The journey through this assignment has been quite long I thought. The brief was asking to produce two illustrations for a supermarket campaign to package and promote a range of seasonal high quality foods. The subject had to be fruits or vegetables of the autumn and summer seasons, represented in a objective way, based on direct observation. Even though the brief gives freedom on the subjects and its surroundings, it is pretty precise: the fruits and vegetables represented have to look edible and very particular attention has to be paid to the tones and textures of their skin and pulp. In order to get things right I started to look up for some techniques to illustrate food and I found a very useful resource in the tutorials of a professional watercolour artist, Anna Mason (http://watercolourswithwow.com/).
After gathering some information about autumn and summer fruit and vegetables, I started sketching the ideas I had in my mind. I chose as symbol of autumn the pumpkin, and my first ideas where to locate it between the typical autumn – coloured leaves or on a hay covered floor. After a while I came up with the idea of a crate containing a sliced pumpkin or eventually a group of squashes. After a quick research on pumpkins I was actually very inspired by many kind of different and colourful squashes and I thought that their colours would have perfectly represented the fall season. I put together four different kind of squashes and started sketching.
I would have loved to have the chance to portrait this vegetable from life, but being in the wrong season, I had to use the pictures I found online. I didn’t use one in particular because no one really fitted for my drawing of course. In the process of creating my watercolour, not having a unique reference picture (either a real vegetable!) really made things quite complicated.
I then passed onto the summer illustration. I chose to keep the crate idea to give a sense of matching illustrations, part of a campaign. Having already illustrated a group of vegetables, I decided to illustrate sliced fruits. Thinking of which fruit, between all the beautiful and colourful summer fruits, was in my opinion the one that give me that summer feeling I selected in the first place peach, watermelon or strawberry. My first idea was in fact of a cut up peach, with a straw directly piercing its pulp, to indicate the extreme juiciness of the fruit. But after a brief survey, I decided to go for the watermelon, using the straw idea. I think this fruit perfectly represents summer with its colours and its fresh and watery aspect.
While sketching decided to add a small cocktail umbrella and to direct the straw towards the viewer, as to invite to drink from it. Creating this second watercolour, I realized how much I learned from the mistakes of the first one. In fact I think the final result of the summer piece looks much better and much more realistic.
In general I believe I did a good job: I respected the requests of the brief of making an objective pair of illustrations of autumn and summer fruit and vegetables and I followed the instructions about the scale, producing a proportioned smaller picture.
The outcome is pretty much as I expected and if I am able to spot mistakes, yet I believe I improved massively my technique through this assignment, not just in the practice but also in the way of thinking and planning.