Ohnmar Win Illustration Essay

I am delighted to announce the launch of a great healthy eating cook book by Summer Rayne Oakes titled SugarDetoxMe printed by Sterling Publishing.

Below Summer has kindly provided a basic outline of the process for sourcing illustration for her book, some of her requirements, and concepts: 

Initially I was looking to use food illustrations in a specific kind of way for the SUGARDETOXME book, but when planning a book, there is always a back-and-forth with the publisher. My publisher loved the idea of illustrations, but we ultimately used them differently than my original idea. However, the style of what I was looking for was fairly specific and need to fit in with my style of photography and also my house, which is where I did all of the recipe photos for the book.

I had done my initial search on Pinterest and Behance, and really narrowed it down to only a few people. Actually, I was surprised I didn’t find more illustrators with the “style” I was looking for. To be more specific, I was looking for illustrations that had a touch of whimsy and that had a “textured” feel, like something that felt like it was done with a watercolor, paint-stroke, or paper texture. There wouldn’t be any shading, so the graphics would be flat and wouldn’t feel 3D. The edges didn’t need to be perfect—as a matter of fact—the imperfect edge felt right, so having a brushed edge. I have an old charming home and my kitchen itself is unfinished, a myriad of houseplants wend their way in and around the stove, so quite frankly anything “too perfect” would feel out of place.

As far as colors go, I was looking for them to be a bit more saturated—but not too saturated. I wanted it to feel natural, nothing too bright or poppy, but still colorful. Again, my home, my food has color—but given that my book is about clean, sugar-free eating, there wasn’t going to be any unnatural hues coming into the illustrations!

Additionally, I knew we would be mixing and matching ingredients, firstly because they’d be added to the Meal Maps in the book, and how I use them in the Meal Maps online, so all the ingredients have to look good next to one another, so uniformity to a certain degree was integral.

I'm often asked by design & illustration students about my art - I hope this information will be useful...

1. What inspires you most within your work?
Its probably quite obvious - I love looking at, and eating food. The same goes for packaging, patterns in nature, and I have a real obsession with vintage or retro items. I'm also getting quite obsessed with decorative tiles.

2. Do you like drawing traditionally or using digital ?
My food illustration work always starts as a sketch in black line, either brush pen or pen and ink. I like to keep it lose and don't worry about splodges or smudges. I then take it into Ai or manipulate and add textures in PS. 

3. How do you promote your work ?
I have found various social media to be very useful, especially Pinterest and Instagram.  

4. How did you start working in art industry?
At my degree show a greetings card company took on my work which lead to Tigerprint offering me freelance position. I also had editorial commissions for magazines and books .

5. What would you recommend to someone if they want to become an illustrator and how they would they come about it?
This is just my opinion - draw, draw, draw and draw some more-with pencil, pen and ink anything. Drawing is so under rated these days - I really think it helps to develop your own style. Experiment with ALL different mediums from printmaking, watercolours, oils, wax resist- have fun, enjoy & don't overthink. Be persistent and consistent about producing good art to contacting clients to networking. And always be open to learning and developing your art.

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