Aug 7, 2011

Learning botanical illustration

My fondness of nature's elegant beauty comes out once more. I've searched the net high and low to learn how to draw botanics. I'm deeply infatuated with botanical sketches nowadays. The more vintage the sketches are, the lovelier they look. As you may know already, those who have been following my posts, I take a lot of inspiration from my favorite - Amy Merrick and her blog. But deeply loving nature is innate to me, it is not an overnight thing, I remember having my own garden in our humble home back in the province when I was still in grade school, I took community beautification as my girl scout project in high school, I would have preferred to study Forestry  in college but my dad talked me out of it coz women foresters, he said, would only get deployed in the office and not on field, I felt elated when I got in UP Los Banos because of its vast, naturally beautiful campus. And Botany was my favorite in Biology class. There's something in me that tells me - maybe I used to be a botanist, or a florist, or maybe a lady-gardener in my past life.(Above photo from here, below was taken from here)

Botanical illustration is what I've been wanting to learn for a long time. Here, I found a great tutorial blog for botanical drawing -Val Webb's The Illustrated Garden. Check out her site, there are video illustrations, clear ones unlike the others, on how to draw flowers. I tried to follow her step by step instruction on drawing a petunia. I came up with the drawing in pencil below,pardon coz it's quite messy. But it's way better I guess than the 2-dimensional drawings I first did (far below). The pencil is what I'm going to study first, the watercolors can follow later. I thought at first it's not difficult because the flower looks so simple. But it's not. You've got to be very careful with angle, shading can be tricky. It's not easy to achieve the 3-dimensional view of the flower.

If like me, you want to get serious with drawing, these are the other online tutorial links I recommend because the instructions come with pictures, just great for newbies:
O Sweet Nature - for watercolor tutorial
Art Graphica - for colored pencils


  1. so your kid got his talent from you!

  2. Hello! I love your drawings, I think they are coming out wonderful (I even like the first ones!) and I think you have a lot of talent. I was reminded about someone when you were writing about the inspiration of the botanical drawings. Ernst Haeckel was a famous German scientist living around the same time as Darwin. He was probably overshadowed in the science books because he came up with a less-popular version of the theory. However, what I love about him is the art he created! There's some of plants, but also all the other organisms he could find, he illustrated and it is so amazing and beautiful, just like you said about the botanical drawings. Anyway give him a search and check out some of his images - I especially like the ones he has done of the different plankton species :) Keep the great writing, I am really enjoying it!

    1. Thank you Meredith! I hope to be able to get back to drawing again. And I have to influence my kids also, there's too much cartoons in their minds. Cheers!