Illustration is a tree -no pun intended- with hundreds of beautiful branches. Today we’re going to discover the world of botanical illustration.
I want to introduce this topic with an illustration by Rosie Sanders I think really sums up the topic: scientific accuracy together with a fresh, modern realistic style.
What I find most fascinating about it is that it’s not just about art; it’s mainly about science. You could draw the most realistic, beautiful flower; but if it’s not perfectly faithful to the real model, it’s useless. It requires patience, study (as a very good understanding of the morphology of the plant is necessary), a really good eye in recognising and analysing the structure of plants – to also identify the key features of the plant at different stages of its life cycle. Functionality before aesthetics.
The fundamental factor in scientific quality of a botanical illustration is not the medium the artist chooses to use or the technology used for its representation, but the artist’s understanding of plant morphology.
Stephen A Harris | The Scientific Context of Botanical Illustration in ‘A New Flowering’
As we said, botanical illustration is primarily a research tool. And this trait roots in the birth of this discipline, as illustration itself is associated with the discovery of the importance of plants for medicinal purposes. People mark, write, draw what’s important.