“Botanical Art Techniques” makes a lot of big promises in the back cover copy…and delivers on every one and then some! I have been fascinated by the botanical art being produced at the moment. Being an artist, I’ve wondered at the detail created and thought “how did they do that?!”…a whole lot of work is how! This book unpacks all of that work.

It begins where most art does, in observation of the subject, but, being botanically precise, it takes it to a new level including a section on the anatomy of plants as well as how to study in the field.

Once you have your subject lined up, the book unpacks the vast array of equipment needed to achieve the technical requirements of this kind of art. Historically, botanical art worked as we use photography now, to accurately capture a specimen, and so the tools include magnifying glasses, gloves, and speciality paper. I’ll admit, I found the extent of tools overwhelming!

The book then breaks down into media segments: pencil, pen and ink, watercolours and so on. With incredible detail, beautiful photos and a lot of expert guidance, the reader is walked through how to create these masterpiece. One such explanation is a lesson in itself and I picked up hundreds of tips!

I have, now, no intention of creating artwork with this level of exquisite and time-consuming detail. However, I loved reading this book, it created in me a new appreciation for the art form whilst sharing principles I will enjoy applying to my future, more impressionistic artworks. I read it as an e-book but would recommend purchasing a hard copy, it is an excellent reference and would be great to have alongside you as you work. It’s a five out of five on the enJOYment scale.

From the back cover:

The ultimate reference, from the experts
This definitive guide is the most thorough how-to available on every major technique of botanical artistry. The experts at the American Society of Botanical Artists offer step-by-step projects that move from introductory to advanced—so any level of artist can build on acquired skills. Helpful tutorials cover watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, vellum, egg tempera, oils, pen and ink, and printmaking. Filled with more than 900 photographs and stunning examples of finished art by the best contemporary botanical artists, Botanical Art Techniques is the authoritative manual on this exquisite art form.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Timber Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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