Right at the beginning of August 2018, I had the opportunity to work on an atmospheric food illustration project for Gravy Quarterly, the food magazine of the Southern Food Alliance, an organization of the University of Mississippi. I was asked to illustrate a delicious article about the magic that happens when authentic Tex-Mex cuisine meets Indian cuisine.
As a travel lover who also enjoys both slow food and slow travel, this assignment was a dream project. The surprising combo of these two vernacular cuisines made for satisfying bright and beautiful graphic illustrations.
CLIENT: Gravy Quarterly Magazine by Southern Food Alliance, University of Mississippi
PROJECT TYPE: One full-page illustration + two spot illustrations | Editorial Illustration
Full Page Illustration
Below is the final full page illustration inspired by the article’s focus on a well-known chef with Indian heritage who grew up in Texas. The imagery of long-horn cattle nods at Texas heritage beef. I married this idea to the celebration of the elemental force of a food group that provide life-giving sustenance to millions of human beings.
From a handful of rough thumbnail pencil sketches, I selected six drawings to share with the client. I refined them to clarify the composition and general layout. Of these six pencil sketches, the client confirmed three sketches: one full illustration and 2 spot illustrations to develop into final drawings.
I refined and developed the images until all the visual issues were resolved and I couldn't find any ambiguous lines or mysterious areas that made no sense.
Bonus Color Studies
Once the three drawings were submitted and given the go ahead, I started working on a quick, digital color study sketch.
Although this is not something I typically include in my contracts, I shared the color study sketch with this client. It helped them see what the general color scheme would feel like with the bright colors - keeping in mind that watercolor yields a more atmospheric and distressed illustration than this rough, graphic test.
Colorful Full Page Final Art
The resulting uplifting, painted illustration bursts with vivid colors and flavors. At the same time, the stylized, watercolor painting of a laughing cow, crowned with a cast iron skillet and veggies, create a memorable, ethereal visual art piece that embodies the spirit of this eclectic culinary journey.
Atmospheric Spot Illustrations (above)
And of course, let’s not forget the tortillas and beer. They turned out fantastic and looking pretty delicious!
The three painted illustrations took about two weeks and were delivered in the spring of 2018. They appeared in the fall Gravy Quarterly Magazine of Southern Foodways Alliance. I was thrilled when I received a sample issue that the client mailed to me.
Before & After
PUBLISHED ARTICLE & ILLUSTRATIONS
In the end, folks plagued with wanderlust and who can’t really travel at the moment but love to cook real food, will find this piece gratifying. The colorful and whimsical painting, has a strong dose of magical realism and captures the spirit of a story about the chef's journey to Indian Tex-Mex cuisine. I hope it will invite home cooks to get into the kitchen and try out the recipe for themselves.
Check out the article to find the recipe and read about the story, here.
Other Related News
As of November 14, 2021, I modified the original art and repurposed it as the cover for the now published, beautiful and practical “Weekly Recipe Planner“.
Find out more about this FANTASTIC, new meal planner in this post HERE!
- To view more food illustrations, head here.
- To see what original art and art prints have been released and are available for sale, visit the art shop at United Wanderlust.
- If this atmospheric watercolor recipe illustration seems like something you’d want to create or license for your own projects (marketing, book, editorial, stationery etc.), simply submit a request in my contact form with what you have in mind and we can go from there.
Written and illustrated by Patricia Jacques. I'm a freelance food & travel illustrator who works with watercolor and licenses artwork. I enjoy working with individuals and commercial clients with similar passions for slow food, slow life and slow travel.