A 100 BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATIONS IN A 100 DAYS

Last week saw me moving from London to Antwerp, and this week saw me catching up with this challenge. To which I'm now running a single day ahead of schedule. Sometimes, I'll have the digital edit finished a day early, other times, it's just the inks or the colours. I've been lucky to have had several days in which everything just flowed, and I was able to create between four to six illustrations, in varying stages of production. When you're taking part in this challenge, along with a full plate of commissioned work, you're more than grateful for those days.

TheHungryChild-Illustration-Blueberries
TheHungryChild-Illustration-Blueberries

Day 08

Vaccinium Cyanococcus Rydb. or Blueberries (species not specified)

Drawn from reference

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A colour and shape study, hence the two versions. The left one has an extra layer of purple watercolour added in digitally, whilst the right one has a few more layers. All of my textures are built out of scanned in bits of colour, paint, or paper, and photographs. I try to build up my arsenal regularly, so I don't keep using the same ones. If you're working digitally, start photographing random bits of paint stains, marks, scuffed up floors, gritty walls, etc to build up your own arsenal.

Blueberries come in a range of species spread across the world, that's still talking about species, let alone their developed cultivars. Since I worked from photo reference and didn't take down the species, the above name under which all species of blueberry fall will have to do.

TheHungryChild-Illustration-Fennel

Day 09

Foeniculum vulgare or Fennel

Drawn from life

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Often when I'm drawing from life, I might go out of my way to buy something I normally wouldn't get during my weekly shopping. Something in which I can lose myself for several hours. Not, that I don't buy fennel on regular basis, just not a weekly one and knowing I'll be able to draw to it, gives me that extra nudge. And, somewhere next week, one of those lucky specimens will be a pineapple.

I drew this fennel with diluted ink and very diluted ink to create a contrast between the first chunky layer of the fennel and the next one. I've been adding this technique more and more to my drawings to build a sense of volume. I followed it up with a light coating of diluted creamy yellow-green pastel on top. And, after scanning it, I added a darker green on the stalk, along with extra texture on the whole illustration.

TheHungryChild-Illustration-Courgette-Flower

Day 10

Cucurbita Pepo or Courgette 'Male Flowers'

Drawn from reference

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The lucky thing about growing courgettes is the availability of fresh courgette flowers to eat. You can eat both the male and female flowers. The female one comes attached to the end of the courgette, the male one on the same kind of stalk that the leaves are attached to. They're nutty in flavour and you can eat them raw or fried up.

If you pick these, try to use them straight away and check the inside for critters, if you don't fancy an extra protein filled crunch. Some farmer's markets will sell these, along with speciality shops, use them as soon as you get them, although when they come in a sealed plastic bag you should be able to keep them for up to two days.

The illustration is a mix between diluted and undiluted gnarly ink lines, combined with diluted pastel and shellac ink.

TheHungryChild-Illustration-Blueberries

Day 11

Vaccinium Cyanococcus Rydb. or Blueberries (species not specified)

Drawn from reference

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A late night experiment, in which I drowned a half drawn blueberry in blue ink. Sometimes watching ink swirl and spread is one of my favourite parts of adding colour. It's a part you don't have full control over, part of your painting is being painted for you and you're allowed to observe.

TheHungryChild-Illustration-Avocado

Day 12

Persea americana or Avocado

Drawn from life and memory

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Same trick I explained last time, each time I eat an avocadoI I tend to pop it belly up and trace its contours. This one is no exception. After doing it a few times now, I've started drawing the middle bit from memory, as well as the addition of the colours.

TheHungryChild-Illustration-Artichoke

Day 13 & 14

Cynara scolymus or Globe Artichoke

Drawn from life

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TheHungryChild-Illustration-Artichoke
TheHungryChild-Illustration-Artichoke

Counting from the moment I bought the artichoke, I'm quite sure it has now spent more hours hanging out at my desk, than it has spent chilling with the other veg in my fridge. I've now drawn four inked versions of this little beauty, and they've all been coloured in with a mix of watercolours, shellac inks, pastel, slightly weak in colour vervain tea, and boiled down artichoke stalk. Even though, I love the colours I end up when I use pastel, it dulls my ink lines, so I coloured each of the ink drawings slightly different to test out different combinations.

The shortened stalk in the photo above is my attempt to reduce part of it to paint without cutting away the parts I still needed to draw or colour. 

TheHungryChild-Illustration-Artichoke

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With hunger and love,

Julie

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