It’s been lovely working on this project for publisher Kitchen Newbie, as not only have I been able to try a new technique (more on this later), but I’ve also been able to learn how to bake bread! This clever little book teaches you how to make the perfect dough, the different types of flour on offer and (probably most importantly for a bread newbie) what to do when it all goes wrong. It takes you through step by step and explains how and why things happen, which helps you understand why you need to do things the right way. It’s also made me extremely hungry for the duration.
The project comprised of book design, illustration and book cover design. The brief was quite specific; it had to be a photograph-based front cover and it had to be clean, clear and simple, to encourage as many ‘Kitchen Newbies’ to pick up and get stuck in. The illustrations were there to guide people in how to do a particular technique, or what a particular type of pan looks like, as a written explanation of how to knead bread is a little esoteric. Beyond that, it was up to me. Hurrah!
I had recently invested in a new iPad Pro and Apple pencil, and had been hearing some great things about an app called Procreate, which is a painting app that works using layers, a little like Photoshop, but with an emphasis on drawing. As each of the illustrations needed to be no larger than 4 inches square, I thought I’d give it a go. I was surprised how similar to drawing with a real pencil it was, with the added benefit of being able to undo little lines that were out of place or too wobbly. The brushes available (none of which are in-app purchases either) were extraordinarily realistic and I found I could get a very interesting finish in half the time it would have taken me to do it using traditional techniques.
I went for a slightly sketchy, inky line brush for the outlines, with some equally sketchy crosshatching for a bit of depth, then (on a different layer) added the gesinski ink wash in a cool grey. A bit of white pencil over the top, and a bit of erasing here and there, and there we have it.
I’m not suggesting this is the only way I’d work in future, but I have since gone on to try using Procreate with colour illustrations, and I’m rather taken with it.