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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Botanic Garden

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

Taking a deserved break for a day in a Botanic Garden is exactly what was needed. With a sketch book, some pens and a few pencils, I set out to spend a day drawing nature!

Though I only managed a page of rough sketches whilst walking around the gardens, I did discover a few challenges when attempting to draw from life. Firstly I quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer quantity within the gardens. Deciding where to start, what to draw, and how to draw it was my first challenge.

With landscapes that have a vast variety of different trees and plants etc, I find it difficult to avoid focusing on the details; simple doesn't feel right, yet there's so many leaves to take in! The idea was speed drawing, using just pencil to get work flowing, focusing on little details like attempting to get every leaf in was above and beyond.

On this occasion, I decided to avoid the intimidating groups that form a full landscape, and focus on close-ups where the challenges met, were simply layering petals, or the direction of stems etc. I decided it was a good way to work around a complex form. Let my eyes see the shape, how they would overlap, the patterns in how the petals would open or not open, and just build the drawing as it might appear. Then I could go on to draw bigger scenes.

Many photos was taken on this trip. As well as speed drawing from life, I wanted to take home a library of plants to use as reference when building an environment. Having had more time and a desk, I took the opportunity to do observational drawings using the photos, which finally came together to create a situation.


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