News Stories in category: Botanical Illustration step by step

Illustrating a Pansy step by step sketchbook study

Story posted: 10. May 2018 by Lizzie Harper

Pansies and violas are one of the loveliest garden plants to study through botanical illustration; they’re also common, affordable, and quite easy to paint.  This blog will talk you through the basic steps in completing a sketchbook study of a viola or pansy.



First, choose a plant whose petals have colours that you think you’ll enjoy working with.  Purples, whites, yellows and warm pinks predominate.  I was taken with this pretty plant, and it also allowed me to play about with both pale and dark petals.



Draw up the flower in pencil, as always I use a…

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Pencil Botanical Illustration: Drawing a Bean leaf

Story posted: 29. March 2018 by Lizzie Harper

In order to complete a decent botanical illustration, you need to understand about lights and darks, and be able to see where your shadows fall.  One of the excersizes I recntly got my flower painting workshop to try was to complete a detailed pencil study of a relatively simple leaf, in this case the leaf of a runner bean.

Working on cartridge paper, with a soft eraser and a sharp pencil (I love mechanical pencils like the Pentel P205 , and use HB and H leads), I started out by plotting the outline of the leaf shape onto the page.



Step 1: Basic rough outline

The…

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Step by step Botanical illustration of a Sliced orange

Story posted: 2. March 2018 by Lizzie Harper

In the middle of winter it can be hard for a botanical illustrator to find good subjects to paint; so for my Monday Botanical illustration drop-in class in Hay on Wye I chose to work on a sliced orange as a subject.  The process of breaking down a painting into steps can be tricky; what surprised me most about this subject was how much harder it turned out to be than I’d anticipated!

A good thing about choosing an orange as a subject is that in most places you can get your hands on one easily, and no matter what the season.

(I do need to offer a minor apology, I took the…

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Step by Step Botanical illustration of Tupelo & Sweet orange

Story posted: 19. January 2018 by Lizzie Harper

A recent natural history illustration commission was to complete two botanical illustrations for labels on jars of honey.  The plants in question were Sweet orange Citrus sinensis and Tupelo Nyssa ogeche .

Neither plant grows wild here in the UK, and there was quite a tight deadline so I needed to work from other illustrations and photos.  For more on how I go about doing this, please check out my blog .

First step is to complete the pencil roughs.  I worked with a mechanical P205 Pentel pencil , and I’m currently working on Stonehenge Aqua Hot Press watercolour paper…

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Step by step botanical illustration of a Holly leaf

Story posted: 15. December 2017 by Lizzie Harper

As it's Christmas time, I thought it might be a nice idea to do a seasonal step by step blog.  Holly leaves are one of the few winter subjects that look just as good in the middle of winter as in summertime, and since they're pretty easy to come by and defiantly seasonal, I chose to work with the holly Ilex aquifolium .



I decided to work up one single leaf, and found it remarkably tricky!  However, here's my best attempt at painting a leaf and at breaking it down into easy to follow steps.  (If you can find a sprig with a red berry on, then you're all set to make a…

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Botanical Illustration step by step: Painting Bloom on a Fruit with Watercolour

Story posted: 30. November 2017 by Lizzie Harper

In this blog, I’ll go through the steps involved in creating a life like botanical illustration of a fruit with a “bloom” or cloudiness on its skin, such as these Sloes ( Prunus spinosa ).



These feature on a series of stamps completed for Jersey Post in their Fruit and Berries issue , out now.





Other fruit which have this distinctive blue-ish bloom on their skin include plums and grapes.  Sloes differ from these in having a far blacker underlying colour, which you can see if you rub off the bloom on a berry.

It’s surprisingly easy to get the bloom…

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Botanical Illustration step by step: Painting a Blackberry Watercolour

Story posted: 4. October 2017 by Lizzie Harper

I love doing botanical illustrations of blackberries, so I was thrilled when Jersey Post commissioned an illustration of the Jersey Bramble Rubus caesarius as one of the postage stamps on their “Fruits and Berries” issue .  I thought I’d break down the steps involved in painting a ripe juicy blackberry in watercolour, and  write a step by step blog.

All illustrations in this blog are copyright Jersey Post (www.jerseystamps.com) 2017 and must nbot be reproduced without the express permission of Jersey Post.

First, make sure your drawing of the blackberry is…

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Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1638

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Botanical Illustration: Step by step painting of leaves

Story posted: 18. November 2016 by Lizzie Harper

I recently taught a workshop of botanical illustration of leaves , and broke down the process of painting a leaf into incremental steps shown on a demonstration painting of a blackberry leaf.



Demonstration illustration showing different steps involved in painting a blackberry leaf, and a breakdown of the colours used to mix the greens that I used for each step.

I thought it might be worth deconstructing and explaining the processes in a blog.  The illustrations below are magnified, and so are a little out of focus; my apologies.

It also needs to be pointed out…

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Category: Botanical Illustration step by step, Illustration techniques    Comments: 0    Viewed: 51000

Natural History and botanical Illustration of Long-tail tits and Cylamen

Story posted: 6. May 2016 by Lizzie Harper

A recent natural history and botanical illustration commission ended up being one of my favourite jobs of the year.

The painting is for a 90 th birthday, and needed to include an array of plants and animals that mean something to the recipient.  We sat together over a cup of tea and came up with some rough ideas which I took home and worked on.



Series of thumbnail sketches and roughs

Once I’d sourced reference material for all the elements (yet again I blessed my  sketchbooks – I seem to have pages of visual notes on Silver birch  Betula pendula !) I could piece…

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Botanical Illustration: Step by step illustration of a Wild Strawberry

Story posted: 18. December 2015 by Lizzie Harper

One of the botanical illustrations I’ve been asked to paint as a natural history illustrator, is the Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca .  This will be one of the plants featured on a fold-out identification chart of Edible British Plants produced by the Field Studies Council .  There's also a 2 minute Youtube film of this illustration being completed online, in time lapse.

I begin by drawing up the rough in pencil, using a mechanical pencil such as the P205 .  I draw direct onto the paper I’ll paint on, Fabriano Artistico hotpress .  There are lots of wild strawberry plants…

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Natural History Illustration: Step by step Painting of an Elder

Story posted: 4. December 2015 by Lizzie Harper

There's a really wonderful job I'm working on right now; about 20 botanical illustrations of different edible plants for a fold out chart, to be produced by the  Field Studies Council .  Other blogs on this job include the step by step of painting a dog rose, and the step by step painting of a wild strawberry plant.  This week I'm illustrating the Elder, Sambuccus nigra.

It's autumn, and although I'm fortunate enough to be able to find (slightly battered) elder leaves, and a few berries still hanging on, there's no elder blossom anywhere.  This is why I keep my sketchbooks ,…

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Category: Botanical Illustration step by step    Comments: 0    Viewed: 4555

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