For over thirty years, I’ve illustrated food. When I first began my career, I had only a portfolio of paintings I created while in college. Let’s pretend the watercolor above is for an Italian soup! I was 18 years old when I painted it and copied a photo that I saw in a magazine. Later on, I used my own photographs.
I’ve enjoyed sharing jobs from my career. For this post, my subject is Italian food. And the billboard above happens to be one of the very first jobs I received after I graduated college in 1981.
The painting was fairly large and a lot more work went into before it was cropped off! I did prepare a custom pizza and sadly did not satisfy the art director with enough drips of cheese. Somehow, he found a way to add them. Years later, I illustrated another slice of pizza with cheese dripping and this time I made sure the drips were emphasized.
My job always started with the art director’s layout. Then I took a photograph for my reference (notice how I burned the pizza crust?). Good thing that I saved the spatula from my first pizza job years earlier.
I traced my photo and sent line drawings to the art director. After that, I created a marker sketch that was usually very realistic. I’ve actually made some of my marker renderings into final illustrations.
When I had to illustrate a pizza inside of a stopwatch, I dreaded illustrating the watch. It was far easier to illustrate something organic instead of perfectly round and shiny metal.
One of my larger packaging assignments was for the food manufacturer, Ragu. I created approximately 25 labels for their Italian sauces. I share some marker sketches; printed labels and even an original painting taken from a scan of an old slide. I was definitely tired of mushrooms and onions when I finished that painting!
Below is another assignment for Chef Boyardee. I did not illustrate the ravioli and my paintings needed to be very photorealistic since the photo would be in front of them. My painting images were scanned from color photocopies and not the best representation of my work.
I have a lot more information about my illustration career on my blog “Illustrating My Life,” which can be found at this link:
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