To get started with this exercise I was looking at some examples of editorial illustration (Time Out, New statesman, The Spectator), trying to make up my mind about it.
I thought that editorial illustration is often subject to very short production times and it has to have the ability to catch the readers eyes quickly. Newspapers and magazines are in fact handled by a huge number of casual readers, sometimes just absently going through the pages.
The audience can be very varied in interests and age.
Consequently, the illustrations appear very bold, fresh, eye catching and easy understandable.
After going through this stage I chose one of the sentences given by the brief, How green is your food?, and looked up the internet to find an article which could match it.
I found one on http://sustainablefoodtrust.org by Alicia Miller, entitled What should we eat now?.
I started by reading it several times and brainstorming some ideas in thumbnails. The article was pretty long so I went through it one more time underlining the key passages.
Among the ideas I got from this first process, I felt that more than one was a valid alternative, but then I realised that most of them where too specifically related to some of the topics covered by the article.
I selected the two options I felt were more generically speaking for the whole article and after quickly sketching them, I chose the one with the Earth-burger.
I think the composition is simple, direct and easy to understand. A guy is about to bite an Earth filled bun: his big mouth stands for the greediness which is sadly typical of the human being and his eyes are closed, for the way humanity is capable to be indifferent.
The action summarise the problem that the article explains in details: our way of eating is destroying the world.
I created an outline and copied it few time to try some colours.
In the beginning I wanted to have a green background, to be connected with “How green is your food?”. But then I realised that green was too ‘positive’ for this purpose, and gave to the scene a relaxed feeling. I also tried to fully colour only the burger and leave the rest monochrome, to symbolise how our actions are making ourselves disappear.
In a last try I used full colours, but a red background instead of the green and thought this was the best solution, because is giving to the scene a sense of danger and uncomfortable.
The final artwork as been made in watercolour and fine liner, in the size of one of the images I researched earlier for this exercise (14.5×11 cm).
I am pretty satisfied with the result, I think the colours are really bold and fresh as I expected them to be, and the message is quite immediate.