Posts Tagged ‘editorial illustration’

I spent some time last week doing pen and wash sketches of various kitchen items and various foodstuffs – mostly cakes and pastries. They are not meant to be accurate, rather an indication. And in the case of the kitchen items, I tried to remove mention of any branding but keep colours close enough that they would be recognisable for what they are.

I owe much to Yasmina Creates for kicking me off on this path although, as she told me, this is the first time she’s seen anything but pastries done in this style! Plus, I imitated her trademark flowery offerings by trying an image in similar style. Is this a style I want to pursue? Who knows? It could come in useful for illustration purposes. I certainly take to watercolour more when it’s used like this. We’re maybe not quite friends yet, but me and my pan sets are getting more of an acquaintance relationship recently 🙂

Eleanor Patrick cakes and pastries

Eleanor Patrick kitchen stuff

flower and wash2


Lots of illustrators’ sites have a few pieces labelled ‘personal project’ and I suppose everything I have ever done has been that. I mean, we all choose what to write, what to draw, what to paint – until someone commissions us to do it for a price, that is!

Well, while waiting for that lucky break, I decided to do a set of images in the same style. Just because. I suppose I had in mind that I wanted to pitch an article to a particular magazine. I still intend doing so, and they won’t want my images because they’re not in their house style. But it did set me off thinking how I might illustrate such an article if the style choice were mine. And this is the result.


I drew in HB on cartridge paper in my sketch book, scanned in the images, locked the unused pixels and painted the lines whichever colour I wanted, and then added some colouring and some photo-image backgrounds blended in. Do they look like a set? I gave them all a light source and something coming out of the frame, plus the frame in a frame as if watching. And the hand-drawn look, of course.

I chose air, water and fire as my topics: taking one’s children out to a dark place to inspect the stars; investigating how quickly a hot drink cools (I decided against adding a graph into the image but you would record the results over time); and cooking dampers on a campfire in the garden (not on a modern barbecue!) for which they had gathered the twigs and wood to do so. These are not things many urban kids do these days.

I said I was working with a mentor to get some practice at being given a ‘commission’ to illustrate some articles as if the mentor were the art director. And, as you know, art directors can get picky and ask for alterations! I’ve completed two months (six tasks) so far.

I love doing it. It just seems to fall into place in my imagination and, well, work for me. Not sure how I will find real paid work – but I did find a great book about that on Amazon: Secrets of Freelance Illustration: How to become a successful freelance illustrator by Mark Dickson. A superbly practical and knowledgeable book, well laid out and succinct. Got it last June and I’ve read it through twice already. In the meantime I’m honing my skills.

Here are two ‘commissions’ that I enjoyed doing and that met the brief. Both used original drawing plus ongoing assembly in both Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.

The first is for an article for serious coffee lovers and is to to be captioned: Do you still go to the dark side for your coffee?

Dark Matter submission

The second is to illustrate an article about the town of Todmorden in the UK, where they grow fruit and veg all over the town in any free space. Anyone is allowed to harvest it. There are many photos on the internet of the actual places, so I imagined how surprised a visitor would be to find fruit growing in the corner of the car park! I had great fun adjusting the colour levels on this one to make the focus the man and the fruit! I hope you like it too! The ‘art director’ did 🙂

Edible submission