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Gastro Obscura

Project type:

Editorial illustrations

Inside Greenland’s Misunderstood Winter Delicacy:


Gastro Obscura, Atlas Obscura’s food and drink vertical, was preparing to publish a piece about kiviaq, a special dish made by the Inughuit, an indigenous group in Greenland. Few photos of the dish or its preparation exist, so their Visuals Editor, Winnie Lee, looked instead to illustrations to accompany the piece.

This was my first-ever editorial illustration project, and I loved the process of brainstorming compositions that might bring the article to life. However, my typical mediums of line drawing and occasional ink wash didn’t feel well suited for the task. I developed a color palette and experimented with an entirely new approach, using Procreate to paint loosely textured swatches and then cut them into shapes to form a digital collage.

Good editorial illustration is so powerful. I’ve seen statistics on how much the visuals accompanying an article influence whether or not someone reads it, and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to create artwork that hopefully encourages more readers to dive into this carefully reported piece of writing.

Among my critiques, I see missed opportunities to create compositions with greater depth and dynamism. My illustrations feel fairly flat, and I think that experimenting more with foreground and background (versus having everything more or less on one plane) would have made the illustrations more lively. I also have lots of room to explore in terms of developing a distinct digital illustration style.

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