I’ve been wanting to draw food for a long time, but I’m primarily a fantasy artist – so I took the theme a step further into a fantasy direction! This is what eating hot foods feels like when it’s so hot it feels like lava!
I start by finding a reference for lava cake and real lava, and I combine it into a really rough sketch, using just large blobs of color with a basic round brush. This lets me check the composition without spending too much time on it.
2. Paint (Cake)
When I start painting the lava cake, I leave empty space for lava and just put in a dark pool to fill in later. I chose to go with a stylized texture for this. The texture of dessert is important to make it look tasty, and when it comes to a stylized texture it’s specifically putting shines and surface bumps/holes in the right place to give the illusion of a certain texture. I want it to be a bit shiny for freshness, and a bit hole-y for that scrumptious texture when you bite into it.
The main textures in dessert tend to be holey for anything cake-based, and smooth for anything cream-based or glazed. Glaze is just cream with a more glossy look.
For the composition, it wouldn’t be very nice if I put just the lava cake on a plate. Adding adornments, such as toppings, fruit, forks, etc. gives it a sense of space and scale, and balances the composition, not to mention can be used to add more interesting colors for contrast. If you’re drawing food that’s limited in color, it really helps to add some contrast with toppings or other decorations.
The lava is not as difficult as it looks, but important to pick the right colors and use reference correctly. Based on the reference, I analyze which colors are where, how lava flows over rock, where lava is red, orange, yellow, and when it becomes black.
I start by laying down orange for flowing lava on top of the dark brown, and add some less saturated brown to indicate the hardening layers of the lava. The further away the lava is from the hot center, the cooler it becomes, and so there's more yellow in the center and more dark rock on the edge.
4. Finishing touches
I darken image with gradient on multiply layer, since we are going to add some glow on top. If your base image is too bright, when you add glow on top, it looks fake and strange
Adding highlight shine really makes a drawing pop, be thoughtful about where you place it. Specular highlights are caused by the light source reflecting into your eye, make sure it’s consistent. I add highlight to the top part of the lava cake and the raspberries.
I also use an airbrush to go over the raspberries with glow dodge layer mode, to simulate light scattering through it and make raspberries look more ‘juicy’.
I also add some smoke to make dessert look like it’s hot. I create the smoke by draw circular C shapes and blending it outwards until it looks good
Lastly, I go over everything with a soft airbrush to add glow on the lava! This really brings out the ‘heat’ 😊
If you liked this tutorial or would like to see more of my art, check out my twitter or instagram where I'll be sharing future tutorials!