A menu card (Exercise)

For this exercise I have been asked to provide an illustration for use on the menu of a sophisticated, quality fish restaurant – one in a chain sited in major European cities. The menu uses fresh ingredients and the ambience of the restaurant is modern, bright and contemporary in design. Any food depicted needs to be visually appetising.

I will be very happy to do this exercise because the fish symbol is very interesting sign in China and Asia. So I searched the website which explains the fish meaning in Chinese ( The Hidden or Implied Meaning of Chinese Charm Symbols).

The Chinese character for fish (yu 鱼) is pronounced the same as the Chinese character for “abundance” or “surplus” (yu 余).  The fish symbol is, therefore, frequently associated with other symbols and Chinese characters to symbolize the wish for “more” in the sense of “more” good luck, good fortune, long life and children.

The carp fish is a commonly seen visual pun because the Chinese character for carp (li 鲤) is pronounced the same as both the character (li 利) for “profit” and the character (li 力) for “strength” or “power”.

The goldfish (jinyu 金鱼) is a symbol for wealth because its first character (jin 金) means “gold” and its second character (yu) sounds like jade (yu玉). Goldfish also symbolize abundant wealth.

As for these samples you probably have seen them before with Chinese characteristics: kirigami/papercutting, ink and wash painting, batik and seal engraving etc.

fish-3 fish-4 fish-7fish-1

So I am going to draw some sketches and to be inspired for the creation of this exercise.

A menu card-sketch (1) A menu card-sketch (2)

A menu card-sketch (4)

I have used the name Fish Bar as an example for the restaurant name.

I have done a collage with some colourful paper pieces from a magazine. I used the hole punch to get some small circles and cover the middle of the fish as scales of the fish and some bubbles. I like its eye but had to redraw the line around the fish to match all the scales.

A menu card-sketch (3)

Overall I like all the fish I have drawn. My original idea was that I thought  maybe to design a pattern of a batik with lino cutting, but this collage made me happy enough. But I need to refine it a bit more on it.


When I cutting it right size square I released some area are bit empty. Sizes 120mm*120mm and 4mm*4mm. I think it is not looking refined and expensive. The look maybe good for children.

Morrisons095-1 Morrisons095-2

So I am going to choose another idea which is the fish shape with few fork, knife, spoon and tea spoon, which I sketched earlier in my Fish Bar sketches. Now I will practice lino cutting at size by 100 mm*100 mm. I knew the word fish bar need to be flipped horizontal by photoshop.

A menu card-final-2 (1)

Size 100 mm* 100mm

A menu card-2 (1) A menu card-2 (2)

Then the final piece size 40 mm*40 mm

A menu card-2 (1) A menu card-2 (2)

I used prussian blue for the pattern. After having stamped on the paper I have chosen these two for my this exercise. I prefer the colour and the pattern I think I they can look sophisticated even though they are not delicate images.  The fish body with the forks, knifes and spoons look very empty. There is a big spoon and a small tea spoon in the front of the fish. If I can use flip vertical before I design it they will look better as the mouth and eye of the fish. I think that this is a contemporary design I am not sure I wanted to experiment with an antique look.



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