The Ultimate Guide to Botanical Line Illustrations | Poisonous Plants (Part 2) | Annika Theron | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

The Ultimate Guide to Botanical Line Illustrations | Poisonous Plants (Part 2)

teacher avatar Annika Theron, Illustration | Painting | Digital Art

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

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

14 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project Discussion

    • 3. Materials and Resources

    • 4. Basic Leaf Structure

    • 5. Basic Flower Structure

    • 6. Detail and Shading

    • 7. Composition

    • 8. Jimson Weed Pencil Outline

    • 9. Jimson Weed Detail and Pen

    • 10. Wolf's-bane Pencil Outline

    • 11. Wolf's-bane Pen and Detail

    • 12. Castor Oil Pencil Outline

    • 13. Castor Oil Pen and Detail

    • 14. Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This class serves as a follow up to the class, The Ultimate Guide to Drawing Botanical Line Illustrations | Poisonous Plants.

In this class we will learn how to draw botanical illustrations in pen, using poisonous plants as examples. 

This class is for anyone who is interested in illustrating flowers in pen. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an established artist, this class is created to be as informative as possible and to equip you with new skills and techniques to broaden your horizons.

By the end of this class, you will have completed three pieces of botanical art. In addition, you will have learned the necessary skills and techniques to create your own botanical art in the future


  • Paper or sketchbook of choice
  • Pencil (HB/2B - or  whatever you prefer really) and eraser
  • Fine liner pens (sixes 3.0, 5.0 and 8.0) - Example: Micron Fineliner 
  • Printed out versions of the worksheets provided (optional)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Annika Theron

Illustration | Painting | Digital Art


Illustration | Painting | Digital Art


I'm a self-taught artist, working in multiple mediums.

When I'm not busy making art, I'm out hiking or busy learning new things.


See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to another class of botanical line demonstrations. My name is Annika, as you may or may not know, I enjoy drawing plants. For this class, you don't need to have any drawing experience as we will cover all the skills and techniques that you will be needing. With the help of a few worksheets, we will cover the basic flower and leaf structure, shading and composition. Once you get more comfortable with that, we'll start with the class projects. Now for the class project, we will draw three botanical line illustrations, all of them very poisonous plants. The three plants chosen for this class is the jimson weed, wolfsbane, and the castor oil plant. After finishing the class project, you will have gained the transferable skills to draw your own botanical illustrations. This class is indeed a follow-up to the class the ultimate guide to drawing botanical line illustrations poisonous plants. If you haven't watched that already, go and check it out. If not, don't worry about it as we will be covering everything you need to know in this class. What is great about this class is that you only need a pen, pencil, and paper. So you can basically start any time. If you're as excited about this class as I am, meet me in the next lesson where we'll take a closer look at the class projects. Thanks for joining me. Let's get started. 2. Class Project Discussion: Welcome to the Class Project Discussion. Let's take a closer look at what we're aiming for. The class project will consist of three boards. For each board, we will draw a different poisonous plants. In Project 1, we will be drawing the Datura Strenonian ,also known as Jimson weed. You will follow along with me using all the skills and techniques that you'll be learning in the upcoming lessons. In Project 2, we will be drawing according to Napellus or the Wolf's-bane. In Project 3, Ricinus Communis, known as the Castor-oil plant. The three plants chosen are diverse in structure that will allow us to learn how to draw different types of flowers and leaves to add on to those covered in my previous class, mentioned earlier. Again, I've added some worksheets to help you practice the different components of each plant in the upcoming lessons before we do the actual class projects. Go ahead and download the worksheets, and I'll see you in the next lesson. We will take a look at the tools we'll be using and some additional resources. 3. Materials and Resources: In this lesson, we'll take a quick look at the tools and materials we will be using. We can either choose to print out the worksheets provided or just follow along on a piece of paper or in your sketchbook. You will need a pencil and eraser to make your outlines with. I prefer 2B, but it's up to you. Pencils in the H range gets harder and lighter as the numbers go up, but pencils in the B range gets softer and draw darker as the numbers go up. I'll be using a combination of [inaudible] fineliner pens and uni pens. If you don't have these things, you can just use whatever you have lying around. You can always pick some up next time you will pass a stationary or art supply store. I'm going to use three different sizes to create different effects. I'll be using a 0.3, 0.5, and 0.8, because I will draw on a big paper. If you don't have different sizes, try drawing lighter or darker with the pen you have to create thinner or thicker lines. The best way to draw plants are obviously from fresh specimens. But since I don't have any of these plants lying around, I'm going to make use of the Internet. You'll notice that it can be quite difficult to draw directly from a photo. Because of this, I prefer to use vintage botanical illustrations as references. They've already been simplified, making it much easier to see what's going on. I've added standings to pin boards under class project discussion, that will help you find some references. I also added the ones that I'll be using under the reference tab. The idea is not to copy the reference photos, but to merely use them as a guideline to create your own art. Now with that being said, I think we're ready to start with our lessons. Grab your pens and papers, sit up straight, and get ready because we're about to start drawing. 4. Basic Leaf Structure: In this lesson, we will learn how to draw the different leaf structures from three different plants. You can follow along on your worksheet, alternatively, grab a piece of paper or work in your sketchbook. You will need a pencil, eraser and your pins. I'll be using the vintage illustrations as reference photos. You can find them under the Resources tab. Let's start with the Jimson weed. In pencil, make a basic leaf outline that will be used as a guide. You will notice that the leaves are spiky with some of the spikes being bigger and some smaller. You can make a line for the main vein and leave it at that for now. For the Wolf's-bane, start out with five lines in pencil to get the shape of the leaf. With a pin, go along the outsides and make jagged edges, keeping the reference photo in mind. When you're done, add some veins. For the castor oil leaf, start to seven lines radiating out from the center. The leaves of the castor oil plant have serrated edges, so make sure to add them. Finish with the main veins again. Now, let's go in and add some of the smaller veins. Don't worry about the shading just yet, we will do that in a later lesson. The Jimson weed has a very complex network of veins. I draw them by making a loop between the bigger veins and then connecting the loops with another line. It might look strange now, but it will come together in the end. The Wolf's-bane leaves don't have so much detail, so you can just add a few more veins and then the castor oil leaves have these straight veins all along the length. Notice that leaves don't always sit in the same orientation, they're usually bent or at an angle. Let's try a few different orientations. To get a fold on the side, make a squiggle, and then draw the leaf around it. Some of the leaves fold forward and some backwards. Now with the pin, make the same jagged edges around the outline as we did earlier, pay attention to which direction the lines will go to follow the folds. The Wolf's-bane leaves are often seen from the side so let's try to draw that or maybe the leaves will droop over each other. As before, outline them with jagged lines. Practice this a few times until you're happy with the results. With the castor oil leaves, you'll notice that some of the leaves scold inwards and some fold over. To make a leaf fold inward, draw the serrated edges towards same side, and finish the leaf with a smooth line at the bottom. It can get tricky to draw fold overs directly with the serrated leaves, so try of smooth lines and a pencil first. That's it for the leaves. In the next lesson, we'll take a look at the flowers of each plant. 5. Basic Flower Structure: We will look at the basic flower structures. Grab your worksheet or just follow along on a piece of paper. Let's start with the jimson weed again. With your pencil, start off with an oval for the base, and a cone for the petals. If you look at the reference photo, you'll see there are five big petals roughly in a diamond shape. Define the shape by making the base broader and the tip pointier. These pointed tips can fold forward or backwards depending on the angle. Moving back to the base, let's define the structure in more detail using a pen. Add the sepals at the petal base and start tracing a more defined shape. Dotted lines will help define the shape. Remember to add the petal or the stem. Let's take on the petals. I find it easier to start with the pointy tips. That's good enough for now. With the wolfsbane, make a lumpy circle for the flower inside. The flower has quite complex petals. Just start off with ovals for the side petals, then the bottom petals, and then the top. Now with a pen, notice that the side petals fold over so we should incorporate that. Draw the interior. Don't worry about detail too much for now. Just make some guides to help you see what's going on. The top petals form a point to the front, as you will see when you draw them from the side angle. For the side angle, we make four ovals in a pencil like this, with the facing to the left or to the right. The top petal looks like a bonnet and the rest, you just need to shape out so they look natural and not too oval or not too pointy. The castor oil plant has an inflorescence of flowers and seeds at various stages. You get these fluffy yellow flowers that are just a bunch of lumps together and then you get them in different stages, either before they bloom or when they're busy blooming and then there are also the seeds that we will look at in a bit. Because the flowers are fluffy, make broken lines as opposed to a solid line, we will later add detail with dots. This is an example of a closed bud and then one which is half open. The seeds come in various stages. For this illustration, I'm only going to draw it like they appear in the reference photos, with this almost pineapple-like base and little tendrils coming out. For the jimson weed seed, we have this bowl covered in spikes. Draw the spikes along the outline. Notice that the spikes follow the curvature of the oval and draw them in that manner. I would also like to add that the wolfsbane also has some baby flowers. For them you can just draw little lumps like these and add in a few lines, but more on this later. In the next lesson, we will take all the leaves and flowers we just learned to draw and learn how to shade them. 6. Detail and Shading: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we will add details to our leaves and flowers. Again, you can either use the worksheet provided, or just continue working on the images you've already made. Using a pen, either the same size that you used before or a smaller size, make little lines for the shading. The basic idea is to make a few short lines followed by a long line and repeating the process. You can either make them straight, or at an angle or slightly bend depending on the area you're working on. Let's start with the Datura leaf. Along the midrib, start making straight or slightly curved lines as indicated. You might want to turn your paper to make it easier on your hand. Do the same from the outside in. You'll notice that it's quite a tedious process, but it will be well worth it at the end. Move on to the smaller veins. You can either stop at this level of detail, or you can go ahead and add the smaller veins as well. You don't have to add the shading lines on each small vein, but do it with most of them. The final step in shading is to use a thicker pen, or just draw a bit darker if you have only one size pen. Thicken areas like the main vein at the underside of the leaf. The trick is do not make a continuous decline, but to break it up instead. This will give more depth to the drawing. You can also thicken some of the smaller veins and where some of the veins cross or connects. This, overall, will enhance the appearance of your drawing. Now try and do exactly the same with the wolfsbane leaf. Start with the lines along the midrib and then some lines from the outside of the leaf where possible. Lastly, thicken some of the veins, and the outside lines of the leaf. Before adding the shading lines to the castor oil leaf, remember to add the veins. Then go ahead and do the same as with the previous two examples. I'm not going to shade the second row, but you can try them for more practice. Let's move on to the flowers. The flowers are a bit different than the leaves. Instead of shading from all sides, we will shade with the flow for flowers, to enhance their shape. Just take a look for a moment to see what I mean. Again, add some darker lines to give more depth. For the center of the wolfsbane flower, I'm using dots instead of lines. Now again, add the shading lines with the flow of the leaf. For the castor oil flowers, use dots instead of lines. Do the dots along the curve of the lumps as if you were shading a ball. Use a combination of small and larger dots for variation. Moving on to the seed, make small dots in all the areas between the spines, or at the base of them. Darken the center line, and also the sides of the spines to help him pop out. Using what you have learned, try and find the base where to shade the seed of the castor oil plant, using both lines and dots where necessary. Just getting back to the baby flowers of the wolfsbane, here is a quick demonstration. In the next lesson, we will look at the bigger structure of each plant and how we will go about drawing each of them on their own. 7. Composition: Before we jump into our class project and draw each of the three flowers, let's take a quick look at the structure of these plants and how they grow. This will help us find the right composition and get the best layout for our drawings on our page. By looking at the reference photos, it seems like the Jimson weed grows its leave in clusters of three, with the flower coming out some way in the front of them. Now, this isn't a scientific drawing, so we don't have to be too specific. Understanding the layout will just help us to create our own illustration. To help you understand how this will look like, I'm going to add more detail with the paint. Keep in mind that these are just some thumbnails to help us get the right composition, so don't worry too much about how it looks. Here I'm just adding a seed pod as well. Now that we have a bit to understanding, let's try out a few more thumbnails to see what would work best. Here I'm drawing out a more elaborate idea, but then I remember how many veins each leaf has and switched over to a simpler design. The flowers of the Wolf-bane all at the top in these clusters with the leaves more towards the bottom. With more detail, each would roughly look something like this. Let's play around with some more ideas. Maybe the flowers can grow out to the side or maybe the biggest flowers can grow towards one side, and the baby flowers towards the other side. It was difficult to find reference photos with the entire Castor oil plant, so here I'm just making something up with the inflorescence at the top and the leaves coming out from the side. The fluorescence will have both flowers and seeds on it. In some reference photos, I've seen the fluorescence lower on the plant with the leaves sticking out above it. Choose the thumbnails you like best and get ready to move on to the class project, where we will be drawing our three poisonous plants in detail. 8. Jimson Weed Pencil Outline: Time to start with our first illustration, Datura stramonium or the Jimsonweed. In pencil, very lightly sketch out your plant. By keeping it light, it will be easier to erase if you make any mistakes. Once you're happy, go in and slightly darken and define everything a bit better keeping in mind the orientation of your leaves. Even though this was the thumbnail I chose, I felt it lacked something, so I tried out some different things. This is why you always start with pencil instead of pen. Not happy with the bottom leave, I played around until I found an orientation that I liked. Deciding against the side branch, I eventually settled for another flower at the bottom. Now, you can stop here if you feel comfortable drawing with a pen. If not, I would suggest you add more detail with your pencil first. Rather make mistakes in a pencil first before messing everything up with the pen. Once you have enough information on your page, you can grab your paints and meet me in the next lesson. 9. Jimson Weed Detail and Pen: Now that you're happy with your pencil sketch, breathe in and brace yourself. The next step is permanent. I'm using a 0.5 pen because my paper is quite 10. Wolf's-bane Pencil Outline: Now for our next plant, Aconitum napellus, also known as wolfsbane. Again, very lightly sketch out the basic idea based on your base thumbnail. Now you can go in a little bit darker to help you visualize what will go where. Keep making changes where necessary. For this one, I decided to sketch in much more detail than the previous one. This allowed me to make changes as I went along. 11. Wolf's-bane Pen and Detail: When you're happy with your pencil sketch, grab a pen and start tracing. Again, I'm using a 0.5 or 05 depending on the brand. Erase the pencil lines and again make sure that your paint lines are completely dry. Now for the shading, again, start with the small lines and then add thicker accent lines to make the leaves pop. Step back and congratulate yourself. Next, we will be finishing off with Ricinus communis, the castor oil plant. 12. Castor Oil Pencil Outline: For our last sketch, we will draw Ricinus communis known as the castor oil plant or castor bean plant. Again, with your pencil, sketch out your idea. Start adding more detail in pencil, but still keep it loose. You might still want to change things here and there. Once you're happy with your outline, add some more detail to help you plan for your paint sketch. 13. Castor Oil Pen and Detail: Grab your pen and start tracing. To make it easier, start at whichever leaf is most towards the front. The castor oil ended up being my favorite at the end, and I enjoy drawing it the most. Please let me know which one you enjoyed watching or drawing the most. Erase your pencil lines and start adding the shading lines. We're almost done with this class. Step back and behold your creation. Well done. In the final lesson, we'll quickly go over what we've learned and talk about sharing our class projects. 14. Conclusion: Jimsonweed, wolfsbane, castor oil, which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. I just want to thank you for joining this class. Whether you just use it to learn some basic techniques or flowers and leaves and shading or when you actually went ahead and did the whole class project for all three plants. I appreciate you watching this and I really hope you are able to take something away from this. I would really appreciate if you leave a review and upload your class projects. If you haven't already, please check out my previous class. Then I guess I will see you in the next class. Until then, take care.