Drawing & Painting Plants || Christina Brodie

With the veritable rush of botanical illustration books that has appeared in the last couple of years, this makes a welcome change of focus.

Covering flowers, fruits, trees, leaves and fungi this also looks at all the smaller details that many other books tend to overlook. It’s also fair to say that it’s not something for the beginner – if you’re looking for an introduction to flower painting, this is not for you. Christina goes into a massive amount of detail – to the extent that there’s a section on how to use a stage micrometer – but this is the kind of thing you need to know and be prepared to do if you’re going to produce paintings of the kind of standard that will be used for botanical reference.

Like a lot of books that this publisher produces, this does not compromise or cut corners and it’s refreshing in an age when books are increasingly becoming commodities and being produced to a “near enough is good enough” formula that there is still someone out there who is prepared to take this trouble, to go the extra mile to produce books for the serious student. The price reflects this and £19.99 isn’t cheap for a paperback, although you do get 144 pages for your money rather than the more conventional 128, but it’s a product of the market refinement that the approach produces and it’s certainly worth it if this is what you need.

In line with the conventions of professional botanical illustration, the media used are mainly watercolour and the drawing media, with a little gouache thrown in as well. This is highly detailed, fine-brush work where absolute precision is a must.

A&C Black 2005


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