Litercurious Book Review

TitleDrawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists:
How to Create Beautifully Detailed Plant and
Flower Illustrations
AuthorKaren Kluglein
PublisherRockport Publishers (June 16, 2020)
ISBN #ISBN-10: 1631598570
ISBN-13: 978-1631598579


Karen Kluglein is the author of Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists. Select link above to read more about her.


Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists is unashamedly directed to the botanical artist community and those who aspire to the profession.


Context is everything and before beginning the review of Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists I thought that you may like to know a little of the historic beginnings and importance of botanical art.

Before the advent of mechanical means for capturing botanical subjects artists and illustrators were the sole source for capturing plant forms for posterity. The practice of Botanical Illustration can be traced back through history to approximately 70 AD. The Greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides produced the first officially recognized book of plant species for medical purposes. It wasn’t until the 1800’s and the explosion of exploration that the botanical illustrator became a respected profession in the eyes of the public. Previously, it was the preserve of physicians, pharmacists, botanical scientists, and gardeners for identification, analysis, and classification plant species who were respected. However, it was during the these halcyon days of worldwide discovery that artists and illustrators began to make significant contributions to the scientific publications of the day. Together with improvements in the printing of illustrations, the art of botanical illustration was set to change the world.

Botanical Artists became famous with such illuminated names as:




MARIANNE NORTH (1830 – 1890)

ANNE PRATT (1806 – 1893)

ERNST HAECKEL (1834-1919)

Today photographs have replaced most illustrations in scientific journals. Botanical artists are still highly sought after and often editors of publications will engage a botanical artist to create a greater sense of importance in place of a mere photograph.

You may be one of many aspiring artists who find botanical illustration to be worthy of further study and you would do well to begin your art journey with, Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists.

Drawing and Painting Botanicals for artists, was produced by Karen Kluglein. She is a freelance painter and illustrator of significant talent and skill.

Kluglein has produced a concise yet inspirational work that is an essential prerequisite for anyone wishing to quickly enjoy the process of painting or drawing botanical subjects. The pages are full of both color and monochrome images, illustrations and photographs of Kluglein’s own handiwork. The chapters are well structured with a Key Terms section early-on to assist newcomers in getting to grips with the jargon. There are silverpoint illustrations that immediately caught my eye, as I very much enjoy that medium for certain subjects. Beginning with the mediums and supplies, the author quickly moves on to share the essential drawing techniques that can elevate your work considerably. You will learn the importance of values, tones and highlights in creating beautiful botanical illustrations. Kluglein, throughout the book heralds the primacy of proficiency in the fundamentals of drawing. Invaluable information sits comfortably next to spectacular color illustrations for an esthetically pleasing viewing experience. As the book progresses, there are step by step methods for producing your own homegrown botanical art. On page 53 you will find the suggested method to draw in the much maligned color pencil a Blackberry in six easy stages. A range of media are explored from gouache to acrylic paint and color pencils to watercolors. Each one with a brief nugget of advice to help keep you on track. Brushes, painting surfaces and painting such as washes, layering, lifting, graduations, and dry brush techniques are covered. There are suggested exercises for you to try out complete with examples of how it should look when you are complete.

She goes on to mention color mapping, natural hair brush types and sizes, painting surfaces, paper weights, surface texture as well as vellum. She explains how to attack overlaps, how to change a petal shape, fix spots, mottling, how to add texture-final details and how to finish.


Karen Kluglein has put together an excellent reference book for aspiring botanical artists. She provides tips-and-tricks for all types of media, art surfaces, supplies, errors, and techniques. She has created a wonderful book that will add to any home or office.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Karen Kluglein, NetGalley, and Rockport Publishers for affording me the opportunity to review Drawing and Painting Botanicals for Artists: How to create Beautifully Detailed Plant and Flower Illustrations.