My theme for this post is “pasta.” I could think of a lot more puns, but I won’t go there! On the above illustration, I had a somewhat unpleasant experience. I worked from a photograph in a magazine. As usual, I was very faithful to my reference. I placed my illustration on an ad in “The Workbook,” where I often advertised my illustrations. The photographer saw my painting and contacted me. After some negotiation, I mailed him a check for $250 and a signed statement that I would not sell the illustration ever.
This experience taught me the importance of using my own reference! After that, I always took my own photographs to work from.
Below is a small assignment created for Campbell Soup. This was done through Enterprise IG in San Francisco. My scan is from a color copy, which does not showcase the illustration well.
As I became comfortable working with an art director and client, the illustration process always accelerated. The repetition made illustrating a snap, as most everything was accepted easily.
I’m sharing two, large assignments that were “pasta related.” Another element that relates to these two assignments has to do with composition. The process of illustrating these labels was almost like putting together pieces of a puzzle, I needed to create a medley of vegetables that worked with the type and banner where it would be positioned. Colors and textures also had to be considered. Since I wasn’t too excited about sketching and this was prior to computers, I found my own process that worked for me in order to create compositions.
I would painstakingly draw out the elements with a techliner pen. Then I would make photocopies of all the elements in different sizes, as well as “flopped.” With an exacto knife I cut everything out and pieced my compositions together. It was also helpful for me to create the banner as an overlay upon the layout so that I could see how the elements were cropped. I wanted to avoid tangents. In addition, this made it easy for me to make a copy for the art director.
I always provided a line drawing with my drawing in position, as well as a drawing that showed all the elements uncropped. I would fax my drawings, and wait for approval before creating a color sketch.
I do not have any copies of final art for these projects. I am sharing color comps and scans that are derived from color photocopies (not truly adequate to show detail).
My project for Ragu was out of New York. I illustrated many varieties of their labels, outside of the “Chunky Gardenstyle” line of sauces. I certainly did become very familiar with bell peppers and their cutaway appearance! By the time I finished this project I was tired of mushrooms.
Unfortunately, a few years later the labels changed again and another illustrator was used. It has been interesting for me to notice that some companies, such as Del Monte, have not changed their labels in over twenty years!
One of my favorite agencies in San Francisco was SBG Partners, which later changed its name to Enterprise IG. This agency also awarded me projects for Beechnut Baby food and Lender’s Bagels.
My agent, Barb Hauser, handled the two projects for Spice Islands, which I was awarded. Barb was able to get the project billed in sections – the first one was payable immediately! That was nice. On the estimate below, it states that the holidays were taken into consideration; I found that interesting!
As an illustrator, I was always ready to jump on any assignment – whether it was a holiday or not.
Sometimes my busiest time illustrating was in December. Another detail to share was that I was always ready and willing to cancel a vacation if I received an assignment. Certainly that assignment would help pay for an even better vacation when I was done!
There were several times when I went on vacation and brought work along with me. The lighting was not usually adequate!
The Spice Islands project made up for my disappointment of not doing further work with Ragu. It was a boost when Spice Islands called me to illustrate the same project again in a different fashion only a few years later!
Now they wanted the actual product to be illustrated. I went to work and decided when doing the color comps; I would just paste a cutout photograph of the product into my comp, which was a medley of vegetables. I had to come up with twenty different varieties of ceramic bowls!
I was instructed to illustrate the product as realistically as possible. The different labels had wonderful names; unfortunately, the “quick meals” were not all that tasty. I had a hard time with the smell on some of them!
It was shortly thereafter, that the product disappeared. It was nice that a lot of energy (and money) was directed into the design of these labels. Perhaps more energy should have been directed into the formulation of their product!
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