Oh my dear patient followers. I have been up to my eyeballs in finals for about a month (don’t give me that look, one of them at least was a REALLY big deal). Here is a multi-part reward for being so wonderful and still following me even though I’m neglectful: the step-by-step process of this botanical plate, which was one of my finals for my botanical illustration class. The captions describe what step is shown in each photo, but for those of you on mobile (which I don’t think shows captions), here it is in list form. <3

  1. Finished pen and ink white pine cone with all my other specimens, when they were still fresh, laid out on the page so I could start thinking about how I wanted to arrange them. I could not have done this step if I hadn’t decided to draw everything at actual size.
  2. My larch sprig with cone and illustration.
  3. The lacebark pine cone, sweet gum seed ball, and dawn redwood cone and my sketches of them. 
  4. The coast redwood frond and cone, with illustration. 
  5. The next two photos show the step where I trace the value study illustration using a blue-leaded pencil. In the next step (not pictured, sorry), I use this tracing and a piece of transfer paper to transfer the drawing onto the plate. I used blue lead in the last step so that, when I trace over it to make the transfer with a regular graphite pencil, I can easily see which parts I’ve already done.
  6. All my blue tracings, arranged (and rearranged, again and again) on the plate, trying to find the right spot for them.
  7. The very final final!

So much more to come! I’ll try and spread it out so as not to overwhelm any innocent feeds.



I finally got my copy of “Decorative cacti: a guide to succulent house plants” by Jiřina Kaplická (illustrations) and Rudolf Šubík. I snagged it for the plates: an amazingly detailed collection of cacti and succulent illustrations. I’ll do a better post on it tomorrow, but I couldn’t wait!


Visit to the Rare Botanical Book exhibit at the John Innes Centre (Wednesday 19th November 2014).
Today I visited the Norwich Research Park. My brother is studying his PhD at the IFR (Institute of Food Research) which is the younger brother of the John Innes centre, so his pass allowed me visitor access to the library where the exhibit is held.
An array of books are on display daily, but in order to see something specific you must book a session. Today there were mainly insect specimens and related documents.
It was absolutely fascinating to witness first hand the drawings I have been studying online. The intensity of detail is incredible. Figures 4 and 5 demonstrate my favourite pieces - the intricacy is so painstaking it looks lifelike, the aim of this method of documentation. The lady at the centre was incredibly helpful and guided me in some possibly directions for further research. One that particularly caught my attention was leaf printing. I was also briefly shown an artist who incorporated landscape images into his botanical illustration plates. It was so intriguing to find out about etching as one of the printing techniques used to multiply these special drawings.
Overall I had no idea how large this area is. It has opened my eyes to the centuries of history celebrated in this one exhibit. I am already planning my next visit, as I feel this is a very useful resource to have for collating research.