Hello and welcome to “The Illustration Blog of a Nomadic Mediterranean Foodie.” Read on to learn more about my multi-cultural roots, love for food and travel, and the editorial and artistic concept behind this blog!
Hi there, I’m Yaansoon.
So thrilled you’ve stumbled across my food and travel illustration blog!
I’m a multi-cultural food and travel illustrator and artist with a passion for folk and tribal Mediterranean cultures + this beautiful region’s culinary stories. My artist alias is Yaansoon, and I’m a nomadic Mediterranean foodie with multi-cultural roots that include Moroccan, Lebanese, Jordanian, and European ancestry. Married to an Italian gastronome who shares my passion for culinary exploration and cultural travel, I like to create food and travel illustration that is inspired by our adventures together, and the cultures we both belong to. I’m currently living with my husband in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region), and my illustration clients are mostly from Italy and the UK.
Yaansoon: A Botanical Name
Yaansoon means Aniseed, and just like me, it has roots in more than one culture. A Southern-European and Mediterranean herb, this flowering plant makes a nice cup of tea packed with splendid healing properties. Botanical, aromatic and a food ingredient, I chose this soothing and therapeutic herb to denote my creative persona.
What this Food and Travel Blog is About: Illustration, Not Food Photography
Most blogs offering culinary travel coverage focus on photography as the primary medium for capturing their gastronomic creations and wanderlust experiences. On this Blog, my main medium is the art of illustration.
An Illustration Blog in Love with Storytelling
Having served as managing editor of a couple of Mediterranean publications in a previous career stint, I thought I’d bring some of that editorial fun into my blog. Instead of basing my posts on general categories that say things like Food, Travel or Lifestyle, I decided to sprinkle my recipes and narratives across an editorial calendar consisting of the following Illustrated Blog Series.
Illustrated Middle Eastern Recipes
My husband is the inspiration behind the first series on this blog, dubbed Illustrated Middle Eastern Recipes. That’s basically why I have tag-lined it: “Food Stories by a Multi-Cultural Couple.” He is a wonderful Italian man, who also has origins south of the Mediterranean. His unique and mouthwatering recipes come from obscure towns and cities in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Illustrated Italian Recipes
Illustrated Italian Recipes is another blog series that focuses on homemade Italian food made with natural ingredients. In 2017, my husband and I went city-hopping across 15 Italian regions, cities and towns. We tried many local and authentic dishes from Milan and Southern Italy across a large number of trattorias, pizzerias and restaurants. This blog series aspires to bring to you simple and easy-to-make versions of these scrumptious dishes.
Illustrated Travel Stories
I also have a travel-oriented Illustrated Blog Series with an exploratory edge, dubbed Illustrated Travel Stories. As mentioned earlier, I have been to over 20 countries, signifying a myriad of cultures and exciting culinary flavours – across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Please join me as I chronicle some of these wonderful adventures using travel illustration and illustrated maps as my main visual story-telling tool!
Italy Culinary Tour
When my husband and I went city hopping across Italy, the inspiration to start a mini series called, Italy Culinary Tour (part of my Illustrated Travel Stories) was born. Little did I know, the illustrated maps I created for this series were the very thing that launched my first commercial illustration commissions! Travelling across Italy taught me a great deal about regional Italian food, but also about this great nation’s love for seasonal ingredients, art, and above all, excellence.
Illustrated Mediterranean Kitchen Tools
Cultural Food Illustration
Owing to my multi-cultural roots, I grew up in households run by foodies that cherished traditional cooking methods, using traditional utensils. Early 2018, I introduced a new series to my blog , dubbed Illustrated Mediterranean Kitchen Tools. I created this section because I have a particular fascination with folk and vintage kitchen tools from Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, among other Mediterranean nations.
Illustrated women who can
On this blog, there’s also a strong focus on women, especially the kind of matriarchs who have taught me valuable life lessons about inner strength, kindness, and compassion. To learn more about this aspect of my blog, check out my blog series titled, Illustrated Women Who Can, featuring resilient women from the 20+ countries I have been to. I feel blessed to have experienced so much and I can’t wait to share some of these stories with you!
A quick tour of my website!
01. Check out my client commissions
I’d love for you to check out my commissioned client illustrations. Head over to my Illustration Portfolio to take a look.
02. Check out my self-initiated projects
Have I mentioned I’m an illustrator with a passion for food and travel? Check out my latest self-commissioned illustration work over at my Illustrated Blog Series.
03. Check out my oil paintings
I’m always looking for a new challenge. That’s why I love creating oil paintings that celebrate my multi-cultural heritage, with food and kitchen stories being at the heart of my fine art creations.
04. Check out the lovely mentions
When a senior editor from WordPress Discover contacted me to say he was running a mini feature about my portfolio and blog, I was over the moon… for a few days, actually!
05. … And my patterns shop
One of my illustrated patterns was featured on Redbubble just shortly after it got posted. Yes, I have a Redbubble shop and I’m planning to post more patterns in the near future.
Drop me a line!
I love projects that have a strong cultural twist. If you think I’d be a good fit for your next project, let’s have a chat and see where it goes!