Stipple, then Tipple

by John Keesey, posted by Deb Shaw


Sally's Studio

Sally’s beautiful studio space was all set up when we arrived, with handouts and gifts from Anita.


For three lovely days in mid-October twelve eager botanical artists enjoyed the warm personality and dazzling expertise of Anita Walsmit Sachs from the Netherlands. They met each morning in the pleasant downstairs classroom of Sally Jacobs’ Studio near LACMA to learn botanical line drawing from Anita, the head of the Art Department of the Nationaal Herbarium Nederland of the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.  She brought many examples of the beautifully composed line drawings she creates for scientific articles, complete with ink stippling to suggest shading and shape. She has also contributed exquisite watercolors of Acer and Syinga to the Florilegium of the Prince of Wales’ Estate at Highgrove, and has won two gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society of England.


Mimulus 'Dave', by John Keesey, pen and ink, © 2012

Mimulus ‘Dave’, by John Keesey, pen and ink, © 2012


We brought our own plant to draw, first in pencil to show the “habit” or repeating part of the plant, then details of structure often viewed under a dissecting microscope and drawn over graph paper. These pencil drawings were cut out and taped into a suitable composition, which was perhaps the most challenging aspect of the project. This was then transferred via tracing paper and a light box to a paper with a vellum finish suitable for inking, which was done using Rotring or Staedler pens of several sizes to indicate the light source and overlapping. Finally graduated stippling with these pens to indicate shading and shape was discovered to be an excellent form of meditation!


Salvia 'Hot Salsa' by Joan Keesey, pen and ink, © 2012

Salvia ‘Hot Salsa’ by Joan Keesey, pen and ink, © 2012


Botanical artists who attended these sessions included Sally Jacobs, Leslie Walker, Deborah Shaw, Tania Norris, Norma Sarkin, Janice Sharp, Bonnie Born Ash, Joan Keesey, Tania Marien, Mitsuko Schultz, Alyse Ochniak and Estelle DeRidder.  Also present was Yours Truly, John Keesey.


Part of a Western Sycamore by Estelle DeRidder, pen and ink, © 2012

Part of a Western Sycamore by Estelle DeRidder, pen and ink, © 2012


Note to all who attended the class: Please email a photo of your drawing and/or sketches to Deb, so she can post them to the blog.


Anita discusses inking techniques with the class.

Anita discusses inking techniques with the class.


#botanicalart #SallyJacobs #AnitaWalsmitSachs #botanicalartclass #theNetherlands #botanicalillustration #scientificillustration

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