After finally having finished my new year's card design I didn't have to think about what my next drawing project would be, because Kay of My Open Sketchbook had it all covered. Kay namely came up with a 30 Day botanical drawing challenge, and because I love plants, the decision to participate was easily made.
Plants are actually one of the first things I started drawing. Back in my teens I took a bet with a friend to draw all the wild Dutch plants in the field. I still haven't made it (there are over 1.400 species), but it did teach me to draw plants realistically and fast (as often I had to finish a rare species before a forester would discover me at the wrong side of a fence). This time I wanted to take the opportunity by trying to make pieces that were artistically interesting rather than necessarily realistic.
Source: Botanical Drawing Challenge on My Open Sketchbook
This was the challenge. Unfortunately, I only found out about it on day 10 or so. And then, after a few days, real life took over and I couldn't do more. But this is what I did manage to draw.
12. Cactus & 17. Lily pad
This was meant to be a set of three, all made with the same four colours, that would look nice framed together. But then I actually lost these drawings. I know, silly, right? The cactus and lily pad are floating around somewhere in my room (and it's not even a big room, I'm just really quite good at losing things) and since they're on the same paper I can't complete it with the third one (I was thinking about the string of pearls).
Anyway, they were a first attempt at not drawing realistically and not using a reference photo for drawing plants. It was also the first time I tried out the special paper meant for markers that my brother gifted me for my birthday. The amount of ink it can endure is insane.
This one is made with water colour paint. To be honest, I really don't like this plant (even though we have them in the garden, inherited from my great-aunt that once owned the house), so it was a challenge to depict them in a way they would appeal to me. It's interesting that the hydrangea has so many flowers that I get slightly dizzy from looking at it too long. I think I managed to express that in this image as well, because I get overwhelmed if I stare at it (although that could also be the exorbitant amount of pink).
When looking for pictures of juniper trees, I found this interesting specimen (here drawn by me with pencil and charcoal). This juniper is apparently somewhat of a local celebrity in the nature reserve El Sabinar on the Canary island El Hierro, because there are tons of pictures of the same tree circulating on the internet. The reserve is well known for its dramatic looking capricious Canary Islands junipers (Juniperus cedrus). They look so different from the shrub-like vertical cone form I'm used to seeing in the wild here in Western Europe (Juniperus communis).
I really enjoyed this challenge and wish I could've done more. On the positive side, I'm happy with everything I made. Perhaps I'll pick this up in the future and catch up on all those challenge plants I didn't get to draw.