DRAWING IN GRAPHITE & DRAWING TO LEARN – SQUARE ONE FOR EVERYONE
Barlowe, Dorothea & Sy. 1982. Illustrating Nature: How to Paint and Draw Plants and Animals. Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN: 0-486-29921-X
Artists new to natural science illustration will learn a lot about this discipline from the authors. This book is a nice addition to any scientific illustration library. Other books to consider are Wood (1994) and Hodges (2003). This book contains chapters on the following topics: Materials and Equipment; Animals; Birds; Fishes and Other Marine Life; Insects; Reptiles and Amphibians; Geology and Paleontology; Botany; The Illustrator’s Career.
Bays, Jill. 1999. Drawing Workbook. David & Charles. ISBN: 0-7153-0719-3
Bays’ book is for those who want to learn how to draw, but who hesitate to do so. She encourages artists to begin drawing with the supplies that they have and not to become obsessed with buying additional art supplies. This book is comprised of ten lessons: Making Marks with Pencils, Colors, and Mixed Media; Starting Out (contour drawing, negative space); Creating Tone (form, lights, & shadows); Texture & Pattern (creating patterns and a “mood” in ones work); Pen & Brush Drawing; Composition; Using Color; Perspective; Drawing People; and Using Sketchbooks.
Cole, Rex Vicat. 1965. The Artistic Anatomy of Trees: Their Structure & Treatment in Painting. ISBN: 0-486-21475-3
A republication of this book that was first published in 1915 in London. Cole embarked on a serious study of trees from an artist’s point of view because of his love of trees and his belief that artists cannot paint trees unless they really get to know them. Cole states, “I cannot understand the position of some who assert that an object can be painted in a convincing manner without its mechanism being understood.” Cole discusses what to look for in trees, how to balance dark spaces with light, tree outlines, lines of tree branches, light & shade, the shapes of twigs and boughs, as well as that of leaves, buds, flowers, fruits, seedlings, and bark.
Diagram Group. 1999. Complete Drawing Course. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN: 0-8069-4838-8
A very good workbook. Of particular interest to botanical artists are the 41 pages pertaining to the drawing of plants. The 17 pages dedicated to composition and design will interest botanical artists who also have an interest in using botanicals in surface design.
DK Art School. 1998. Perspective Pack: A Toolkit for Artists. Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 0-7894-3510-1
This boxed set of artists’ tools was purchased at a discount bookstore that no longer exists. A deal at $9.99, this toolbox contains the following: the book An Introduction to Perspective by Ray Smith, a pair of hinged rulers, two L-shaped framing cards, an acetate drawing frame, two “Draftsman’s Nets” (i.e., gridded drawing frames), squared paper, isometric paper, and a model of Escher’s “Impossible” triangle.
Edwards, Betty. 1999. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam ISBN: 0-87477-424-1
An enlightening workbook. Artists will learn a lot about seeing and drawing if they take the time to work through this book seriously.
Harding, J.D. 2005. On Drawing Trees & Nature: A Classic Victorian Manual with Lessons and Examples. Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN: 0-486-44293-4
A republication of the third edition of the book, Elementary Art: or, The Use of the Chalk and Lead Pencil Advocated and Explained published in London in 1846. This edition contains plates from Harding’s book, Lessons on Trees that were not included in the Elementary Art book. In this book, Harding provides: general remarks about using chalk and lead pencil to draw nature; discussion about the importance of capturing form; discussion about the act of copying in the study of nature; discussion about the drawing of leaves, stems & branches, and foregrounds; the creation of light & shade; and an overview of art materials and their use.
Hillberry, J.D. 1999. Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil. North Light Books. ISBN: 0-89134-868-9
Wow. A book that needs to be on every graphite artist’s bookshelf. Hillberry’s discussion about his techniques is very interesting. His step-by-step demonstrations, inspiring.
Hodges, Elaine R. S. 2003. The Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 0-471-36011-2
An invaluable reference for anyone interested in natural science illustration. A variety of rendering techniques are discussed (from line & ink to 3D graphics). Individual chapters are dedicated to illustrating the following topics: molecules, earth science, astronomy, plants, fossils, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians & reptiles, birds, mammals, habitats, humans & their artifacts, and medical subjects. There are also three chapters about the business aspects of working as a freelance scientific illustrator.
Lighthipe, Mindy. 2000. Foundation Drawing for Botanical & Scientific Illustration. BBB Publishing.
This book contains a practical, structured set of exercises that introduce artists to the use of graphite pencils. Artists are given instruction on how to create continuous tone scales and textural tone scales, as well as how to place what they observe in aerial perspective. Lighthipe gives suggestions on how to create light on the form and leads artists through an exercise which requires them to draw and shade a clay pot from different angles. She also offers insight on one- and two-point perspective, negative space, and measuring. Artists at the beginning of their artistic journey may find this book to be an interesting and helpful reference to complement what they are learning in their beginning drawing class.
This book can be purchased from the author at BugsBeastsBotanicals.com.
Lighthipe, Mindy. 2001. Drawing on the Beauty of Plants. BBB Publishing.
This book is a helpful guide providing artists with several exercises and recommendations on how to approach drawing all parts of a plant. Lighthipe offers recommendations on: 1) how to draw the front and back of a leaf, 2) how to draw a leaf curved in space, 3) how to draw a branch with leaves, 4) how to draw roots, and 5) how to draw a sunflower. This guide offers artists a chance to strengthen their drawing skills and their “seeing” skills at their own pace. If artists combine the practical exercises in this book with what they’ve learned in class, they will no doubt reap the benefits of taking the time to process this information and of doing so at their own pace. Like the book above, artists may enjoy this book as a reference to complement what they are learning in their classes. This book can be purchased from the author at BugsBeastsBotanicals.com.
Martini, Rosie and Meriel Thurstan. 2006. Botanical Illustration Course with the Eden Project. Sterling Publishing Co. ISBN: 9-7807-13-490053
This book is a great book for new botanical artists. The authors lead artists through practical exercises and provide plenty of illustrations to help explain techniques and concepts. The best thing about this book is that the authors share more than just one way of doing things and they encourage artists to make mistakes so that they may develop their own approach to creating botanical art.
Ravet-Haevermans. 2009. The Art of Botanical Drawing: An Introductory Guide. Timber Press. ISBN: 9780881929904
In The Art of Botanical Drawing: An Introductory Guide, Agathe Ravet-Haevermans provides a brief history of botanical art and interesting insight into how she and fellow scientific illustrators document plants at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Beginners will find Ravet-Haevermans’ instructions easy to understand and they will appreciate her drawing and painting demonstrations which feature three different stages of development so beginners can observe how a technique is accomplished. All examples are done gracefully and are sure to inspire new artists. This is a well-rounded portable gem of a book that fits easily into a backpack or small canvas bag. Read full review
Sibley, Mike. 2006. Drawing From Line to Life. MSFA Publishing. ISBN: 978-0-9551578-0-6
Are you a graphite artist caught up in a world of watercolor how-to books? If you are, then sit down. This book is an inspiring how-to book just for you. Mike Sibley is one of the world’s few professional graphite artists and he shares what he knows in this 287-page reference. In his book, Sibley discusses the following: the tools he uses, line drawing, tone drawing, erasing techniques, blending & layering, indenting, working with photos, negative drawing, perspective, light & shade, transfer methods, the preparation & planning of a drawing, drawing ellipses, drawing textures, drawing reflections, drawing foliage, and drawing hair. Sibley also leads readers through three demonstrations and dedicates two chapters to “fooling your brain.” One chapter is about fooling your brain during the drawing process and the second chapter is about using techniques to convey realism in your artwork that fools the brain of the viewer.
Stevens, Margaret. 2004. An Introduction to Drawing Flowers. Chartwell Books. ISBN: 0-7858-0159-6
A very helpful reference dedicated to the drawing of flowers that will appeal to artists with a desire to draw plants with scientific accuracy, as well as appeal to artists who prefer to capture the “essence” of plants in their artwork. In addition to a review of art material and a discussion of plant morphology, artists will find chapters about the following topics: Form & Perspective; Line & Movement, Light & Shade; Composition & Layout; Ink Techniques; Pastels; Mixed Media; Pencil; Pencil & Brush; Botanical Illustration in Ink or Pencil; Drawing on Different Supports; Expanding Your Skills; Presentation & Care of Work.
West, Keith. 1983. How to Draw Plants: The Techniques of Botanical Illustration. Timber Press, Inc. ISBN: 0-88192-350-8
A must-have reference. West describes how to approach drawing botanical subjects and emphasizes attention to detail in every step. He then discusses capturing botanical subjects in the following media: pencil, ink, scraper board, watercolor, gouache, and acrylics. West also discusses how to photograph plants and how to prepare one’s work for printing.
Wise, Rosemary. 1999. Drawing plants: ten pointers to botanical illustration. Plant Talk. Issue No. 17: 29-32.
This article was written by Rosemary Wise, who is the botanical artist at the University of Oxford. Wise offers tips for aspiring botanical illustrators and even describes how to compose a plate and how to draw from herbarium specimens.