Sketchbook Prompt #6 Drawing Plants of course

Sketchbook Prompt #6 - Drawing plants of course.  For almost 2 years now I have been using pretty much only gouache in my sketchbooks.  The reason was I was trying to become more comfortable and create a sense of ease with that media.  Before then I usually drew in micron pens.  I love lines, and really for me it doesn't matter how those lines show up as long as they get there.  I wanted to go back to my roots (yes the pun is intended) and use the pen.  I also wanted to talk about how for me, I visually select what I will leave out and what will stay and that helps me create a clean lines.   Lastly, you will see some book recommendations that I strongly suggest.  One of them is even from our local library, one is about to be a gift and the other two I own.  I am said about parting with some of these books, they are all really great.


  • Micron pens.  I suggest getting several different tip sizes.  .03, .05, .08.  This will help vary the line without you having to push hard and do it yourself.  
  • sharpie fine line and and ultra fine.  These are great when you want to darken an area and you don't want to use up your micron pens.
  • Faber Castell PITT artist brush pen.  Creates a stroke like when you use a brush, this can be a bit more freeing.
  • Sketchbook
  • images of plants

How to get started;

  • I can often become overwhelmed when looking at a plant to draw.  I am not going for realism but naturalism.  I am concerned with capturing the personality of the plant and perhaps what it is, but not something that is photorealistic.  I like to eliminate areas that just are not needed for me to create this image to be satisfying.
  • I will look at what the most memorable parts are of the plant, what is needed to be revealed to capture it's identity.  I often eliminate some of the foliage, perhaps isolate it from other plants, create a new pot or stand for it.  I may even exaggerate it.  
  • I sometimes use a pencil first, not always to get a sense of where things will go.  After that I let my pen go at it.  
  • Think about where the pot hits the ground, lines will be darker, when anything hits each other you can capture that tension with dark lines.  Dark lines show weight.  When trying to create a feathery feel try to touch hard when putting your pen down and the lighten up as you make the mark.  The value of the line will change. 
  • Play with line quality.  Scratchy, scribbly, hatching, dots, parallel lines, rough lines, smooth lines, thick lines. 
  • Importantly, have fun.  I also find this activity relaxing, drawing and looking at book, what could be better? Oh I know, windows open with a warm cup of tea.  Enjoy.