About the project
The 100 Day Project is a global community art project that takes place online. The idea is to focus your art practice for 100 days. To get consistent and show up every day. To choose a theme that is enjoyable, yet doesn’t take too much time. The goal is to practice.
For this year’s project, I’m choosing to illustrate ingredients from recipes and stories that have appeared in Bon Appétit Magazine. There is no particular rhyme or reason for the recipes I’ve chosen, only that I’ve either cooked them or want to cook them, I find either the story or ingredients list enjoyable, or it has sparked a memory in me.
The thing that draws me toward illustrating food is that it so easily communicates a story. In my head, a radish might spark the following stream of thoughts:
“That’s a neat shape for a radish. Look at how long it is and how it’s red up at the shoulders and then tapers down to white…”
“Those tops look fantastic. What is the best way to cook with radish tops?”
“Hmmm…I have some butter and Maldon salt. Radishes sound like a great snack.”
“I wonder if the farm stand is open today” *Googles it*
“There’s dirt on those roots. I wonder what kind of soil that type of radish needs to grow in.”
“Where do radishes grow best? *Leads to figuring out climate zone*
“How long do radishes take to grow? 28 DAYS?! I need to go get some radish seeds!”
Illustrating food is endlessly enjoyable for me because it bridges the gap between three of my favorite things: art, cooking, and gardening. As I type this, I’m out in my backyard studio and can see our four raised garden beds out my window. We’ve just sown in seeds for fennel, chard, and radish (yep! got the seeds!), and have tomato sprouts growing in our kitchen window until they are big enough to transplant. I can hear our hens gently clucking in their coop, and occasionally a breeze will send a whiff of plum blossom through the open door. It smells like Grape Kool-Aid. Spring is here.
A short backstory:
In February, I sent off a proposal for custom food illustration for a cookbook. I was super excited about it and spent a huge chunk of time on the proposal only to find out later that they went with another artist for the job. I could have taken it as a failure, an excuse to not even try. But that’s not me. Tell me “No” and I’ll say “Watch me”.
So here we are. I wanted and planned to pursue food illustration this year. And now here’s the best part: I get to do it on my own terms. I get to decide what I want to draw. I get to create my own schedule and project brief. I get to do it all publicly and with an amazing creative community surrounding me…
This is something new. I may draw some great stuff. I may draw some ugly stuff. But I’m wiling to put it alllll out there as I go.
What do I hope to get out of this?
Ahhhh…that’s the question, isn’t it? The one everyone always asks.
The answer: It’s not about the end. It’s about the middle. The daily showing up. The trying and failing and trying again. The forming of human connections. Just like sitting down with good friends around a great meal connects people, this project will do the same. That’s what it’s about. The search for connection and new ideas. The willingness to be vulnerable with my creativity. To let it lead the way. It will take me where it needs me to go. Of that I am sure.
I’ll end with a quote I heard recently that sums up everything I feel about this process:
I’m the person whose job it is to hold the lantern while the kid does the digging. What is the kid digging for? The stuff. Details and clues and images. Invention, fresh ideas, and intuitive understanding of people. I tell you: the holder of the lantern doesn’t even know what the kid is digging for half the time, but she knows gold when she sees it.
-Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
What is #the100day project?
#The100DayProject is a free art project that takes place online. Every spring, thousands of people all around the world commit to 100 days of exploring their creativity. Read more about it here.
Because food is gloriously awesome. I like to grow it. I like to shop for it. I like to cook it. I like to eat it. I like to draw it.
Are you affiliated with Bon Appétit Magazine?
Nope. Just a huge fan. I find their content to be beautifully designed (the May 2018 issue is my favorite editorial design from BA…ever.), easy to understand, not overwhelming (I can make almost anything out of their magazine with a toddler “helping” me in the kitchen), and RELIABLE. The photos are beautiful, the words are relatable, and every time a fresh issue lands in my mailbox I do a very small happy dance (hey, the neighbors are watching) and run inside to read it cover to cover.
P.S. I take no credit for any recipes I share here or on my Instagram account @kaylakingart. All recipes are © Bon Appétit. I’m just a girl who likes to draw and eat.
Have you made the recipes you’re illustrating?
Some yes. Some no. The ones I’ve made, I’ve made dozens of times (looking at you Shaved Fennel Salad). The ones I haven’t made are on my list to make this year. Some won’t be based on a recipe but on a story that made me feel something. Whatever the inspiration, I’ll link to the recipe or story both here in the post for the the recipe that contains the illustrations and on my social media account.
Are you a food blogger?
No. No no no.
Do you take commissions?
If it’s a good fit, then maybe. That’s not the goal of this exercise, however if that’s what comes of it and it feels right…let’s chat. Drop me a line here.