How do you become a botanical illustrator? What does the job involve?
How do you get a job in botanical illustration at one of the major botanical gardens that employ botanical illustrators?
Below is a 5 minute video created to illustrate a career in botanical illustration. It features botanical illustrator Catherine Wardrop, who is one of two botanical illustrators employed by the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. She works at the herbarium and prepares black and white illustrations in pen and ink for botanists and publication in of Flora of New South Wales revisions, Flora of Australia, Telopea and other scientific journals. She also curates key Margaret Flockton works.
Note: the video is old but the principles of the approach to creating a botanical illustration for a scientific publication remain the same.
It shows techniques used by botanical illustrators - including
You must love both nature and detail and have a number of drawing skills to be a professional botanical illustrator. Skills required include:
The video finishes by explaining her educational background and how she got a job in botanical illustration. Catherine has a a first degree in printmaking and a Diploma in Plant and Wildlife Illustration from Newcastle University in New South Wales.
[Note: Newcastle University has a Degree in Natural History Illustration. This page outlines requirements and the core and optional courses for the degree.]
More about jobs in botanical illustration
I've been updating the website for a significant number of aspects relating to the Natural History Museum. By the time I got to the end it seemed appropriate to highligth this via a post!
On the UK Exhibitions page, you'll now find a new section covering exhibitions at the Museum and an entry for the NEW exhibition in the Images of Nature Gallery.
The Bauer Brothers "excelled in learning the principles of botanical illustration according to the Linnaean system of classification. This technique typically depicts the entire plant in flower, but separately represents the bud and fruit, often dissected to show the internal structure."
On the Permanent Collections (UK) Page, the section highlighting the Natural History Museum now includes links to:
On the Herbaria, Seed Banks and Fungaria page, you'll find it now lists the range of botanical collections in the Herbarium of the Natural History Museum. You can see digital images of a lot of the herbarium speciments in the collections by searching the associated databases.
These include collections which came from:
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-17
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