Observe, observe, observe. It is not what the drawing looks like that matters. It is what has been seen and learnt that is important.
– Australian National Botanic Garden
The end of another school year is on the horizon. Summer nature camps are advertised everywhere you look. The summer season means road trips, warm evening walks and outdoor exploration.
Flowering plants get a lot of attention this time of year and now is a great time to look at them more closely. A fun way to bring attention to plants is through art. Creative activities involving leaves, paint, ink, etc. are pretty easy to find. What is more difficult to find are exercises about botanical illustration that are a nice mix of technique and history. If you are searching for lesson plans in botanical illustration to use at a summer camp or in some other informal learning situation, then consider the guides produced by the Australian National Botanic Garden (ANBG).
In Top Draw: Drawing Aussie Flora, educators will find comprehensive, concise and easy-to-teach exercises in botanical illustration. With this guide, both teachers and students will learn:
- How to observe differences in leaves
- How to dissect a flower
- How to observe, record and label flower parts
- How to shade a three-dimensional form in pen & ink through stippling
- How to draw on-location
In Top Draw: Drawing Aussie Flora – Further Design Activities, educators will find information about printmaking and illustration techniques. The majority of this second guide, however, is dedicated to botanical painting. The easy-to-follow exercises in this guide will have students young and old mixing colors and painting leaves in no time at all.
The Top Draw teacher guide and instructional packets are available online through the Education page on the ANBG website. See the literature cited section for direct links to these resources.
- Australian National Botanic Garden. Top Draw: Drawing Aussie Flora. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/education/programs/topdraw2010.html>
- Australian National Botanic Garden. Top Draw: Drawing Aussie Flora – Further Design Activities. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/education/programs/topdraw2010.html>
- Australian National Botanic Garden. Top Draw: Drawing Aussie Flora – Teacher’s Guide. Web. 12 May 2011. <http://www.anbg.gov.au/gardens/education/programs/topdraw2010.html>
- Buy a Magnifier, Receive a Free Dissecting Kit at ArtPlantae Books
- Members of the Society of Botanical Artists offer advice to budding botanical artists
- Today’s Botanical Artists discuss drawing branches and veins