The following illustrations represent my specialty niche of food illustration. For me, illustrating a salad is a joy. The textures and colors intrigue me and reference has always been readily available. The challenges would be non-organic elements, such as bowls, plates, and bottles. However, with those challenges are reflections and opportunities to make the other part of the illustration stand out. I especially like the way I illustrated the dressing for Ready Pak Company’s spinach salad label.
One of my early clients out of San Francisco was The Iceberg Lettuce Commission. I illustrated two posters for them, and later on a brochure.
My illustrations of salads were clearly outlined by the art director on photocopy layouts. It was always helpful for me to receive such precise instructions to follow.
The first poster involved a salad that had “chunks” of lettuce. The salad was being poured into space with a gradation behind the elements of salad that were falling. I went to work to prepare my photo reference. The lettuce chunks were held together with toothpicks. To give the illusion of the lettuce bowl pouring, I photographed the bowl from an aerial position and simply pushed the salad to the edge of the bowl. I positioned a black matt board with a crescent shape cut. The items that were supposedly “falling” rested on the black matt board.
I was pleased with my photo reference. I created my color, marker comp first. I was just beginning to develop my marker technique. The marker comp for this project went well. However, I learned a very important lesson on the comp that I did.
Marker paper is very translucent!
I affixed my marker elements to an airbrushed, gradated background. Unfortunately, the elements suddenly became gray and darkened. The gradation was showing through! Later on I always mounted marker paper to a second layer of paper. That way, the background could not show through.
This is visible on the comp, as you can see the parts where the salad is “falling” are considerably darker!
My second poster illustration was very intricate and complicated. Creating a marker comp was very important for this project, as well. I gathered up reference for the “stripes” of ingredients. This time when I photographed the lettuce in a bowl, the technique of holding lettuce chunks together with toothpicks worked even better.
LAYOUT FOR ANOTHER SALAD DRESSING LABEL.
THIS ILLUSTRATION REQUIRED A “LOOSER” STYLE.
My process of illustrating with color, marker comps continued. On a project for Borden, I had to photograph my hand – I thought it would be easy to create the fingernail, even though I didn’t have a long one. The art director made a comment, “Hand looks too heavy, can you make more slender?” OUCH!
My first illustration for them was the Spinach Salad. The illustrations for salad packaging always illustrated only the package elements, without the salad. Therefore, for the Spinach Salad I needed bacon, croutons, and dressing.
I completed the marker comp and began the final art. As I was working on the final art, a “later comment” came through. Sometimes that happens, and it can be very frustrating once the final painting has begun.
The later comment was that the dressing needed to be lighter and more translucent. The spices needed to be visibly floating in the dressing. I scrapped the first, final painting and began again.
Solving the texture for the croutons was fun for me. I used colored pencils to achieve the “roughness.”
Subsequent jobs for Ready Pac incorporated the digital process. I am sharing my digital layouts and final paintings where I painted over a print from my computer onto my watercolor paper.
I appreciated not painting the intricate design on the chopsticks which were an element on the Asian Salad packaging. I printed that area darker.
On the Parisian label, there was an illustration on the dressing bottle. It has been interesting for me to illustrate another illustration – I’ve done that several times before. I did change the design and made apples into pears.