Illustrating the Edible

19 April, 2017. In preparation for the graduate course I’m teaching in June at the Kansas City Art Institute – “Illustrating the Edible,” I’ve begun working on “urban dining” sketches. There’s a better than even chance that I’m using these warm up sketches as an excuse to try out a few new eateries…

Our need for and love of food is something that binds us all together. Experiencing a culture, for instance, through its food is a must, and it’s one of my favorite things I look forward to when I travel. Recording a visit with sketches – whether it’s across an ocean, or just across town – is a fun way to relive memories.


I am interested in documenting food rituals, and I think this has become a common shared experience. Witness, for example, how many of your friends do this with a cell phone on social media. Doing so with a pen or brush or pencil allows one to merge interesting pictures with narrative, we learn to use our art to find and tell stories about the food, preparation, and dining experiences around us. My plan for the workshop portion of the course is a collaboration with local chefs and eateries to explore the world of food and wine, and then to make drawings, sketches, and doodles before we dig in!

I sometimes like to incorporate a typographic design into a sketch as I’ve done with these. It’s interesting to me to play around with letterforms, to experiment with them to see what sort of “typographic voice” emerges. Does the lettering choice harmonize and accentuate the visual story? Or does it fight with the drawing? These are the questions I ponder as I draw, planning the composition to allow for words to integrate into the composition rather than simply get stuck into whatever space remains. (Uni-Ball Deluxe pen, watercolor wash with water brush, in Canson 180 sketchbook.)


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