Food

What’s better than Instagram photos of food? An illustrated travel journal of culinary adventures

Yasra Khoker self-published her travel sketch book made during a 10-day trip through three Indian cities.

While visiting her sister in the UAE almost six years ago, Yasra Khoker was inspired by her niece and nephew. She liked the way they would spend hours after school copying pictures of dishes that appeared on menu leaflets. When Khoker returned to India, she began doing something similar.

Trained as an interior designer, Khoker had already been sketching for over 15 years. “Even while growing up in UAE, during family get-togethers, we would sit and sketch and make magazines and select stickers for our drawings,” said the 32-year-old, who now lives in Jaipur with her husband. “It’s probably why I still like stationary and cartoons.”

Khoker’s obsession with and appreciation for food is apparent in the way she talks about it – whether it is picking out the best place to get a fix of onion kachori in Jaipur, a tandoori chicken sandwich from Lucky restaurant in Bandra, Mumbai, or just the simple pleasures of a cup of tea. Khoker recently self-published an illustrated journal of her 10-day-trip covering Hyderabad, Mumbai and Goa. The mouth-watering journal is titled Food Swings.

“Instead of recording a moment in time as a photograph, I sketch,” said Khoker.

A page from the Mumbai chapter of 'Food Swings'. Image credit: Yasra Khoker.
A page from the Mumbai chapter of 'Food Swings'. Image credit: Yasra Khoker.

Khoker began her food sketching journey by eating out for a month and a half in Jaipur. She would turn up everywhere – restaurants, cafes or the peanut vendor outside Hawa Mahal – with her sketchbook and record everything she saw or ate. “Some people would get what I was doing and appreciate it, while some would stare awkwardly or comment about my weight,” said Khoker. “I started posting these on social media and was surprised at how much attention I got for it.” Khoker now writes a blog under the name Doodlenomics, where she posts her sketches and writes about her travel experiences.

A page from the Hyderabad chapter of 'Food Swings'. Image credit: Yasra Khoker.
A page from the Hyderabad chapter of 'Food Swings'. Image credit: Yasra Khoker.

Food Swings is not a recipe book or even a compilation of must-try restaurants, but simply what Khoker and her husband ate that day – whether it is the in-flight meal or her first glass of kokum juice. “This has everything that I saw or everything that intrigued me, like a market in Goa where women were selling mushrooms after the rains, the biryani we ate at Hotel Shadab or even the baked yogurt and bananas that I had to eat after developing a stomach bug,” said Khoker. “During the whole trip I was looking at the journey through the various meals I had and the things we tried there.”

In Food Swings, the reader will encounter the cashew feni, fish curry and even the chunky jewellery that is synonymous with Goa, along Hyderabad’s jauzi halwa. Also in it are images of biryani and haleem that were ordered by her husband, since Khoker is allergic to mutton and soy.

A page from the Goa chapter of 'Food Swings'. Image credit: Yasra Khoker.
A page from the Goa chapter of 'Food Swings'. Image credit: Yasra Khoker.

“There are times when I just look at what I’m about to eat and it just looks so pretty that I want to sketch it, like the time I went to the Ziya in Mumbai’s Oberoi Hotel and found every single dish presented in a way that looked so good,” she said.

While Khoker is attracted to foods that have a lot of colour, she is well aware that most Indian curries tend to be brown. “It’s about what kind of feelings it inspires in me in that moment. My love for a certain dish determines what I want to sketch. Whether it is a kachori or tea or samosa, it’s all brown but I don’t really have a problem with that and it works well in a composition.”

Image credit: Yasra Khoker.
Image credit: Yasra Khoker.

It takes Khoker ten minutes to an hour to complete a sketch, depending on what she is drawing. “If I can sit for long, I allow the paints to dry or I just keep a tissue paper in between the sheets. In places where there is a rush, I quickly do a drawing and fill in the colours later or maybe the other way around if I’m drawing something with a lot of gravy.”

Sketching in New Delhi. Image courtesy: Yasra Khoker.
Sketching in New Delhi. Image courtesy: Yasra Khoker.

Khoker has been approached by bloggers, writers and journalists to illustrate covers for books. She recently illustrated the recipe of a chutney that was Mughal king Bahadur Shah Zafar’s favourite – the Rahat-e-Jaan chutney.

Image credit: Yasra Khoker.
Image credit: Yasra Khoker.
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.