Penny laughed and replied quickly “What the world doesn’t need is another cook book! But what my family needs is my recipes in something that won’t break and fall to pieces at the spine. “
“Well my book binder, who hand sewed all my books said they are guaranteed for two hundred years!” I said.
“In that case let’s make a book” said Penny with a twinkle in her eye!
Illustrating Penny Webster’s cook book has been one of my most favourite projects. Helping her to make this legacy book happen was incredible.
Penny was adamant she did not want a traditional cook book with glossy food photographs. She loved my whimsical characters in Little Wing, and my illustrations of fruit and flowers. She wanted a collection of her life’s recipes handbound so the spine did not fall to pieces, as do so many of our well-used cookbooks. She envisioned it more as a story than a set of instructions. I spent many hours at Penny’s home drawing her beautiful china collection, pots and pans, and food! Of course we chattered away as I drew and one of her stories jumped out and begged to be the title of the book.
She told me of how her daughter Lana had brought her boyfriend home to have dinner with them. The Webster’s are a large family and Penny’s evening meals are like banquets. The boy looked around the room in awe of the food, the candles and the warm hospitality.
He exclaimed “Dining with the Webster’s is like dining with vikings!”
I made character dolls and positioned them getting up to mischief in the kitchen. My brief was just to draw! As I said before, a dream job and a dream client. The book was printed by Soar Printing and went on to win several awards in the New Zealand Pride of Print 2018.
The project began to grow and grow, and we worked well together, combining our love of food, stories and art. Penny had always envisioned a cartoon whimsical feel to her book and of course it needed to include some humour too!
The playful viking characters came to life through my making three dimensional character dolls so I could draw them from every angle, often up to mischief in the kitchen! They just took on a life of their own.
Every bowl, jug, cup, etc is all from Penny’s home. It was incredibly important to make this book personal and unique to the Webster family.
Dining like Vikings has been a dream project; I love that this book will outlive us all. It has been my absolute delight to work on this and I am very proud of all that we have achieved.