The brief for this assignment was to create four images to be used within a campaign for a supermarket to package and promote a range of seasonal foods. My first step was to look at promotional images in supermarkets, in particular Marks and Spencer because the brief stated the illustrations are for a supermarket renowned for the quality of the food they supply.
All of the images found were photographs so weren’t much help in terms of illustration but they did all have one thing in common, they show the food looking fresh, delicious and appealing.
I then researched food illustrators and came across Tom Hovey who illustrates for the Great British Bake Off. It is clear that his work is based on observation but that he adds his own twist to give the food character. Many of his illustrations have a comic style to them. If food illustration is to provide a carbon copy of the subject then photography may as well be used, therefore I believe that adding a bit of character is important. My goal for this assignment then was to produce the objective drawings required by the brief, but with a sprinkling of subjectivity. This would also be using the skills I learnt in the objective and subjective drawing exercises.
The images created are to be used within a campaign so for this reason I chose not to include text with my illustration assuming this would be added at a later date. The seasons to be represented by the artwork were summer and autumn. I started by making mind maps around each.
To represent summer I chose cucumber because it had most connections with the ideas about summer I mapped alongside types of produce. It is green, refreshing and cool, it screams summer. My illustrations had to be objective and based on direct observation. For this reason I started by drawing close observational pencil drawings of cucumber cut in different ways. This really helped familiarise myself with the different parts of a cucumber and also its tonal values. While carefully looking at the cucumber, I noticed the water bubbles that are present when you first cut one open. This really gives the sense of freshness and was something I really wanted to convey in my illustration.
I made a colour, texture, technique moodboard on cucumber to ensure my images were objective. Then I made some quick compositional sketches before starting the final piece. From these sketches I worked out that I wanted to show the cucumber in two sections cut on the slant. I think it looks most appealing cut like that.
As a result of making my moodboard I worked out that I wanted to use watercolour to create that translucent quality on the inside of a cucumber and use coloured pencil and oil pastel to add texture. Completing the pencil drawings previously really helped me complete this final illustration. I found it fairly quick and easy because I had given myself a good understanding of the construct and tone. It is an objective drawing although you could say that my addition of lots of water droplets to portray freshness means it is subjective. Overall, I think my illustration makes the cucumber look fresh and appetising, even in the middle of winter!
In addition to an image of the produce itself, the brief required me to create an image that reflects the produce chosen and aspects of the season itself. I wanted to have something in the image that cucumber can be used for. This way, the supermarket gets to make link sales. Pimms immediately sprang to mind and had featured on my initial mind map. I started by making sketches of different jugs that I could show the Pimms in. I think I got a bit carried away with this and perhaps should have done this after the compositional thumbnails because the composition I chose in the end didn’t really showcase the jug! I chose the composition shown in the photos on the right having looked through food magazines and noticing that food is often photographed from above.
I chose to use the same media to create this illustration as those used for the cucumber. I also continued the water droplet theme by showing condensation on the jug and glasses. I think this suggests the Pimms is cool and refreshing, although I think I actually could have added more. As Pimms is usually drunk outside in the sun, I chose to have a garden table as the background and chose white so the background didn’t impose on the subject of the image. I think I have showcased cucumber in different ways in this illustration and I think it depicts summer.
Once completed, I adjusted the vibrance of the colour in photoshop and used Indesign to add text. I thought the text needed to be added diagonally to maintain the line created by the table background. I used a thin line sans serif font to give a fresh clean look.
For autumn, I originally chose squash because the colours are so indicative of the season. As with the cucumber, I made an observational drawing, compositional thumbnails and moodboard before starting the final image.
Part way through the artwork shown above I decided I didn’t like the composition I had chosen, it wasn’t balanced correctly and while I was happy with my technique, I didn’t feel I was able to give the squash any character. I also couldn’t see it as part of an interesting autumnal scene. So I fell out of love with the squash and went back to my mind map, on which apples featured three times in different forms.
Autumn is full of texture; crunchy leaves, crackling bonfires and bumpy pumpkins. I wanted to convey this through my choice of media. To start my apple illustration I chose chalk pastel to give it texture, however I was unsure about whether the texture worked next to the coloured pencil I was also using so I started again with gouache. (Shown below) .
This looked too flat so I went back to the original I had started with pastel. Next to the gouache version, the pastel and pencil seemed to work well after all! I was using pastel for the darker part of the apple and coloured pencil and oil pastel for the lighter parts. Completing it like this meant that the apple appeared to be in two halves. One side was too nebulous and the other too defined. I did even this up, but not too much because it was an objective illustration and the apple I was drawing from did have this quality. I have added light but chose not to use shadow on the apple on the left for fear of making the fruit look unappealing.
In the same vein as the cucumber and Pimms images, I also wanted to feature apples in an illustration with something they can be made into or used with. Toffee apples were on my mind map which are very autumnal in both colour and seasonality so I chose to focus this illustration around those. I draw out some thumbnail sketches, playing about with items to be in the image and with the composition.
I finally landed on a composition I was happy with. It included apples, raw and toffee, a jar of toffee caramel and a pumpkin to further develop the autumnal theme. I chose a side view so that it would be different to my jug of Pimms illustration and to showcase the toffee apples and sticks most effectively.
This was also a composition that would work in the square format required by the brief. I had some problems scaling up from my original small thumbnail to a larger version while also trying to consider the relationship between background and foreground and the hierarchy I wanted to convey in the image. Although in the foreground and more ‘important’ in the image, I didn’t want the jar to appear bigger than the pumpkin. I needed the toffee apples to appear bigger than the apples in the crate because they are covered in toffee and are in the foreground.
From the larger thumbnail, I then made an even larger visual using pen to explore tone. Between these two drawings I changed the angle that the chopping board is shown. It didn’t seem to make sense perspectively in the earlier drawing.
To create the final illustration, I used a mixture of gouache, watercolour, chalk pastel and coloured pencil. It was very important to me that I convey a sense of texture and I think I have achieved that. I was worried about adding the background in case it detracted from the illustration so I looked at still life paintings to see what sort of backgrounds tend to be included. Generally they are rather plain with a big focus on light and shade which is what I tried to create. I wanted the colours to be autumnal without being more of the same so I used browns instead of oranges. I am happy with the result and thinks it adds context to the image. Overall, I think it depicts the season of autumn and makes the produce look inviting. In addition to the shadow on the wall though I think I should have added shadow on the apple crate cast by the toffee apples.
As with the summer artwork, I adjusted the vibrance of the Autumn image and experimented with fonts. I feel that the fonts on the left and inn the middle are most appropriate because the serifs induce more of a textural autumnal feel. I chose the one on the left to use in my final artwork.
Part 2 final reflection.
I have been drawing more from observation and will continue to do this before illustrating. I will make sure I am more thorough in exploring the potential of each brief and draw upon creative process methods learnt so far in future work.
My passion lies in traditional art but I want to continue to stretch myself and can see the potential digital programs have in refinement and editing so I will explore these more fully in the next unit. This will also involve exploring my illustration in the context of graphic design.