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The Practice of Botanical Drawing: Ideas for Expanding Lessons

All Draw Botanical lessons are intended to be done more than once. Expand each lesson with new and different subjects!

Watch this video and read this post to get advice from Wendy about how to innovate your practice within the framework of the Practice of Botanical Drawing lessons.

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We know that masters aren’t made overnight, and that consistent practice is the key to success.

Think of my books as a template. I show you one lesson with one subject, and you can go back to that lesson and do it so many different ways! Let nature guide you and tell you what to do next.

For example, lesson 1, drawing a branch. Start with a simple branch. Then maybe you practice your overlaps with a group of branches. Then what do you do next? Try a fun branch with thorns, one with peeling bark, and one with lichen. Also drawing just a piece of curving bark can be such a fun exercise!

After learning about patterns, acorns, and pinecones, then try a complex or unusual pinecone, or perhaps you want to combine what you learned in lesson 1 and do an acorn or pinecone attached to a branch! For more, check out this deep dive on patterns.

After learning the basics of leaves, you might want to try a leaf that curves or curls, using what you learned with the peeling bark! Also try overlapping leaves and combining subjects by drawing leaves attached to their fruits and flowers. For a fun challenge, try colorful autumn leaves and dried winter leaves! Find FREE tips on drawing leaves here. For more details on how to create shiny and fuzzy leaves, check out this Joy of Botanical Drawing Video Companion!

Learn the basics from each individual lesson, and then grow into larger compositions with multiple components. Find FREE tips on composition here.

After learning to draw a whole citrus fruit like an orange or lemon, try cutting one open and drawing a cross section of the inside! Also, try drawing just the peel after you’ve eaten the deliciousness inside. You can create some beautiful compositions by combining different citrus fruits and/or by combining different parts of the same citrus fruit.

Flowers are a never-ending fountain of inspiration! Practice, practice, practice. Once you master a single petal, try to draw the same kind of flower (ex. hydrangea) multiple times, from multiple angles (find FREE tips on perspective here), either individually or in a larger composition, and see how you can communicate each individual flower’s personality. Create compositions of multiple different flowers (ex. zinnias, peonies), or try drawing a bouquet. You can also add flowers to other compositions to show how a plant looks in each stage of its life cycle.

For a fun challenge, try drawing white flowers on kraft paper. (Check out this video demonstrating the basics of how to use kraft paper.) Bonus challenge: white flowers on white paper!

I learn something new each time I draw a flower, regardless of how many times I’ve drawn the same kind of flower before! It’s always fun to capture each natural subject’s own uniqueness. Find FREE tips on understanding flowers here. Really want to draw a rose? Here’s a FREE step-by-step guide.

Once you learn the basics, roots are so much fun to draw! Try drawing different root vegetables like radishes, kohlrabi, and taro. Also, experiment with adding roots to other flower and plant compositions for an interesting twist. You can also play with drawing the soil around/behind the roots for an added challenge. Find FREE tips on drawing roots here.

There are so many delicious kinds of apples, and they are all lovely to draw! Find them with leaves and stems if you can, or just draw your favorite from the farmer’s market or grocery store. Add an apple blossom, a cross section, seeds, anything! Play around and create some awesome compositions.

Once you learn the basic foundations of realistic 3D drawing, you can apply them to ANY SUBJECT! Try pears, mushrooms (extra credit: mushrooms on kraft paper!), ornamental gourds… nature’s possibilities are literally endless. There is always something fresh to capture. Hope these examples encourage you to have fun and inspire you to practice all of the skills from the lessons in different ways!

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