Hello, my name is TiredKitkat and I am a digital/traditional artist that is self-taught. I started my journey into the digital art world about a year ago and I still have a lot to learn especially about Clip Studio, however, this is not going to limit me nor will it define my skills and it should not do the same to you either! I had so many questions when I started my digital art journey and still do so hopefully this tutorial will help you out and give you a good base of how to draw food in a simple way. One of the things I suggest is to find an image of food you like and try doing some of these general tips I am sharing you might surprise yourself! The food I am drawing will not be in any pots or pans but you can easily add your items to a container/vessel of sorts. I hope I can help artists because I have had a lot of help from the art community and wish to share!
Before I go over the information of laying colors down it is important that if you want to use lineart in this tutorial that you do so now. I will not be using line art in my own personal style of creating food art. However when using line art start with a rough draft and then lower the opacity of the first layer with your sketch then go into the finer details of the line art on another layer.
My line art for this egg is not super but will do as a demonstration. For the rest of the tutorial please follow along with however you drew your line art to the best of your ability. This is more of a digital painting but still applies in the concept of making the art, just making slight changes.
Getting Down Your Base Colors and Shapes
The gloriously simple thing about food is it usually has a base shape it follows. For example you would most likely not see a square strawberry it has a rounded triangle shape to it. If you have a photo of food you would like to replicate focus on the color that is it's base. The color that does not give off any shine or shadow. For most meats this shade is a red color, for eggs people think of yellow and white, and so on and so forth. Lay this color down with the basic shape of the food you want to draw. Also remember this does not have to be perfect the shape can look a little weird. Food is not perfect so you don't have to make a perfect piece of food it can have flaws and it makes it feel more realistic this way as well. Not every blueberry should have the same exact shape for example.
Pretty basic and easy if you ask me! You can use multiple layers to add color underneath parts of your image as well. For example my egg yolk and egg white are on seperate layers. However as you can see I made a basic shape for my food and picked one main color unless the food had specific parts such as the sushi and egg.
Adding Shadows/Highlights: Make Your Food Look More Realistic!
As a beginning step add a layer above your layer of food and set it to clip to the layer below so we can add our highlights/shadows.
We will blend out some of the harsh lines soon but this is what the first step of adding shadows should look like. There are some foods that should have harsher lines and some where blending them out may be appropriate or a mix of both. In this instance I want to blend out the strawberry, the sushi, the egg, the bread and parts of the cheese. So most of my food will have a little bit more of a smooth line. However, if this is not a style you like make the harsh lines cleaner (or leave them messy I am not judging) and work from there. Think about where you want the light absent in the food or if you have a reference image where does your base color get darker? Focus on that and try to mimic it or use your best judgement on which way the light is coming from. In this demo my food does not have one source of light the food uses different angles of light to make the shadows. So my strawberry has different shadows than my egg this is for your reference on varyign shadows.
Make sure that your art has definitevely darker areas and if you need to add another color to acheive this I added another darker color to the bread and egg to acheive a different look but you can see how this looks better and is slowly looking more realistic and food-like.
I like blending out the rough edges for my food because most shadows and highlights are not in one hard definitive area and have a gradient effect, however if you use a style that requires one color it will still look good the highlights may be more of our focal point or the shadows may be. Experiment with this and try your best at different foods and shading/hightlighting techniques. This style is best for digital painting however.
Now for highlights! I am using another layer clipping to the layer below and I set this layer to Pin Light at 80% opacity and different colors. Mess around with the filters and opactiy to find out what you like to use for highlights!
Adding highlights can be as simple as adding a light color where there is no shadow and blending it out. With hightlights there can be hard hightlights or softer ones in this instance the scalions have the softest highlight and the egg/bread have harder hightlights. Using a mixture of these can make your artwork better. Not everything has to be blended to perfection and not everything needs a super hard edge to it!
Also please be aware that too much highlight can make your drawing look odd. Not everything needs to have a glow to it this is why we placed our base color so we still get a gradient of light and dark.
However, make sure not to overdo highlights and in a similar fashion try to make sure the softer areas have a growth to them it should look like light is hitting it or else it will be too blended.
Adding extra details!
Adding a few extra details or shadows/highlights can really make a piece. I added some lines on top of my scallions, bumps on my strawberry, and darkened some areas on my egg!
Details are up to you but I suggest adding some extra stuff or experimenting. Also try thinking of how your food will be prepared for my case my egg is fried and I wanted the darker edges to portray this. Think of what is on the food and how it will change it or it's surroundings.
This is my first tutorial ever! I worked very hard to make this happen and I hope you enjoy it and learned something from this. Thank you Clip Studio for such a wonderful opportunity and thank you all for reading.