I love puns and did raise the bar up to take a bite! For this post, I share what went into creating my illustrations of ice cream bars (Tillabars) for Tillamook Dairy Company. I’ll add to my story with lots of pictures and comments, too.
On my assignment for the Tillamook Tillabars, I created two illustrations per flavor just as I did for the Tillamookies. The front illustration had ingredients and on the back illustration the bar was upright. And both of them had a bite removed.
I already knew I had to take photos quickly. When the Art Director said the bars were grayish, I didn’t realize the impact frost had upon the chocolate coating. So on my later photos I experimented and discovered that wiping the bar off with a wet paper towel worked well. It took courage, especially because making one with a “good bite” was an art. Sometimes I went through a dozen bars before I made one my “hero.” Wiping it off could destroy everything.
Taking a bite off might seem simple, but it was a little more complicated than that!
I had thought that taking a nice bite out of a bar would be easy. But every time I chomped down, the chocolate coating splintered in many directions and the bar wasn’t very attractive that way. And because I was dealing with ice cream, the bite had to be done quickly. A knife didn’t work either because I lost that “teeth mark” feeling. But big teeth marks weren’t attractive either!
At this point, I have to give my daughter a little credit. She heard me cursing out loud because it wasn’t going too well. I had already gone through a dozen ice cream bars and only had a few more bars left.
She came into the kitchen and watched me for a moment. (Yes, she did snack on a few of those “extra” pieces, but there weren’t too many left). Her suggestion that I use an exacto knife was brilliant. She suggested I use it not to remove the bite, only to gently “score” where I wanted the chocolate to break off.
I did that and it worked! The chocolate separated nicely and the ice cream showed the bite well.
My first Tillabar illustration was for the Salted Carmel flavor. At that time, the bar was still in development and did not yet exist. I was able to use other ice creams bars as temporary reference until I’d receive specific guidance later on. The Tillamook ice cream bar had a bulge at the top and was more oval. I creatively figured out how to digitally insert the caramel ripples.
I started with the illustration on the front of the package; my art direction listed the ingredients. I wanted to give Tillamook many options for those ingredients with my photo-comp layouts.
Trying to figure out how to show the chocolate and caramel was kind of fun. With the chocolate (which was actually eliminated later on), it meant breaking chocolate bars, chiseling chocolate chunks and delicately peeling chocolate curls. I also never realized how many shapes caramel came in!
When I submit a photo-comp, I like to show two versions: one has a white background and the other is inserted into a label template showing how it fits. I spent a week creating those first layouts, and that included gathering ingredients and taking photos.
Once again, I learned an important life lesson that less is more. I did all of those versions only to be told that my client wanted a significantly higher perspective. This meant I had to reshoot all of my photos and start again.
I was happy to satisfy my client and it didn’t take me very long to create the new versions. The art direction was terrific, as always. I share some of the helpful feedback I received.
Below is my final layout after the chocolate pieces were taken out.
Working digitally has so many advantages. I was able to send a scan of my illustration in progress. The client wanted the caramel to be brighter so I had to print a new version (for my colored pencil process) in order to make that change.
Once the Salted Caramel flavor was completed, it cleared the way for later flavors that I illustrated. Now I could follow the same ice cream bar angle and balance of accompanying ingredients.
Soon to follow is another post, which will explain more details about my digital process on another Tillabar flavor. “I raised the bar” and transformed it!
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