A 100 botanical illustrations in a 100 days

One week in to The 100 Day Project and I'm on schedule. Rather surprisingly since I moved house from London to Antwerp this week, and just started working on a commission for a large art piece for The Detox Kitchen's new deli in Fitzroy Place. Must have something to do with a willingness to abandon unpacked boxes for undrawn illustrations.


Day 01

Opuntia ficus or Prickly Pear

Study from an original illustration and multiple photos


I experimented with diluting my ink and layering the tones over each other. Resulting in a less expressive line, but more expressive colour work. This illustration is a study of an original illustration by Georg Dionysius Ehret made in 1761. I changed the shape and placement of the fruit in its stages of development, so it wouldn't be a straight up copy. On top of the ink and watercolour, I digitally layered the illustration with textures and colours.


Day 02

Hylocereus undatus or Dragon Fruit, also known as Pitaya

Drawn from life


Since the flesh of Hylocereus undatus is white, you can see some of the more deeply embedded black seeds half and half shining through. I recreated this effect by diluting my ink and layering darker tones over each other. I added extra texture to the white flesh of the fruit, as well as the rind to amp up the pink parts.


Day 03

Anacardium occidentale or Cashew

Drawn from multiple photos


One of the things I was asked to illustrate for my commionisoned work for The Detox Kitchen were cashews. Since, they're rather little, I thought I'd try my hand at the full thing, cashew apple and nut. Not sure if I'll end up using the whole cashew in my illustration, but it was a nice study, one I'll probably continue in another illustration further down the line.


Day 04

Citrus x lemon or Lemon

Drawn from a photo


On day four, packing and getting ready to move back from London to Antwerp threw me off a bit . After all there's only so much drawing you can do when half your stuff still needs to be packed up in bags and boxes.


Day 05

Morus nigra or Black Mulberry

Drawn from multiple photos


Day five was put together on day seven, when I was fed up of unpacking and needed a full on illustration session. Painted with concoctions of red onion skins, soaked black mulberries, hibiscus, and a little green pastel for the stalk. 


Day 06

Morus alba or White Mulberry

Drawn from a photo


Since, I started illustrating food, apart from a few spinach leaves, I haven't actually drawn a lot of leaves. Hence, some quality time was spent staring at photos of mulberry leaves. The illustration is a mix between green pastels and digital layering of textures and colour.


Day 07

Persea americana or Avocado

Drawn from life


I cheat a little when it comes to avocados. You see, each one is a slightly different shape or roundness, and to fully encapsulate that, I trace them. You start by washing out your avocados, turn them round bit up, and follow along with a pencil. I adjust the shape a little by squeezing and pushing, here and there. After I've lightly traced the avocado in pencil, I bring out my ink and switch between thick and thin ink lines to preserve the gnarly skin. Finished with pastels and tiny bit of digitally added colour.


All of my illustrations are a mix between watercolour, pastel, ink, and digital collage + editing. My originals are drawn on Hahnemühle, which is a mix between 90% bamboo fiber and 10% rag, and weighs 265g/m2. I set up all of my illustrations with a beige craft-paper like background in Photoshop. For this project I've been changing the opacity of the background to better suit each single illustration, instead of the project as a whole.


So, now that I'm back on track, it's time to illustrate my little heart out. Because, I'm only seven days in, I have a commission to dig myself in to, a box of kitchen stuff to sort out, as well as stray books that haven't found a surface to call home, yet.


With hunger and love,