The Insect Artist

How to Observe, Draw, and Paint Butterflies, Bees, and More

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date Mar 12 2024 | Archive Date Mar 12 2024

Talking about this book? Use #TheInsectArtist #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


“Art and science collide beautifully” in this step-by-step, fully illustrated guide to drawing and painting the wonderful world of insects (Lila Higgins).

The Insect Artist offers a complete course in illustration and lifelike artwork. The 15 projects are designed to build on one another, beginning with techniques that strengthen drawing and acrylic painting skills. More advanced projects focus on design principles, realistic environments, and creative challenges. Clear instructions and visual demonstrations describe each step of the process and reference photos show the anatomy and coloration of each insect. Short outdoor exercises are included as lessons on actively observing nature. This is a book for artists of all levels and anyone interested in rediscovering the natural world through artistic expression.

Packed with creative tips:
  • Achieve rich colors, surface textures, and spatial depth
  • Measure proportions accurately
  • Simplify tricky forms and patterns
  • Establish an inspiring and supportive art practice

“Art and science collide beautifully” in this step-by-step, fully illustrated guide to drawing and painting the wonderful world of insects (Lila Higgins).

The Insect Artist offers a complete course in...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781604697964
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 20 members

Featured Reviews

First off, this artist is amazing! The book is very well organized and gives such great step by step instructions and photos for learning her craft. This book would be great for middle school, high school, or adults who want to learn to draw/paint the natural world.

Thank you NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read this book prior to publication.

Was this review helpful?

As an artist, this was a great instructional guide that I felt would do well for beginners who have fundamentals down with shapes, hand-to-eye measurement, a basic visual library etc. It would work really well for almost anyone who wants to get into drawing some of my favorite creatures - insects! Something that usually has no tutorials and forces people to improvise, with it this was made super super easy and I appreciated finally being walked through the basics. It would be great for ALL ages, and is also super informative about anatomy which has an added educational bonus.

Was this review helpful?

This book was a beautiful work of art in its own right; however, the techniques presented were more advanced than a novice artist. The book was detailed and explained in depth how to achieve said artistic approaches. I found the images comforting, even though this book was out of my league.

Was this review helpful?

A fine book concerning art and technique, using insects to demonstrate the concepts discussed. Zebith discusses materials, tools, processes (three stages, drawing, painting and layering with color pencils). The book is divided into three levels representing basic, advance and expert skills. The importance of sketching, observation at each demonstration as well as the importance of learning composition, shadows and highlights, color interaction, shapes and transparency is stressed throughout the book.

I recommend that you buy and learn.

Was this review helpful?

If you like the Lilliput world of insects and like drawing and painting, this volume will be very useful. First an accurate pencil drawing, then acrylic paint, to finish with coloured pencils. Progressively more complex (three levels of difficulty, from foundation to advanced). Popular subjects like ladybug, bumblebee, butterfly and others. A lot of useful information on how to observe, tools and techniques, very detailed step by step tutorials. Too much text for my taste (having experience I have no patience to read it all), but a beginner might need all the information. Richly illustrated.

Was this review helpful?

The Insect Artist: How to Observe, Draw, and Paint Butterflies, Bees, and More is a new tutorial guide with additional activities by Zebith Thalden. Due out 12th March 2024 from Hachette on their Timber Press imprint, it's 344 pages and format information is unclear from the publisher's data at the current time; but at least paperback and ebook formats will be included.

This is a very well written and beautifully illustrated guide to gaining skill and familiarity with surface rendering, shading, concept, linework, and finishing, all as they relate to realistic natural and insect subjects. The tutorials are written accessibly and encouragingly and include a wonderful amount of clarity from the author's viewpoint about creative process, design, and important lessons about subject choice, inspiration, shading, materials, and knowing when to stop overworking a project.

There are many tutorials included which utilize basic techniques such as geometric base shape sketching, blocking, shading, base working with colored pencils, blocking with dilute acrylics, and finishing by overlaying colored pencil for detail and line/shading. The drawing tutorials are species specific and tutorials include a base palette, materials and supplies, and very detailed photographic step by step procedure.

Although it's written one-on-one for home study use, this would be a great choice for public or school library acquisition, maker's groups, artist studio reference library, and gift-giving (perhaps bundled with some supplies).

Five stars. Well made and engaging.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

Was this review helpful?

This must have been the most amazing and informative drawing book I've read and seen this year so far. The intricate details when it comes to drawing these nature's beauties were just breathtaking. Made me want to get back into drawing all over again. Thank you netgalley for the ARC

Was this review helpful?

This is an amazingly thorough, excellent guide to drawing and painting all kinds of insects. It’s full of photos and step by step instructions that are incredibly detailed. Well recommended.

I read a temporary digital version of this book for review.

Was this review helpful?

What I loved most about this book is that it includes all media, so you're not forced to just do coloured pencils or water colours or whatever. You can use any medium you want. I'd also say that it is accessible for beginners and intermediate artists, who want to explore the amazing world of insects. The layout is easy to follow and I love the attention to detail like the the colour and material lists at the beginning of each project. The author goes through different techniques in different mediums. The explanations are in my opinion easy to follow, but of course it's always nicer to see it done in real life or video.

A great addition to any artist library and lots of inspiration and ideas for projects.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 5 out of 5 stars, because I couldn't find any issues with it. Beautifully made workbook!

Was this review helpful?

Beautiful book! Great instruction for drawing and painting these insects, and it can be attempted by any skill level. The authors passion for nature shines through, you not only get the art lesson but information on that insect and prompts to just take in your surroundings prior to jumping into a project. Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

The Insect Artist is a “home-study course” that can definitely offer beginners all the fundamentals of illustrating insects, but also I think has something to offer artists at any level.

I appreciated the sections before the projects which focused on how to approach the creative process, tools, and techniques, and even preserving your work. The topics covered there create a solid foundation before even beginning the projects. The chapters are ordered nicely, and as the book’s description notes, build on each other in terms of difficulty and skill proficiency. They cover everything from being able to measure accurately to creating textures and depth. The projects work in three phases, and I enjoyed the approach used. There are plenty of illustrations to guide the artist, and the projects are actually visually interesting and ones I actually wanted to create and would display.

In addition to the projects I really enjoyed the “nature break” activities included within. The book also contains the reference images used for each project as well as alternate poses, so I think you could easily replicate these projects with either the additional reference photos or your own observations in order to really master the skills or make the projects your own.

This is a really lovely book, and it would make a great gift for any artist, especially those new to insect illustration.

*Thank you to NetGalley, Timber Press, and Zebith S. Thalden for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review!*

Was this review helpful?

The Insect Artist by Zebith Stacy Thalden is a wonderful home study course which takes the artist from foundational to advanced studies of insects in a vareity of mediums and styles

The book is presented in a concise and immersive way, with a shopping list, hints and tips and step by step guidance that is easy to follow. It also describes the benefits of nature journalling, sketching and bringing the outdoors indoors

A really delightful guide

Thank you very much to Netgalley, Timber Publishing and the very talented author Zebith Stacy Thalden for this beautiful ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: