Illustrating SCHMATZ Beer Dining's New Menu

One of the most enjoyable part of being an illustrator is to be able to understand and get to know the culture and story behind things I draw. And for this instance, the German food culture while working on this project with a German Beer Dining in Tokyo, SCHMATZ.

I had this wonderful opportunity to work with SCHMATZ on their new outlet in Tokyo which will be opened in mid December. As an extension of the current outlets at Aoyama's Commune 246 and Akasaka, the new beer dining experience will feature more menu food items to pair with their list of craft german beers that are brewed right here in Japan and carefully selected German famous numbers like Erdinger and Paulaner and more. 

Food has always been one of my favourite items to paint and this time, I am excited to paint German food! (Friends who know me would know of my fetish with the language, also my solo Munich-Salzburg-Hallstatt-Wien-Budapest adventure in 2014) 

I was tasked 15 items and started the project with the drinks menu. The drinks menu illustrations were of course, a glass of beer, the german cocktail, red wine and the staple japanese favourite of lemon & soda in Whiskey, the Highball. 


After completing the drinks menu, I moved on to the food menu which includes sizzling sausages, charcuterie, steak, schnitzel and more.... 

Here comes the challenge, how do you paint sizzling sausages? 

My initial version of sausages looked more boiled than sizzled... And I realised one fault of my strokes that made it looked boiled. I dapped the dark shades evenly throughout the sausages and realised that they were smooth (top right corner as the photo below) and didn't look char-grilled and sizzling. 


And so I gave it a second go with the grilled marks and strokes that resemble the grill (technically going from left to right in a downward zig-zag manner) and gave some really dark brown-black highlights to it. (The 2nd version of sausages as below on top right)


Testing the illustrations on SCHMATZ's newest beer dining draft menu! 


While painting these yummy german numbers, I learnt new techniques of painting different textures and effects of foods, and also reading up on the different dishes which I have never seen or had before. 

One of the challenges of this project is that there were some of the dishes that were still undergoing development so I barely had descriptions or premature photos of how the end product will look like. Hence painting them requires some imagination and research. 

Besides working on SCHMATZ's menu, we also worked on the walls of the restaurant with 7 huge wall-blackboards of chalk art! Will be writing on the process of the chalk art in the next post!