Friday, January 27, 2012

Contemporary Botanical Illustrators

There are so many wonderful Botanical Illustrators around the globe and so many right here in the blogosphere. I am constantly inspired by not only their dedication but their incredible discipline. Two of the illustrators that I am most inspired by are Wendy Hollender and Ann Swan. I tend to gravitate towards their work because they primarily use Faber Castell polychromos pencils.

I found this wonderful Youtube video of Wendy Hollender demonstrating her creative process. This is the way that I tend to work as well, with the toning of dark sepia to define the form and values of the subject. In this video, she uses watercolor pencil to cover the larger areas on the illustration. Combined with the FC polychromos undertones, this makes for a wonder mixed media piece.

For additional examples and instruction from these two wonderful illustrators, I highly recommend the following books:

Botanical Portraits with Colored Pencils by Ann Swan

Botanical Drawing in Color by Wendy Hollender

Before I began using these wonderful polychromos pencils, I worked through several of the exercises in Wendy's book and am presently revisiting Ann Swan's book.

(Here's a poorly lit photo of some exercises that I did from the Hollender book and a copy of a Redoute tulip that I had just toned with the dark sepia )


  1. These little sketches look really good. I love the tonal contrast between the lightest and darkest tones, always difficult to judge. I love colour pencil work but alas, do not do enough myself.

  2. Just catching up on your posts. Love both of these artists as well! I also have their books - great resources. I haven't been able to spend much time working on drawings recently, but just started a trillium. Totally forgot about the sepia under painting for tones. Will have to do that next time. I am trying to be patient and work on my layers without rushing it. I have an in-progress posted on my blog. I really liked your grapes as well and was curious to read which pencils you used (I love my Polychromos as well!) Anyway - great fun reading your posts!