" LAYOUT.

 

I very much enjoyed painting these flavorful illustrations. To portray juiciness, I was instructed to add a lot of moisture. Placement of water droplets and drips added to my fun.


© Judy Unger and www.foodartist@wordpress.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in JOB EXAMPLES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment