Botanical Art/Floriculture Art or Floral Illustration is the art of depicting realism. Indeed bringing to life the characteristic features of a live flower onto paper or any specific material. Additionally, the art involves depicting the color, form, and diminutive details of the type of flower or shrub, specifying the species of the flower or the plant. To illustrate the creation of floral illustrations requires a basic understanding of plant morphology and an artistic approach is an add on.
The art in science supplies required specifically include watercolors, acrylic paints, or oil paints. With the increase of technological advancements, floral illustration is also made using digitally advanced software. Floral illustrations, widely seen in magazines, educational books, descriptive or decorative books, etc., or for any other purpose.
Ever wondered how to master the process of drawing a realistic floral illustration? Furthermore, understand the history of floral illustration and work stepwise to create beautiful and realistic art pieces.
History of Floral Illustrations
The botanical art or floriculture practice began around 50 to 70CE. It was pioneered when an illustrated book titled De Materia Medica was created by Greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides. This book helped readers identify plant species for medicinal purposes. The eighteenth-century witnessed new advancements in printing processes, allowing colors and details of drawings to appear even more accurate on paper. In addition to this, a lot of artists came forward to explore the possibility of botanical art/floriculture art.
As well as with the rising interest in botanical publications, the role of botanical illustrators was considered to be a respected and professional profession. There were many artists and illustrators from around the world who made significant contributions to scientific publications on plant life.
Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1766 – 1854)
French artist Pierre-Joseph Redouté is renowned for his paintings of roses, lilies, and other flowers, many of which remain popular today. He is also the most popular botanical artist in history. Pierre was employed as a royal flower painter by Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France and Empress Josephine Bonaparte.
His work includes two famous books Les Liliacees (1802 – 15) 500 plates of lilies and Les Roses (1817 – 21). Pierre’s artwork is best known for his rose series. The paintings are his finest work. Most of his artwork continues to be popular. Moreover, the artwork was produced widely in reproduction prints and books.
Anne Pratt (1806 – 1893)
Anne Pratt was one of the most popular botanical/floriculture illustrators of the Victorian era. She published around 20 books in her lifetime. During the time Queen Victoria herself personally requested copies of all of Pratt’s works. Pratt demonstrated a vast botanical knowledge, her work made botany accessible.
Marianne North (1830 – 1890)
Marianne North was a prolific English Victorian biologist and a botanical/floriculture artist. On the whole, most of her notable work included plant and landscape paintings. She was a Self-taught British artist who traveled the world painting plants and flowers. She produced 833 paintings from 17 countries in 14 years, depicting more than 900 species of plants. Marianne’s paintings at present housed in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens, London.
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Stepwise Process For Floral Illustrations
The most important aspect is to have an eye for detail and to love nature. You need to be very observant and patient to work on floral illustrations. Apart from these here are a few basic steps to keep in mind while working on floral illustrations.
1. Understanding the Basic Structure
Floral and natural elements consist of many shapes and sizes. Hence the easiest way to understand the structure is to break them down into the basic shapes. Understand the abundant variety of plant life and its anatomy as in floriculture which will help you craft elegant flowers, leaves, trees, and much more in absolutely no time!
Once you have a basic understanding of the floral formation, apply this knowledge to your art. It is essential that you ensure to work around the various angles and shapes of the flower. The illustration needs to be proportionate in terms of various viewpoints.
2. Work around these technical pointers
Plan your painting, for instance, establish a focal point and work around it. Understand light and shadow principles, this will help transform 3D imagery to a 2D space. Consequently, practice how light appears on a particular form. Learn how to add depth, highlights, and values to the painting using tints, tones, and shades. Using the right colors and creating the exact textures is the most crucial to make the illustration look realistic. Articulate the entire scenic surrounding and put together an almost similar looking realistic illustration.
3. Find out what art medium suits you
Explore all art mediums possible. Try your hand at a watercolor painting, acrylic paints, oil paints, soft pastels, and anything and everything that is available. Gradually with constant practice and experience, the medium or style of painting will develop in a process. Apart from using traditional methods of painting, with the immense rate of digitization, Art has made a move to digital media. Explore floral illustration through digital media if that interests you. Understand what is the most comfortable medium for you and make the most of it.
4. Work on developing a distinctive style
In conclusion, post mastering the art to develop an excellent floral illustration, developing your personalized style is crucial. The distinctive style that you will develop is equally important that will come to you with practice. Your illustrations should speak for yourself. It should have some detail or an element that represents yourself through your art. The art needs to be very unique to you.
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