art & design

Illustrating Junk Food For A Poster Design

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My sister is a little protective of her food. You know that bit in Fellowship of the Ring where Bilbo goes all Gollum-y when Frodo asks to see the ring. That’s similar to what my sister does when you get too close to her food. For years I have been threatening to make a t-shirt proclaiming that ‘Kirsty doesn’t share food’ and finally as a birthday present for her this year I actually did it.


I started off by forgetting everything we’ve learned at college about the design process and jumped in without really knowing what I was going to do. I knew the piece was going to have various food stuffs on it so I started off by writing a list of her favourite foods and doodled them. It was pointed out to me a number of times that I forgot to put Irn-Bru on this list but I did actually remember it, I just forgot to put it in the final design. Ooops!

I then scanned these doodles and brought them into Illustrator. Using the image trace function I can turn the doodles into paths which means I can rotate and scale each food separately and figure out the best layout. I’ve done this a number of times in the past when working on logo designs.


I initially wanted to make this design into a t-shirt but that seemed like even more hassle so I decided to paint and frame it instead. This meant I had to decide what medium to paint it in. I did test paintings in both mediums, watercolour on the left and gouache on the right. I eventually decided to use the gouache as I was going for a more cartoon-y look.


I’m not sure how other artists do this but I bought a frame from Paperchase for £15. The frame was 40cm by 40cm so I scaled the artwork on the computer to this size, leaving a 5cm border all around so I could put a mount on top. I really don’t know if I was doing this the right way, if anyone knows more about mounting paintings please tell me your secrets.

The design was printed at full scale then traced using the highly technical method of taping it to a window. I used Bockingford watercolour paper for the final artwork.  It was really surprising how well it coped with the gouache. No warping at all. And it was only £2 for an A1 sheet from Paperchase.

After that it was just a case of painting and doing the line work. Then it was done. And my sister seemed to be quite happy with the result which was good. A number of instagram followers seemed to quite like it as well.


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