Botanical Drawing

Kathleen McKeehen is a science illustrator and botanical artist whose training includes the post-grad natural science illustration program at UC Santa Cruz, followed by an internship at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, UK. She has freelanced for a variety of clients and projects, including magazines, guide books, museum displays, text books, and children’s educational products and books. Her work has appeared in botanical art shows in the U.S. and Canada. She currently teaches botanical drawing and painting at Gage Academy of Art, at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, and at workshops around the state.
9:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M.
All Levels Welcome!
Gage Capitol Hill
  • Initially, any good sketchbook paper will do; Strathmore 400 Drawing pad, or others if you already have one. We’ll discuss other papers as we get further into the quarter and begin to work with shading
  • Pencils in range of leads—2H, H, F, HB, 2B (“H” is Hard, and the higher the number the harder–and thus lighter. “B” is soft, and the higher the number, the softer and darker. You don’t need all the numbers available). Try out different brands—they do differ. If you were to buy just 4 pencils, get an HB, an H, a 2H, and a 2B. Some lighter subjects can call for 4H or so. OR “Lead holder” with same range of hardness/softness AND Lead pointer (sharpener) desk or handheld version
  • Kneaded gray eraser
  • Pencil sharpener
  • White “click pen” eraser (I like Papermate Tuff Stuff Clik pens & Tombow Mono Zero)
  • Drafting or masking tape
  • Tracing paper—25 lb. 11 x 14 is a good size; Canson 25lb has a nice surface
  • Soft brush or large feather to remove eraser detritus
  • Drafting “dividers”–Dickblick, U Book Store, online. Not required but make measuring much easier
  • Drawing board—if you’re using sheets of paper rather than a sketchbook, the hard foam boards (“gatorboard”) – at Daniel Smith, U. Book Store are good (and for watercolor, too); for drawing, any sturdy smooth board will do (18 x 24 is good size; 3/16” or 1/2” ok)
  • Magnifying lens of some sort — (8x to 10x if you buy a loupe; any decent magnifying instrument will do)
Beginning with measurement techniques, observational skills, and the unique requirements of botanical art, you will learn to use line to accurately depict plant subjects and then move on to understanding the effect of light on form and how to use shading for three-dimensionality. While focusing on plants, botanical drawing teaches skills that apply to any realistic drawing effort. Class is an excellent preparation for botanical watercolor.