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'm very pleased to announce that it is now possible to search my website for information about:
Use the NEW customised Google Search engine which you can find at the bottom of the Home Page to search my website. (I may also include it on other pages where I think people will use search a lot). It generates search results ONLY from content on my website.
So, for example, you can look for a specific artist listed on the website in the artists past and present e.g. ' Margaret Mee '. This will - as you can see in the example below - generate results from the art history section, the artists by country section, the education section and the blog!
Or you can look for tips and techniques related to botanical art e.g. how to paint leaves (see below)
How to Search
Normal practices relating to a search enquiry apply.
However the second search (see below) was more specific and asked for results for 'how to "paint leaves" ' This only generated results which included the specific term "paint leaves" and left out those where the term used on the page might have been "painting leaves".
As I'm using the Google Search engine, some of the searches will come up with Google ads (shown in a pink box). However I think that's a small price to pay for being able to access a very powerful search engine! Plus I might get the odd penny once in a while as a result and this will help offset the cost of maintaining this website. I hope you don't mind.
My general practice when using search to find information (and this entire website is built on 'search'!) is to start wide and then become more precise once I see what the first search throws up.
You can also reorder your search results by relevance or date - just use the options box top right of the results screen.
I hope you find this NEW search facility useful and consider it a valuable addition to my website. I know I do!
If you want to add a customised Google search engine to your website this is the page which tells you how to add search to your site
Today I've created two new pages on my website for in-depth book reviews of two books relevant to those who want to learn more about botany and the botanical illustrator - and highly recommended by me.
Both reviews were written some years ago shortly after the books were published - but the books haven't changed so nor has the value of the book reviews!
However it occurred to me that it would be much more helpful to those wanting to learn about how to draw plants - or develop their skills - if the book reviews were with the rest of the information I've compiled. So today I've moved them from my review blog to this website.
I'll also be moving more in-depth reviews between now and the end of the year.
The two books are as follows (click the links below the image to go to the dedicated page for each book and read the reviews)
Interestingly both books highlight the value of learning through studying the botanical illustrators of the past.
If you'd like to check out some of the best botanical illustrators and artists in history check out my section on Botanical Art History and in particular Past Masters of Botanical Art & Illustration (1500-1900)
Note: The links above go direct to the page which hosts the book review. The book reviews include associate links to Amazon. This site uses the pennies raised via book sales via those links to finance this website - which is not cheap to run.
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I've come across an interview with Susannah Blaxill, the renowned Australian botanical artist who painted that beetroot! (which I wrote about earlier this year - see Susannah Blaxill's beetroot and a magnifying glass)
I found the interview today as a link on her website. I found it an absolutely fascinating and learned a lot - I hope you do too. You can also find Susannah writing about her art on her website
The interview between Susannah Blaxill and Zoneone Arts covers the following topics
There is nothing worse than discovering that something is not right when 50%, or even worse 90% of the painting is completed. It is actually a waste of time to rush this early stage.
I have found over the years that it is more important to give students information and skills that they can build on rather than attempting to encourage them to produce finished paintings.
I think that drawing and painting onion skin gives me more pleasure than almost anything else.
To depict in art the richness of an older face with all the signs of age is so much more interesting than the perfection of the skin of a super model. It is the same with plants – the dying leaves of the pear tree gives the artist so much more scope to explore the ravages of time.
NOTE: Zoneone Arts aims to is to provide online interviews that showcase the full range of contemporary arts and crafts happening in Australia and across the world.
You can find out more about other contemporary Australian botanical artists on my website.
Botanical artist and tutor Julia Trickey GM SBA has produced a 5 minute video which has lots of tips and techniques.
It's based on a recent commission to produce small artworks for a display board showing which plants can be found in a rockery.
More Video Tips about Botanical Art
You can find more videos relevant to botanical artists (including ones by Julia) on my website page about Video Tips for botanical art. This has additional pages about:
You can see more videos by Julia on her YouTube Channel - Julia Trickey: short adventures in botanicalart
This post is about how to find information about the RHS Botanical Art Shows in 2017 and the future - for all actual and aspiring future exhibitors.
In the past, many botanical artists have found it very difficult to find out about:
RHA Botanical Art & Photography Shows in 2017
The RHS now has a web page for information about the shows for artists and photographers. If you hope to exhibit in future or are planning to exhibit in 2017 you should bookmark this now. That's because it's not easy to find unless you know where to look!
The page has two sub-pages for:
Dates of RHS Botanical Art Shows in 2017
News & Resources
About Botanical Art and
For Botanical Artists
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-17
Unauthorised use or duplication of ANY material on this blog without written permission is strictly prohibited. Please also respect the copyright of all artists featured here.
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This blog highlights news - in brief - about botanical art exhibitions around the world.
Use the Contact form to tell me about an exhibition and provide a summary of relevant information. If listing your event I will ask you for relevant images.
2016 Workshops, Classes & Courses
Find out about botanical art workshops, classes courses in 2016 offered by various organisations and artists in the UK and USA
BAA News Archives
This page Botanical Art & Artists on my main blog has an archive of blog posts about past exhibitions of the Society of Botanical Art and Artists
News Blog about artists, awards, exhibitions etc.
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