So happy with the Botanical Drawing workshop I held at Lennox Arts Collective on 15th July. The day dawned sunny and mild which was a great start after the freezing cold days we have been experiencing (nothing like England or France experience, of course, but cold for us who live in the subtropics!). Anyway eleven enthusiastic students attended and I even had a ‘wait list’ so I am thinking of running something similar in November – the 11th, which is a Saturday. so let me know if you are interested.
Objective: to explore the art of drawing plants.
You can read about the exercises set below……
Botanical drawing has been an important scientific tool over the centuries – prior to the advent of photography it was the principal way of documenting plant types (apart from collecting actual specimens). Interestingly it is still critically important as photographs have limitations in clearly demonstrating particular elements of a plant.
Scientific drawing is precise and seeks to show the various parts of a plant – the seed, fruit, leaf structure, roots, flower and so on.
From the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney website:
‘Botany is an ancient science. Botanical illustrations – drawings that make science visual – have a history of thousands of years. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney boasts not one but two scientific illustrators, maintaining the rich tradition that began at the National Herbarium of NSW in 1901. Living, pressed, dried or floating in alcohol, plants are interpreted, reimagined and perfected in illustration – no matter how humble the species, how aged or decrepit the specimens may be.
The role of our scientific illustrators is to highlight botanical research, to clarify our understanding, but along the way they also happen to make the science beautiful’.
In this class I aim to help you to draw recognisable elements of a plant but in an artistic rather than in a scientific manner.
I have brought along examples of drawings of plants – some are highly scientific but still extremely artistic, others are realistic but rendered in a more artistic manner, with some of the elements emphasised at the expense of others.
- Choose a drawing that appeals to you and discuss what you like about it.
- Can you describe the techniques the artist has used to convey the form of the plant?
I have given you a leaf attached to a stalk – examine it closely to understand how the leaf is attached, what shape the leaf has, how it’s veins are arranged, what shape the stalk is and how it connects to the leaf.
Draw your specimen in pencil illustrating these elements. You can use an eraser – doesn’t have to be perfect, but show me that you have observed – observation is the key.
Do not draw what you ‘think’ you see, draw the shapes that are there.
Draw a different specimen using pen, don’t forget to put in detail.
Draw a specimen and use artistic licence to create a piece of art that still has accurate depictions of the plant. Have a look at all the creative work below!