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Botanical DrawingTitle
A Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Flowers, Vegetables, Fruit and other Plant Life
Penny Brown

Search Press
11 January 2018/ ISBN 9781782212607
How-To Books/Art

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


Botanical drawing differs from most other types of art by its emphasis on accuracy. Beautiful illustrations of this type have adorned pages in herbals and books on botany for centuries. This useful primer shows the artist how to go about producing this type of work through projects and using easily obtainable materials.

Graphite pencils are the tools you require to tackle the two exercises and ten projects in this book. A nice touch is that everything in the book is drawn using them, including the pictures of what you need to buy. This is not much (you probably already own most of it), so you can start straight away by organizing your workspace and then “taking a line for a walk” and getting limbered up for some drawing. Learn about tone and various mark-making techniques such as cross-hatching, and look at a drawing where each pencil type (H to 2B) has been labelled. Each project is very thorough, showing in captioned stages how to first draw the outline and then add the shading and other details. The author encourages the student to observe carefully, and to this end there is a short section on plant structure, including labelled diagrams and information about gathering subjects for drawing. Subjects for the projects include fruit and vegetables as well as grasses and flowers so a wide range of shapes and plant types are covered. Topics as diverse as composition, working in the field or from photographs and plenty of good advice in the form of “field notes” are all covered. Anybody keen on having a go at this type of work ought to find this book useful, although it is not a volume for total beginners on how to draw; rather it is aimed at the artist who wants to try something new and already knows the basics. A good grounding in a subject sparsely covered in art primers.

If you cannot find a good range of drawing materials locally try for a list of suppliers.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2017