News Stories

Botanical Illustration: Comparing Hot Press Watercolour Papers (part 2)

Story posted: 21. June 2017 by Lizzie Harper

As a botanical illustrator, having a good hot press watercolour paper to work on is really important.  Unfortunately, recently the paper I used to use, Fabriano Artistico , has had some changes to its manufacturing process and is no longer quite as wonderful as it was.

I, along with lots of other botanical illustrators, am busy testing alternatives to see what papers are out there, and how they work for us.

In a previous blog and youttube video I tested Arches HP,  Moulin du Roy hot press, Canson Heritage HP, Saunders Waterford HP,  and Botanical Ultra Smooth…

Read the full story

Category: Illustration techniques    Comments: 0    Viewed: 12

Natural History Illustration: Water Meadow Landscape

Story posted: 12. June 2017 by Lizzie Harper

I was recently commissioned to complete a large natural history natural science watercolour illustration of a landscape of a water meadow habitat, complete with wildlife and botanical illustrations of the plants that grow there.   This illustration will be used on an interpretation panel, and was a challenge and a joy to create.

Linda Francis is a designer friend I’ve worked with before, so I was more than happy to take on this job for The Wychwood Project and Woodstock Town Council .

There are to be two interpretation panels, one will have archeology information and…

Read the full story

Category: News of current projects    Comments: 0    Viewed: 99

Botanical Illustration: Fungal Diseases of Wheat Crops

Story posted: 26. May 2017 by Lizzie Harper

I was recently commissioned by Farmer’s Weekly Magazine to do some botanical illustrations of both Wheat ( Triticum aestivum ) and three common diseases of wheat crops.



Common wheat plant ( Triticum aestivum ), free of disease.

The first one is the fungus Septoria , the other two are rusts.

Septoria

Septoria triitici is a fungus that affects the leaves and stems of wheat plants.  Infection occurs in autumn and spring, with fungal ascospores brought on the wind.

Once established, the disease spreads as pynidiospores through crops by…

Read the full story

Category: News of current projects    Comments: 0    Viewed: 133

Step by step Botanical illustration of the Greater Willow herb

Story posted: 19. May 2017 by Lizzie Harper

One of the botanical illustrations I was recently commissioned to complete for the Field Studies Council is the Greater willowher, Epilobium hirstutum. This will feature with 30 or so other of my common British wild flowers illustrations in an  upcoming leaflet on Wayside wild flowers.

Here is an explanation of the steps involved in creating a botanically accurate illustration which is also visually appealing, and allows a novice to identify that flower in the field.

First, I gather my reference.  The illustration rough was done in January, so no Willowherbs were…

Read the full story

Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 340

Botanical Illustration: Comparing Hot Press Watercolour Papers

Story posted: 5. May 2017 by Lizzie Harper

As some of you may know, there’s been a bit of a panic in the Botanical illustration community recently.  This is because the firm favourite hot press watercolour paper of many illustrators, Fabriano Classico (and Fabriano Artistico) has altered its manufacturing process.  This has resulted in the surface of the paper being given a different sizing, which results in it being less smooth than before, and now when you paint on it the watercolour bleeds and pools a little, clearly not the effect a botanical artist is after!

It should be pointed out that the difference is not…

Read the full story

Category: Illustration techniques    Comments: 0    Viewed: 687

Botanical Illustration of Red Clover- step by step

Story posted: 20. April 2017 by Lizzie Harper

This botanical illustration of Red clover Trifolium pratense was completed recently for the  Field Studies Council who are producing a leaflet on identifying plants and wild flowers of the wayside and hedgerows.

First step with any sciart botanical illustration is to get good reference.  Not only do I know where a local patch of red clover is growing, so I can gather leaves to work from, but I also back this up with good reference books like HarperCollins Guide to Wild Flowers by David Streeter , Streeter and Garrard's The Wild Flowers of the British Isles , and the…

Read the full story

Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 463

Botanical Illustration: Telling Gorse species apart

Story posted: 6. April 2017 by Lizzie Harper

Whilst working for The Field Studies Council on charts of Heathland and Wayside plants, I needed to illustrate the three species of Gorse ( Ulex ) found in Britain.

Gorse is a shrubby, spiny family of plants in the pea family with spiny green prickles or spines and bright yellow flowers.  Young plants have trifoliate leaves (slightly resembling elongate clover leaves), but on mature plants these disappear leaving the spines and the flowers.



Painting of Gorse with specimens

All three of these plants are found on heathland and acidic soils, but their…

Read the full story

Category: Showcase of themed natural history illustrations    Comments: 0    Viewed: 349

Botanical Illustration step by step: Painting Heather

Story posted: 24. March 2017 by Lizzie Harper

One of the plants I completed a botanical illustration of recently is the Bell heather,  Erica cinerea; it'll be used on a leafelt on Heathland plants produced by the Field Studies Council, and is one of several British heather species (see my blog for more) on the chart. Although both leaves and flowers are small I thought it might be interesting to break it down into a step by step process.

First, I drew up the pencil rough onto Fabriano Artistico Hot press paper with a mechanical pencil (I like the Pentel P205 ).  For reference I used the plant itself, still growing in…

Read the full story

Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 514

Teaching Botanical Illustration at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens - Spring

Story posted: 10. March 2017 by Lizzie Harper

This week I had the good fortune to be asked to teach a course of botanical illustration for beginners, at the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens .

I was so impressed by the classroom preparation and friendly welcome from the staff – a spotless room, daylight lighting, neat desks with drawing boards and pots for water neatly laid out for the students, and a gorgeous view onto the lawns and borders and trees in the botanic garden.



The classroom at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens

Before the students arrived, Felicity (Head of Education at the Gardens and I…

Read the full story

Category: Painting workshops    Comments: 0    Viewed: 325

Botanical Illustration: Comparing Three Heather Species

Story posted: 23. February 2017 by Lizzie Harper

Whilst undertaking botanical illustrations for The Field Studies Council , I was asked to illustrate three different species of heather for a leaflet on heathland plants.



Illustration of Common heather or Ling in prgress; you can see the plant, The Collins Flower Guide, Garrard and Streeter's The Wildflowers of the British Isles, Stella Ross-Craig's amazing line drawings, my Series 7 Winsor and Newton 000 paintbrushes, and a 10x magnifying glass.

Although there are eight species of heather or heath found in the UK and Northern Europe, the three I illustrated are…

Read the full story

Category: News of current projects    Comments: 0    Viewed: 415

Beautiful Bryophytes: Botanical illustrations of moss

Story posted: 2. February 2017 by Lizzie Harper

I've been working on lots of botanical illustrations for the Field Studies Council recently, and a lot of the plants on the list of heathland species are bryophytes, beautiful mosses.

I'm lucky enough to have had an enourmous amount of help assembling species to work with (see my blog ) and have been working on the painted finals over the past few weeks.



Moss specimens in storage

Below is a gallery of some fo the moss illustrations I've completed so far for this job.  This blog is more of a "what I've been up to" posting than a mossy step by step , or…

Read the full story

Category: News of current projects    Comments: 0    Viewed: 438

Starting out as an illustrator: Advice and resources

Story posted: 10. January 2017 by Lizzie Harper

As a practicing natural history and botanical illustrator, I sometimes get asked to give advice to those starting out as illustrators, or considering this as a career path.  This happened recently, when I went and spoke to a group of illustration students at Hereford College of Art and Design .

Here, in a nutshell, is what I spoke to them about.



Me at work

Setting up as an illustrator

Before you begin your career as an illustrator, there are some steps you should do to make life easier for yourself, and to make you look more professional.  First, get a…

Read the full story

Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 7663

Natural History Illustration of a new Damselfly species

Story posted: 6. January 2017 by Lizzie Harper

One of the more exciting recent natural history illustration commissions I’ve had is to complete a Sciart watercolour of a newly discovered species of damselfly.

The insect in question is the Sarep sprite, Pseudoagrion sarepi .  As with all damselflies, it lives in and near fresh water  and was named after the SAREP expedition to Eastern Angola.  Although similar to a few other species it is indeed a distinct new species, one of 60 new Odonata discovered recently in Africa (for more on this amazing set of new species please read the report from Odonatologica ).

There was…

Read the full story

Category: News of current projects    Comments: 0    Viewed: 335

Botanical Illustrations of Moss: Step by step Sphagnum tenellum

Story posted: 23. December 2016 by Lizzie Harper

I’ve been working on botanical illustrations recently for the Field Studies Council ; specifically on a big batch of Heathland plants.  Amongst these are several moss species.

The first step is to get your hands on the moss itself; drawing mosses is so unusual and new for me that unless I have a reliably identified specimen to work from, there’s no way I can even begin an illustration of the species.  I’ve been incredibly lucky in having the support of Ray Woods ( Radnorshire Wildlife Trust botany and mycology expert) and Jonathan Sleath ( British Bryological Society ), both…

Read the full story

Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 567

Botanical Illustration: Leaf painting workshop

Story posted: 9. December 2016 by Lizzie Harper

I recently taught a day-long session on how to do botanical illustrations of leaves, focusing on colour and form, at The Walled Garden in Treberfydd .  We set ourselves up in an airy glass house, and had ready access to the enormous variety of beautiful plants Alison grows and sells at the nursery.



Glass house and students at work

After some initial work on form, we had a look at mixing greens.

When I'm illustrating, I'll choose a leaf and try to mix a colour that almost exactly matches it, even painting a little of the mixed colour onto the leaf itself to see…

Read the full story

Category: Illustration techniques    Comments: 0    Viewed: 848

Categories

Links

Recent News

News Archive


Subscribe to the RSS news feed