Monday, April 20, 2009

Botanical illustration class Day 2

In the second class with botanical artist, Sarah Roche, we focused on creating a final composition based on our pansy plants. It is important to render the various growth stages of your plant and all of the varied leaf structures. One way to think about it is that if someone was looking for that plant, they could bring your drawing to a nursery and be able to identify it. Therefore, your drawing needs to be informative and as accurate as possible.
At the top of the sketch paper you will see the order of the stages you need to create your sketch-Scale, Proportion, Shape, and Detail. You want to first make sure you establish your scale by lightly mapping out the main parts and their relationship to one another. Then, you want to make sure your proportions are correct. At this point you are really just drawing very light lines to establish the dimensions. Then you start sketching in the basic shapes, and it's only once those things have been established that you should start to add detail.

We used tracing paper to transfer our drawing onto the watercolor paper. After tracing our drawings, we flipped it over and retraced the lines again. To transfer our sketch onto the watercolor paper, we flipped it over again and traced it using a colored pencil. The reason you use a colored pencil is so that you can keep track of what lines you have already drawn. After the transfer, you can then add back in the detail to your drawing, making sure to keep the lines very light. Here is the handout she gave us that explains this process.
We used our tracing paper sketch to start establishing the tonal study for each leaf (remember the football diagram from my last post?) In our last few minutes of class-the time just flew by-we gave each leaf a quick wash of Lemon Yellow Nickel Titanium that represents the tonal areas we had just determined. I learned that botanical illustration is about layering, layering, and more layering, building up the colors very slowly.

More about that in my next post-Day 3!

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