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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BC Paperback
  • Publication: 22 December 2017
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782212607
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 260
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: £12.99
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Botanical Drawing


A step-by-Step guide to drawing flowers, vegetables, fruit and other plant life by Penny Brown

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Book Description

This book provides a thorough and expert guide to the subject of botanical drawing, through detailed text, examples of the author’s own studies, short exercises and larger projects. Penny Brown produces traditional botanical drawings primarily rendered in pencil.

The book touches on the history of botanical drawing, the rules and practicalities, and includes an accessible, basic study of botany for the absolute beginner. From creating an initial line drawing to adding tone and then creating more complex compositions, Botanical Drawing is a detailed study of the practice for anyone wishing to explore the subject in great depth, led by an expert artist.

Table of Contents

Botanical art: a personal perspective8
Materials and tools12
Drawing an elliptical flower28
Line and tone exercise
Drawing a mushroom34
Line and tone exercise
Project 1: William Pear38
Step by step
Project 2: Poppy seed head42
Step by step
Understanding plant structure48
Examining your subjects56
Gathering information60
Project 3: Peas and pods70
Step by step
Project 4: Apple blossom80
Step by step
Project 5: Common grape hyacinth86
Step by step
Project 6: Cape Gooseberry92
Step by step
Project 7: Dutch Iris96
Step by step
Project 8: Freesia102
Step by step
Project 9: Sweet vernal grass108
Step by step
Project 10: Pot marigold122
Step by step

About the Author

About Penny Brown

Penny has always worked as a professional artist. She trained as a theatre designer at the Central School of Art and Design in London, then worked in theatres all over the country, designing scenery and costumes for productions varying from Shakespeare and Mozart operas to Peter Pan and The Jungle Book. An increasing love of drawing and painting led her to illustration. She started with craft and lifestyle books, working on how-to diagrams, decorative borders and details in pen and ink and watercolour. She then began to write and illustrate design source books for Search Press with the most recent ones being Art Nouveau, Celtic Art and Maori Designs.

Penny also worked on books on gardening and natural history, and the latter especially started to fascinate her more and more. In 2009 she enrolled on the Distance Learning Course with the SBA (The Society of Botanical Artists), which greatly developed her observational and painting skills, and in 2011 she graduated with a distinction and won the Award for Excellence. Since then she has exhibited with the SBA at Westminster Central Hall in London as well as in Europe, and was accepted as a Full Member in March 2013. She is also a member of the Society of Floral Painters and has exhibited with the SWSBA in Somerset and shown her work as part of Dorset Art Week. In 2014 one of her paintings was chosen for an exhibition on Fresh Water in the museum at the Fundacion Cidade da Cultura de Galicia in Santiago de Compostella.

Over the years she has worked for a wide range of publishers as well as Search Press, including DK, Liberty’s, Reader’s Digest, Lorenz Books, Guild of Master Craftsmen and David and Charles. Her work has, to date, appeared in over 75 books.

 She works in watercolour, pencil and sometimes pen and ink. Amongst her recent work is Botanical Drawings with Search Press (which has sold over 18,000 copies since 2018).


The Artist

Summer 2018

The artist covers a wide range of subjects, from flowers to fruit, vegetables and more. Penny's material is graphite pencil and her style gentle and sensitive, with plenty of detail while at the same time conveying some of the soft irregularity that characterises natural objects. The book is progressively structured and, after some useful technical discussion, begins with a simple flower that will get your hand and eye in. This leads on to an exercise in tonal drawing and further demonstrations. These are punctuated with field notes, describing the subjects in question and technical notes and exercises. It's nicely and sympathetically done.


This is a comprehensive guide that will take you through all the stages of drawing flowers, fruit and vegetables. Pennys medium is pencil and the concise technical notes she opens with are in context to the point. Its always a good sign when an author excludes anything that isnt relevant at this point as it invariably means you arent going to get bogged down in excessive detail later.

The book progresses by way of a series of demonstrations that are also studies of the subject in question, with field notes, detail sketches and lessons on what to look for and how to observe. As is common with natural subjects, similarities and a wealth of detail can be confusing and its as essential to know what to discard as whats important. Alongside these exercises, youll find information about composition, perspective and the use of photographs.

This is a gentle and nicely progressive guide that, while it requires a reasonable level of skill in drawing, doesnt assume too much previous knowledge of botany and will take you from first steps to competent work with more complex subjects by an entirely practical route.

Hot Brands, Cool Places

March 2018

This is a beautiful book, it's a very personal approach, contents include ten step-by-step projects ranging from simple to the more complex, with the most detailed instructions, the most detailed instructions to ensure that you achieve the very best instructions to ensure that you achieve the very best results, along with Penny's own observations and advice.


Botanical drawing differs from most other types of art by its emphasis on accuracy.  Beautiful illustrations of this type have adorned pages in herbals and books on botany for centuries.  This useful primer shows the artist how to go about producing this type of work through projects and using easily obtainable materials.


Graphite pencils are the tools you require to tackle the two exercises and ten projects in this book.  A nice touch is that everything in the book is drawn using them, including the pictures of what you need to buy.  This is not much (you probably already own most of it), so you can start straight away by organizing your workspace and then taking a line for a walk and getting limbered up for some drawing.  Learn about tone and various mark-making techniques such as cross-hatching, and look at a drawing where each pencil type (H to 2B) has been labelled.  Each project is very thorough, showing in captioned stages how to first draw the outline and then add the shading and other details.  The author encourages the student to observe carefully, and to this end there is a short section on plant structure, including labelled diagrams and information about gathering subjects for drawing.  Subjects for the projects include fruit and vegetables as well as grasses and flowers so a wide range of shapes and plant types are covered.  Topics as diverse as composition, working in the field or from photographs and plenty of good advice in the form of field notes are all covered.  Anybody keen on having a go at this type of work ought to find this book useful, although it is not a volume for total beginners on how to draw; rather it is aimed at the artist who wants to try something new and already knows the basics.  A good grounding in a subject sparsely covered in art primers.

The Leisure Painter

March 2018

Artist, Penny Brown, brings us a brand new step-by-step guide to drawing flowers, vegetables, fruit and other plant life in Botanical Drawing. Ten step-by-step prokects will help to get you started , ranging from simple studies to complex finished drawings and excellent diagrams and source photographs provide invaluable reference mateiral as you build your skill and confidence level in this ancient art form.

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