View Full Version : Totally off topic - trying my hand at food illustration

08-04-2010, 12:08 PM
My wife loves to cook. When we have friends over they ask her how to make the food. This finally got to the point where she decided she should put together a website with the recipes on it and I volunteered to do the illustrations. So I've been learning how to illustrate food (I did say it had been a busy month!). Here's a few of the images that are up now:

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It's fun - and totally different from mapmaking. If you're interested in cooking (or more of the food art) then check out the site here:

08-04-2010, 02:22 PM
Nice job, if I could make a suggestion, and you can try it then decide against it.. but going outside the lines so much is distracting (tomatoes are the worst offenders)... if you want try erasing the overflow, or most of it, then see how it looks.
Other than that your watercolor look is very pleasing.

08-04-2010, 02:42 PM
I don't really mind the out of line stuff, hehe nice pun intended. I especially like the yellow onion - great work. The garlic looks like it could use a small knife in the image somehow.

08-04-2010, 03:33 PM
Yep, i's amazing how close you can get to a watercolour look with just the wet edges turned on in PS and a nice splattery brush. The tomatoes are indeed the worst, and I'm pulling back from that on the new illos.

As for the garlic - yes I tried it with a knife, but I couldn't really get it to work. Might have another shot at it in a bit.

Thanks for the compliments and the critiques - really appreciated. Now I want to get my hands on the wet media tools in CS5... but still can't quite justify the upgrade cost.

08-04-2010, 03:37 PM
That's fantastic Torstan. Until I scrolled down, I couldn't believe you'd done these in photoshop. They look just like watercolours. I really like the 'high key' in the tones you've used. The style is very similar to many I've seen in recipe books. Fab!

08-04-2010, 03:50 PM
Thanks :)

I had meant to note that these were very much inspired i style by Emma Dibben - the illustrator who used to illustrate Waitrose Food Magazine:

Her stuff is extremely lovely - I definitely recommend having a wander through her site.

08-04-2010, 06:27 PM
lol! We do most of our shopping at Waitrose....that would probably explain it!

Steel General
08-06-2010, 10:50 AM
mmmmmmmmm.... Food! :)

08-06-2010, 01:05 PM
My wife the painter says, "Oooh! That is nice!"

I feel I must concur.

08-06-2010, 01:21 PM
Thanks :)

Here's the image from today's recipe (http://www.ifyoucanmakethatyoucanmakethis.com/archives/238):

and a handful of raspberries for fun:

I was taking some advice and tightening up the lines and colouring on the fish fillet. The raspberries of course are totally in the other direction - much looser and more splattered. I'm not too sure which way I prefer. Anyway, it's a fun change from all the recent maps. I'm illustrating a forest adventure and I swear my hand will fall off from drawing trees...

08-06-2010, 04:02 PM
LOL, You can't see the forest for the next tree you have to draw.

Personally, I like the splatter.

08-06-2010, 07:55 PM
I think in those two most recent images, the splatter level works best in the image it's in, and I don't think either would work well with the other splatter-level, personally. What I mean by that is that the raspberries are rather amorphous and piled (and somewhat fuzzy anyway, besides), so the splatter fits well. The fish fillet, however, is all about long, uninterrupted lines, so it looks best with a clean stroke - no splattering.

You could possibly pull the raspberries off without the over-splatter, but I rather like this one. I definitely wouldn't do the fish any other way. Nice work! Duly repped. :D


08-07-2010, 09:48 PM
Dude. Where's the pizza? :D

08-16-2010, 11:07 AM
Thanks guys :)

Pizza will come - definitely on the list of good things for easy cooking. A bit more in this style. I'm working on building up the colours with low opacity brushes and having white be just the white of the canvas, to get close to mimicking watercolours.

These cherries were for a warm goat's cheese and cherry salad recipe (http://www.ifyoucanmakethatyoucanmakethis.com/archives/242):
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This one is for affogato (http://www.ifyoucanmakethatyoucanmakethis.com/archives/260) - possiby the easiest recipe in the world - but a tricky illustration to get the glass right:

08-16-2010, 11:13 AM
I'll have to try that affogato now. What are you trying to do to us, make us eat? You had me craving a Tomato for crying out loud.....and I don't even care about them. (You should show that pic btw, it's my fav)

08-16-2010, 11:20 AM
It's precisely what I'm trying to do :) Glad it's having the desired effect! If you're interested in the recipes, then it's worth 'liking' the faceboo page. Then you get the three updates a week forwarded to you. It's a handy way of seeing the new stuff (and yes, my wife has a friendly rivalry with another friend's blog - so you'll be helping her in that as well).

Here's the tomato (by popular demand :) )

08-18-2010, 10:23 AM
love the drawing.. .and that glass came out real nice :)

08-19-2010, 05:16 PM
Thanks. Yep, definitely pleased with that. I've got a couple more to do for tomorrow's article. I'll post them up once I'm done.

08-20-2010, 09:11 AM
Pleased with this one - it gave me a chance to do some lovely saturated blues - which aren't likely to turn up anywhere else in a food blog:


and a gladd of white wine - because it's generally useful and goes very well with mussels (http://www.ifyoucanmakethatyoucanmakethis.com/archives/276):


08-20-2010, 09:47 AM
nice :)
if you like saturated blues then check out my good friends paintings on www.lindeneg.dk (http://www.lindeneg.dk) he's got his own blue color

08-20-2010, 10:26 AM
Nice Mussel :)

Wine looks good too but shouldn't we see a bit of the surface of the wine? We can see the oval of the rim. Maybe it's there but just too faint for my crummy eyesight.

08-20-2010, 10:42 AM
They're really cool. Thnks for the link. I love the tree branches/paint cracks parallel.

As for the wine - yep the surface is there, but very faint.

08-20-2010, 11:38 AM
yep.. love his paintings too (can't afford them though but I have 4-5 litographs), I usually say, you can debate if you like his art, but not his skill :)

10-28-2010, 08:38 AM
Some seasonal ones for today's post on halloween treats (http://www.ifyoucanmakethatyoucanmakethis.com/archives/444) (possible grim gaming snacks?):






The last one is an oozing chocolate cupcake - it's a neat trick and works really well.

11-04-2010, 12:02 PM
And a couple more - trying to get glass to come out right.


The excellently named Steaming Bishop:

and some cinnamon because all good winter drinks use cinnamon:

Nice to have some fall foods to do after the bright colours of summer.

11-04-2010, 12:38 PM
like the steaming bishop, looks delicious :)

11-04-2010, 12:44 PM
Port heated with a cloved roasted orange. Absolutely lovely. Here's the recipe (http://www.ifyoucanmakethatyoucanmakethis.com/archives/507) for all three of the cocktails. We put it together for Bonfire night parties in the UK, but they're good Autumn/Winter warming drinks all round.

11-04-2010, 01:17 PM
mmm ... sounds like good recipies for a cold time - thank god we got a cold time coming then ;)