As the days grow too dark and cold to hang around outdoors, we need to keep ourselves occupied and our spirits up. Just because we’re not able to comfortably enjoy much time outside doesn’t mean we can’t still spend our time connecting with nature. I want to share with you my favorite botanical subjects to study at this time of year in the hopes that you will find inspiration around you, too.
Just because you’ve drawn a subject before doesn’t mean that you can’t draw it again! In each visit with a plant, I learn new lessons. While one radish may show me the glory of vivid color, a different radish may reveal subtleties in shape and form, and a third may demonstrate how their roots deepen their connection with earth. Try drawing different views of one subject or different subjects of the same variety to fall in love with botanical art all over again. (Read more ideas for expanding lessons from The Practice of Botanical Drawing here.)
Squash, Pumpkins, & Gourds
I love to celebrate these harvest times by studying the pretty patterns and fascinating textures of decorative gourds and the gooey inner seeds and segmented skin of pumpkins. We know that capturing all of their beautiful bumps and colors can be tricky, but fear not! Catch the recording from our Winter Squash, Pumpkins, & Gourds Zoom Drawing Workshop for helpful tips.
Just interested in gourds? Try our Ornamental Gourds video companion to the Joy of Botanical Drawing.)
While you can draw leaves any time throughout the year, fall is my favorite time to capture the vibrant colors of dying leaves. Their elegant deterioration demonstrates that, while nothing lives forever, we can enjoy being here for as long as we are able, and we can decay beautifully. Study autumn’s jewels with the recordings of our Focus on Leaves: Autumn Leaf Colors Zoom Drawing Workshop (recorded October 2021) or our Colorful Leaf with Watercolor video companion to the Joy of Botanical Drawing.
Winter brings us dead leaves, dry and brittle, perfect for feeding new life on forest floors and a lovely challenge to draw! Study their graceful curves and twists and practice color-mixing the wide variety of brown hues of these understated subjects with the recordings of our Wonderful Winter Leaves Zoom Drawing Workshop (recorded March 2022).
Autumn is an awesome time for apples! I love to capture pleasant apple-picking memories in a painting. There are so many varieties of apples to explore. Curl up with your hot mug of apple cider, and create an apple portrait to warm your heart year-round! See this FREE lesson about practicing apples, or watch the recordings of our Awesome Autumn Apples Zoom Drawing Workshop (recorded October 2022).
Captivated by the patterns of pine cones? Me too! Drawing pine cones is a perfect opportunity to look closely at the intricate spiral patterns found in so much of nature. Cuddle up with some hot cocoa, and capture cute conifers with us! Learn our techniques for drawing these complex wintery subjects, including their branches with fine, green needles with the recording of our Captivating Conifers Zoom Drawing Workshop (recorded December 2022).
Fall is a great time to collect non-perishable specimens to draw later on in winter. Pretend you’re a squirrel and stock up for the winter! Collect nuts, pods, pine cones, and branches to revisit during the shortest days when fresh specimens are buried under snow and encased in ice.
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Our course, The Practice of Botanical Drawing, includes many individual lessons, as well as a year-long challenge to sketch the same plant in every season to capture all of its life cycle stages! Learn more about our courses.