Botanical Illustration Intensive: Draw Plants Using Science and Style | Maggie Heraty | Skillshare

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Botanical Illustration Intensive: Draw Plants Using Science and Style

teacher avatar Maggie Heraty, @maggieheraty

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is botanical illustration?


    • 3.

      Gathering Inspiration


    • 4.

      Creating a Copy Sketch


    • 5.

      Taking Reference Photos


    • 6.

      Botanical Line Drawing


    • 7.

      Bring in Your Own Style!


    • 8.



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About This Class

Join artist and naturalist, Maggie Heraty, in this Botanical Illustration Intensive, and learn to create science-based and artistic botanical illustrations of plants found around you everyday. Do you want to combine your art with your love for nature? If so, this class is for you! Learn to draw realistic plants like a botanist would, and use your own artistic style to create one-of-a-kind botanical illustrations. This class is perfect for illustration newbies, plant-lovers, and long-time artists who want to add a scientific touch to their botanical illustrations. Together, we will get outside, look at plants, and photograph them to use later as references for your drawings. We'll then work together to create a realistic, botanical line drawing and an expressive, stylistic botanical illustration using your unique drawing style. You'll come away with the confidence to create your own illustrations of the plants around you everyday.

Maggie Heraty is an artist, naturalist, and social justice organizer in Durham, North Carolina. Check out my website or follow me on instagram, @maggieheraty

Meet Your Teacher

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Maggie Heraty



Hello! My name is Maggie, and I'm an artist, naturalist, and social justice organizer based in Durham, North Carolina.  

I'm a jack of many trades and can be found doing any number of art and social justice related things in my work and free time. My subject of choice is plants, and I love to make botanical illustrations in various art mediums. Most often, I work in watercolors, pen and ink, and clay...and occasionally on Adobe Illustrator, though I much prefer being off the computer! I have worked as a freelance illustrator and occasional logo designer. I am a teacher here on Skillshare and also teach youth classes and afterschool programs at my local community arts center,... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Trailer: Hi everyone. My name is Maggie Haredi. I'm an artist and an actualist and I've been creating botanical illustrations for the past three years. Over the years I've worked as a botanist and a farmer and an environmental educator and I've come to really love the beautiful drawings of plants that I've found in plant identification keys and scientific books. In many of my jobs, I've had to learn how to actually identify plants out in the field and figure out what species they are and I found that I come to know plants and remember their names so much better when I draw them. I started experimenting with creating my own line drawings and watercolor illustrations of plants and along the way I developed my own unique drawing style and painting style and learn to create a variety of botanical illustrations. Some that were more scientifically accurate and others that were more stylistic and whimsical. I also got to explore some gorgeous natural areas and created a deeper connection with nature and even came to better understand the plants around me every day that I've found in my backyard. In this class, I'll share some of my process for creating these artistic, science-based illustrations of plants and we'll go from start to finish and you'll come away with several projects that you can continue to build upon if you'd like to keep doing botanical illustration going forward. We'll get outside and take some pictures of plants to use as references. We'll also create some sketches and line drawings and finally, you'll create your own illustration of a plant of your choice using your own artistic style and artistic medium. If you're ready to start learning how to create realistic drawings of plants, come join me and let's get started. 2. What is botanical illustration?: What does botanical illustration really mean? Botanical illustration is defined as the art of depicting a plant. Both its form, color, and details of what makes it a unique species. In the science world, botanical illustration really means that you're depicting a plant in a way that's scientifically accurate. In the illustration, the proportions of the plant are correct and true to what you see in nature. In scientific illustrations there also might be some minute details that show you what makes this plant unique and what makes it a particular species. For example, the illustrations might show some of the fine details on what the leaf looks like or the leaf shape. Or it could be something like, does the petal of the flower have some tiny hairs on it? It can be very precise, but it actually does not have to be that way. I found through my work that I really enjoy creating illustrations that do have some scientific base, but also allow me to put my own little flair and unique style into the piece. The whole point of illustrating plants is to admire their beauty and to get more familiar with them in their environment. I'll give you some tools and tips on how to make your drawings more realistic, and you can decide how precise you'd like to be. I encourage you to definitely look through some scientific books in this project so that you get to know some of the language and detail around creating botanical illustrations. But remember, the most important thing is to just have fun and also enjoy being out in nature and get more familiar with plants. 3. Gathering Inspiration: As a first step for your Botanical Illustration Project, I want you to start compiling some resources you can use as inspiration for your illustrations. I'm going to show you some of the resources that I use to get some inspiration and some ideas for my own style in my illustrations. Many of these are scientific books or books that compile different botanical illustrations altogether in one compilation. But I've also done things like created a Pinterest board of my favorite botanical illustrations that I found online. Often many of the illustrations I found on Pinterest are actually more modern, which is a style I really love. But I'm also going to show you these book resources that I've found, and I've just found these at local libraries and also [inaudible] on Amazon. I'll show you these resources, but I would also encourage you to do some sleuthing on your own and look online or at a local library for some books and resources. Once you've found some, just take a picture of them or a screenshot of a Pinterest board and post them to the class project in the project gallery. I want to show you this book first. This is a scientific key, it's called the Dichotomous Key that you can use. It's obviously very detailed and has a lot of scientific language in it. You can use these books to actually identify a plant from what you see and what you can measure on it, things like that. But this book has some gorgeous botanical illustrations. It has some basic line drawings of plants that I think are just so beautiful. This is also one of the first books that I used to start identifying plants. It was an inspiration for me in botanical illustration. You can see this style is very simple but also very detailed. There's some photos or some illustrations of the seeds of root systems and how the plant propagates, things like that. Very beautiful. This next book is specifically a plant identification key. These are a bunch of native wild flowers. As you can see, this book has exclusively line drawings of plants. These line drawings do have some shading, but they're mainly just black and white. There's a lot of bold line work in here and they're incredibly detailed. I hope this gives you a good sense of what using just pen might look like in a botanical illustration. Another book that I also found really helpful when I was first starting off was this Botany in a Day book, which I've gotten recommendations to look out from several botanists. It also has some line drawings of plants, but was one of my first introductions to seeing colored illustrations of plants. Which are also really gorgeous. This book is also very helpful for starting to get a basic understanding of how to identify plants. If you're interested in that, take a look at it. Just look how pretty the colors in those flowers, and of these pitcher plants. Just gorgeous. Those are some good ones. I also wanted to show you all some books of botanical illustrations themselves that I find so inspiring. This is a book I found recently, which is an analytical history of botanical illustration. It's a compilation of botanical illustrations from the past. You can see that there's some botanical illustrations from even the 1500's, which is so cool. Then you can see how the style in botanical illustration progress through time. There's also both some line drawings of plants and then again, some colored illustrations of plants. You can start getting an understanding from books like this and just looking at other illustrations for inspiration. You can start getting an understanding of what makes an illustration really popped. Some bright colors and dark greens on a white background is great. It gives you really good contrast. There's also different ways to try to show depth, like the shading of the petals and making the flower really stand out against some more simple leaf. These are just super gorgeous. This one shows really well, the use of white space to show some light hitting the flower. Really gorgeous. I think all of these are so beautiful and I'm not even to this level of realisticness, but they really useful to look at for inspiration. Finally, I want to show you all this last book which a friend gave to me recently. Which is also about illustrating birds. But it has some really great information about how to draw some basic shapes you find out in nature and how to do shading in your botanical illustrations, how to use color. There's a section in here that also talk about leaf shape and some basics behind that. There's finally, also some common flower shapes and how to start drawing flowers based on some simple geometric shapes that you might see in a forest. This one is showing this open cup shape and how a tulip flower is very similar to that and how you can base your drawing off of that shape in mind. Really helpful. It's a great resource that it also talks about some repeating patterns you find in nature, in pine cones and succulents. Very helpful books, also such gorgeous illustrations. We'd all really love to see what you've found and I'm sure we'll all find some different styles of illustrations that are out there which can give us some good inspiration for the drawing. We're going to do later in this class. 4. Creating a Copy Sketch: I want to do a little warm-up activity in which we actually create a copy sketch of an existing botanical illustration. In one of your resources that you carefully looked through and picked out, I want you to find an illustration that feels inspiring or draws your eye. I actually want you to copy that illustration. Now, I know this feels pretty uncomfortable, copying doesn't quite feel right. Of course, you definitely do not want to take credit for someone else's work, so after you create a copy sketch, don't post it and say that it's your own original work. But one of the easiest ways to actually start learning the basics of botanical illustration is to copy an existing one. I recommend starting with a drawing that is fairly simple. Don't pick a botanical illustration that is of a really big plant or a plant that's very branchy. Also, don't pick an illustration that's really small and tiny and also very detailed at the same time. You want something that has pretty simple line work, it's pretty dark solid lines, but doesn't go too over the top. The point of this activity is just to get warmed up and give you some insight into the typical line work that is used in some basic botanical illustrations. Remember that this is just for practice and it doesn't have to be perfect. Just have fun with it and hopefully this will get you excited and inspired to create your own illustration going forward. I'm going to show you an illustration that I copied and you can get a sense of how I do it and then you should do your own. Whenever I do basic sketching, I always use my Canson Mix Media sketchbook, which has ideal paper for sketching with a pencil. I've printed out my reference photo of an illustration that I really liked and I'm going to use for a copy sketch. As you can see, this is an illustration of Sweetbay magnolia, which is a beautiful flower from North Carolina. I'm just going to fold it over so that I can focus on the illustration itself. For sketching illustrations, I also just use a basic mechanical pencil, so something really simple. I'm going to start in the center of this image with the flower because it feels like a good spot to start. Just start in the center of the page and notice there's a little notch in that petal, but I think I made it too exaggerated so I'm just smoothing it out here a little bit. I also made the space up here a little too wide in comparison to the image so I'm going to make that a little thinner. I'm constantly tweaking things a little bit like these petals are supposed to be a little farther apart than I made them originally, so just fixing things like that. I'm constantly looking back and forth between my paper and the original image to make sure that the curves of the petals are right as I'm drawing them and that my lines start and finish in the same place as in the original image. I'm adding in a little bit of the details in here like the lines and the shading that the artist put in the original image because I just like the style of it. With each of these petals, I'm just taking my time and going slow making sure I have the relative size of the petals right in comparison to one another. I was thinking about where a line starts and ends. For example, sometimes I start at one side of a petal like this and make the other side and then fill in the gap in between because then I get the proportion right. Also, yeah, make sure it's relatively the same size as the original image. I'm adding a little shading in here. I'm just lifting up my pencil whenever I want to make the shading lighter and pushing down harder when I want to make it darker. Then I'm going to add some of the smaller details like the creases in the leaves that the artist put in here and they also put shading in-between each of the petals to accentuate where each petal starts and ends and so I'm just adding that. Then, we're going to start working on the branch and the leaves. I'm doing a pretty quick line out to the side of the branch because it's simple. Then, I'm actually going to make little hash marks for where the leaves connect to the flower. I work best from left to right so I always start on the left side of the page and then move my way to the right. I just mapped out where the leaves are going to go and then I'm starting with the leftmost leaf because it's pretty small and simple. Starting there, adding in the veins. Those are pretty much just simple straight lines. Down here, I'm actually going to draw the upper most leaf before I draw the leaf that's directly below it, because I want to use this upper leaf as a reference for where I put the lower leaf. I'm just drawing in the veins of this leaf first and I noticed the artist put little dashes at the end of each vein, which I liked instead of making out one solid line to the very edge so I'm just keeping those original details in. I'm fixing where I put the connection of the leaf so that I leave a little more room for the bottom leaves stem. Then, you constantly looking back and forth between the original image and my paper, just making sure I get the proportions of the leaves right. I just mapped out where I put the lower leaf in comparison to the upper leaf. Because for example, it would be really hard to draw the lower leaf first and then draw the upper leaf on top of it so that's some of the thinking there. Another thing I'm doing is also thinking about some of these little details in the leaf like how pointy the tip of leaf is. I'm fixing that here and also adding things like this little notch that occurs in the right side of the leaf. I just get closer to the paper if I need to add a little detail like that and fix a little mistake. I also again do the thing where I start a line and then go toward ends and then connect them with one smooth line in between. Over here, I'm actually drawing the background leaf before the foreground leaf, unlike what I did in the lower left-hand corner of the image. The main vein here of the background leaf comes directly out of the smaller front leaf. That's why I drew the back leaf first and then the front leaf and then filled in the veins. Again, I'm just working my way towards the right side of the page and doing these lower right leaves next. I'm also rotating my paper when I need to, to make it easier to draw certain parts of the image. Just making sure my hand is able to glide easily on the paper. I'm keeping the leaves relatively simple but I'm going to add in a little bit of the shading in-between the leaves so that you can see some depth and dimension in here. I'm not going to add all of the shading that the artist put in their illustration. I don't really love how they put it across the whole leaf so I'm keeping my shading pretty simple, just highlighting the overlapping leaves and putting in a little more contrast but not putting as much shading as they did. Yeah, feel free to do things like that when you're creating your copy sketch. It doesn't have to be the exact same as the original illustration that you're using as a reference. You can make it your own in small little ways and pick up certain parts of the style that you liked and certain parts that you didn't like you can leave out. At the end, I'm just going to go in here and erase any marks that I made that I don't really want. Just cleaning up the image. I have some pencil smudges, but basically we are done. I always love to write the name of the plant that I'm drawing on my illustration. Because part of this I use it to look back at and so I can remember what a particular plant is and what is it called. I'm just adding in the scientific name, which is Magnolia virginiana and also the common name, which is Sweetbay. There you have it, a little copy sketch. 5. Taking Reference Photos: Now that we've gotten a little practice, it's time to prepare to make our very own botanical illustrations. The first step in doing this is actually getting outside and starting to take photographs of plants out in nature. I use photographs of plants that I've found out in nature as references for my botanical illustrations. Part of this is I just loved getting outside and taking a walk and having an excuse to do that. I also really like seeing the plants in front of me physically and getting to inspect them and look at all their details up close and personal. Then I can take a photograph and take that home to my studio where I can then sit down and draw that illustration. I'm going to go to a local arboretum that is pretty close to my house and just walk around and take some pictures of plants. You'll follow me and I'll describe some of my tips and tricks for taking good photographs to later use as references for botanical illustrations. When you're starting to take photos of plants, a couple of things to remember are to always make sure your picture is in focus. As you can see, I'm making sure to press on the screen on my iPhone to make sure this paper bush is in focus. You can see how the picture has turned out from me doing that. In these pictures, you can also see that I change the orientation of my camera, which I always love doing just to make sure I get a good picture. Also in these pictures you can see that I get really close to the plant so I can make sure to capture as much detail of the flowers and the branches as possible, which will be really grateful when I actually create my own illustration and make sure it's also detailed and really beautiful. Additionally, make sure to take a pretty thorough look at all the plants you're taking a picture of. Because like you can see here, you might find some parts of the plant that look different than what you first see when you walk up to it. I made sure to do that on this rhododendron and took a picture of the buds, leaves and the old seed husks from last year, which makes for a really interesting composition and also shows all the unique parts of the plant. I also always make sure to take a picture of this sign that is labeling the plant so that I can identify it correctly and remember it's name for later and label my illustration if I want to. At the arboretum, I also found this small Sumac branch, which I wanted to take a picture of just to show you-all how hard it can be to take a picture of some really small plants. As you can see here, my photograph is really fuzzy and I actually catch more of the background in focus than the plant itself. As you can see, it would be really hard to draw this plant if I took this picture home. I wanted to give you some advice on how to capture a better photo of a small plant like this. What I do is actually usually bring a book along with me while I'm taking plant photos. I had a black book in my backpack and put that behind the Sumac and actually focus my camera on the book rather than trying to focus on this tiny little plant. It works pretty well, it makes sure that the Sumac branch actually stands out from the other brown leaves and brown background that are around it. I can get the plant itself way better in focus if I use a little technique like this. I often also use this technique when I'm taking pictures of branches of trees as you can see here. Also, I would encourage you to get really up close to some of the plants that you're taking photos of. Because you can start noticing some small details that make the plant unique. Like these leaves have slightly serrated, ridged edges which I want to capture when I draw it an illustration. I would also encourage you to take multiple photos of the same plant and also take your photos from different angles. You may find when you get home that one of the pictures you took is actually more successful and easier to draw from when you're starting to draw your illustration. One might have a little more detail or have a more interesting composition that you want to capture in your drawing. Just give yourself a little bit of variety to choose from when you get home. Finally, make sure to take pictures of plants that you just find really beautiful and are really fun to draw. Give yourself some variety in the kinds of plants that you might want to make as an illustration later on. Also just enjoying nature in the process. I love going on walks and arboretums and finding beautiful plants around me every day. Just have fun with this and experiment with taking photos and then please post your photos in the project gallery. We'd all love to see them. 6. Botanical Line Drawing: Now that you've been outside and you taken tonnes of different photos of plants you found around your nature, now it's time to create your very own botanical illustration. I'm going to show you my process from going from a reference photo like this to an actual botanical illustration on the page. Of the photos I took, I felt like this was one of the most successful. It was really easy to look at. Good contrast, I was able to see the details of the plant. So I'm going to use this as my reference photo. Then my process, I always start drawing my botanical illustrations in pencil first. I get a basic feel of what it's like to draw this plant and get a sense of what some of the unique details of the plant are, and really get my hand working on the page and do a quick sketch. Later, to make my final illustration, I actually go in with a pen. I love how using pen and ink on a page really makes your illustrations stand out and look bold. So I go in and make a final line drawing that's pretty simple, but captures the essence of my style and also the plant that I took a picture of. Again, here's the photo that I'm going to use as a reference for my botanical illustration. This is actually a type of holly. It's called yaupon holly. I'm going to use it as a reference. You can follow along in my process of going from the photo to the actual illustration on the page. I hope you have a tonne of fun with this and that my process is helpful for you to get a sense of how you can do this on your own at home. So for line drawings, I start off by making a basic sketch. Again, I use my Canson mixed media sketchbook, and a mechanical pencil, and I always have an eraser nearby as well. I'm basically going to start off my line drawing by making a basic sketch of this plant. I have my reference photo pulled up on my computer. You can see my computer in the top left-hand corner of the screen. But I've attached the photo that I'm looking at here, so you can follow along. So this first sketch is not going to be very detailed. I'm basically going to just be making shapes, so that I get a sense of what it feels like to draw this plant and also get the anatomy of the plant down without having to go into really big detail right off the bat. So in this photo in particular that I took, there are a lot of leaves on this branch and it's a little overwhelming. So I'm starting off by actually drawing the stem and branches first. Because that will create a backbone for the rest of my drawing. I'm starting off mapping out where the branches are, and eventually, I'm going to start adding in the leaves. Then just as in my copy sketch, I'm always making sure to look back and forth, between my page and where I'm putting my marks and the reference photo. So that I make sure that all of the stems are lining up correctly and they're creating the right angles in comparison to each other. Then I'm going to start placing in my leaves. Yeah, as you can see, I'm making pretty basic shapes. All of the leaves are essentially just ovals with pointed ends. Again, this is just going to be a very simple first sketch. Eventually, and you'll see this later, I'm going to use this pencil sketch, as my reference for a drawing that I'll make with pen. So eventually the goal is, I don't want to be looking at the picture anymore, essentially, I want to be looking at my sketch. So my sketch is really how I feel out what this plant is like to draw. The berries that I'm making are essentially just circles as well. Doing pretty basic geometric shapes. I am going into a little bit of detail here. Just because that's my style. If you want to be a little bit looser, just make the basic shapes. It's really, totally fine to not go into detail at this point. You can save the detailed part for when you use your pen and ink and make your final polished drawing. As I'm drawing, I'm, also constantly thinking about the composition of my illustration on the page. So I actually notice as I started drawing, my composition was a little heavy on the left side of the page. So I shortened it and didn't actually take it as far to the left side as it is in my actual reference photo. So you can make little changes and adjustments like that as you need to make the composition really work. The last thing that I did on my pencil sketch to practice drawing this plant was actually drawing some details on the leaves. So I use the ovals that I created earlier as an outline. I even zoomed in on my actual picture on the computer to get a better sense of what the edges of each of these leaves look like. Because I noticed on the holly plant, if you look closely, there's actually some slightly wavy edges to the plants, those are called serrations. But these aren't like sharp serrations like you have maybe find on like a bread knife's edge. They were actually curved and pretty smooth little indentations on the side of each leaf. I actually practiced drawing that in my pencil sketch so that I would have a good feel for it when I actually go in with my pen to make my final line drawing. I tried drawing the serrations on the edges on a bunch of different shapes of leaves as well. Some that were more oval in my picture, some of that were a lot skinnier and curved. Just to test out for myself what it was like to draw the serrations on different leaves. I reached a point where I actually felt pretty good about drawing this plant. I spent about 15 or 20 minutes on this basic pencil sketch, and then realize I was just repeating myself drawing all these illustrations on leaves. I wanted to draw my final illustration, line-drawing on a new sheet of paper in pen. I actually tore out my pencil sketch, which was just my initial try, got a new sheet of paper and then I decided to use a Pilot Precise V5 pen to draw my final line drawing. I really like these pens. They're pretty cheap and you can find them at most convenient stores. I don't use anything really fancy, the one thing about this pen is it doesn't have waterproof ink. If you later wanted to watercolor your illustration, don't use this pen first use maybe another pen that has permanent ink, like a sharpie pen or a lot of Micron pens have waterproof ink, but this one doesn't. I jumped right in as you can see, for my final line drawing. In this line drawing, I actually started drawing the leaves mostly first prior to drawing the branches because a lot of the leaves overlaps the branches in my reference photo. I had to draw the leaves on top then the branches second so that they fell behind my leaves. I'm not doing this in pencil so I can't erase anything later. I had to be aware of the arrangement of what elements are on top, what elements are in the background when I was drawing my final illustration. You don't have to do this exactly like I'm doing it. If it's really intimidating to go straight onto a new piece of paper and pen, or if that feels too hard or not, at what level you are ready for yet, you don't have to do that. You can actually draw in pen straight on top of your pencil sketch and then erase the pencil lines later, and that's totally fine. I just personally like drawing on a new sheet of paper and having a clean surface to work on. That's why I made this decision. I also feel like every time I draw my plan, I get a little bit better at it. It's like a good challenge for me as an artist to try to draw in pen on a blank sheet of paper. That's why I did that. Another option is you could use tracing paper or even a light box to actually trace your pencil sketch in pen and have a final line drawing in pen on a clean sheet of paper that way too. My final illustration, I also made sure to kind of move my way from the left side of the page to the right, like I did in my copy stitch. Also I started from the areas that were lowest on my illustration and moved my way upwards. I started with the lower branch first and then move to the upper branches. A huge reason for that is again, thinking about what parts of the page are in the foreground and what are in the background. A lot of the leaves on the lower branches were actually in front of the stems of the upper branches. I made sure to draw the lower stuff first and then move upwards. Something to be aware of if you do that is how quick you're engaged drawing, you definitely want to make sure you aren't smudging your lines. Just be aware of that as you're drawing. Take your time and if you need to take a quick break and let the ink dry on the lower areas of your drawing before you move upwards, make sure to do that. I really started loving how this illustration was turning out. The simple dark lines from the pen against the white page started looking really good and I was feeling really good about the line drawing. One final touch I want to add though, was to put in a little bit more contrast where I felt like it was lacking. I added some shading on both the leaves and the barriers to make them really pop. You can make sure to do things like that in your drawing too. Then I actually did do a little bit of smudging on my page, so the final touch as I was finishing things up was I actually just took a little round brush I have for watercolors and some water and actually fix some of the smudges on the page. I'm just dabbing my round brush into a little bit of water and rubbing out some of the smudges on the page and then taking a paper towel to lift up the water or even using my fingernail to scrapped off some of the paper fibers that were darkened by the ink of my pen. If you make any mistakes like I did, you can use that really handy trick. If you have ink in your pen that isn't waterproof, you can go back later with water and fix any smudges you might make, that's little pro tip. At this point I felt like my illustration was fully done. As you can see, I leave my illustrations fairly simple. I like this simple line work on a bright white page, but you can do it ever style works best for you. I as always label my illustrations with the plant name, so I'm doing that in the lower right-hand corner where the composition felt a little empty. I would encourage you to try to do that too. Use some of the scientific resources that you gathered earlier and try to identify the plant you're drawing or even just label parts of the plants like the types of leaves that has or berries or whatever. There you have it. That's my process for making simple line drawings for botanical illustrations. Now it's your turn. Pick one of the reference photos that you took out in nature earlier on in this class and use it to make a simple botanical illustration. I hope you have a lot of fun with this and don't forget to post it to the project gallery when you're done. 7. Bring in Your Own Style!: Now it's time for the final piece of our project. Congratulations, you've made your very own line-drawing botanical illustration. But for the last piece of this project, I actually want you to create an illustration that expresses your own style and artistic voice. As I said earlier, not all botanical illustrations are the same. They don't all have to be realistic line drawings. They don't all have to be super detailed. Some can be more modern and some can be using a lot of color and really pop. I want you to try to make an illustration that feels a little more expressive or a little abstract. Or if you'd like to, you can simply make an illustration that's a color version of the botanical illustration or the botanical line-drawing that you created in the last segment of the class. You can pick a medium of your choice. I'm going to do my final stylistic illustration and watercolor. But you can do pastels, colored pencils, acrylic paint. Even you could also even continue to do a black and white version of your illustration and just use like India ink or a brush pen, and that might create a different effect. Pick an artistic medium that feels comfortable to you or feels really exciting to you. Create an illustration that really shows off your own style. I'll show you my process so you can see how I do this. Because it's one of my favorite mediums, I'm going to be doing watercolor for my stylistic illustration, and I'm going to be using a size eight round watercolor brush and a Sharpie pen, which has an extra fine tip. I'm also using a Canson watercolor notebook this time, that has paper that's a 140 pounds thickness, so the paper won't warp with the extra water from the watercolors, which is perfect. Then I'm going to be using a set of watercolor paints. That's just a cheap to go pack of watercolors. It's the chart pack watercolor wheel stack, if you want to use one of your own. But I just have this on-hand because I like doing watercolors on the go. Then lastly, I always have a paper towel with me and some clean water, obviously for my watercolors. At this point, I have drawn this yaupon holly plant twice now. I'm fairly familiar with it. I get the basic anatomy of the plant. What I want to do this time, instead of doing a really realistic line drawing, like I have on my botanical illustration, line drawing, which I'll keep close the hand that's right here, I can use that as a reference, but I'm actually going to use watercolor first and then do pen work on top of it. I'm doing this because in my stylistic illustration, I want it to just be really loose and have fun with it. I feel like if I start off in pen, I might just basically copy what I already drew. So I'm going to start off with watercolor and just make a really saturated background with watercolor, and then I'm deciding to put pen on top of it. I'm starting off by just making some basic shapes again of the leaves and branches with water, and then I'm actually going to dab my brush in a couple of colors that I want to use. Then use the wet on wet watercolor technique to distribute the watercolor pigment into my wet water spots. You can see him also using some blue pigment in addition to green for the leaves of the holly plant. I want to use some colors that will really pop on the page and not just be basic greens and browns. I chose to put a little blue in it. Then I'm adding red spots where the berries are in my illustration. I'm looking back at my reference photo and actually mostly just at my line drawing that I drew earlier, to figure out where the different berries are, where the leaves are, in doing a basic shape. I really like the wet on wet technique because, as you can see, all of the colors breed together and I love how dynamic the watercolors look. Then I'm just using a hair dryer to finally dry all of the water on my page before I go in with my Sharpie pen to create the backbone of the drawing and do a pen drawing on top. I'm going to use a Sharpie pen because Sharpies do have waterproof ink, unlike my Pilot pen from my line drawing earlier. Even though I did watercolor first, I wanted to use this Sharpie pen just in case I later wanted to add a little piece like, if I want to go back to add a bit of watercolor into this illustration, after finishing drawing the line work, I would want to make sure that my lines wouldn't bleed. So I'm using the permanent marker to make my final line work. Then my style for making a more stylistic botanical illustration with color is actually just not to follow the lines at all. I like having my line work overlap with my watercolors. I think it creates a really fun effect. Again, this is a more loose drawing, I want it to be fun and energetic and pleasing to the eye, so I'm using my own judgment as to where I'm actually going to put the final leaves. Again, I'm using my reference photo to still look back at the original plant and also my previous line drawing to see what composition I liked best and how it worked, and still kind of put my pen to the page in a similar way, but with a few changes this time. For the most part I am following the same shape of the plant and location of each of the branches and the leaves, as I did in my sketch that was really realistic. But I'm just editing it where I need to. I'm putting some of the leaves right over the watercolors, other of the leaves popping away from the watercolors, the watercolor areas, and just making sure that competition really looks good. I feel like I reached a really good point with this drying and I'm done. Now it's your turn. Create your very own stylistic illustration that shows off your own personal style. You can try something just like I did and copy the same watercolor technique I did, or try something completely different. Use a totally different medium. Have a lot of fun with this and really bring your own voice to this project. Then lastly, don't forget once again to post to the project gallery. 8. Conclusion: Congratulations, you have finally reached the end of this botanical illustration intensive. I hope you had a ton of fun creating illustrations of plants around you. I really created this class so that people could get a sense of how scientists and botanists use drawings of plants, how they create really detailed drawings so that they have a visual representation of plants that they can take out of the field and take home with them, but also so that people get a sense of how to branch out from that, how to branch out from being really realistic, or really detailed, or that more rigid way of illustrating, and instead create something more stylistic and fun. Now that you've done that, try experimenting with botanical illustrations. I do a mixture of watercolor illustrations and pen and ink illustrations. I also have created botanical illustration on ceramics. Now that you've done this, try out different ways of drawing plants. I love drawing botanical illustrations because it connects me to nature and gets me outside and connected to the plants that are around me every day. I really hope that you get to do that through this project. Please, again, post your projects to the project gallery. I would absolutely love to see them, love to your own style that you bring to this work. If you have any questions, post to the discussion board,. I'll try to be as responsive as possible. Finally, if there are any other classes you'd like to see me create, maybe I could go in-depth on a particular part of this class or do something else related to botanical illustration, please also post that in the discussion board. I'd love to know and create more classes like this. Thanks again for taking this botanical illustration intensive with me, and have fun making more illustrations.