This design case study reviews step-by-step, the process of conceptualizing, drawing and painting five recipe illustrations for an infographic about cooking foraged and wild ingredients. The project was created to meet the editorial, stationery and marketing needs of an hypothetical local, farm-to-table eatery, in the edible communities restaurant industry.
For my original research, I was able to forage some of my own reference materials right in my kitchen garden. For the rest of the ingredients though, I found inspiration in a wealth of well-documented sources for both plant ID and recipes.
As a result, the infographic final menu features these recipes: Deep-Fried Chicken-of-the-Woods Mushrooms, Wild Oregon Grapes Breakfast Parfait, Weeds and Blooms Salad, Wild Garlic Leek Potato Soup.
PROJECT CREATIVE BRIEFCreate a series of recipe illustrations about foraged foods, to include in:
- A blog post banner infographic for one of a scheduled blog post and email newsletter.
- A print article as a double-page spread infographic.
- A graphic/illustration bundle for the restaurant's menu and marketing needs.
- Their collection of menu-themed notecard merchandise.
CLIENT: Personal | Academic Project for Coursework Requirements
- One (1) finished illustrated infographic
- Five (5) watercolor recipe illustration paintings
- Ten (10) spot illustrations (icons) inkeds and painted with a limited color palette
- Final written article for the infographic.
- One (1) menu mock up
- One (1) magazine mock up
- One (1) blog post mock up
- Five (5) note card mock-ups & product Overview page
The concept for the infographic came down to a simple equation which resulted from some preliminary research:
watercolor food illustration + wild foods + cookbook format + slow travel
= Colorful, stylized Wild Dining Illustrated.
At first, the amount of information to sift through appeared to be overwhelming. I quickly narrowed down my focus to remain organized. This led me to limit the recipe options to a handful of cooking techniques. I then tried to distill the main findings and questions into a written guideline (feel free to comment or email to request a downloadable PDF).
Collected ideas, reference, details and inspiration around eating wild and visual reportage examples that were as colorful as what I was envisioning for the infographic. I took note of the hand-lettering in urban sketching and art journals and ultimately decided to select a hand-written font style. This makes it easier for the restaurant to change the aesthetics of the text to fit their marketing needs.
Thumbnails - Color blocks
Simplified several layouts, reduced them to blocks of color and roughly delineated areas for images and text. At this point, the horizontal format seems to be the best option to develop.
Thumbnails - Composition
The landscape orientation works well for the blog banner and double-page spread editorial guidelines. I’m staying flexible and exploring other possible layouts as well. In the end, I settled on combining details from two different layouts for the final design layout.
Pencil Sketch Final Drawing
Each drawing is completed as a separate artwork so that they can be fitted on the infographic like a jigsaw puzzle.
Inked Icons Drawings
Spot illustrations for the infographic but included in the end in the graphic bundle instead. Illustrated Details of the forage ingredient above and their habitat/ecosystem below:
Grayscale, Black and White Digital Sketch Infographic Mockup
A rough infographic is laid out in this preliminary, grayscale, black and white mock up with a textured background. The goal is to find the right placement for all the elements:
- The article title
- The recipe titles
- Lede / Intro
- Recipe instructions
- Other text
- The two types of graphic icons and
- The main watercolor paintings for each recipe
Color Digital Sketch Infographic Mockup
Testing a color from the original palette inspiration for the background. What stood out is how busy the composition looked and that the background colors would distract from the recipes.
Final Artwork In Progress
Inking the icons and painting the main recipe illustrations separately for maximum versatility.
In the final art, I simplified the composition and selected a warm, earthy coral-peach for the background and adjusted the size of each dish. The resulting design has a much better flow.
RECIPE ILLUSTRATION APPLICATIONS
These realistic mock ups demonstrated to the "client," how each watercolor recipe illustration of “Wild Dining,” met their needs as listed in the original project creative brief:
1) The colorful double-page spread for the restaurant’s print article in the style of a food magazine.
2) The colorful banner image for the restaurant’s blog post about their crop of new dishes.
3) The illustration layout in the restaurant’s menu which serves as a marketing take-away piece.
4) And their menu-focused line of note cards for foodies sold onsite at the store or online through their shops.
Included was the Stationery Product Development Overview Spec Sheet which provides more details about how to manufacture the restaurant's note card collection.
5) Watercolor Food illustration Graphic bundle for marketing needs.
LARGE CANVAS PRINTS
Three of the recipe illustration were printed on large approx. 30” x 30”, fabric canvas banners as a focal point of a capstone exhibition.
The collection "Wild Dinig Illustrated" was also featured in the "We Shall Overcome" Les Femmes Folles virtual exhibit around the topic of food resilience.
Written and illustrated by Patricia Jacques. She's a freelance food & travel illustrator working with individuals and commercial clients with a passion for slow food, slow life and slow travel.