News Stories from June 2013

Natural History Illustration - A Passion for Minutiae - June 27th 2013

Story posted: 27. June 2013 by Lizzie Harper

Natural history illustration exposes you to a plethora of beautiful subjects; and often the real beauty lies in the detail.

At first sight a plant or animal may not seem particularly stunning, but once you get involved in its structure, and drawn into its details, it can become overwhelmingly awesome.  The times I spend completely absorbed in the tiniest of details of a plant or animal are amongst the happiest of my life.

With botanical illustrations, it’s invariably tiny hairs, leaf venation, details of the calyx, or compound flower-heads that draw me in.…

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Category: Showcase of themed natural history illustrations    Comments: 0    Viewed: 3196

Botanical Illustration - Glorious grasses - June14th 2013

Story posted: 21. June 2013 by Lizzie Harper

I have always loved grasses.  Even as a child I marvelled at their different heights, shapes, and textures.  I love the way fields of grass move and rustle in the wind, and I love the smell of new mown grass (it's caused by green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and is actually a distress call from the plant).  As an adult, I love to illustrate them.

Alopecurus myosuroides

Monocots vs Dicots

In order to illustrate grasses, you need to know a bit about their anatomy.  They are unlike many of our plants as they are monocots not dicots.  This basically means that their…

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Category: Biological terminology, Showcase of themed natural history illustrations    Comments: 3    Viewed: 12509

Natural History Illustration – When it goes wrong (and what to do about it) - June 14th 2013

Story posted: 15. June 2013 by Andy Dix

Scientific illustration and botanical art are similar to all other disciplines in one crucial way.  Mistakes are made.  This week’s blog explains how these happen, and how to fix those which are redeemable.  Where relevant, I’ve marked up my illustrations with red to show where the mistakes are, or where alterations were called for.


Sometimes mistakes happen which are beyond your control.  I once got some dodgy masking fluid which left a sticky smear instead of a perfect white space.  Since I’d already painted the nest around the area (which were to be blueish…

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Botanical Illustration - Painting a sketchbook study of Broom - June 7th 2013

Story posted: 7. June 2013 by Lizzie Harper

As a natural history illustrator, I never know what species of plant or animal I'll be called on to paint next.  A good way to try and stay ahead of the game is to keep (copious) sketchbooks full of studies and written notes on colour, shape, and plant habit.  Sometimes I even attach parts of the plant to the page, which can be useful when looking at leaf venation.

I have found the perfect sketchbook to work on, namely the RKB Fat Pad .  Fabriano classico paper, spiral bound in various sizes (an A4 one for the studio, a smaller one for field studies).  The cover is tough, the…

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Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 9264