Before starting a painting, I try to look first for inspiration. Since my focus now is on food illustrations, these are the things that I browse mainly on Pinterest or Google. I try to look also at how my favorite artists rendered the details of their subjects (It saddens me that I only know a few food illustrators) Other times, I picture also the foods that I or my friends eat for references.
Once I get a vision of what I want to see on my artwork, I try to sketch thumbnails just to see if the elements would work. I also color them to check if my chosen palette compliments the visual. It’s weird though as I sometimes illustrate the thumbnails better than the actual artwork. With that, there are times that I draw straight to the sketch pad and just wish that everything-from lineart to color, will work out.
When I’m happy with my thumbnails or when I’m ready to ink my ideas, I now proceed in illustrating and painting at my watercolor pad. So I copy the same visual arrangement from my sketchbook and of course, paint it based on the palette I’ve decided to use. I think there are rules to painting the background or foreground. I’m not sure which one goes first, but for me it varies. Sometimes, I paint the background first, then the foreground when the background paint dries. There are times that when I’m too excited to work on the details, I paint the foreground first and when I’m done with it, that’s the only time I pick a neutral background color for it.
Speaking of details, even though I try to push myself to try loose painting, my OC-ness quickly takes over and I have to make sure that somehow, the details of my artwork will be quite similar to my references (check out the Miso Bolognese Pasta actual and the illustration). My goal is to make my food illustrations as tasty as what they look in actual. So if you ask me how long does it take for me to complete one illustration, I’d say a day or two, depending on the inspiration and the time I’d like to put in to my work. I don’t mark it as finished not until I’m completely happy with it (confirming that I’m a perfectionist lol)
So that’s basically how I work. How about you, how do you render your artworks? Are you detail-oriented as I am or is your output better with loose strokes? If there are budding food illustrators out there too, I hope you can share with us your process also! P.S. Apologies for the square photos, even the lighting and the angles are all inconsistent. I’m not that good with photography as I mostly just do point and shoot. My photos are usually in square because of Instagram. I promise to try my best to produce photos more worthy of posting :)