Spring Dining 2021
Tom Sietsema shines a light on 22 restaurants in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area that somehow managed to open during the pandemic — and to debut great work during such a challenging time. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and spring is the season of renewal, so this diningguide strikes an optimistic tone after so much bad news for the industry. I art directed the special topper image and worked on the digital design, which can be found here: wapo.st/springdining2021.
Credits: Art direction, design, and development by Clare Ramirez. Illustrations by Kat Chadwick. Portraits by André Chung. Production and photo editing by Jennifer Beeson Gregory. Additional development by Madison Walls.
The topper image depicts seven restaurateurs, all women and people of color, who are behind some of Tom’s favorite new places. In print, the illustration ran as the cover and the two connected pages that immediately follow.
I coordinated with a photo editor to arrange portraits of the seven restauranteurs in a timely manner. I then sent those along to an illustrator, Kat Chadwick, who is based in Australia. I picked Kat especially for her line style, and she agreed to draw a lined background combining the portraits for this project. She and I also had the idea to put specific dishes from their respective restaurants in front of each portrait.
Tom also wrote a short sidebar listing the things he'd like restaurants to keep doing after the pandemic is over. I worked with Italian artist Virginia Gabrielli to produce three illustrations for the piece, which you can read here.