Early in 2014 I was hired by an Edinburgh based design agency to illustrate some food packaging for their client. After a brief meeting I found out the client is “Lees of Scotland” who you will find in many supermarkets. After that initial project I have illustrated multiple projects for them since but unfortunately because these products are not yet out on the shelves I can’t discuss them.
This project is the first time I have illustrated “packaging”. If you follow my work you know I really like to illustrate anything food and drink related but of course food and drink illustrations are not the only type of illustrations I do or am interested in. As this is my first packaging illustration job I would really like to use this opportunity to open up the “packaging illustration” market in the future. I’ve always thought it’s quite difficult for a freelance illustrator who doesn’t have an illustration agent representing them to get this kind of job. Most food companies, magazines etc like to commission illustrators straight from an art or illustration agent. One of my near future targets, once I have completed the numerous projects I’m working on now, is to get an art/illustration to represent me and my work.
Most of the illustration projects I work on are usually advertising related so I can usually tell anyone about the projects I’m working on and I can put anything related to these projects on any social media. It’s both hard and painful for me, especially when some people say “Hey! Why didn’t you update your instagram account for such a long time?” or “Are you? You haven’t put anything new on Facebook”. The fact is I work every single day of my life, no matter whether it’s on paid or personal personal projects. I’m usually not allowed so show people anything until the moment the client announces the final product or work on their website, social media pages etc and this process usually takes a while. A short period of time from the moment I’m hired to the item going live is about 3-4 months. Sometimes it will take 18 months to two years. It’s very different compared with editorial projects which you can just announce after the magazine is published or online.
The illustrations in this article are the ones I completed for “Lees of Scotland 18 mini snowballs” packaging. I have illustrated a single snowball, a bitten snowball, a stack as well as a tower of snowballs. From what I have understood and seen, Lees of Scotland have never used illustrations on their packaging before. They have always used traditional foo photography on their packaging to represent their products. So that they have used illustrations instead of photography is, for me at least, really great. Hopefully this will lead to not only more work with Lees but other food companies in the future (hint hint).
A final note this is the first time I will have seen my illustrations on an actual product on the UK supermarket shelf. How cool is that?!