Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Questions about my nature journal

I've had some questions about my nature journal and thought I'd answer them this morning.

Yes, I do keep a personal nature journal. I'm not regular in writing or drawing in it, but enjoy it very much when I do. I mostly draw in the spring and summer, because flowers are my favorite thing to draw.

I draw with a mechanical pencil, then I trace the pencil drawing with a black Pigma Micron pen. My daffodils were colored with colored pencils. I like to work with watercolor too, but notebook pages don't hold up well with watercolor, even though the art journal I use says it is suitable for watercolor. I sometimes trace and transfer a drawing using graphite paper onto watercolor paper if I want to watercolor a flower.

A tip for drawing flowers is to always draw what is there, and not what you think is there. I usually start the flower where a petal and the center meet. I draw that petal, trying to put each straight line and curve of the edge exactly as they are. Then I move back to the center and make the next petal. It is really tempting to just draw straight lines for the stem and leaves and be finished. But you have to look at them carefully too. Does a daffodil have a straight stem? No, it has an elegant twist, as do the leaves. Carefully look at the daffodil stem and study where each line goes, then draw the straight segments and curves, just as they are. You will really enjoy the result.

If I don't have time to color right then, I like to have a blue pencil and an yellow pencil with me to color in the lighter and darker places on the leaves. Then when I come back later, I can remember how the light was falling, and apply it to the flower also. Blue darkness and yellow light, makes more lifelike leaves when you add a top layer of green. I put in purple shadows at the end.

I'd like to put out a challenge to each of you to try drawing a daffodil, or other spring flower, and then share it on your blog. If you do, come back and leave me a comment so I can see it too.

2 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

Shady Gardener said...

Thank you, Elizabeth Joy, for such a nice posting. Drawing from the "real plant" is something I've not done much of. You're inspiring!

By the way, I hope I haven't created a double headache for you. I've just "tagged" both you and Forest Zoo. Check out my post of tonight. (I'll leave a note for Forest on his site.)


Lisa said...

I always said that if i had gotten to pick my talent, i would have been a painter... but alas, I am no painter, however, you make me want to try anyway. Maybe it won't be any good, but your words made me feel like I could imagine painting. I'd love to see some pics of your art journal.