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Botanical Art Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


Happy Tuesday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm sharing with you a beautiful book that not only shares stunning botanical art: It's also a complete guide on how to draw and paint beautiful subjects from the botanical world: Botanical Art Techniques by the American Society of Botanical Artists.  It was published by Timber Press, and I have bought several beautiful books from them.

I love flowers, and I strive to improve my skills as an artist.  I have painted floral still life paintings in the past, but I was hoping that the book might offer different techniques for both painting and drawing.

Here are a few of my floral paintings:

According to Goodreads:

The Ultimate Reference, from the Experts
This definitive guide is the most thorough how-to available on every major technique of botanical artistry. The experts at the American Society of Botanical Artists offer step-by-step projects that move from introductory to advanced—so any level of artist can build on acquired skills. Helpful tutorials cover watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, vellum, egg tempera, oils, pen and ink, and printmaking. Filled with more than 900 photographs and stunning examples of finished art by the best contemporary botanical artists, Botanical Art Techniques is the authoritative manual on this exquisite art form.

About The Authors:

The mission of the American Society of Botanical Artists is to provide a thriving, interactive community dedicated to perpetuating the tradition and contemporary practice of botanical art.

Carol Woodin has been a botanical artist for thirty years and is the recipient of the 2018 ASBA James White Service Award, the 1998 ASBA Diane Bouchier Artist Award, the Orchid Digest Medal of Honor, and a Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal.

Robin A. Jessis the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate coordinator for The New York Botanical Garden, and former executive director of the American Society of Botanical Artists. In 1990, she was awarded a Distinguished Artist Fellowship by the New Jersey State Council on Arts.

This book is so beautiful, and it has the most stunning botanical art I've ever seen.  It covers several mediums, including watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, vellum, pen and ink, egg tempera, oils, printmaking, silverpoint, and more.  The step by step instructions are very detailed and precise, and I followed the steps for drawing an apple, and it was very involved.  But I learned quite a bit, and I transferred some of the information to silverpoint.

I started with this lesson on how to draw a Granny Smith apple with graphite.  Then I applied the lesson to silverpoint.

These silverpoint drawing of sleigh bells and a Granny Smith apple are in my silverpoint art journal.
Silverpoint or any metalpoint must use a special ground for the metal to stick to the paper.

Apples are tricky because there are so many planes on an apple.

Below are a couple of orchids:

I also decided to try a few of the drawing lessons for branches.  Here are my results, also drawn in my journal:

magnolia branch

dogwood branch
This was not included in the book, I just wanted to practice another branch.

I would love to have the patience to draw this:

It's an oak branch with lichen.  I think it is so pretty and detailed!

I have a few projects from the book I want to try soon.  Once I practice in my art journal, I will draw a couple of subjects on board treated with silverpoint ground.  I'll share once I finish them!

If you are a watercolor artist and want to learn new skills, you must invest in this book.  Most of the instruction in the book covers watercolor (alas, the one medium I do not use), and I wish there were more oil painting instruction.  But each lesson is instructive, and I'm learning about composition throughout. The drawing areas, whether with graphite or colored pencils, is very comprehensive, too.  Each lesson has a complete list of all materials used, instructions, and the amount of hours it took the artist to finish.  

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Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. These are stunning, RJ. I don't think you need that book. You're already there.Truly -- your work is remarkable.

  2. RJ, I love seeing your hand work. Your detail is exquisite, and amazes me. I am in love with that dogwood branch. I am excited to see more of your work!

  3. Beautiful work Ricki Jill, I love to draw from botanical books, thanks for the inspiration!

  4. What wonderful work you’ve done, Ricki Jill! You and Jenna are so artistic and inspirational. Two of my sons had college art scholarships. I have their works displayed in my home.

  5. I always enjoy your art, whatever you do. Botanicals are always inspiring, love the book. Your photography is always beautiful.........


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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