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Cover Image: Botanical Art Techniques

Botanical Art Techniques

Pub Date:

Review by

penny s, Reviewer

My Recommendation

This volume is, as its title implies, a comprehensive guide to botanical art techniques. The tutorials include details about the teaching artist, examples of their art, and detailed step-by-step photo tutorials explaining each skill. It is a book that is thorough in its crash course of Botanical Arts. This book includes introductory skills through advanced techniques. The combination creates essential reading for a new artist. It also results in a useful reference and refresher for those looking to improve or add proficiency. 

The introductory section covers the basics that any inspiring botanical artist should understand to begin a successful study of the art. This includes how to care for cut flowers, tips for field work, and a crash course in basic botany. The first part of the book focuses on black and white drawing. It covers tips for basic pencil (graphite) technique as well as that for pen and ink. Skills include the basic -- how to hold a pencil and the importance of a pencil tip, to the more advanced -- how to shade to enhance, not muddle a drawing. The book does not assume knowledge nor patronize the reader. Part two introduces color and offers tutorials for color pencil and watercolor -- on both paper and vellum. In addition to photo tutorials, detailed diagrams are also included, for example there is one that explores how to create depth--from one full strength and detailed "hero" specimen with multiple layers of muted colors, decreased detail, and reduced scale. The third part provides a brief exploration of specialized techniques such as etching, silver point, acrylics, and oils. This section also includes principals and both traditional and modern approaches for botanical art composition.

As a self-taught watercolor artist, this volume provides refreshers on lessons long forgotten (perspective). It also unlocks mysteries of "how to do that" (for example, the use of masking fluid and composition). It is a book that is welcome on my shelf as I explore botanical art techniques.

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