Why did you write the Joy of Botanical Drawing and how is it different from your other books?
Do you show readers how to use colored pencils and watercolor pencils together?
Is this book good for beginners or do you need to first read your previous books?
The Joy of Botanical Drawing is my fourth book that teaches Botanical Drawing techniques. You may wonder why there is a need for another book on this topic. I feel that, over time, as I learn new techniques and hone my own skills, my style and approach are not always the same. As a teacher, I am always learning. And as an amateur naturalist and botanist, sometimes certain plants will teach me lessons, too! When I teach in-person workshops, students sometimes say, “You used to do this another way!” or “That’s not how we learned it when I was here 5 years ago!” As I grow, so do my lessons. As a drawing and teaching professional, I learn tips and tricks that make things go faster, or organizational methods that make subjects more relatable to students. I wanted an up-to-date book with all of my favorite techniques, new and old.
My first book, Botanical Drawing, A Beginner’s Guide (a workbook that I self-published in 2007), developed from the lessons I had used as an instructor of Botanical Illustration at the New York Botanical Garden. This sprial-bound workbook has plain drawing paper right next to each lesson, so you can draw directly in the book. When a Random House editor saw this workbook, I was asked to create a more robust book from these same lessons. Thus, my second book Botanical Drawing in Color, was published in 2011. When I created the online learning program, The Practice of Botanical Drawing in 2017, I developed and published The Practice of Botanical Drawing book to accompany the course.
This new book, The Joy of Botanical Drawing, combines everything I have learned from teaching and creating botanical illustrations for 22 years and presents it in a book that is well-organized and very simple to use. My intention for The Joy of Botanical Drawing is to provide a solution to the number one problem I have seen with students: staying motivated and working on your own while tuning out your inner negative voice that keeps you from creating. The voice usually sounds something like this:
I have no talent.
I don’t want to ruin my paper.
I will never be as good as someone else.
I am way too busy to devote time to this practice.
I want to do so many creative things, I don’t know which one to choose.
I have formatted the book to help beginners and seasoned artists with their own practice. This book combines my favorite way of working by mixing watercolor and colored pencil together to create detailed botanical portraits. The book is full of “bite-sized” botanical drawing lessons and organized like a cookbook. If you feel like working on leaves, go to the chapter on leaf lessons, if you want instruction on flowers, flip to the flower section. I find that working on small drawings is a great way to stay motivated, knowing you only have to commit a small amount of time each day. If you focus on the joy of doing and don’t worry about results, you will always be in a good place. Immersing yourself in a study of the beauty of nature will nourish your soul. The Joy of Botanical Drawing will help beginners get started and experts take their skills to the next level to achieve amazingly realistic and vibrant botanical illustrations.