How To Draw An Artichoke In A Style That Makes It Look Like It Is A Wood Cut Print

Illustrations for a soon-to-open SF restaurant, for use in menus, signage, etc.

In an ideal world, I would start with an actual artichoke, but I didn't have one on hand, so I found a photo on which to base things. I began with a pencil drawing - drew a loose oval, then started shaving off edges to a sort of hexagonal shape. Lightly drafted in the leaves and stem, and then went back in with a bit more weight on the pencil, outlining the thing (top left). At this point, I noted to myself, that I'd never carefully studied artichoke anatomy before.

Next, brush and ink. Varying line width - a thicker line for the outline of the whole shape, thinner for within. Brush and ink is my drawing medium of choice - the brush runs so smoothly over paper, and the ink is a lovely dense inky black (top right).

To achieve "Wood Block" style, I would need to add chunky black marks which would indicate form (ie, roundness, and fibrous texture). Wait. You know what wood block prints are, right? Well, just imagine a giant rubber stamp, except that it's wood. A rustic quality is associated with wood cut, though wood cut can also be very detailed and tedious and neat - such as Japanese wood cut prints. Anyways, as I was saying, the chunky black marks can't occur just randomly. In photoshop, I used gray to block out areas that I thought should be in shade if the artichoke were lit from the top left (standard scientific illustration lighting, BTW).

In photoshop, I used chunky black spikey markings to fill in those gray guideline areas. Things to think about: how far up the spikes should go on a leaf, how wide the spikes should be, where to put little highlight streaks, not too much nor too little detail (bottom right). I figure I will get better and faster at this as I get more practice and define my style.