Drawn By Food
Anna Vu, the illustrator behind ‘Good Food Crap Drawing’ and the art director at Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine, really loves to eat and draw. What started as a way of documenting the food she was eating during her move to New York in 2011 has turned into a well-recognized culinary documentation.
‘Good food Crap Drawing’ is a visual documentation of the great food Anna has eaten and where she has eaten it. Her illustrations of dishes from across the world decorate her GFCD Tumblr and Instagram accounts.
Anna recalled that it was 2011 when she had just moved to New York and was desperately looking for work. She remembered eating amazing food and needed an outlet. However, she felt that writing and taking photographs was not her forte, so she chose drawing as her channel.
“I always studied art in school and at university, but I never really drew, which was weird.”
The result was a blog and a zine made for the MCA zine fair called “20 meals in NY,” which consisted of 20 quick sketches of stand- out dishes she had eaten on a holiday. After that, her career start rocketing and she made herself a household name for food illustration.
Her process of drawing involves eating out and picking the stand-out dish from a meal that she recently had and drawing it. She takes photos to help her remember the dish. But if she is not allowed to take a picture, she would excuses herself to the bathroom, writes a note or two about the dishes and tries to shove the memory into her brain. Do note that she’ll only draw the best dishes; if it was an ordinary meal, then she will not draw it.
There’s no pencil outline or white-out if she ventures outside the lines. “I still try and keep it spontaneous. I don’t sit there and draw it out and trace over it,” she said. “It’s the first-take.”
One of the challenge in her work is some dishes are easier than others to illustrate. For her, the biggest challenges were intricate, colorless, dark or meaty dishes
“I’ve always said it’s really hard to draw minced meat and make that look good. And I’m a big protein person,” said Anna. “But I think that’s the point; it doesn’t have to look pretty.”
Anna, who pursued a Bachelor of Design majoring in Ceramics, Textiles and Environments at COFA, has equipped herself with Faber Castell connector pens and Le Pen felt-tip pens for all her pieces. She said that her choice of equipment came from a childhood appreciation for the Faber Castell classics.
“I did recently splurge and bought five fancy Copic markers to broaden my color range. They come in hundreds of colors and I finally found a good color for pork, although I’m still on the hunt for a good bacon color.”