Now that I am back posting on this blog after four years, I am eager to share some of the recent projects I have done for the Tillamook Dairy Company.
Layers are a part of my life in so many ways. I love writing, music and art. Currently, all of my creative passions overlap just like layers.
As a professional illustrator who works with Photoshop, layers are very important when I’m digitally illustrating.
And for my Tillamookie Ice Cream Sandwich project, ice cream, chocolate and cookie layers were critical for my client, too!
I take this opportunity to really share my “photo-comp” process when I illustrated those unique and crunchy Tillamookies.
When I received the project I was asked this question. “Judy, have you ever tasted an ice cream sandwich that was crunchy, not soggy?”
I had to admit, I hadn’t. That was when I learned a new word: enrobing.
Enrobing was a coating of chocolate on the waffle cookie that provided a barrier to the ice cream’s moisture. And Tillamook wanted the back package illustrations to clearly explain this.
I’ll begin with those back package illustrations.
The package design for them wasn’t set. Tillamook wanted layers that were clearly labeled and one idea was to simply show each one in a row.
I learned right away how different the waffle cookie looked when it was angled, instead of “tic-tac-toe.” The lighting on it was one thing and there were a lot of color variations to consider: golden brown, ochre, tan, beige etc.
The “side-by-side” layout was not chosen and the art director (AD) gave me a new template showing the layers in a diagonal. Below was my next round of layouts. I still wasn’t sure which cookie was going to be chosen.
The AD wanted the dark chocolate “enrobing” to look better. It was challenging to imagine how that chocolate actually looked, since my prototype cookies did not come apart cleanly to really show the chocolate.
The AD sent me a photo to inspire me.
That sent me into my kitchen. I melted chocolate and made my first chocolate pancake! My son was eager to know when he could eat my reference.
With the magic of Photoshop and the “warp transform” function – I made that chocolate pancake photo above rounder and also smoothed out the lumps. I shot off some choices to the art director.
The AD chose D; I guess it was better without the pronounced swirl in the center. Now Tillamook requested another layout with chocolate layers included separately, so it would consist of five layers.
After seeing the layout above, the client went back to the prior layout of just three layers. There were a few more rounds of “tweaking” and then my layouts were approved.
Below are the final illustrations. I used the same illustrated waffle cookie and chocolate coating for every flavor.
There were a lot of revisions for the Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato flavor. The gelato was very sticky and didn’t contrast well with the chocolate layer next to it.
I share one of my reference photos. I guess it would help if I knew more about being a food stylist. I couldn’t figure out how to pull apart/separate that cookie sandwich. I tried every kind of way. When I used a knife, it clearly left a “scraped” imprint upon the gelato. But I figured out a way to illustrate it anyway.
That flavor was a challenge when I illustrated it for the front package, too.
The front package illustrations were more interesting for me to illustrate. I enjoyed composing the ingredients on the left side.
This becomes another opportunity to mention my “whatever works” motto. In order to help me create my design, I sometimes combine older painted artwork and photos together. It can look strange, but my final art “pencil process” usually pulls everything together.
After receiving the Round 1 Layouts, the art director said the gelato looked like it was melting. So before moving on to Round 2, I had to fix that. Reshooting the prototype sandwich wasn’t going to work because even with refreezing, the gelato was still very shiny.
I developed “A” and “B” by using my existing reference and softening the highlights. On “C,” I sculpted new gelato purchased at the market.
The AD liked “A.”
There was another important change for every Tillamookie flavor that can be seen on subsequent rounds. The client wanted to show the ice cream fuller and rounded, as if the sandwich were pressed on. I experimented with a curve on each side, but more was requested.
The client wanted the enrobing to be visible on the top horizontal cookie layer; a slight dark line is there to show that. The enrobing was also enhanced on the back cookie, as well. This was another benefit to using an illustrator versus a photographer!
I share Round 2 feedback from the art director below:
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT GELATO ROUND 2 FEEDBACK: The ice cream looks great! Option G is the approved option but they feel the composition is a bit busy – this may be that every element is about the same size. They made comments that we might not need the opened hazelnut – maybe try a composition where the open hazelnut is removed and all the ingredients move over, and try another that plays with the scale of the existing elements.
I followed those directions for Round 3; layout “I” was approved!
It has been fun sharing my working process. I’ll include a few of the other flavors with layouts to end this post.
OREGON STRAWBERRY ROUND 1 FEEDBACK: The ice cream color should be less pink. Also, can we add more strawberry chunks into the ice cream for the final illustration? Could you play with the ingredient composition a bit more? It’s looking a bit empty with the space being open between the strawberry and the right-hand cookie – could you add another piece of chocolate? A smaller strawberry? Move the composition over to the right?
Above are the reference photos of the Tillamookie “prototypes” (I received two of each flavor), made for me personally by Tillamook.
My son came by as I was putting this post together. He saw the layouts on my computer screen and eagerly said , “Mom, are you illustrating more Tillamookie flavors? That would be great because I can’t wait to taste them!”
His mom has such a cool job!
By the time I was done photographing those “prototype” Tillamookies, they didn’t look very appetizing. But my son said they were still quite delicious!