Thursday, 24 September 2015

Idea Development in Denver's Botanical Gardens

When I found out that I was going to be flown to Denver to shoot the on-line Designing Children's Book Characters workshop for Craftsy, I wrote a quick 'showing-off' post on my Facebook page (like you do). All my friends left lovely feedback, wishing me well, which was of course lovely. But I got another bit of feedback too, one that was rather unexpected...

I got a message from the person who runs the Botanical Illustration course in Denver. She asked if, while I was there, I would be interested in doing a real-life workshop for her students. My 1st thought was: that's odd - I am not a botanical illustrator. My 2nd thought was: wow, you never know who is looking in!

I got in touch, of course, and discovered that the course likes to invite visiting demonstrators to present different kinds of illustration workshops. Sometimes these visitors offer a wider take on Botanical Illustration (while I was there, someone from the Royal College of Embroidery was delivery a drawing-in-stitch workshop, producing wonderful rose embroideries). Sometimes though, they like to look at other kinds of illustration. Which is of course where I came in.

So, I finished shooting the Craftsy class on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning I was sitting opposite twelve very keen illustration students, in a teaching space which was situated bang in the middle of Denver's wonderful Botanical Gardens (hence my water-lily sketches).

It was a two-day workshop. On day one, I taught pretty much the same material as I had just been demonstrating for the Craftsy film, which was very handy, as I couldn't have been better up-to-speed if I'd tried. On the morning of day two, I concentrated on idea development: how you generate ideas and allow them to evolve, so they have time to get even better. We also looked a look at communication: ways to make the ideas in your illustrations come across clearly to the reader, as well as how you add humour and impact.  

In the afternoon, I tried something a bit new: I quickly sketched out an image of Giddy Goat onto a couple of bits of paper, then got all the students to gather round, while I did a demonstration. I showed them two very different ways of colouring the same illustration: one using coloured pencils to get interesting colour blends and to shade 3-dimensionally (much as I do with my pastels); the other using watercolour, but with a soft, coloured pencil outline. 

The students spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with colouring up one of the illustrations they had developed that morning. 

It went really well. I was so pleased. All the students were really nice and several of them gave me a big hug at the end, saying how much fun the weekend had been and how useful they had found it. I felt very loved.

Mervi, who ran the course, gave me a lovely thank you present of this beautifully illustrated book the students and staff had published of their sketchbook work (thank you Mervi!):

Possibly most exciting of all... she invited me to go back and do it all again sometime! 


Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski said...

Thank you much Lynne, our School of Botanical Illustration really appreciated your visit and the workshop. I hope to see you soon again!

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

Sounds like fun all around, so when will your Craftsy be available? I'm keen to take it.

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks for having me Mervi - any time!

Capt E - Excellent! My Craftsy class should be ready around the end of Halloween. Just watch this space. I'll be doing a free giveaway, as well as posting links to give you a discount. :-)

Lewerentz S said...

I love the first picture ! I wish I could paint water and reflection like you. Well done !

Monica Archuleta said...

This was such a fun class and I had a great time learning from you! After reading your blog for a long time it was so nice to meet you in person. Thank you so much for your time in writing and sharing all you do with illustrating and sketching. It is really inspiring for me as a future children's book illustrator and for just having fun with drawing in general. I look forward to your future classes!

Anonymous said...

It will always great for me that when someone talking about Botanical Gardens because i lover of nature and however even i had used Natural beauty products and Botanical paintings you sheared are also amazing thanks for sharing this amazing post...!