Brown Bag is a lunch and catering business that is dedicated to serving simple, delicious, and healthy food. Building relationships in the community and providing excellent customer service is their primary driving force.


In 2016, Brown Bag expanded from Knoxville, TN into the Nashville market with its first store located in Franklin. Business grew so quickly that in early 2017, Brown Bag opened a commercial kitchen to handle catering for the entire Nashville area. Later in 2017, the business decided to expand again with a food truck.


The designer for Brown Bag contacted me to see if I was interested in working on illustrations for their food truck. The owners were looking for hand-drawn pictures of ingredients and a brown bag with wheels. They wanted illustrations to be sketchy and colorful.


 The designer sent me assets to provide more context for the project including their brand guide, pictures of the food, menus, and projects details. To ensure the style was what the client was looking for, I sent 2 illustrations (brown bag on wheels and a fish taco) to the client for approval. The three options were:


  1. 3-dimensional
  2. 2D with sharp angles
  3. 2D with smoother edges.
The client provided helpful direction on these samples and the style was set from there.
style sample

Draft 1:

After the style was set, I hand-drew all items requested with a brush pen, and selected the best illustrations to digitize for the client. To digitize the illustrations, I scanned them, vectorized them, made any necessary edits, and colored them. I then sent the final, colored illustrations to the designer to get client approval.

Draft 2:

The client came back with a few minor changes, like changing the color of the potatoes, making the steak look more rare, and changing the format of some food. The changes were made, and the finals were sent to the client for final approval. Once final approval was received, I sent the files to the designer, who would arrange them for the truck.


The goal was to create a fun, friendly, almost obnoxious food truck that didn’t look like anything else out there.



  • Some foods look similar, and color plays a huge role! For instance, the client wanted sliced chicken, but when illustrated, it could have been anything- sliced potato, bread, meat… in the end, we decided to go with illustrations that were immediately understandable and iconic.
  • The client changed their mind as the project progressed, and the original goal of being fun and a little obnoxious was lost. The illustrations became more realistic and less whimsical. The designer and myself were sad about the loss of the fish taco!



The client repeatedly stated they loved the drawings and thought they would look amazing on the truck. By the end of the project, the illustrations were no longer the foal point, but were still included on the truck very faintly. The final food truck is black, and the illustrations are lightly screened all over.


What I learned:

  • Illustrations are communication tools. If it’s not clear, it’s not effective. Changing vague illustrations to something more instantly recognizable was a huge win.
  • Projects can still be fun (and profitable) even if they don’t turn out like you hope.