#40 WITH 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.

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About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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