Botany for the Artist

Sarah Simblet

Botany for the Artist: An Inspirational Guide to Drawing Plants is the ultimate coffee-table book—large, lovely and loaded with enthralling illustrations and photographs, not to mention interesting text that covers everything from a brief history of botanical illustration to detailed instruction on how to sketch (and paint) roots, stems, leaves and flowers. Sarah Simblet—who also wrote Anatomy for the Artist and Sketch Book for the Artist—is an artist who teaches at the National Gallery in London, and at the University of Oxford. Sam Scott-Hunter’s photos—of seed pods, ferns, algae, fungi, mosses, roots, flowers, tree trunks, climbing plants and so on—are brilliant, and Simblet’s drawings are even more so. Her chapter called “Pitchers” features a page of absorbing, detailed drawings of carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants facing a page featuring a photograph of a deep-red sweet pitcher plant (also carnivorous) with text describing the behavior and habitat of pitchers. (Did you know that some carnivorous plants even eat birds and small mammals?) Simblet’s photographic/drawing study of leaf veins and pine cones is equally compelling. Her book offers something for everyone from the casual page-flipper, to plant-lovers and artists (both accomplished and aspiring). A useful glossary at the back of the book explains botanical terms.