Behind the Scenes of Our Summer Coolers Illustrations
As part of De-Stress Summer, we recently created a graphic with 5 recipes for infused detox waters. They incorporate fruit and herbs to creative 5 lovely drinks with plenty of natural benefits as well as being a refreshing treat for you, your children or even for entertaining.
We thought we’d give you a sneak peek into the ‘making of’ the illustrations, and a bit more about the lovely artist we created them with. Julie Smits is an illustrator with an interest in food and plants. Her work incorporates homemade natural dyes created out of fruit, vegetables and herbs – so we thought she made a perfect pairing with our all-natural drinks!
As well as being an illustrator and visual artist, she created The Hungry Child, a website which she calls her ‘love letter to the natural world’.
We asked Julie if she could share some of the secrets behind the Summer Coolers graphic as well as telling us more about what kickstarted her love of all things natural and what led her to combine botanicals with her artwork. Over to Julie…
How I work
My style developed through enthusiastic experimentation. Seeing how this would mix with that, and how paints, inks, or homemade dyes react to one another. Several of them tell you not to blend them with other inks, but my brain ignores those guidelines. For me the interesting bit happens when you mix the things you’re not supposed to mix, that point where I throw it together and the paint is allowed to do its own thing, where you see it un-mixing before you on the paper or canvas. The more time I spend observing my experiments, the more I can predict the results. Knowing how long to simmer my ‘dyes’ for, how much hibiscus to use, what kind of pressure or direction to take my brush in, the thickness of paint or ink, drying times, etc.
I love the process of the work, searching for solutions, seeing it all come together, and developing new techniques. Seeing my work finished or in print excites me, but it’s the creating part that makes my heart pitter-patter, once that’s finished, it’s on to the next project.
I’m quite sure I’ve always loved food. My mum introduced a lot of new foods to me when I was child, so I liked slightly stranger or more adult foods even when I was pint-sized. And strangely, for not having grown up in the UK, I did grow up on English cookery shows. I loved my Jamie Oliver cookbooks, and made so many of the recipes. I even had my own chef’s hat and apron that was given to me for my birthday. Once I reached puberty it became apparent that several of the foods I loved where also making me sick, but I couldn’t understand yet why. Throughout the years I’ve had to adjust my diet quite severely because of developing food intolerances, which is something I still contend with to this day. But, instead of being mopey, at least on most days, or letting it drag me down, I started The Hungry Child, a way to learn about food and plants and to retain a healthy attitude towards what I eat. It’s very easy when you have health issues to start demonising foods, so The Hungry Child is my way of keeping an open mind about the history and culture of our nourishment.
Why natural dyes?
Around seven months ago, I started incorporating natural dyes in my work for the first time. Right around the time I started the visual development for The Hungry Child. Somehow in drawing food, it seemed a good idea to paint with it as well.
Julie has also drawn up a quick guide to using some of the fruits and herbs she used to create the Summer Coolers illustrations so you can try your hand at it at home. A perfect summer holiday activity for the kids or to experiment with if you’re artily inclined! Keep an eye on the blog for that post coming up soon.
No related posts.