Illustrate a Recipe that Showcases Your Style

Why Illustrate a Recipe?

An illustrated recipe is a super fun and yummy way to showcase your style and attract clients. Many artists who have recipes on our site have been contacted by art directors offering them projects. They have been hired for commissions ranging from food illustrations to book designs to greeting cards to home decor. 

An illustrated recipe can portray lots of things that a photo cannot. It can evoke memories and tell a story. It can be funny, sweet, nostalgic, silly, pretty and totally scrumptious. It can connect us to different cultures and introduce us to new flavor.

Submit a Recipe to TDAC?

Anyone can submit a recipe to They Draw & Cook! All the recipes on this site are the same size. Here are the file requirements:

  • Size in inches: 16.667" wide x 6.25" high and 300 DPI 
  • Size in millimeters: 423.34mm wide x 158.75mm high and 300 DPI
  • Size in pixels: 5000px wide x 1875px high
  • Format: JPG, must be RGB (CMYK doesn't display well on screens)

One Thing to Remember
We've already published several books and we plan to publish more. If you want your recipe to be considered for future books, please be mindful of the gutter. If you're not interested in publication, then don't worry about it!

10 Steps to Create a Great Illustrated Recipe

STEP 1: Engage Your Senses

  • Wander through a garden, berry patch or orchard.
  • Visit markets and groceries, bakeries, cafes, deli's and diners.
  • Take note of how the food is presented and plated.
  • Visit a cookware shop.
  • Fill your sketchbook with doodles, color palettes and handlettered words and phrases.
  • Observe how people prepare and share food with each other.

Step 2: Identify the Job of Your Illustrated Recipe

  • List the kind of work or projects you would like to receive from an art director. 
  • Create an illustration that exemplifies that goal.

Salli created this recipe because she wanted more jobs using her chunky hand lettering style. An art director saw her recipe and contacted her for a job.

STEP 3: Select a Recipe

There are 2 basic ways to select a recipe: 

1) Do you have a signature dish or a favorite go-to that you make for parties or easy weeknight meals?

  • Favorite recipes: Maybe you have a awesome smoothie blend or a classic sandwich combo.
  • Family recipes: they are a great source of inspiration because they are tried and true, evoke lots of memories.
  • Commemorative recipes: pay tribute to the recipe's original creator while creatively documenting their recipe.
  • Celebratory recipes: illustrate someone's favorite recipe as a birthday present.

2) Think of things you like to eat or want to draw. 

  • Look through cookbooks, magazines and search the Internet.
  • Find a recipe that is fairly uncomplicated.
  • Lists of ingredients and measurements are not copy-right protected so by slightly changing the title and text you can use what you find.
  • Simplify and edit the text.
  • Consider replacing text with images.
  • Make sure you are giving your audience all the info they need to make your recipe. 

Salli made the title of her recipe more of the feature and was able to showcase her handlettering.

Farida Zaman created a series that showcase her fun painterly style, are easy to follow and have great titles.

STEP 4: Build Your Concept

Here is a list of some different ways to visually interpret your recipe:

Create an infograph.
Illustrated by Dmitry Dmitriylo

Design it like a comic book panel.
Illustrated by Nate Padavick

Show a step-by-step process.
Illustrated by Monika Roe

Leave out the food.
Illustrated by Jeffrey Barata, Shane Cornell, Kathy Whyte, and Anne McCracken, respectively

Make it action oriented.
Illustrated by Katie Eberts

Use sweet or funny characters.
Illustrated by Melissa Iwai and Olga Oilikki, respectively

Use a character unique to your brand​.
Illustrated by Tomek Giovanis

Animate the food.
Illustrated by Siyana Zaharieva and Evan Thomas, respectively

Show people (or characters) making/enjoying the food.
Illustrated by Michelle Kondrich and Jannie Ho, respectively

Feature the ingredients or finished dish.
Illustrated by SoySuki and Liv Wan

Give a sense of the culture.
Illustrated by Betsy Beier and James Gibbs, respectively

Create a pattern.
Illustrated by Ohn Mar Win

Make it hilarious.
Illustrated by Samarra Khaja and Claire Murray, respectively

Use complimentary imagery.
Illustrated by Rebecca Bradley and Sarah Ferone, respectively

Create a sense of time and place.
Illustrated by Heather Pullen

Make it seasonal.
Illustrated by Pau Morgan and Branden Vondrak, respectively

Creatively interpret the title.
Illustrated by Kaitlyn McCane and Stephanie Flor, respectively

Set the mood.
Illustrated by Hannah Ross and Leticia Plate, respectively

Try to use as little text as possible.
Illustrated by Nate Padavick 

Engage the senses.
Illustrated by Katie Posner

STEP 5: Set Up Your File

  • Create your illustration to fit the standard TDAC size: 16.667" x 6.25" or 5000 x 1875 pixels. 
  • Save your file as RGB because CMYK doesn't always interpret well online.

STEP 6: Layout Your Page

  • Create a composition that allows the viewer to follow your recipe.
  • Design appropriate space for the title and text.

Here are a variety of layouts:

Illustrated by Nina Seven

Illustrated by Clara Ezcurra

Illustrated by Laura Mayes

Illustrated by Daniela Dogliani

STEP 7: Choose your Fonts

  • Find a font that enhances rather than distracts from your illustration.
  • Consider your own handlettering.
  • Illustrate the title.
  • Avoid expressive fonts (like Curlz, Comic Sans or Papyrus)
  • Make sure the size is legible.

Here are good examples:

Illustrated by Julissa Mora

Illustrated by Jackie Mancuso

STEP 8: Create & Illustrate

  • Have fun and enjoy the process!

STEP 9: Evaluate Your Illustrated Recipe

  • Does your illustration showcase your skills?
  • Proofread 5 times! One more time :-)
  • Check your amounts and measurements.
  • Is the font legible?

STEP 10: Post and Share your Recipe

  • Create a 300 DPI RGB JPG of your image.
  • Submit your recipe to They Draw & Cook.
  • Post on your social media platforms.
  • Tag and include a description for search engine optimization.

Here are some more great examples of recipes here on TDAC:

Illustrated by Pau Morgan

Illustrated by Małgorzata Lewandowska-Zych

Illustrated by Lisa Graves

Illustrated by Kim Fleming

Illustrated by Pedro Menezes

Illustrated by Jessica McGuirl

Illustrated by Ingvard Ashby

Illustrated by Ania Wójcik

Illustrated by Tzippora Lasdun

Illustrated by Kyle Zager

Illustrated by Alex Savakis

Illustrated by Kristin Nohe Juchs

Illustrated by Koosje Koene

Illustrated by Aunyarat Watanabe

And when in doubt...add sprinkles!!!

Illustrated by Betty Turbo