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beech twig

Rushes: An Introduction

Having recently written blogs about the anatomy of grasses and sedges; this week I’ll be examining rushes.  As with the Cyperaceae and Graminaceae, these common and beautiful plants are frequently overlooked.  Many seem to favour of wild flowers with florid petals and bright colours.  However, rushes deserve a closer look. Hairy Wood rush Luzula pilosa Anatomy of Rushes:  Overview […] Read more
insect showing spiricles

Natural History Illustration: Insect anatomy

Insects are my favourite creatures.  I love illustrating them in my natural science commissions.  Here’s a brief overview of the parts of  any insect which should help anyone doing entomological illustration. Insect overview Insects are invertebrates; they sport an external skeleton rather than internal bones.  Their limbs are jointed, they’re cold-blooded, have six legs and […] Read more
leaf, leaves, leaf shape, compound leaves, simple leaves, botany, botany terms,

Botanical Illustration: Compound and Simple leaves

I’ve recently completed some botanical illustrations and diagrams of leaves.  They’re for for The 21st Century Herbal by Michael Balick. Several illustrations demonstrating different botanical terms for leaf shape were required. Reasons why botanical terminology helps I think knowing what variety exists in nature helps you to understand what you’re drawing.  So I thought I’d share some botanical terminology […] Read more
Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica, invasives, step by step

Japanese knotweed sketchbook study

Japanese Knotweed job   I’ve been working on a series of three scientific illustrations of invasive plants this week, for Summersault Communications.  This blog is about doing a Japanese knotweed sketchbook study. The article accompanying my illustrations will explain how to identify the plants and why they pose a threat.  I am fortunate in that the […] Read more
odonata, shine,

Illustrating Iridescence

Mechanics of Iridescence There are many subjects in nature which are extraordinarily beautiful.  Animals which glint and gleam with iridescence are definitely one of them.  However, in order to take on the (not inconsiderable) challenge of illustrating iridescent creatures it’s important to have a basic grasp of the processes that cause these animals to shine […] Read more
leaves and shadows

Botanical illustration tips on painting leaves

I’ve been doing botanical illustrations this week, and think perhaps some ideas on how to undertake a scientific illustration of leaves might be useful.  Most of these examples are from my botanical sketchbooks (always keep sketchbooks!); although the final pieces are completed works for clients. Getting Reference before you start It goes without saying that […] Read more

Lizzie Harper