Featured guest, Heeyoung Kim, shares how she collects field data:
After you locate a plant in the field, how do you approach recording the plant’s information? Do you begin with a written description of its identifying characteristics or do you prefer to think visually and create a sketch first?
When I am introduced to a new plant either with help from my “plant scout” or through a book, I can usually see it from its blooming season. I do start sketching parts of the plant, but I prefer working with the whole composition after I see its full life cycle in the next year.
Both written and graphic records are essential for a proper description, I believe. I usually start measuring botanically distinctive features of the plant with the metric system first. I then draw them from different angles and in various stages with color notes or sample coloring with colored pencil or watercolor. I know we are used to inch and feet in America, but in most other countries they use the metric system and they require you to write scales in centimeters and millimeters when you do scientific illustration and write a plant legend. For color notes, sometimes I just write down the paint tube names I will probably use to paint the plant. I find this works very well for me, as I can directly envision the painting process while I am looking at the plant.
I record all of my notes on one large paper, which I always have with me whenever I go out for sketch.