"Forza Italia" editorial illustration | Skillshare Projects

Lara Porter




"Forza Italia" editorial illustration

First off, I just wanted to say how excited I was when I heard Yuko Shimizu was doing this course - a dream come true for me as I have always been a huge admirer of hers! It has been amazing to see her practice her art in the video tutorials. 

Now back to reality with my work! ;) I bought three different sized brushes that seem to cover all the line thicknesses I want to achieve for expressive line and a pen nib for fine work. Below is one of the pages I experimented on. I found the more detailed areas like eyes quite hard to control!

I chose an article titled "Forza Italia" from Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine to illustrate. It's about an English chef (Fergus Henderson) who loves magnificently simple Italian food and pays hommage to some great Italian chefs.

I thumbnailed a few different concepts and compositions. I liked the bottom left below the best. It fulfilled the brief of potentially lots of different textures... a silver fork, silky twirly spaghetti, the chef's hair and stubble, his chefs white coat, the old recipe books and the swirling steam/smell coming off the pasta.

Here is my final sketch below. Some elements aren't quite right, like the hand (though I wanted the fork to be oversize) and his stubbly chin, but hopefully I can resolve these when I ink. Next stage will be tracing this very tight illustration LOOSELY onto the final paper as you suggested Yuko. I needed to draw quite a detailed illustration first to work out how the pasta would twirl and get the right perspective on the stack of books etc.

My final ink drawing taught me a lot. First and foremost that you have to hold your breath a lot if you want to make straight lines! I don't have a calligraphy brush and found that the hairs split sometimes - a happy mistake on the twirling steam but not in other places. I also found it very difficult to control the brush when changing direction but reckon this is something I will get better at with practice. Looking at the drawing it feels a little all over the place to me, with all the varieties of line I tried but hopefully when I colour it, it will come together.

I usually use pencil for my linework and this is my style of colouring that I will apply...


I inked the titles of the recipe books separately and will add them in Photoshop. A lesson learnt is to choose your paper carefully when using ink. I just grabbed a scrap piece of paper and the ink bled slightly, though I think it will look ok on the old book spines.

I also made some ink splatters to use to add texture to the swirling steam...

The illustration is for a quarter page size in a magazine, so I didn't want it constrained within a border. This led to some problems as I needed a darker background to make the scent swirls visible. The white chef's coat and his blonde hair didn't help either. I really struggled with the colouring! This is my first attempt...  

This was my second attempt...

And this is my third and final attempt... simplifying the colour seemed to pull it together better. What do you think? :)


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