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ranunkel
08-14-2007, 02:42 AM
I just started an Botanical Illustration class but I am strugling with a problem, so now I thought I would ask here if any of you can help me with my home work :)

I am asked to do 6 drawings of leaves seen straight on. I am asked to measure the leaves and do a simple line drawing showing the shapes of the leaves, and the main veines. It should be a simple task to do, but my leaves crumpels, and I find it hard to draw the leaves seen straight on. Should I put the leaves in some kind of presure to flatten them before I start to draw?

Later on I will be drawing leaves in perspective
and shading them in pencil and water color.

Katherine T
08-14-2007, 04:43 AM
What sort of leaves are you using Marianne? If they are very curvy, might it be simpler to find some different leaves to start with while you get used to the techniques?

It's certainly been the practice in the past to press leaves to preserve them and there are also other techniques which reveal what leaves look when flat. However, in this instance, I think you should be aiming to show what a living leaf looks like - as if suspended vertically in front of you by an imaginary piece of thread.

ranunkel
08-14-2007, 06:05 AM
I started with a wine leaf; perhaps you are right it's a bit complicated I can try a more simple kind of leaf.

This class is going to kill me LOL
I am not good at details.
I am taking this class because I would like to get better at drawing and painting flowers in a more realistic style, I also think this class will help me on value studies, to make my art more printable.

Katherine T
08-14-2007, 06:12 AM
Some people can see colour as value and some can't. In my experience it's largely down to practice and is a skill which can be learned.

If you find you have trouble seeing values try photographing the leaf and then converting the photo to greyscale. There are also some very useful tools which can help you with 'seeing' greyscale.

Also doing a reference palette of colours as a value scale is enormously helpful later on when you get to the painting stage.

C_Line
08-14-2007, 06:34 AM
Another thing that might help you learn to see structure is to draw the negative spaces rather than the positive. And turn it upside down to see it in another way - like stem up instead of stem down, etc.

ranunkel
08-14-2007, 07:41 AM
Some people can see colour as value and some can't.

I can see all the values, but a grey scaled photo can be a great help to me. I find it hard to do the values in pencils, I am better at values when I can use colors for some reason. It helps me that I can use cool and warm colors.
I think I stop on the drawings to soon, because I am afraid to over do them.

Thanks for the tips on negative space that might help me :)

I am going to buy a new scanner, and as soon as I get it I will scan my drawings and upload them.

Pluma
08-14-2007, 07:49 AM
When I find a leaf I want to draw, I slip in into a plastic baggie, which keeps the moisture in so the leaf won't dry out and crumple. Take it out while drawing, and put it back in till you want it again. -Anita.

valchina612
08-14-2007, 09:34 AM
Marianne, I'm sure you are going to do really well with your new Class. You could always scan your leaf, and in that way you will get a flat image of it. Also have the fresh leaf in front of you, but doing the line drawing and main veins will be much easier if you have a scan as well. Good luck, and please let us know how you go.

Val. :wave:

Charlie's Mum
08-14-2007, 04:44 PM
In the days before computers helped with greyscale images, we had to learn to judge tones (values) by using our eyes only!
Learning to squint at the subject helps here - it eliminates all unnecessary detail and helps colour reduce to tonal values.
So practice your squinting :D :lol:

Katherine T
08-14-2007, 06:10 PM
That was my first reaction as well Maureen - but I'm not sure it's one which works so well with individual leaves if you've not acquired your expertise in 'seeing' values through squinting at other things beforehand. I also tried squinting at a leaf and found I couldn't see anything useful. All the subtleties of the leaf structure were just lost.

But it's an interesting point - since it suggests botanical art is not the place to start when acquiring skills in seeing and evaluating - but rather that it's maybe something you can do when you've acquired those skills.

ranunkel
08-15-2007, 02:57 AM
When I find a leaf I want to draw, I slip in into a plastic baggie

This is a good idea!

In the days before computers helped with greyscale images, we had to learn to judge tones (values) by using our eyes only!
Learning to squint at the subject helps here

I also squint my eyes when I try to judge values, but it work best on things you see more distantly than my leaves.

since it suggests botanical art is not the place to start when acquiring skills in seeing and evaluating - but rather that it's maybe something you can do when you've acquired those skills.

I think you are right Katherine!
This is not my first drawing class I have a BA in art. You can learn to draw and paint in many ways and styles. To me the Botanical Illustration class is a chance to draw some thing I love.
You can always learn new skills, and I think that this class will make it possible for me to get some of the ideas I have for my fantasy art down on paper, because I will know more about plants, and how to capture them on paper in a more tight way then I normally would do.

I have been struggling to find a "my way" to paint and draw and decided that I would like to do fantasy art with a touch of realism.
I like to paint wet in wet in WC, but I would like to combine wet in wet with some realism, and to do that I need to develop skills in drawing very detailed value drawings, and later on learn how to build up colours in WC that show the values better.

It is hard for me to explain because it's all in my head LOL

Thanks all of you for all your kind help, and ideas it is much aspirated!

As soon as I get my scanner I will upload my drawing ( hope to get it this week) :)

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 04:21 AM
Marianne - there's a blog which you might well enjoy called See.Be.Draw. (http://seebedraw.blogspot.com/)
Anna does detailed botanical like drawings in pen and ink and also enjoys doing lush rich watercolours and exploring different colour combinations and their interaction - plus she's just been tackling leaves. Why not take a look and see what you think?

ranunkel
08-15-2007, 06:05 AM
What a lovely blog I am going to book mark it so I can go back and read more.
Thanks Katherine

Katherine T
08-15-2007, 07:04 AM
My pleasure Marianne - I thought you'd like it!

frida
09-21-2007, 01:43 PM
I hate squinting, so I use something else instead...

I see you wear glasses, Marianne. Try looking at your subject without them, or just lowering them would be enough. I wear bifocals, so I look close through the distance portion. It also works, as it removes the distracting details and lets me see the values better.

Another trick that helps me with values is to look at the subject under a dimmed light...

Anyway Katherine, how can we acquire expertise in discerning values if not looking and applying our observations as much as possible? ;) IMO a leaf is a 3-dimensional form like any other!