From the Mk1 prototype, I knew that illustrated steps for cooking are a good way to keep users visually & aesthetically pleased. They leave space for the user to interpret how things should look and send across the message “don’t take it too seriously”.

That message definitely is important for my project – it should have an informal and relaxed feeling. People shouldn’t get paralyzed by seeing high-fidelity photos of beautiful dishes, thinking “I am never going to make it that beautiful”.

Illustrations for "The Yum Cookbok" by Lucia Blanarikova

Illustrations for “The Yum Cookbok” by Lucia Blanarikova

Inspiration for the illustrations that I am making for Chef comes from multiple sources – one of them is a great work by my friend Lucia Blanarikova – Illustrations for “The Yum Cookbook“. I love the uncertain, hand-drawn lines paired with nice, slightly refined colours – sometimes bright and saturated, sometimes quite calm and pastel-like.

"Chop Sizzle Wow" illustrated by Adriano Rampazzo

“Chop Sizzle Wow” illustrated by Adriano Rampazzo

Another inspiration (big one) comes from the book “Chop Sizzle Wow“, illustrated by Adriano Rampazzo. Adriano has ben trained as a chef, and I am really happy that he merged his interest in cooking with graphic design, when entering a cookbook illustration competition organised by the publisher Phaidon.

Drawing over a photo of somebody slicing tomatoes

Drawing over a photo of somebody slicing tomatoes

Not being too confident with my illustrations, I decided to take a small shortcut by using tracing paper and drawing over it in the beginning. Sometimes it’s not necessary, but I realise that it really helps me to observe objects and learn about them – I am able to draw them on plain paper afterwards.

Benefiting from the Creative Cloud by Adobe, I then use Adobe Capture app to take a photo & vectorise drawings from my phone. It’s similar to Illustrator’s Image Trace, but more simple and straightforward. It’s great to add material to your CC library associated with your current project too 🙂

Colouring a tomato in Adobe Illustrator CC

Colouring a tomato in Adobe Illustrator CC

From that library, I then drop the vector to Illustrator and colour it. I am quite enjoying extraction of colours from photos of things – approximating the “middle” colour of tomato pulp by using Photoshop’s colour picker with “31 by 31 average” setting for example.

Detail of tomato illustration

Detail of tomato illustration

Next step (If I have enough time and energy) will be animating these – perhaps by using Adobe Animate CC and exporting to a canvas, or possibly some Javascript SVG animation library – I’d love to keep things sharp.