you are an admirer of those beautiful plates in books on botany
then here is a book that shows you how to produce them. The
author is a celebrated botanical artist at Kew and has submitted
work to Curtis's Botanical Magazine.
I am used to books on art talking about using artistic
license and your imagination to produce works that hold
up a mirror to the real world, but do not exactly reflect
it. In this book plants are copied exactly and are scientific
illustrations as much as they are art in the purest
sense. This is not a book for the novice painter, but rather
for somebody who is proficient in their chosen field and wants
to try their hand at botanical illustration. Several types
of paint are looked at, including watercolors, pen and ink
and pencils and a suggested palette is given, along with suggestions
for brands. There are sections on deciding what materials
to use, choosing a subject and working from life, as well
as working with a hand lens or microscope, correcting mistakes
and what not to do if you want to be a good botanical illustrator
(rather than just an artist). I have not tried my hand at
this type of work so am no expert on it, but most topics I
can think of are covered, including depicting different types
of plants, what to take to work in the field, preserving specimens
and using a shading guide as well as advice for beginners.
I have not previously seen a work like this, and was fascinated
to see how it differed from ordinary art while
still being beautiful to behold. At the back are several of
the artist's works from Curtis's Botanical Magazine to show
how it can look, as well as useful glossaries of both botanical
and artistic terms.
If you cannot find a good range of art materials locally try
for a list of suppliers.