21 Jul 2022 |
Welcome back to our blog series Cover Design Q&A, where designers and illustrators take us behind-the-scenes on their process of designing covers for our titles. This month we’ve got a series special, focusing on the From Scratch books! Lucia Vinti is the illustrator behind the fun, collage style illustrations that make up the covers for this quartet of books and we spoke to her about her process, and how it’s been to work across multiple titles. You can find Lucia on Instagram and Twitter, or see more of her work on her website.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a London based illustrator who makes work about people, places, food and culture. I aim for my work to be expressive and joyful. I love creating my work by hand as I love the little imperfections you get, and I like experimenting with different materials like collage, paint and pencil.
I’ve been freelancing as an illustrator for almost three years, after graduating from an Illustration degree in 2019. Some of the people I’ve worked with include TATE Britain, The Modern House and the NHS.
I’ve always wanted to do something creative for a living and have always enjoyed drawing, and I love how as an illustrator your work can be really unique and personal to you. When I’m not illustrating, I also write and facilitate workshops.
What was the brief?
I was asked to create simple graphic illustrations for the covers, that were textural yet quite minimalist. It was important to clearly represent the food that each book focused on, and to use a pared back colour palette inspired by each different food/process.
Can you share with us the process of this project? What was the idea and inspiration for the cover designs/ illustrations (if any)?
For each title I started out by looking at the photography that was going to be included in the book (luckily they are all full of gorgeous photos!), and making a note of which food/equipment/utensils came up regularly and seemed the most representative of each cooking process. For example, for Ferment it seemed only natural to have jars full of different tasty things, whereas for Sourdough it was more important to highlight the bubbly texture of the bread. Whilst I did this, I did some doodling in my sketchbook to note down some visual.
Next, I created a variety of sketches which I sent to the designer for approval, along with a colour/texture palette. I like sending digital sketches and then a palette using the physical materials I’m thinking of using. The designer chose their favourite option, and I created a revised rough. Once this was approved I could start the final!
Using my sketch as a guide for composition and colour, I experimented with different textures and materials. Sometimes I would have to try loads of options for one element, eg. testing it out in collage, paint, crayon… whereas other times I had an idea of what would work straight away.
I would then scan all these elements and piece them together, trying out different combinations of the textures/drawing styles. As the illustrations are so simplistic, the small textural details are really important, so I would keep sending options to the designer. Then, they’d let me know their favourite, and if any tweaks were needed.
How is designing for a series any different from designing for a single title? Has the project evolved/changed since Brew and Sourdough, the initial titles in the series?
Yes, I think the covers have definitely evolved and changed, firstly just because Ferment and Charcuterie lend themselves to brighter colours, compared to the neutral tones of Brew and Sourdough. Also, as a team we naturally all leaned towards having a bit more detail on the Ferment and Charcuterie covers, so whilst they’re still bold and graphic, they’re a little less minimalistic.
You recently had your own children’s activity book The Looking Book published. How was the experience of working on your own whole book compared to previous commissioned editorial work?
It was very different! With my own book I had a lot of control over the content and the design, as well as the illustrations and writing. It was nice to be able to get really stuck into something in this way, and I really enjoyed how I got to do lots of different jobs to make the book a reality. I also really enjoy making single images (for example, for editorial clients), so my favourite work set up is when I can work on both at once.
You have a blog on your website where you share what goes through your mind and give updates on what you’ve been up to lately. What inspired the idea of starting and keeping a blog there, rather than on social media?
I decided to start the blog as I really enjoy writing, and I’m hoping it will encourage me to do more of it! I really enjoy reading other illustrators blogs, and getting a bit more info about them as people or about their thoughts on the more businessy side of illustration. Also it makes me feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw when I’m writing a blog post.
We’re now officially in the second half of 2022, are there any exciting plans or projects you’re looking forward to – any hints or teaser on what they might be so we can keep an eye out for them?
I’ve just got back from a month in Italy which was an absolute dream, and I’m currently creating a new series of Italy inspired illustrations that I’ll be selling as prints on my online shop. Apart from that, I just finished illustrating a big recipe book project, which I can’t talk about yet, but it will be out in the world next year.
Where and what is your workspace set up like?
I’ve attached a photo of me in my Dalston studio, which I share with different creatives, including designers, writers and illustrators.
What do you listen to when you’re working?
My favourite thing to listen to is Off Menu podcast, and I always have my most productive hour of working when the new episode comes out. Otherwise I listening love pop music that I can sing along to!
From Scratch: Brew by James Morton is out now, available from local bookshops, Amazon and Waterstones.
From Scratch: Sourdough by James Morton is out now, available from local bookshops, Amazon and Waterstones.
From Scratch: Charcuterie by Tim Hayward is out now, available from local bookshops, Amazon and Waterstones.
From Scratch: Ferment by Mark Diacono is out now, available from local bookshops, Amazon and Waterstones.
Read our previous Cover Design Q&As!
Fire Feasts with Emily Lapworth | Advent with Emily Lapworth | The Italian Deli with Katherine Keeble | Crave with Claire Rochford
Sea and Shore with Nikki Ellis | La Vita è Dolce with Susan Le | Bowls and Broths with Han Valentine | The Nordic Baker with Gemma Hayden