News Stories from February 2013

Botanical illustration tips on painting leaves - February 22nd 2013

Story posted: 22. February 2013 by Lizzie Harper

I’ve been doing botanical illustrations this week, and think perhaps some ideas on how to undertake a scientific illustration of leaves might be useful.  Most of these examples are from my botanical sketchbooks (always keep sketchbooks!); although the final pieces are completed works for clients.


It goes without saying that whenever possible, you need to get your hands on the plant you want to draw.  It not only makes for a more accurate illustration, but also makes life much easier than trying to piece together a plant from various photos or other illustrations.


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Category: Biological terminology    Comments: 1    Viewed: 8241

Botanical illustration tips on painting white flowers - February 18th 2013

Story posted: 15. February 2013 by Lizzie Harper

I was painting a snowdrop the other day, and wrestling, as always, with the best way to paint white flower petals. There are as many different approaches to this troublesome aspect of botanical illustration as there are scientific illustrators; so I thought it’d be worth considering.

A handy trick in the first instance, especially if the flower you’re painting is startling white, is to use the leaves as a background.  This can set the white off really dramatically, and means you can leave the white more or less untouched.  You do have to be a little careful not to make…

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Category: Illustration techniques    Comments: 0    Viewed: 8319

How to paint a Scientific Illustration of a Beetle in Watercolour - February 11th 2013

Story posted: 11. February 2013 by Lizzie Harper

As a natural history illustrator, I get asked to undertake lots of different scientific illustrations.  Completing a botanical illustration requires a different approach from animal illustrations; and the shiny, metallic iridescence of a beetle is pretty much confined to these incredible insects alone.


When I draw a beetle, firstly I get the shape right.  I use callipers, and tracing paper to plot out the measurements, and then “join the dots” to get the body plan.

Then I transfer the image onto watercolour paper (normally Fabriano Artistico ).  A good…

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Ducklings and ducks - February 4th 2013

Story posted: 1. February 2013 by Lizzie Harper

The start of the week was a whirl, desparately trying to get the duckling illustrations done.  Once done, I could concentrate exclusively on this new confidential contract; I’m now up against one other illustrator and we’re both doing paid test pieces which are due in March.  The final decision will be made at the end of March.

This is problematic in terms of  this blog; I obviously can’t discuss any of my roughs or studies, thoughts or thumbnails, trials or tribulations in the public arena.  I think I’ll have to pop up some past work and discuss how I did it.  We’ll see how…

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Comments: 0    Viewed: 1704