Instructional Illustration Development

For this brief I have decided that my instructional illustration will be a guide in how to create a vegetarian Mexican side dish, for this, I will be showing how to make a black bean salsa. I have decided to go for this as I am a vegetarian, and this is the sort of food I tend to eat so I know how they look and work together. I have also chosen a Mexican recipe as this tends to be seen as crazy due to the hotness in the food, the way it’s prepared (rather messy), and how Mexican food and that culture is perceived.

Above are photographs of ingredients for my recipe which I wasn’t able to photograph myself. I will be drawing from these photographs as a reference of what certain vegetables and ingredients look like.

I have begun my illustration by deciding a composition of how the ingredients will work together. I used the photographs which I am going to draw from to create the composition layout. I want to have the ingredients up in the air with chopped and sliced segments of them falling into the bowl. I am going to use photoshop primarily to create this illustration, but will also combine illustrator shapes and fine liner drawings.

I began creating my corn on the cob illustration by drawing a flat shape of the inside of the corn. I did this so I could build up highlights and shadows. I then created the highlights of each corn by using the paint brush tool, I used a circle brush as I wanted clean and crisp lines. I then used the filter gallery, field blur tool to soften the highlights. With the colour picker tool, I picked up the darkest colour within the photograph so I could draw each segment within the corn. I used the same process as before by blurring out the lines to create the shadows, but I kept the original drawing layer so I could have strong line work within the illustration. After doing this on a new layer I created a gradient of highlights to shadows which I applied an overlay layer effect to enhance the shadows and highlights within my illustration. I am producing this illustration using photoshop and a painting/drawing style as I want to create highlight detailed but also realistic illustrations.

While creating this illustration I have experienced successes in being able to create effective shadowing and highlights, making my illustration look three dimensional. The only failures I am coming against are just deciding what the correct colours are for the illustration, this I am overcoming by constantly changing the colours slightly until I find a combination that works.

I decided that starting with a base colour would be the most practical decision to make as it is allowing me to build up colours rather than have to create the three different tones as I go. It has given me my middle tone.

The quality of my illustration at the moment is good, this is down to the realism conveyed through my style. To improve the quality of my illustration throughout the instructional illustration I will continue to improve my digital painting skill to create hyper-realistic illustrations.

To make the leaves of the corn, I created a block green shape and began using a stippling paint brush to draw groups of threaded lines. This gives the illustration a texture, making it come across more realistic. On the block shape, I gave it a stroke so I could make it look as if it is wrapping over the corn.

I decided to use a stippling brush as it would create a hair like texture within the skin of the corn, this has helped me create an illustration that is realistic.

Looking at the app illustration ‘Veggie Weekend – Healthy Vegan Vegetarian Recipes Filibaba AB’ has influenced this illustration as I aimed to create an illustration which was as realistic to the object, which is what they did within their illustration.

On illustrator, I began creating my bowl illustration. I used the oval shape tool, with no fill so I would only get the outline. I then used the anchor point tool to add anchor points to the outline, and then with the white arrow tool to manipulate the lines to fit across the bowl. After creating the bowl shape, I took the illustration to photoshop and began adding shading in the bowl and onto the outside. I used layer styles like overlay, and multiply to create darker tones and to make the bowl look more glass-like.

Creating the curves within the glass bowl worked successfully, especially with the shading and highlights as this has allowed me to create a visually pleasing illustration. What hasn’t been as successful is conveying that the bowl is glass. To overcome this I will continue to add shading to the bowl and highlights until I think a glass effect has been created.

The illustrations on fieldandflower.co.uk/ website have influenced this illustration, as they are simple and easily understood. I wanted the glass bowl to compliment the other colourful illustrations which will be in this illustration.

I could use the blue light effect within Avid Granov – Iron Man Concept Art illustration to further influence my illustration. Putting stronger contrasts with shadows and lights could work successfully within my illustration.

I decided that instead of having the illustrations of the ingredients floating around the page, I would have them hanging off cranes. This to make the illustration more interesting but also to evoke the idea of crazy cooking. This was a practical and creative decision which I feel has benefitted my illustration and improved the quality. I made the cranes by drawing them with fine-liner and scanning them in. I had to make the length of the crane longer, so to do this I copied a section and reflected it vertically. This allowed me to create a repeating pattern, to make the crane taller.

I have also begun creating circles of various sizes to fall from the ingredients, into the bowl. I created highlights on each of the circles by using the paint brush tool and then blurring them out. I gave them highlights to make them appear dimensional.

I am using a digital painting style with fine liner drawing style, as visually they balance each other as the texture and dimension within the digital paintings allow the flat fine liner drawings to fill out some of the negative space, but create depth within the background.

Looking at Jing Zhang’s illustration Recipe (5 classic dishes) illustration has influenced my decision to give this illustration a ‘human’ atmosphere. Doing this has given my illustration other meanings, and pushed it further than any normal instructional illustration.

Currently, this illustration is beginning to fulfil the brief. This is down to it beginning to represent something similar to an instructional illustration. It is also beginning to evoke the crazy style of cooking the chef has, as the use of cranes, and the humanised building site atmosphere is odd, different to a typical instructional illustration.

I noticed that the corn segments didn’t appear to be falling into the bowl. I fixed this issue by adding an overlay of the bowl front on the top layer of my illustration. This darkened the corn that was inside the bowl, creating depth within my illustration. Photoshop allows me to do this easily without ruining any other elements. This wouldn’t be possible using another process such as painting or drawing.

I created my lime illustration in a similar process to the one of the corn. I made a lime green shape of two segments of lime. This I then drew the whites of the lime to create the shapes inside the limes. On layers underneath the lime whites, I used expressive line work to create the various tones and textures within the lime. I used the paint brush tool and different green shades to do this. On the skin of the lime I used the paint brush tool and drew from dark to light, to create dimension within the lime. I then used the noise filter and crystallised this layer. Doing this allowed me to create a speckled effect to the skin of the lime which made it look more realistic.

Creating the texture within the lime segments has worked extremely successfully, due to the layer styles applied to create mass amounts of texture. The texture was created with the line work and colours from the layers used overlayed each other meaning the lines turn into small chunks. I used an expressive erratic drawing style to create this illustration as I wanted to evoke the crazy style of cooking the chef has and using an art style which is known for its expressionism and craziness worked successfully.

Looking at the biological illustration of Lang J inspired my line work within the lime illustration, and the idea to create texture as within their illustration they used the medium to create texture and depth within the illustration. I could use the hyper-realistic style from Veggie Weekend – Healthy Vegan Vegetarian Recipes Filibaba AB app illustration to add more texture and details within my illustrations.

The quality of my illustration at this point is high, with the illustrations looking realistic and the quality of my line work being good. To continue to improve the quality I will strive to carry on creating realistic illustrations by using blur filters, the mixer tool and the gradient mesh tool in illustrator.

This illustration on its own currently meets the aspect of the brief where the illustration has to represent the chef’s crazy style of cooking.

To create my tomato illustration I first began by posterizing the image I am drawing from so I could use the colour picker tool to collect the main colours within the tomato. I used the paintbrush tool and began drawing in where the colours are on a new layer and made sure my line work moved in the way of the shape. I then used the iris blur tool to create a controlled circular blur of the colours. Once the colours were fully blurred together, and I felt that they were representing a realistic tomato, I cleaned up the edges to create a clean and crisp outline.

Using the posterize tool on the photograph has allowed me to create a realistic illustration of a tomato as I was able to pick the brightest of colours to work from, whereas if the image wasn’t posterised I would end up picking the duller shades of orange. The choice of colours within this illustration has worked successfully.

Looking at the illustration by Jing Zhang has informed this illustration as they have created hyper-realistic, but slightly stylised illustrations of food. Throughout this whole project, I am aiming to do this within my illustrations, but especially within my illustrations of tomatoes.

To create the vine in which the tomato illustrations will be hung on I drew the block shape of the vine. On a new layer, I began using a softer paintbrush to draw in the darker points and tonnes within the vine branch. I kept doing this with various shades of green until I created a thick texturally layer. On this layer, I used the crystallised noise filter and created a slightly speckled design where the colours blended together. I used this layer effect as I wanted to create a vine branch that felt as if it was moving, pushing nutrients into the tomatoes.

Creating the texture within the tomato vine has worked extremely successfully within the production of the work. Using the filter gallery tools has allowed me to create interesting, geometric textures which otherwise would not be possible. Creating the unusual texture within the illustration is also allowing me to make the overall illustration more interesting, different, and can be classed as a small element which is making it reflect the chefs crazy style of cooking.

I would say that the quality of my illustration at this point is of a good, high-quality standard, and something I would expect to see in a cookbook digital illustration. What makes the illustration high-quality is the use of tools and time spent in creating the illustrations, and the thought put into why they are being produced in the way that they are. The quality could always be improved, by cleaner edges, smoother blends, and more dimension added.

To create the vine of tomatoes I created various more digital paintings of tomatoes in different hues and tones of orange, I moved these around to fit within the vine branch. Once I had finalised the layout of the tomatoes I then began to draw the tomato leaves. This I did in the same process as the vine branch but instead of having a slight crystallisation, I made it so the leaves were highly textural. Doing this has meant that the illustration is a lot more exciting and interesting, and allowing me to evoke this sense of craziness. I continued this style of creating texture within the rest of the tomato illustration. For the tomato vine which wraps itself around the crane, I erased where I wanted the vine to appear to be curving around the crane. I also added layer effects to the texturized layer to enhance the highlights.

Creating depth and dimension within my work is working successfully within my illustration. This is down to myself understanding and practising where shadows and highlights should be.

What isn’t working as successfully is creating realistic illustrations where I don’t have a source photo to draw from, for example, the vine branch wrapping around the crane. To improve on this issue I will either change how this is composed to make it feel more natural.

At this point my illustration is starting to fully meet the brief, with it being an instructional illustration, evoking the crazy style of cooking and being of high-quality. To improve on this I just need to carry on adding more elements to my illustration.

To create my chilli illustration I first began by posterizing the image I am drawing from so I could use the colour picker tool to collect the main colours within the chilli. I used the paintbrush tool and began drawing in where the colours are on a new layer and made sure my line work moved in the way of the shape. I then used the field blur tool to blur the colours together so I could create a perfectly blended shape. Once the colours were fully blurred together, and I felt that they were representing a realistic chilli, I cleaned up the edges to create a clean and crisp outline. I then drew the stalks of the chillis through a combination of drawing layers of shadows and highlights, using the filter, noise, crystallisation tool and then using layer effects to create textures. I duplicated the chilli and changed the hue and saturation so I could create various different coloured chillis, I also reflected them making them face in different directions.

Creating realistic illustrations of food is working successfully, with my chilli illustration looking like the perfect chilli. This is down to the effort and practice put in, and understanding how to use photoshop and using its functions and tools to help me.

A creative decision that I have decided to make is that I am not going to have illustrations of food falling into the glass bowl. I’ve made this decision as it will make my illustration look cluttered and messy. Also in my research, a lot of my illustrations use negative space to enhance the illustration, and with an illustration of mine negative space inside is needed to balance the whole illustration.

Looking at the work of Jing Zhang has influenced this illustration through their use of extremely realistic, high-quality illustrations of food. I will carry on using influences from their work in creating high-quality illustrations.

Having the chilli’s in a bunch, and appearing to be swaying from side to side is making this illustration evoke the crazy style of cooking, as movement and an energetic atmosphere is being created.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 09.04.24

I decided that I didn’t like the way that the vine wrapped around the crane, and sat at the bottom of the illustration so I decided to remove that part and use the wrap tool to continue the vine going off the canvas. This decision has enhanced the quality of this illustration, as it now feels more realistic and believable. Creatively this decision has also improved the composition within the work and made the work more visually appealing.

To create the black beans illustration I decided to use fine-liner and scan in the drawing. After creating the illustration traditionally, I scanned it into photoshop where I used the stroke style to find any areas of marks which needed to be removed. Using the stroke tool and picking a bright colour allows you to find natural marks within the illustration which you may not be able to notice. I then began thinking about how I can make the illustration more interesting. I decided to add a gradient which went from an orange brown to a light cream colour. I decided to use these colours as I wanted them to work with the product. I then used the crystallisation filter to give a texture to the gradient.

I have also drawn a ladder out of fine-liner as I want to carry on giving my illustration a different perspective and making it come across as an active building site. I used the transform, perspective tool to make the ladder look as if it was leaning against the can of beans.

A creative decision I’ve made is that I am going to remove the ladder from the illustration as it doesn’t fit within the whole illustration, due to its lack of an intention.

Within this part of my illustration, I used influences from Katie Eberts’ illustration for Lauren Stein Fresh Made Simple. The use fine-liner drawings, with watercolour and digital enhancements, meant her illustration felt personal, which is something I wanted to express. I decided to create a fine-liner drawing and then create a watercolour effect within photoshop using the crystallised tool.

To add to the main elements of my illustration I have decided to create droplets of liquids which sit on the floor of the illustration. To do this I used the paint brush tool on a clean circle brush to create an oval shape. After doing this I used the eraser tool, on a soft large brush to remove the harsh edge from the top of the droplet. Doing this gives the drawing dimension as it now looks as if it’s curved. I then used the paintbrush tool again, with a soft large brush, and created shadows and highlights within the droplet. I put this layer on a multiply style so that they would blend into the shape of the droplet. I then merged the layers together and changed the hue and saturation to make the droplets a lime green colour, to appear as if they were the juice of the limes.

The use of layer styles is working successfully while producing the work. Understanding and seeing how they apply to the underneath layer is important to its success as it is allowing me to find ways to create a realistic illustration of liquid.

To create the instructional part within my illustration I used illustrator to create vectorized construction signs. I took the standard layout concept from building safety signs and used the style to influence how my signs will look. I first began by using the curved angled rectangle shape tool to create a rectangle with a white fill, and a black 4pt stroke. I then used the same tool, but this time with a red fill, and clear stroke to create a red banner across the top of the rectangle. I created another rectangle with the non-curved angled rectangle tool with a white fill, and stroke so I could give the bottom of the red rectangle a flat edge. I then began using a similar process with two other different styles of signs, one made from a light blue with a circle in the top, and another made from bright yellow with a yellow and black triangle on the top. After creating and group each of the different signs, I began on making the icons which will sit in the blue circles and the yellow triangles. To do this I saved my food illustrations as PNGs. I did this as I wanted them to have a transparent background. I took the PNG files into illustrator and used the image trace tool to vectorize them. As I wanted them to appear as logos rather than detailed illustrations I used the silhouette option to create a block shape of my illustrations. I put each of the now vectorized illustrations and put a lighten layer style onto them. I did this so when on top of the blue they would become white and would join into the signs. For the typography, I used a sans serif ariel typeface, at font size 11 so the instructions can be easy to read, and clear.

During the production of the signs keeping all the elements together on the sign was a failure, when I would go to duplicate the sign sometimes some elements were copied, or when I moved a sign some parts would stay in the original place. To overcome this failure I used the group tool, to group the shapes together. This made working with illustrator a lot easier.

The visuals within the signs have worked successfully in the production of this piece. Choosing the correct image trace setting, and layer style was important to this success, as some image trace settings only included certain areas.

Looking at Liv Wan’s Illustrated cookbook influenced my choice in typography. They use a sans serif typeface as this is easy to read, and doesn’t push any connotations of who the recipe is designed for. I also used influences from Jing Zhang illustrations as they use icons within circle shapes within the instructional elements. I thought this was rather interesting and balanced out the illustration. I could use influences from WHY NOT JAMES Death of A Scenester Magazine Illustration where I could connect the text elements to the illustrations with lines, similar to what they have done.

The quality of these illustrations is of a good standard, as they are clean and neat. Having this part of my illustration rather simple will balance out the craziness of the rest of my illustration.

My first composition idea, to present the instructions was to have them sitting on a fence. For this, to work and for the type to be readable I would need the fence covering a lot of the canvas. This I decided wasn’t the best composition for my instructional illustration as it hides a lot of the illustrative work, looks messy, and doesn’t flow nicely within the illustration. I removed the fence illustration from my work and began moving the separate signs to their corresponding illustration, this has worked better and has created a visually interesting illustration.

Figuring out the final composition was a failure within the production of the work, as I had to find the right balance between illustration, text and negative space to create a visually appealing illustration. I overcome this by looking at the illustration from different perspectives and trying out various different composition types until I came to my final idea. I gathered other student’s thoughts on the composition throughout so I could make sure that it made sense to someone other than myself.

The quality of my illustration is of a high standard and would be something I would expect to see in an experimental cookbook. My illustration is of this quality due to the applications used to create the illustrations, but also my time and effort spent into creating the elements within the illustration. If I were to recreate this illustration or had a longer period of time creating the illustration the quality would be even greater, this due to my skill and experience using the applications, and the practice of the illustrations within this. I would know what works, how to create a high-quality illustration in less time (this to become efficient) and know what areas I would need to focus on more.

This illustration fulfils the brief as it works as an instructional illustration, as it tells you how much of the ingredients it needs, what to do to them, and how to construct them together. Unlike other cookbook illustrations mine doesn’t go by steps, this doesn’t mean my illustration doesn’t fulfil the brief, just the recipe doesn’t involve a strategic order to be made. My illustration also evokes the crazy, and experimental cooking style of Dan Lovell-Bray through the use of imagery; cranes, construction site ideas, composition; having the foods swinging from side to side, and the colours; they’re vibrant and bold, and make the illustration stand out. To make the illustration fulfil the brief even further I could think about including splatters of colour which relate to the food – this would make the illustration evoke crazier emotions but it would draw away from the quality and the fact it is an instructional cookbook illustration.

To finish my illustration I looked at various handwritten style typefaces, this was to make the illustration feel suitable for a cookbook as they tend to be seen as a personal instruction from one person to another. I decided to go for the last typeface as the boldness of the typography sat well within the illustration, not only that it felt more natural and free, and as if someone had just quickly written out what the recipe is.

In Natalya Zahn’s Assorted food and recipe illustration they use hand written typography. This makes the cookbook illustration feel personal, like someone has given it to someone. I wanted to replicate the same ideas so decided to use a handwritten style typeface. This has worked well in finalising my illustration.

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