I was browsing Etsy the other day and came across a series of beautiful watercolor illustrations of food by French artist, Lucile Prache. What caught my eye were the Asian recipes, with the inclusion of ingredients and simplified step-by-step process to create the dishes. Lucile has illustrated several Vietnamese recipes such as Banh Mi, Cha Gio, Bun Bo Xao, Bo Luc Lac, and Pho. Curious to know more about the artist and her inspirations, I got in touch with Lucile to find out more about her art.
A celebrated French illustrator living in Paris, Lucile’s illustrated recipe prints and watercolor food posters are captivating with the use of vibrant energetic colors and whimsical layouts. Lucile’s Etsy shop features illustrated recipes of French comfort foods to varieties of cheeses, pastries, mushrooms, and more.
When did you start painting watercolor?
I started painting watercolor when I was a bit bored of drawing on my computer tablet about 6 years ago and never stopped since!
What is your inspiration to paint?
My inspiration comes from beautiful fruits and vegetables from the market, as well as learning about recipes I don’t know from other countries.
How do you decide on what to paint?
Sometimes I get gorgeous products at the farmers market, specifically in spring and summer; I have to paint them quickly before they fade.
I notice there are a lot of Vietnamese/Asian food in your collection, is this something that you eat often or enjoy eating in France?
I enjoy Asian food very much ! I love learning about new recipes and my Instagram followers are of great help. Each time I post a Vietnamese recipe illustration, I get multiple new ideas of dishes I don’t know. It is awesome, I start searching on Google what is in a recipe that could inspire me. I love Vietnamese and Asian food because they mix many ingredients and especially beautiful vegetables which are my favorite painting subjects. I must say that I love eating Asian food as well!
What is your favorite food/type of cuisine?
Obviously I love French food which is full of childhood memories. Actually, I am obsessed by street food from everywhere. New York street food as well as Hanoi street food. Maybe the reason why is because the French traditional cuisine is very different. :)
What is your process for creating these paintings?
I don’t often sketch before painting. I rather deeply look at the sheet of paper and try to imagine how the elements of the painting will be combined all together, then I start. I mostly get photos from Google to help me.
How long does it take for you to complete one painting?
I need two days most of the time.
Which painting in your collection is your favorite?
The latest one of course!
Which painting in your collection is the most challenging/difficult to paint?
In my collection, there is a painting about the “The Five Element Theory in Chinese Cooking”. It was a challenge to do it because it is rather complex and needs to be accurate at the same time.
What do you enjoy doing aside from painting and cooking?
Oh, I love having ballet classes and going to the art exhibitions in Paris.
Will you continue to be painting more culinary watercolors?
I hope so. I have so many ideas on my to-do-list!
What paintings are you working on right now?
It is a challenge: I work on a kind of coffee chart, which is not that easy to do, but I love the idea of painting how to brew coffee as I already did with tea.
Thank you so much, Lucile, for kindly obliging to the interview. To see more of Lucile’s beautiful work, mosey over to her Etsy store: Lucile’s Kitchen. Most of the prints are 8×10, and she ships from Paris.