• Twenty Something Humans

They Draw and Cook

Here at Twenty Something Humans, we like to think of ourselves as cultured beings. We enjoy soaking our souls in sophisticated artworks whilst sipping on a fancy, grown-up cocktail and we're not the only ones that think this is a totally rad way to spend an evening.

Brother/Sister duo, Salli and Nate, saw an interested connection between food (in this case, booze) and artwork and from this fascination They Draw and Cook was formed, changing the way we look at recipes.

We chatted to Salli about how TDAC came to fruition, how her sibling sidekick and her work together and she tells us what she would eat everyday, for the rest of her life.

Image: Philippe Debongnie

1) How did the idea for TDAC come together and who was involved in the process?

The idea all started with a crate of fresh figs, a family vacation and a psychic named Ernesto.

My brother Nate and I were on a big family vacation and he was in charge of dinner. He was recreating a dish he recently had while traveling in Berlin. It was Fettuccine & Figs in a Butter Balsamic Sauce. YUM! While he was busy cooking I was sitting at the counter drawing the crate of figs while drinking wine. Of course Nate claims he was doing all the work while I was having all the fun. It was an AHA! moment.

We are both professional illustrators but had not done much food illustration work. We decided to create a book of illustrated recipes to give family, friends and clients for the holidays. Nate had the brilliant idea to ask other artists to contribute to the book. The holidays passed and the book never happened because one artist never finished his recipe on time. In a moment of impatience, Nate decided to create a blog called They Draw & Cook and posted the 8 recipes we had. The next day I was at a Valentines Day party where a psychic named Ernesto was giving 15 minute readings. I sat down with him and the very first thing he said to me was, “Your brother has an idea and you should listen to him because it’s going to be very big!”

Within days we started receiving illustrated recipes from artists around the world. Nate launched the blog in February of 2010 with 8 recipes and today we are a fully interactive website with almost 7,000 illustrated recipes! After They Draw & Cook became successful we launched They Draw & Travel - illustrated maps!

Image: Vidhya Nagarajan

2) What connections do you draw between art and food?

Drawing and cooking are both outlets for expressing your creativity. Both rely on colour, texture and presentation. Chefs are becoming so creative in how they plate their dishes! We love the range of emotions that an artist can infuse into an illustrated recipe. Some are super funny and some are very nostalgic while others are really charming and sweet. Both art and food are essential to nurturing the soul.

Image: Logan Wagoner

3) Can you give us a brief outline of your history?

My brother Nate Padavick and I have been studio partners for 15 years. I graduated from The Columbus College of Art & Design and had several design jobs before becoming a freelance illustrator 23 years ago. I’ve been at this for a long time! Nate is 12 years younger than me. He graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Marketing and Computer Science. How he became a full time illustrator is a whole other story!

After launching They Draw & Travel his map illustration career really took off and now all of his commissions are map related. As the founders of They Draw & Cook and They Draw & Travel, our main goal has always been to promote the careers of artists around the world via illustrated recipes and maps. Once our sites starting gaining momentum we were contacted to by several publishers interested in a book of illustrated recipes.

After we published our first book with Weldon Owen we became obsessed with creating different themes for illustrated recipe books. We have found that self publishing is an easy way to quickly produce fun books that are print-on-demand. It’s been a great way to showcase the work of the talented artists all around the world.

Many colleges use our sites as a teaching platform and have students illustrate recipes and maps as part of the curriculum. As you can imagine, we get quite a few illustrated cocktail recipes from the students! A few of the illustrations in our book The Best Illustrated Cocktail Recipes were created by students. We publish about 4 books a year! Not only do we publish illustrated cookbooks but we also create illustrated map books. You can see all of our books in our shop.

Image: Rebecca Bradley

4) If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life (and nutrition wasn't a factor), what would it be and why?

Hmmmm. I’ve been a vegetarian for close to 40 years but I do have some pretty unhealthy cravings! I think my choice might have to be popcorn. No butter, lightly salted. I like to eat crunchy things while I read. If I can get some dark chocolate chips tossed into the mix that would be great! I can even eat popcorn when I draw.

Here is what Nate says: “I know this sounds dorky, but it’s totally true: I could (and practically do!) eat kale/avocado salad with tahini/olive oil/lemon/tamari every day. I find myself craving it if I don’t have it for a couple days. I think my body likes it because of all the nutrients in the kale and the fatty nutty goodness in the tahini.” I guess he’s on the moral highroad and I’m in the gutter!

Image: Nate Padavick

These books make for the perfect Chrissy gift if you want to shake things up a little.

All images were taken from the They Draw and Cook Cocktail book, which can be purchased here.

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