Last summer I had the pleasure of working on a book cover for Kyle Books. The book was titled 'The Healthy Hedonist' and had the strap line of 'cocktail shake your way to 5 a day...take a refreshing approach to cocktail making using delicious combinations and superfoods...' The author Nicole Herft is a food stylist and chef, and has worked behind the scenes with many a celebrity chef including Tom Kerridge, Gordon Ramsay, Atul Kochar, John Whaite and The Hairy Bikers amongst others.
The majority of the book had already been complied from the photography of each cocktail recipe to the layout. I was contacted by the Senior Editor who felt the front cover would benefit from an illustrated version, as they wanted to approach Urban Outfitters, Oliver Bonas and Anthropologie, along with other major book retailers, with this title.
Time was of the essence, the deadline was incredibly tight for this brief. The author, Nicole tells her story about finding an illustrator:
'When I was told my publisher wanted to go with an illustrative version of y front cover I immediately started searching for food and drink Illustrators on Instagram. Myself and two other friends were searching simultaneously! My friend showed me Ohn Mar's work and I immediately loved it. It had a great detail, a softness and a layering that the others lacked. I forward her details to my publisher so they could find out if she was free. Lucky for me she was!'
I am so so thankful that I ALWAYS hashtag my food images on Instagram! It really paid off this time. At the launch party Nicole explained that she was able to view my Instagram feed as a informal portfolio, before heading to my website.
I was able to make several initial sketches using the photographs they provided as reference. Eventually it was settled that the cover would feature a Pea Cooler (vodka based) and a Blood Orange and Carrot Negroni, placed with a cocktail shaker and mixing spoon.I was asked to leave the top third free for the title, and much of the back cover too, although it features a carrot and a few orange slices.
I also asked the editor I worked with at Kyle Books for a few words about her approach to finding an illustrator :
'When looking for an illustrator for a book, we want the illustrations to fit with the identity of the book. We work closely with our authors and want them to have a connection with the illustrations. However, we also don't like being too prescriptive, so we like someone that can take a brief and interpret it and put their own stamp on it. And, obviously, originality! We like the illustrations in our books to feel fresh and new and exciting!
And I was thrilled to spot The Healthy Hedonist in the Regent Street branch of Anthropologie last week! I must say it did fit in rather well with the rest of the early Spring range they had on display.