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Review: 27/10/21: I am still incredibly proud of this drawing – I think particularly because I have accepted the ink blot as part of the work. Although it removes some of the accuracy from the drawing, it doesn’t detract from the image itself, and it shows an acceptance on my part, of something that I was unable to control – which is a big step in my art and shows my progression as an artist and a person. I still need to investigate more pens for drawing, as my current one is too unreliable for my needs – but I don’t want to change the medium, as it has been very successful overall, and has the level of accuracy, detail and adaptability of line and mark making whilst remaining precise which is crucial to botanical illustration.

The above image is my completed drawing of Cleyera Orbicularis (1). I’m extremely pleased with the final result of this drawing, as it is full of achievements for me: it was my first drawing using a photograph of a herbarium specimen, it was my first attempt at drawing true to scale (using the ruler at the side of the reference image) and it was my first ‘full’ section of a plant that I drew, incorporating a large number of leaves and structural details.

The whole process was very long and laborious – drawing to scale took a long time, as I first had to measure the features (which I did on my iPad for ease), and then translate that into an actual drawing on paper – trying to replicate the reference image as faithfully as possible. It wasn’t possible for me to be 100% accurate without tracing the image, as I only had a limited set of tools (pencil and a ruler), but I am happy that the final outcome is as true to life and accurate as possible. I then traced around my pencil outline with pen and ink, before starting to fill it in.

I then started to fill in the leaves and stem – choosing to fill the stem in first, before moving onto the much more detailed and time-consuming leaves. I made sure to keep in mind that less is more when adding in the shading and detail – something which I learnt in the first drawing I completed. This was a difficult balance in this drawing however, as I wanted to create definition between the ‘front’ and ‘backs’ of leaves – which had completely different textures and colours. However, I feel that I have achieved an equal balance – managing to make the leaves distinct, without compromising the overall clarity of the image.

As you can see from the above image, an unhappy accident befell my drawing – in the form of the large ink-droplet which landed on my drawing whilst I was packing my pen away. I cleaned it up the best I could, but I couldn’t remove it entirely from the paper. This was extremely frustrating for me, as I had spent such a long amount of time working on the drawing to this point, and I had wanted it to be my first ‘perfect’ drawing which I could display on the wall of the project space when I take it over this week. I considered trying to cover the blot up, however, I decided that in the long-run, this would actually look worse rather than better, and to just keep it as a part of the drawing. Although I am disappointed by the fact that it is there, I have come to peace with it, and finished the drawing regardless.

I am still very pleased with the final result of the drawing, and I am looking forward to experimenting with displaying it on the wall in the project space this coming week.


  1. Reference image was taken from the Kew Herbarium, via the Kew Plants of the World Online Website. Kew Gardens. (N.D) Cleyera orbicularis Herbarium Specimen. Available at: http://plantsoftheworldonline.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:60751-2 (Accessed: 12/10/2021)