Back in July 2013, I attended a Passion Projects talk by Jessica Hische. She spoke about side projects and how they can balance out your happiness with self-fulfilling work that improve your skillset. I strive to become a better illustrator, but often times my work doesn’t require it. That’s why I created One Item on the Menu to showcase my love for food, and to challenge my illustration skills.
One Item on the Menu is a recommendations site that highlights one thing (an appretizer, entreé, dessert, or drink) that you should get while dining at a specific restaurant. A single item is easier to remember than a barrage of many, which often happens when getting suggestions on what to order.
Finding the illustration style was a matter of trial and error. In the beginning, I went too literal and I was unhappy with the final result. To counter that, I added “sketch” elements, though that ended up being messier than interesting.
Then it struck me — why was I trying to illustrate the food exactly like what was served? I should just invest in taking better photos if I wanted to go that route. Instead, I developed a style that used a muted color palette and thicker line weights to give it a sense of whimsy and hipster love.
There’s something about illustrating that I find incredibly fun and rewarding. It balances out the structured nature of code, and I love it. Here are more illustrations from the project:
Because of the simplicity of the site, turning it responsive was just a few extra lines of code. This included moving the illustrations to the forefront, and shrinking the titles just a tad. Super easy to present well everywhere.