Drawable Edibles: Nature Journaling and Wild Edible Plants, Early Spring | Melissa Sokulski | Skillshare

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Drawable Edibles: Nature Journaling and Wild Edible Plants, Early Spring

teacher avatar Melissa Sokulski, Writer, Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Introduction: Drawable Edibles

      1:50
    • 2. Timed Gesture Drawing

      6:50
    • 3. Blind Contour Drawing

      5:03
    • 4. Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata

      4:39
    • 5. Chickweed, Stellaria media

      3:30
    • 6. Deadnettles, Lamium purpurea

      3:12
    • 7. Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale

      4:44
    • 8. Project: Nature Journal

      4:21
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About This Class

In this class, we will have fun identifying and sketching wild edible plants into our nature journal! We will practice 2 drawing exercises, both designed to get past the part of our brain telling us "this is too hard" or "I can't draw,": 20 second timed gesture drawings and blind contour drawings.

Next we will find and discuss four common wild edible plants: garlic mustard, chickweed, deadnettles, and dandelion. These weeds are abundant and can be found all across the United States and in many parts of the world!

Finally, we'll choose a plant to add to our nature journal: including sketches, notes, recipes, botanical and common names, and anything else you want to include! You can use pencil, pen, watercolors, colored pencils...any medium you like.

I hope you'll join us for this fun class that will get you outdoors and drawing!

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Melissa Sokulski

Writer, Artist

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Drawable Edibles: Hello. Welcome to draw Hubble Edibles, which is a nature journaling class in which we look at and draw wild edible plants. My name is Melissa Sokolski, and I am the founder of Food Underfoot, which in which I teach people how to identify, harvest and use wild edible plants and mushrooms. So in this class, we're gonna look at four different wild edible plants garlic, mustard, chickweed, dead nettle and dandelion. We're also gonna practice two different trying exercises. The first is called timed Gesture drawing, and the second is blind contour dry. And finally, we are going to put it all together and create a page in your nature journal Devoted Teoh, one of the wild, edible plants of your choice, which you sketch the plant either using pencil pen, color, cates, whatever you want to dio, you're gonna include the botanical name, any common names that you confined for that plant. And then also you can add fun fact or a recipe using that plan. So it's going to be a lot of fun. You'll need a sketchbook pencil eraser pens. If you'd like to use watercolor or colored pencils, it's your choice. Um, but we're gonna have a lot of fun. Let's get started 2. Timed Gesture Drawing: Okay, The first exercise we're gonna dio is called. It's actually a timed gesture drawing what you're looking at. I might as well start with that is the wild edible plant called garlic mustard, and we will get more into the specifics of garlic mustard in another lesson, because it's one of the plants we're gonna focus on drawing. But for now, we're just gonna use it to demonstrate the timed gesture, drawing so like it might sound gesture. Drawings are usually done to capture movement. They're quick drawings fast. 20 seconds, 10 seconds, 32nd drawings, and it's usually done to catch capture movement. But we are going to use it in nature journaling because a lot of people, a lot of people, this might be the first time you've looked at a plant and tried to draw plant, and it can be really complicated. So you have to first decide on my drying the whole a bunch of leaves and my focusing on one leaf. And if you've never drawn leaves before, these veins can get really confusing. And and again, this isn't botanical illustration, so nothing has to be perfect, but it's it can be a little daunting. So we're are going to use the timed drawings were going to do 5 22nd drawing, and I have my little sketchbook here. I have a pen are Sorry. A pencil A to B pencil. I You haven't eraser with me, but I am not going to use it because these do not have to be perfect. They are quick drawings. I'm gonna set my timer if you wanna do this with me and again. So these two exercises that I'm sharing with you, this gesture drawing that I'm demonstrating right now. And then we're gonna also do blind contour drying. I would recommend doing every time you sit down and you are going to draw something, especially a wild edible or some kind of plant, because it's just a way of kind of breaking through that barrier. A feeling like I can't draw this. This is too hard. I have no idea where to start. This just goes right past that because we're not trying to draw something perfect. We are just trying to get something down on paper, and we're just trying to really see the plant, and this helps you see it. So let's see I'm going to start my timer for 20 seconds. Start and I'm trying to hold the this and do it at the same time. So the 1st 1 I'm going to do is I'm going to try to draw. Let's see, I'll just draw the leaves. And again, this is quick. My time's going to be up in in a few seconds already, and I have, you know, So I'm just starting to see That's it. Okay, so that was fast. Let's see. I want to When they do it again and again, I'm just gonna I'll start somewhere else in the plant. Now that I know how fast that is, I'm just just starting to draw. Oops. I'm sorry. So Bogans already drying? I wasn't even showing you some outside. It's hard to find a place to set up. Okay, that is another 20 seconds. So yeah, so this let's do another one. This one. I'm just gonna focus on one leaf. I'm gonna just look at one leaf, and actually, I'm sort of right now doing a blind contour of that leave. But very fast. Blind contours are usually slow, but I am just doing this to kind of get a sense of the leaf and all those veins. Okay, so that's done again, and I'm Let's do that two more times. I'm just gonna focus again on the leaf. Try to get some veins in. Let's see. Start. Okay. And again, I'm just going to start with the veins this time. Just kind of follow these vans up, and and you can see I didn't even look at my paper. So I'm actually drawing over another drawing. But that's OK, because what I'm doing now are just exercises. Um, you know, I'm just doing exercises to try to get a sense of when I sit down and draw the plant. So I know what I'm looking. So I said five. So let's do one more together. Okay, Uh, where's the start? Here it is. Start. So let me come, Teoh. So again, I'm just going to draw the leave, some already starting to notice. Little things like that believes have these bumps. And again, I'm not going to talk about that now. I'll talk about that a little bit later, so I'm just quickly drying some veins. Okay. Uh, stuff. So here, here's the leaf that I was mainly drawing and the whole plant. So here's my my page of contoured their non Sorry not contra droids of time to gesture drawings with the plant Keeps doing okay, so go ahead and do that. And again, you don't have to use a plant. You can use this exercise for trying to catch people in movements. You can use it. You don't have to find a garlic mustard. For this. You can use any plant you might have. Daniel Lyon. You might be able to find some other plants to just go ahead and time yourself, doing some quick drawings. And it's just a way of kind of getting to know to plant before you sit down and try to draw it perfectly. And if you want, um, what? Especially if you find a good like this. I feel like this is a pretty good example of a garlic mustard. So I'm gonna go ahead and take a few pictures of it as well, so that when I do go home and I have collect all my, um, on my information, if I want to go back and reference it, I will have a picture of it. So I usually do take pictures of things that I'm drawing. And anyway, I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Join me again for the blind Contour will try to will pick another plant to make it a little more interesting. And I will see you again soon, but I 3. Blind Contour Drawing: Okay, Here's another wild edible plant. It's called Stinging Nettles. It's also edible. And right now, instead of talking specifically about this plant, we are going to do a blind contour drawing, and we're gonna use this plant to demonstrate. So again, a blind contour drawing is not a finished. It's not something that you need to try to make look good. It's something that is done as an exercise to help kind of shift the part of your brain. That's thinking this is too hard. I can't draw this. It's not gonna look good. I have no idea where to start. So a blind contour drying is gonna bypass that. And it's just gonna kind of allow you to get into the space of drawing and seeing and observing and getting it down on paper. So the gesture drawings that we did before we're fast, the blind contour drawings you can take as long as you want. There's no you don't time it. What I dio is, I put my pencil on the paper and then I don't look at the paper again. I look completely at the plant and I start somewhere around the plant, and I just my eyes just follow. See how I'm sort of outlining with my pencil every just the outline. So we're doing an outline of the plant, but instead of doing it on the plant, I do it on the paper. So I follow with my eyes and I don't look back at the paper. So obviously it's not going to be a drawing that looks exactly or maybe even anything like but I'm looking at. But I follow the contours or the edges of this plant, and right now I'm just doing one leave and my eyes wherever my eyes go. My pencil is going on the paper. So it's kind of like I am traced. I'm outlining it on the plant with my eyes, and then I'm just doing it on the paper and what this does, you can probably tell because I'm speaking and my speaking is totally changed, and I can't think of the words because it actually switch is the type of the side of your brain. It goes from the left side of your brain to the right side of your brain, and you can find more about this exercise in the book, drawing with the right side of your brain by Betty Edwards. And so I've just come to the end of this leaf and it goes right. If I'm following it with my eyes, I can just trace right to this next leaf because it kind of touches that. So I just keep going and I'm just going to show you what I've done. So you see it. It's like a kid's drawing. It doesn't look at all you'd never be able to identify. But what it's doing is it's switching my brain into the left side. That's thinking I can't do this. It's not good enough. It's too complicated to the right side. That just allows me to let go of judgments, to just observe what I see and to get it down on paper without even questioning myself because I'm not looking at the paper. I'm not looking at my drawing thinking whether it's good or bad. I'm just following my eyes along the edges and so if I came down to here in my eyes, the next thing would be this leave and I follow that around and I just keep doing that until you feel that you've you sort of switched a part of your brain, and now you're ready to drop that or to sketch. So I've note. So what I've learned is I've learned that these edges on these nettles are so serrated, so jagged, and, you know, I'm just it's just a way to get in there. So again, this is slower. It's not fast, like the gesture drawing. Just take your time. Don't worry about your final product. Don't even look at it until the end. Just have fun with it, just get into it. And, uh, it kind of It's just a step in the way of going from seeing and observing to getting something down on your page and again when I'm finished, I am going to take a picture of this because later, if I want to go back and draw it and I'm home, I want to be able to have a reference for it. So enjoy your blind contour drawing again. You can check out the book drawing. Think it's drawing either on the right side of the brain or drawing with the right side of the brain, probably on by Betty Edwards, so you can check that out or look online. There's a lot of information about blind contour drugs. So have fun with those. And then we'll get to the plants in the next few lessons. Okay, Bye bye. 4. Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata: so garlic mustard is a plant that right now, in the early spring in mid March, you are going to probably see a lot of it is an invasive plant. Get a closer look Right now, the leaves are rounded with these bumps kind of serrated hands. When it's flowers, it will actually look really different. It sends up the leaves up the flower stock, and they become triangular and more bright green. Now they're kind of a dark green rounded with these, and we find they are each plant, a cluster of leaves. It's coming up out of a tap, and I am going to go ahead and pull this one out, and I didn't get very much of it. But again, this one is okay to pull its. It's a invasive. It's considered invasive everywhere. It really takes over an area, and it pushes out. A lot of native plants like to thwarts which butterflies some butterflies need to survive. And this plant, yeah, but it's edible, and it's actually pretty good. It's He tastes like the name is garlic mustard. Ali Aria Petty, a lotta is the botanical name, and just like it's called garlic mustard, the leaves taste like garlic and mustard, so it's a little bit spicy, and the route actually is very spicy. It tastes like horseradish. I didn't get very much of it out, but right now it's actually a good time to harvest the roots because they usually come out a lot more easily because the ground is still soft. But again, what you're gonna want to do is if you find this plant. This one's a little bit easier to identify, because it does have such a strong, ah smell and flavor. It has thes rounded leaves that are bumpy around the edges. Not Smith comes out of its taproot, and you'll probably find it all over the place. So again, when she do find it, takes the pictures of it. Sit down and do the times gesture drawing and the blind contour drawing. And then, if you want to get out colored pencils or what are colors, you're welcome to do that and look up some recipes for it when you get home. But again, please don't eat anything that you are not 100% sure of what it is. So these lessons aren't meant to be identification guides so you need to have a good identification guide or have somebody go out with you and point them out to you. But if you're sure you found it and you want to try some recipes, you'll find a lot of recipes online. This one is really good to make a pesto with because it has such a nice flavor. I also like to steep it in apple cider vinegar and then use that vinegar for dressings and to cook with because it has a nice, garlicky mustardy flavor and put it in salads, so that's garlic mustard. You'll find that a lot in the early spring. Now, when it does flower, I mentioned that the leaves go up the stock. They become triangular. They do keep those bumps, and the flower itself is white and it's four peddled white flour, so garlic mustard is a mustard, and CREss is They have four petaled flowers, so this one has a four peddled white flour, and it will flower soon, probably in a matter of weeks. But right now it's still in its called a basal rosette on the ground. So go out and see if you can find that and sit down with it, draw it, have some fun, take some pictures and we'll talk about the project coming up in another lesson. 5. Chickweed, Stellaria media: So here is a plant that you will probably find in the early spring. It's called chickweed. Still, area media is the botanical name, and it's just growing a lot on my street in the shade along this fence. I just want you to see they have little white flowers and the flowers actually have five pedals. But they're deeply lobed, and it makes it look like they have 10 pedals. I can't quite get close enough to count the pet. The flowers are really, really tiny, but still area still area means star, and that is talking about the little white flowers. So this is a plant that loves the cold weather. You'll find it here in the early spring and look closely at the leaves. The leaves are smooth, the edges are smoothed on the leaves. They're not serrated or jagged. They're nice and smooth. They're opposite, which means they grow right opposite each other and then kind of alternating. So no one will be opposite each other this way, and then down below, it will be up in each other so and the white flowers air on top. I can't really get a good, clear picture. They have nice long stems, kind of long stems. And if he's this plant gets too hot or if it's out in the sun, the leaves won't be as big, and the stems will be much bigger. But right now, this is a beautiful patch, and what I like to do with it is just eat it raw in salads. But I'm not suggesting that you go out and think you find to chickweed and eat it raw. There are poisonous plants in North America and all over the world that are so poisonous they could actually kill you. So you really need to be careful, and you really need to make sure of your identification. So for now, we just want to draw them. And again, if you've never drawn plants before, this looks super confusing and really hard. And that's why we will start with the time to gesture, drawing and the blind contour drawing. Teoh kind of get past that fear and to know where to start on. Draw it. So again I would sit down with my sketchbook, a pencil and eraser. Once you get past those two exercises, and if you want, you can bring water colors or colored pencils. And also make sure you take a picture of it because once you get home, I'm gonna have you look things up about chickweed. If that's the one you decide to do your project of and so you're gonna want toe, do a whole page in your nature journal about, you know, chickweed, whether it's chickweed or garlic mustard or one of the other plants we talk about. But here's chickweed, and in the early spring it's pretty easy to find and let's go on Teoh another plant. 6. Deadnettles, Lamium purpurea: Here's another early spring plant. It's the one with the purple flowers. It's called dead nettles. Lamy, um, purpurea. And so let's get a close look at one of these. So this is also a plant that loves the cold weather. It's already flowering. It's only mid March. It's actually in the mint family. And one way we can tell. Let's see if I can is the stem. If you can see the stem is square, it has it. Actually, a rectangular has as angles 90 degree angles. So unlike other plants that have round stems, all the mints have square steps square stocks, and they usually have purple flowers. Uh, this dead nettle could also have pink or white. If you look closely at the leaves, they are opposite again. So they're growing opposite each other and then alternate. Be opposite the other way, and that makes sense with their square stocks. They have those purple flowers, and the leaves are, if you can see uh, see, they are. They have a little bit of Serie serrated kind of bumps. They're not smooth, like the chickweed. Waas Services really doesn't like anything like chickweed. It does look a little bit like another plant will look at garlic mustard, but the flowers are very, very different. Believes are much smaller than garlic mustard, and this one's already bolting Tyra Dish flowering right now. So this plant again is by May or June. It'll be gone a soon as the weather gets warm. It's a plant may pick this one. It's a weed. So again it has the square stock. It does not taste minty at all. It doesn't have a minty taste. It just but it is. A mint has the square stock, but what you dio if you want to eat thes and again, you have to make 100% sure that you have the right plant. But the way I eat thes is I either throw it into a blender with for a smoothie or I steam it as a green. It doesn't really have a strong taste. It's very bland. But so again, I recommend sitting down and doing some gesture drawings. Sometimes gesture drawings, some blind contour drawings. Here. You can really see the leaves, the jagged edges of serrated edges, Um, and then taking picture of it, trying to sketch it, adding color and then. If this is the plant that you find and it really interests you, you can look up more information about it, and we'll talk about that more in the lesson when we talk about our project. 7. Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale: okay. And here is Dandelion, So I'm actually pretty surprised that there's already it's in the puff, but the hands of puffball. It's really early in the air for that. It's actually pretty early for it to even be flower. It's only mid march, and but dandelion is pretty recognizable, although at this time of year there's another yellow flower out that looks almost exactly like dandelion. It's called Colts Foot, so make sure you don't have colts foot when you think you have dandelion. Dandelion has these toothed leaves. So you see, it's also in a basal rosette, which means the weeks air coming out of a central taproot and the leaves air toothed. And that's but the dandelion means Don de Leon the teeth of a lion, so that refers to the leaves. So Tarak stickum of 15 al is the botanical name, and let's look more carefully at it. So the one thing about dandelion is the leaves are hairless and they are thorn lis. There's no hair or thorns or anything on them. The flower stock is also considered naked. It has the leaves do not go up the flower stock. The leaves stay in their rosette on the ground. Here comes a car. Sorry, but so that differentiates it also from some other plants. And it's smooth. The colts put That I mentioned has scales up the flower stock. This is a smooth flowers, and here's another. Here's one. That's flower. Um, underneath the flower is that little collar. You can see it better from here. This little kind of collar that hangs down. But then the stock itself is smooth. It has no leaves coming from it. No hair, no thorns. The leaves stay in that rosette. Now for dandelion, the entire plant is edible. The the route is edible. People make they roasted and make coffee out of it. Or dry it and make tea. The leaves are edible, but they can be quite bitter. But you can put them in salads, Um, and then the flowers are also edible, and you can pull the petals off the flowers and put them in salads. Put them in baked goods like flowers or pancakes. You can even take the whole flower, dip it in batter and make like a kind of fry that up. And also people make dandelion wine, of course. So dandelion is another plant that you'll find in the early spring. Definitely look for the leaves. The other thing about the colts foot is it flowers before the leaves come up so you'll see some cold foot flowers. The flowers are yellow like this with a lot of pedals. They look like the an alliance, except they have the scales on the stock. But they have a totally different kind of leaf, and the leaf isn't even up right now. So you're really looking for these toothed leaves when you're trying to identify the dandelion? So this is a great one to go out there and find almost everybody confined it to do the the time to gesture drawings. The blind contra drawings are Superfund with dandelion, and this is a great one. So when you're out there drawing it and if you have your watercolors or your colored pencils were just black and white whatever you want to dio, just make sure you take some pictures so that when you go home, if there's anything you wanna reference, you can do that and and again, please be careful. Please be careful when you're harvesting. If you're gonna eat any of these plants, you really need to be 100% absolute positive about their identification. Hey, and look at this. Next to at least see, this is from another lesson. This is the dead nettle. It's not flowering yet. We'll hear some. That's flattering. So that's going right. Right next to this dandelion, the dead meadow. Anyway, so those are four plants for the early spring. I hope you can find one or all of them. And if you don't, you can. I'm sure find something to draw and just make sure that you don't eat it. If you're not 100% sure of what? The plant iss. Okay, but by 8. Project: Nature Journal: Hi. So I wanted to show you the page in my sketchbook that I'm working on right now for garlic mustard, So I'm still doing it with pencil. I used H B pencil right now, and I was going by the pictures of the plant and some of the sketches I did in front of the plant. I also drew the tap root and some things. I looked up and found out that garlic mustard. The botanical name is Elie, Aria Petty, a lotta, and some common names include Jack by the hedge, garlic, mustard, garlic route, Hedge, garlic and Poor Man's mustard. And then here's some things that I know about it. It's invasive, has round serrated leaves. Uh, it's basal rosette with the tap root, which I've tried to illustrate. Here. The leaves taste like garlic and mustard, and the route smells and tastes like horseradish. And here I tried Teoh kind of capture likenesses, how wrinkly and veiny that leaves are, and the rounded not surrounded the serrated edges and the rounded hedges, and I've just started working on it. So when I included a recipe for garlic mustard vinegar where you feel a jar full with garlic, mustard greens and roots. Then you poor apple cider vinegar over that you put a plastic top on it because metal tops will corrode and you label it. And when you label, you have to have the plant that's in there. Garlic, mustard, apple cider, vinegar, the liquid and the date is very important. And then we're going to steep it for two or more weeks and then use the flavored vinegar in salad dressings and cooking. So I'm going to continue working on this. I am going to, um, do some ink thinking of it. I have some of these micron, um, black pens, and I am also going Teoh. Add some water color, and so that is what I am doing. And the final project would be to post your finished page in the Nature Journal And remember, nature journaling. It's not botanical illustration. You don't have to be a fantastic artist. You are just trying to learn. A nature journal is about learning and everything. When you draw something, even if it's not great, even if it's not perfect, it doesn't look like the plant. The the benefit you gain from sitting and observing and trying is so great, especially if you're talking about something like wild edible plants. So you will become so familiar with how this plant looks that any time you go out and you come across it, you will know it right away because of the time you spent putting it into your nature. And you will know all these facts about it and what to do with it. And you. It's just a way to really get to know a plant. It's a really fun way. I love it. I hope you love it, Teoh. So I don't know whether you chose garlic, mustard, dandelion, chickweed, dead Netto, maybe even stinging nettle. We saw a little glimpse of stinging nettle in one of our lessons, and you could even include some of your, um the times gesture drawings for the blind contra drawings on your page. You can do whatever you want. You can tape a piece of you can actually take belief into your page. So a nature journal is meant for you to learn from. And I hope you had a great time with this class, and I'm looking forward to seeing your finished pages in the project section and have a great spring. Thanks for joining me, but I