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  • Nicole

Gardening Book Illustration Process

On my 30th birthday in 2021, my college friend Sabrina had seen the art I had been posting to my Instagram and contacted me about making illustrations for a gardening book her and her mother were writing together. I was tasked with creating a cover page, 38 vegetable illustrations, and about four gardening-related illustrations. Their vision was to have a book with original watercolor illustrations printed in full color, one fit for a coffee table.

After the contract was signed, we went back and forth about the specific style they were looking for. Some of the inspiration was from a vegetable book illustrated by Enya Todd, a fantastic watercolorist. I sent some sketches and once they were approved, I started on the vegetables in alphabetical order. The style was ink outlines with detailed watercolor lines. Cute but accurate.

tomatoes, before painting the stem

one of my favorites, baby potatoes

The cover page was going on social media and marketing materials, so I took extra care in making sure my client was happy. Here is one of the sketches I sent, and the one we settled on.

In the end, I met the six week deadline and they were happy with the results. Each vegetable took about 2-3 hours, and the cover page took about 24 hours total to get to a satisfactory level.

My personal favorites were kale, lettuce, baby potatoes, and asparagus.

25 out of 38

the finished product

I hope you enjoyed seeing a part of the process. It was a great way to start off my thirties, improve my skills as a working artist, and eat more vegetables than I usually would. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, they are available on Amazon.

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