News Stories from March 2014

Natural History Illustrator Out and About: Inspirations: Hannah Firmin March 28th 2014

Story posted: 28. March 2014 by Lizzie Harper

Natural history illustrators get inspired by other illustrators, as well as by the natural world around them.

I recently went to Booth's Bookshop to see Hannah Firmin discuss her beautiful work, her methods of creating illustrations, and her attitude to her career.  (All photos and illustrations in this blog are copyright Hannah Firmin unless stated otherwise).

Hannah at work.

This event was put on by Arts Alive Wales , a local organisation that promotes links between artists across Wales, and in fact there's a fine blog on Hannah's talk at Booths on…

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Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1886

Botanical Illustration: Composing a sketchbook study March 21st 2014

Story posted: 21. March 2014 by Lizzie Harper

Winter, and my natural history illustration work continues.  No problem painting a botanical illustration specimen in February if it's a conifer, like this Douglas fir.

Instead of examining the techniques involved in mixing colours etc., I thought perhaps it might be an idea to discuss composing the way a botanical subject sits on a page.

Here we are at the very start; lots of specimens, a blank sheet of paper, and a deadline.

I know what elements I need to include in this  sketchbook study. I need a decent sized "habit" drawing; a picture which shows how the…

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Category: Illustration techniques    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1873

Natural History Illustration: A Week's Work March 14th 2014

Story posted: 14. March 2014 by Lizzie Harper

Natural science illustration isn't all botanical illustration and natural history illustration; and my work load this fortnight shows what I mean.

A job's come in from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxon Wildlife trust ; it involves illustrating a map of their nature reserve at H artslock , and a large landscape illustration showing the countryside and all seven species of orchid found on the site.  It's pretty amazing; one of the species (the monkey orchid) is only found in two other places in the UK, and another species (the monkey-lady hybrid orchid) is found nowhere…

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Category: News of current projects    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1538

Botanical Illustration: Why it's still relevant March 7th 2014

Story posted: 7. March 2014 by Lizzie Harper

I recently read a good blog by Susannah Spier about why botanical illustration still matters in this modern era of photography and digitalisation.  I agree strongly with it, and am using it as the basis of this week's blog.

It's a relevant question.  Why, when there are so many good ways of recording botanical subjects with digital devices, should the traditional skills of botanical illustration still need to be needed?

The answer is multi-faceted.  I don't want to come across as someone who thinks there's no place for photography in botany, nor as someone who thinks…

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Category: Illustration techniques    Comments: 1    Viewed: 6165

Natural Science Illustration: British Garden Birds March 1st 2014

Story posted: 1. March 2014 by Lizzie Harper

Unsurprisingly, like most scientific illustrators, I have a lot of love for the bird visitors to my garden and encourage them by feeding them grain, dried mealworms, nyjar seed and peanuts.  Not only does this tempt them in, but it also makes them the unwitting subjects of my illustrations.

I learnt a good deal more about my avian visitors by joining the British Trust for Ornithology 's Garden Birdwatch scheme .  It requires you to watch the birds in your garden for 10 minutes every day and then report the sightings once a week to the BTO who collate the results and…

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Category: Showcase of themed natural history illustrations    Comments: 0    Viewed: 2620