Tom Lane, aka GingerMonkey Design, recently created illustrations for a book to accompany Heston Blumenthal's TV show, Heston's Fantasical Feasts.

We sat down with Tom to find out more.

DA: How did you come to work on the project?

TL: "I got a call from Peter Dawson at Grade Design in January, asking me if I'd be interested in working on Heston's new cookbook. I jumped at the chance and we arranged to have a sit down together in London with the team at Bloomsbury Publishing."

DA: What was the brief?

TL: "To bring a sense of fairytale to the book by creating the main title and drops caps for each chapter, and illustrating the frames for the menus. They wanted the themes of each chapter conveyed through the frames and to pack it as full as possible with the dishes and experiments that Heston was creating."

DA: Did it reference any project you'd worked on before?

TL: "My branding work for Uber and my illustration Extrovert (below) were the main pieces that had inspired them. I like to weave and hide elements of my illustrations so looking at it becomes a process of discovery, hoping that each time you look at it you see something new. They understood that about my work and it's what they wanted for the book."

DA: What were your influences for it?

TL: "For this particular project my influences came from Victorian ornaments and 17th Century engravings. The ornaments helped gain a good understanding of structure and detail, whilst the engravings helped me better understand how to use single colour to add the depth and tone I wanted to add to the elements."

DA: How did you design the drop caps? We're they based on any underlying typeface?

TL: "The typeface for the book is Paperback and I was asked to use it as the basis for all the typography, so it tied in with the design of the book. I began by sketching with pencil and paper, bringing in a couple of the elements from the frames, such as the Space Invaders for the 80s chapter, and Willy Wonker's hat for the 'The Chocolate Factory' chapter.

"The rest was just free flow, drawing on my experience and tastes. I sent the sketches over to Grade and Bloomsbury and once they were signed off I drew them up in Illustrator."


DA: What were the technical constraints of the project? How much control did you have over these and how did these influence your artwork.

TL: "All the work I did had to work in one colour, so to add depth and tone to the elements I had to manipulate positive and negative space to convey the effect of light and shadow. This then had to be made into a single vector element so it could be printed in gold and the colour lay on the page came through the gaps.

"As you can imagine, with all the detail in the frames, having a good grasp of Illustrators Pathfinder is very handy for this sort of work."