News Stories from May 2013

Natural History Illustration for decoration II - Greetings cards and gift wrap - May 31st 2013

Story posted: 31. May 2013 by Lizzie Harper

Scientific illustration often results in beautiful imagery; and there's a lot of joy to be gained from knowing that every hair on the stem of a plant or every vein in a dragonfly wing is in the correct place.  A lot of the glory of nature is to be found in its details, and this is what ensures I remain deeply in love with both my subjects and my job as a natural history illustrator.

However, sometimes clients ask for a less precise approach, and want more in the way of decorative imagery.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, Natural History Illustration for decoration I -…

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Category: Showcase of themed natural history illustrations    Comments: 1    Viewed: 2114

Scientific illustration: Getting reference for zoological illustrations - 24th May 2013

Story posted: 24. May 2013 by Lizzie Harper

It is a trueism that "you are only as good as your reference."  As a natural history illustrator, I am always searching for good reference of both plants and animals.  You never know what the next job will ask for, so need to be prepared for any request.

Plants get sketched and details noted, in my botanical sketchbook studies. If a job requires illustrations of people (say, a hand in a gardening step-by-step vignette) I have my body and family to draw from.  But animals?  They move.  They're elusive.  And when there's a deadline looming, sourcing good ref. can be a real…

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Category: Illustration techniques    Comments: 0    Viewed: 2273

Natural History Illustration for decoration I - Weddings and Murals - May 17th 2013

Story posted: 17. May 2013 by Lizzie Harper

One of the treats of being a scientific illustrator is that you can use your skills in a less exacting manner when the opportunity arises.  This can be useful for jobs which ask for a more decorative approach to natural history subjects, as a way of creating gifts or mementos, and as a means to decorate your own home.

Many years ago, I was asked to paint a prototype plate design for Bradford Exchange .  The brief included specification to "reduce the size of the butterfly bodies as most people only like their wings" and to "only really paint the flowers as the leaves aren't so…

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Category: Showcase of themed natural history illustrations    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1531

Botanical Illustration - Tips on painting a Himalayan Balsam Flower - May 10th 2013

Story posted: 10. May 2013 by Lizzie Harper

One of the invasive plants I was asked to paint by Summersault Communications is the Himalayan balsam, which is growing out of control along many of Britain's water courses, outcompeting native plants and clogging up drainage channels.

Although a truly problematic invasive species here in the UK, it is also very beautiful.  Following on from last week's step-by-step tips on painting a leaf of Japanese Knotweed; this week I'll be explaining how I go about painting the flowers of this gorgeous plant.

As always, the first step is to get decent reference to work from. …

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Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 2648

Botanical Illustration - Tips on painting sketchbook-style studies of leaves - May 4th 2013

Story posted: 3. May 2013 by Lizzie Harper

I've been working on a series of three scientific illustrations of invasive plants this week, for Summersault Communications .  The accompanying article will explain how to identify the plants and why they pose a threat.  I am fortunate in that the commissioning art director has asked for the images to be in my botanical illustration sketchbook style, which is my favourite way to work.

Having been asked by various people (including some members of the Botanical Art for Beginners group) to explain some step by step processes, I thought I'd break down the stages involved in…

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Category: Biological terminology, Botanical Illustration step by step, Illustration techniques    Comments: 2    Viewed: 44987