A Vietnamese illustrator has asked his Instagram followers to challenge him to draw any food of any country in the world, and eventually nailed it with a collection of brilliantly illustrated mouth-watering dishes.
Le Rin, 30, posted the first ever work of his ‘Your Food, My Challenge’ personal project, where he took recommendations from many of his 50,000 Instagram followers to illustrate dishes not only in Vietnam but other countries, on his account @lerin_illustration on May 10.
The 30-year-old illustrator began with asking his fans to say where they are from and name a famous dish of their locality.
“People were very excited to talk about their favorite food but I decided to pick only 60 dishes to illustrate as it was impossible to draw them all,” Le Rin told Tuoi Tre News.
The first finished work in the project is a Thai signature dish – coconut sticky rice with mango.
|Thai coconut rice with mango illustrated by Le Rin|
As of the beginning of this month, the illustrator had covered 47 out of 60 dishes, with the latest being a piece of Japanese Sakura cheesecake, which was ‘liked’ by more than 4,800 Instagram followers.
|Japanese Sakura cheesecake illustrated by Le Rin|
Swiping through Le Rin’s Instagram page, one would easily get lost in a wonderful world of food, from Asian dishes such as Indonesian Cendol sweet soup and Singaporean Hainanese chicken rice to Western delicacies like Italian pasta, French mille feuille and Canadian poutine.
“Most of the recommended dishes in ‘Your Food, My Challenge’ are hard to illustrate, especially those made from many ingredients, because I have not tried them or even seen them,” Rin admitted.
While it took him three to four hours to finish a dish on average, he spent up to five hours on more complicated dishes, “not to mention the time [he] spent researching the food,” he added.
Illustrations by Le Rin have received positive feedback.
However, some works caused him a headache as his fans debated the real countries of origin of certain dishes.
|Foods from countries around the world illustrated by Le Rin|
Before ‘Your Food, My Challenge,’ Le Rin had been known as a brilliant illustrator and as the author of a book titled ‘Vietnam Delicious: Food Illustrated Artbook.’
The 100-page book, published in 2017, features illustrations of a wide variety of Vietnamese foods, from north to south.
|Vietnamese foods illustrated by Le Rin|
The illustrator, based in Ho Chi Minh City, said the book was the beginning for his career as a food illustrator.
Graduating in industrial design, Le Rin used to work for a well-known fashion brand before switching to food illustration in 2016.
In early 2016, Rin made a trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Ly Son Island off the central province of Quang Ngai, and that visit changed his life.
“Wherever I visited, I always wanted to experience local food, and when I came back after the Ly Son trip, I started to think about illustrating the famous dishes I had tried on the way,” Rin recalled.
Le Rin just kept turning his ideas into new works, until one day when he realized he had done so many paintings of food.
“I organized the illustrations into a book layout and decided to try my luck by sending it to some big publishers, and luckily one of them accepted it,” Rin shared.
After the book was published, Le Rin said he became more popular and had more clients, such as food and beverage brands, so he decided to stay in the job.
Rin revealed that his biggest inspiration comes from his love of food, and prefers to paint his works with watercolors.
|Kon Tum leaf salad illustrated by Le Rin|
Le Rin said that the more he learned about his country’s cuisine, the more he realized that he knew little about it.
“There are so many unique and strange dishes that I have never heard before,” Rin said.
“For example, the Kon Tum leaf salad needs nearly 60 types of leaves to make, or there are dozens or hundreds of different kinds of traditional cakes in the southern region.
“Some dishes must be made elaborately with complex ingredients, while some others are very simple to make, but they all taste amazing.
“That is the richness of Vietnamese cuisine.”
According to Le Rin, besides making money by illustrating for brands, he creates his works with a bigger goal of promoting Vietnamese cuisine.
“Vietnamese cuisine is truly amazing, it would be very helpful if people can join hands to help promote it so that the world will know more about the delicious foods in Vietnam,” he said, adding many foreign tourists also bought his book and paintings.
His ‘Your Food My Challenge’ works can be found at these hashtags on Instagram #YFMC2019 #YourFoodMyChallenge2019.
Below are photos of foods from Vietnam and countries around the world illustrated by Le Rin:
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