| Woman in Traditional Tribal Dress Holding a Local Fried Tomatoes Dish, Jordanian Middle Eastern Food Illustration by Illustrator and Artist Yaansoon |
This Middle Eastern food illustration was first posted on my blog and was later on licenced to Italian publisher, Sellerio Editore, as a book cover to culinary title, Delizie d’Oriente (Delights of the Orient), by renowned scholar Peter Heine.
This exciting part cookbook, part food history manuscript explores the cultural history of food in the Middle East, offering foodies over 50 recipes, as well as some essential insight into the food traditions, fasting rules, and other interesting takeaways about the food preparation rituals in this part of the world.
As an illustrator specialising in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food and travel illustration, I was pretty much delighted to see how this blog has been instrumental in helping me connect with the niche market of my artwork. Cookbooks of this calibre are exactly the kind of projects I wanted my work to be associated with!
When I create illustrations for my blog, I often have a broader sense of where these illustrations can be used as licenced artwork. In addition to working on commissions, licencing is a great way to get your vision, as an artist, across to a wider audience.
In commissions, you are creating artwork that is often edited by the input of the client, which is a fantastic way to teach you something new everyday about the industries and sectors for which you are creating these illustrations. However, in licencing, the clients are publishing your artistic vision as is, with every ounce of the creative freedom that comes with it.
My illustrations are rooted in the cultures they are tackling and the history and traditions of food in the countries they come from, and I believe this is a central part of my creative process.
This being said, I created this traditional Jordanian Middle Eastern food illustration to reflect the tribal and folk heritage behind a staple Jordanian dish, called Galayet Bandora, i.e. fried tomatoes.
I wanted to come up with a way to allude to the culture behind the recipe. That’s how the idea of creating an illustration depicting a Jordanian hostess, holding a rustic wooden plate of freshly-cooked fried tomatoes, came about. This local woman is wearing a traditional tribal Jordanian dress with hand-stitched embroidery adorning its neckline and long sleeves.
Inspired by contemporary food photography trends, the hostess’s face is out of frame, leaving us with the information most relevant to the editorial piece and recipe, and that is the cultural reference and the actual outcome of the recipe.
As mentioned in several places across my Portfolio and Illustrated Blog Series, I like to mix and match patterns and cultural elements from the different culinary cultures I am creating illustrations for. In essence, my illustration style is about creating visual messages that communicate culturally-informed stories about the places and cultures from which these food recipes and travel moments hail.
Client: Sellerio Editore, an Italian publishing house founded in 1969, and based in Palermo, Sicily.
Licencing Year: 2017
Illustration Technique: Unlike my typical illustration process that starts with pen-and-ink, I created the entirety of this traditional Jordanian Middle Eastern food illustration digitally using a Wacom tablet, as well as various paint and texture brushes in Adobe Photoshop, while making use of photo collage in some areas of the illustration.