News Stories in category: Scientific Illustrator out and about

Gardening: Maintaining An Eco-Friendly Lawn guest blog by Gus Stewart

Story posted: 21. September 2018 by Lizzie Harper

This blog is guest-written by Gus Stewart , who generously wrote another blog on the importance of bees recently.  In light of the hot, dry weather we had here in the UK at the start of the summer, here are his tips for the garden for the next time the weather burns hot.  All illustrations by me, Lizzie.

Maintaining an Eco-Friendly Lawn

Water shortages happen frequently in some parts of our country and they can damage the beautiful lawn you’ve maintained. In fact, you may have given up on the idea of a nice lawn because you want to conserve water.…

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Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 173

Telling Bluebell species apart

Story posted: 15. May 2018 by Lizzie Harper

May is a really wonderful month for botanical illustration; all the spring flowers are in bloom and there’s almost too many subjects to illustrate!  I always like to visit our local bluebell woods at this time of year, and thought it might be an idea to write a blog on how you can tell the difference between a native bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta and a Spanish or garden variety Hyacinthoides hispanica (or a hybrid of the two!)



Native bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

The iconic British bluebell wood, carpeted with deep purple-blue flowers, is one…

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Botanical illustration: Sedges Workshop

Story posted: 8. September 2017 by Lizzie Harper

In my career as a botanical illustrator, I sometimes come across whole groups of plants or animals that I know very little about.  The sedges fall into this category, a fact which became increasingly clear to me as I completed a whole swathe of these plants for the Field Studies Council’s leaflets .

I managed to complete the illustrations, although I found it tricky, but I decided then and there to back up this initial trial by fire by doing my best to learn a bit about these pretty plants.



Glaucous sedge Carex flacca

Luckily, FSC has lots of diverse and…

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Botanical Illustration Norfolk Field trip: Weeting Heath & Cranwich Camp

Story posted: 18. August 2017 by Lizzie Harper

A recent fieldtrip to Norfolk with a botany group I’m a member of,  the Institute for Analytical Plant Illustration ( IAPI ), was a wonderful way to spend a hot July weekend; poring over plants in the sun and doing sketchbook botanical illustrations on site.



Sketches from Weeting Heath

For more on our first day, a visit to Wicken Fen , please click the link. Our Second day saw us visiting two really interesting Breckland sites, and stumbling across an enormous number of plants there.  We were lucky to have members of the Iceni Botanical Artists’ Group with us, who…

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Botanical Illustration Norfolk Field trip: Wicken Fen

Story posted: 10. July 2017 by Lizzie Harper

I recently went on a botany fieldtrip to Norfolk with the Institute for Analytical Plant Illustration ( IAPI ) and it was a fabulous way to spend a sunny July weekend, and to discover a whole new area of Britain.

Our first day was an exploration of Wicken Fen , a gorgeous nature reserve full of fenland species, peat, wind pumps and dragonflies, run by the National Trust.  Please click the link to hear about our exploration of Breckland rare plants on the second day of our trip.



Old wind pump, now used to pump water into rather than out of Wicken Fen

We had a…

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Slugs: Workshop on slug identification

Story posted: 7. July 2017 by Lizzie Harper

As a botanical illustrator who does lots of natural history illustrations too, it’s important to learn about the animals and plants I get asked to draw.  I realised recently that not only did I know almost nothing about slugs, but I also had never done a decent illustration of one.



One of only two slug illustrations I have completed, it's not good enough!

Soon after, I saw a day-long course on slugs offered by the School for Field Studies (who offer lots of fabulous courses) run by Chris du Feu (who you can email on chris.r.dufeu@gmail.com).

We assembled at…

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Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1089

Starting out as an illustrator: Advice and resources

Story posted: 10. January 2017 by Lizzie Harper

As a practicing natural history and botanical illustrator, I sometimes get asked to give advice to those starting out as illustrators, or considering this as a career path.  This happened recently, when I went and spoke to a group of illustration students at Hereford College of Art and Design .

Here, in a nutshell, is what I spoke to them about.



Me at work

Setting up as an illustrator

Before you begin your career as an illustrator, there are some steps you should do to make life easier for yourself, and to make you look more professional.  First, get a…

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Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 524

Botanical Illustration Live: Hawthorn at the Barnes Lecture

Story posted: 3. November 2016 by Lizzie Harper

I recently did botanical illustration live for an audience at the Metripole Hotel in Llandrindod.  The event was the annual Barnes lecture, organised as a fundraiser for Radnorshire Wildlife Trust (RWT), and was open to members and non-members.  The success of “ The Hedgerow Handbook ” and “ The Garden Forager ” has meant Adele Nozedar (the author) and I (the illustrator) have been invited to do several of these events; they’re always great fun, and we were honoured and delighted to be able to present 2016’s Barnes Lecture.



Hedgerow handbook Garden Forager by Adele…

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Natural History illustration: Primary school drawing workshop

Story posted: 29. July 2016 by Lizzie Harper

As well as being a natural history illustrator and botanical artist, I’m also a parent and sometimes get asked to go into our local Hay-on-Wye Primary School and draw with the children.  Recently I go to help year 1 (5 – 6year olds) draw “mini-beasts”.



I’ve got a whole lot of insect specimens that I’ve gathered over the years, including loads encased in Perspex.  These are brilliant for kids as they can examine them closely, but do no damage.



I’m happy for them to use other specimens too – there’s nothing like drawing from life to ignite a child’s…

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Botanical Illustration and foraging: Eat what you paint!

Story posted: 20. May 2016 by Lizzie Harper

Recently I took an edible plants identification chart I'd done the natural history illustrations for on a walk, to test it out with friends.

I've written blogs on foraging before as it's something I do a fair amount of, but this "road test" of one of my i.d. charts was a first.



FSC Guide to Edible Plants

We were looking out for anything edible, but were mainly after wild garlic to make pesto with.



Wild Garlic Allium ursinum botanical illustration - this one I did a while back is too dull in colour.

I've illustrated wild garlic several…

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Natural History Illustrator Out & About: Foraging with Adele Nozedar

Story posted: 2. October 2015 by Lizzie Harper

Despite supplying botanical illustrations for the natural history foraging classic "Hedgerow Handbook" by Adele Nozedar , and doing events together (such as at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales ) I'd never had the chance to go foraging with her...until Monday.



Cover of "The Hedgerow Handbook" by Adele Nozedar (illustrated by me)

A beautiful sunny autumn afternon saw a large group of kids and parents meet at Hay Primary School. We had foraged Himalayan Honeysuckle berries before leaving the playground!



Himalayan Honesysuckle Leycesteria formosa…

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Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 2830

Natural History Illustrator at the New Naturalist Collector's Symposium

Story posted: 14. August 2015 by Lizzie Harper

Being a botanical illustrator, sientific illustrator and natural history illustrator you need to draw wildlife, plants, and animals; and you also need to market yourself.  One of the less painful ways to do this is to attend events such as the biannual " New Naturalist Symposium ", this year held at the Oxford Museum of Natural History .

The " New Naturalists " are a fabulous series of erudite and accessible books on different aspects of natural history.  They're written by experts in the field who have a real passion for their subject, are things of beauty in their own right,…

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Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1547

Natural History Illustration at Art in Action

Story posted: 24. July 2015 by Lizzie Harper

I was honoured and delighted to be asked to join the Calligraphers and Illustrators this year at Art in Action , at Waterperry Gardens near Oxford.  This meant having the chance to sell my natural history art, botanical illustrations, and cards to all the thousands of visitors who attend this amazing annual event.  I also got to demonstrate how I work, and talk to anyone who wants to ask about what I do, how, and why.



Setting out painitngs on the kitchen floor

First thing to establish was which paintings to take and where to place them.  This required a lot of…

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Category: Scientific Illustrator out and about    Comments: 0    Viewed: 1595

Scientific Illustator Out and About: Biolblitz at Llanbwchllyn Lake

Story posted: 3. July 2015 by Lizzie Harper

As a botanical artist and natural history illustrator, it's inevitable that I'm passionate about wildlife.  Wildlife which isn't far from home is especially appealing, so when my local Wildlife Trust , RWT offered a "Focus on Nature Bioblitz at Llanbwychllyn Lake" I had to go along.

"Bioblitz" is a relatively new term, and means that experts and amateurs go to one site and look all over it, listing every single species of plant and animal that they encounter.  It's not only a good way of getting a snapshot of the wildlife communities in a place, but is also very exciting…

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Scientific Illustrator Out and About: National Botanic Garden of Wales's Foraging Weekend

Story posted: 26. June 2015 by Lizzie Harper

Recently my botanical illustrations have appeared in The Garden Forager by Adele Nozedar , and we wre honoured to be invited to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales to celebrate its launch and take part in a foraging weekend .

The event was based in the glorious glasshouse , and I have rarely been prouder of my stall than I was this time.  Anything looks phenomenal in such a setting, and I'd been given plenty of space to show my work, demonstrate what I do, and encourage visitors to try their hand at botanical illustration.



Space for my illustrations, teaching,…

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