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WIP | Espresso Martini

I am working on a new artwork featuring an Espresso Martini.

This year I have started to teach Computer Aided Design at Melbourne Fashion Institute and I have been doing some research on fashion illustration. I really admire Kelly Thomson’s work and this has given me the inspiration to try my first portrait drawing.

Espresso Martini Origins

I read the story behind the Espresso Martini cocktail, originally called ‘The Stimulant’, and I thought this was the perfect moment to give it a try! Here is an insight into the creation of this cocktail from Punchdrink.com:

How the Espresso Martini Became a National Obsession in Australia
Left behind by American bartenders and drinkers as a relic of the Dark Ages of the Cocktail, the Espresso Martini has always had a home in Australia. Fred Siggins on why an entire continent is still obsessed with this 1980s drink from the UK.
Date: January 21, 2015
Story: Fred Siggins

Walk into a serious cocktail bar in New York or LA and order an Espresso Martini. You’ll probably get that look, cultivated by bartenders for more than a century, that says, Oh, sweetie, you don’t know what you’re doing, do you? In the US, it’s a drink that’s been relegated to the book of banished cocktails along with the Midori Illusion and the Fluffy Duck—relics of a bygone era most bars would rather forget.

But here in Australia, the Espresso Martini reigns supreme as the nation’s favorite cocktail. Order one at any Aussie cocktail bar, and the bartender will rush to the full-sized, professional espresso machine (there’s one in every bar), pull you a creamy shot of caffeinated goodness, and whip up your drink as naturally as if you’d ordered a Negroni. The longevity—and sheer popularity—of the drink in Australia is matched only by our obsession with good coffee. In fact, it’s the café culture cultivated by the latter that not only served as the blueprint for the Australian craft cocktail bar, but made the marriage of booze and espresso a matter of fate.

The Espresso Martini, however, is not our invention. That honor goes to British bartending guru Dick Bradsell, who is credited with revolutionizing the cocktail scene in London in the 1980s—through his work at bars such as The Player, 6 Degrees and Match—and the invention of modern classics like the Bramble.

The story goes that Bradsell created the drink—originally called The Pharmaceutical Stimulant—at Fred’s Club in the late 1980s, when a young model, who Bradsell claims is now world famous, sidled up to the bar and asked for something to wake her up, and then fuck her up. His solution was a combination of vodka, fresh espresso, coffee liqueur and sugar, shaken into a frothy mix of bittersweet addiction. (Some speculate the model was Kate Moss, others Naomi Campbell, but Bradsell has never revealed her identity.)

To read the complete article click here.

Espresso Martini’s Face

The first thing I wanted to try was illustrating the face of the cocktail, the model. I emailed a few friends and asked them to take a selfie. I chose Sarah Graham as my inspirational image. The pencil illustration is an original in A2 size.

I scanned the image and started to apply contrast and colour. I knew that the make up had to be very pronounced to obtain a high contrasted image. I wanted to create a dehumanise face, as some modeling images can be, where you cannot feel the soul of the girl behind the face.

Coffee pattern

I decided to create a pattern from the coffee plant to apply on Sarah‘s shirt. Here are a few images of the pattern process and the final image in 100% opacity.

The lettering and the cocktail glasses I want them to be the main elements of the illustration so that the model will be fade out in the background. The background grid represents the texture of a hessian bag of coffee beans.

Wake me up and funk me up lettering

My idea for the lettering was having funky letterforms with high contrast between the thin and thicks. I wanted to alter the x-high of the letters and also give them more dynamism. These are a few images of my process:

As the last element of this illustration, I wanted to have a frame made out of coffee beans. These are some process shots:

The Stimulant is an illustrated cocktail artwork representing a fashionista Espresso Martini. Final artwork here.