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    beech twig

    Violet botanical illustration and a rough

    Firstly, I’ve finished my secret job!  All I’m waiting for now is the go-ahead (or request for minor changes) from an extremely helpful entomological expert, then I can send off the finished articles.  And invoice my client, and get paid!

    I’ve spent some very happy hours collating research for this big private commission; getting old dead damselflies out of matchboxes, flicking through past artwork to see if there’s a picture of a newt I could re-use, finding red campion and violet ref in my sketchbooks , and ploughing through files of photo reference to get images of all the animals and plants I’ll be including.

    Then I’ve drawn it all up into a very rough “thumbnail” sketch which I’ve emailed to my client for feedback.  I send through two versions and a written species list, one is labelled and one’s without labels. This one’s been annotated.

    I’ll be interested to hear what’s said, this point is always a bit scary because there’s a chance you’ve got it completely wrong, and the client will ask you to start all over again.  However, it’s always better to find this out when the artwork is still at a very rough stage…

    I’m hoping to get going on the ivy studies tomorrow; ivy flowers just coming into bloom and the leaves are all glossy green.  I’m getting excited at the very thought of painting them.

    There’s also been lots of the bleaker side of what I do; self promotion and marketing campaigns.  I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say it takes a lot of time and I’d rather be wielding a paintbrush than tip-tapping away on the keyboard, but there you have it.  Life in the 21st century, and welcome to it.

    So although this week has been busy, I’m not certain I’ve achieved a great deal.  This is the problem with being an illustrator, one tends to measure one’s success rate with numbers of completed paintings, so it’s easy to discount all the hours spent researching, drawing up roughs, and marketing.  Let’s see if I can make real progress with that ivy by this time next week…


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    Lizzie Harper