Creating the food characters for our cookbook, Fun Foodie Friends, was an absolute blast. I never really knew the personality of the character I was painting until they revealed themselves to me.
The personality of some of the friends I knew right away, like Sweet Ela the Elephant that seemed to whisper words of encouragement to keep me going from the moment I began working on her.
Others took time to get to know them. It really is no different than getting to know a friend in our own lives. Some friends you know right away, others take time to get to know. Hop was another character I knew from the beginning. He always made me smile as I painted him.
Joyce and I would agree what the character was going to be for each recipe. Then I would draw rough pencil sketches to figure out how to use the ingredients in the recipe and make it look like an actual character.
Not always an easy task.
It was important that the art be simple enough that any Kid Chef of any age could create their own version of it, or create a different one using their imagination.
Once I had an idea of what the character would look like, off to the farmers market I went, selecting the best food and shapes to help me create my vision.
After I had the ingredients I was going to use, I began to play with the food to decide if my idea would actually work, or if I had to figure out a new solution. My record was about 50/50. Then there’s plenty of cutting and recutting to get the food to look just right.
When I felt satisfied with the design of the food, I would take the food on a photo shoot to use as reference to paint from. I kept pieces of food on my art table while I painted until the food got too old, and used creative license whenever necessary.
Each Fun Foodie Friend is like a cherished friend to me, alive with personality and charm!