Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

I’ve been working on this six week online course and it’s been so much fun and informative so far. Here is my second week assignment to draw three objects applying the principles discussed in the course material. Observational drawing is something I love and I feel that the structure of this course will help me improve a lot.


At this time of year, our butterflyweed plants are done blooming and the seed pods have started to open. I find them fascinating and beautiful.

I drew these pods from life and in the process of observing their attributes took a lot of photos to use as reference for artworks in the coming winter months.


Stay tuned for more updates on my progress in the coming weeks and please consider signing up to receive my newsletter updates!

Mexican Sunflowers and a Free Downloadable Botanical Illustration print

This summer we grew Mexican Sunflowers for the first time. I love their beautiful vibrant colors that are unlike any other flowers I’ve seen!


The colors are especially beautiful when light passes through the petals.


They have soft velvety stems that always look like they’re rimmed in light.


I was also excited to learn that the nectar of the Mexican sunflower is a favorite food of the Monarch butterfly.


We try to make our garden a haven for Monarchs by growing lots of milkweed for them to lay their eggs upon and butterfly bushes to provide nectar. The Mexican sunflowers are a great additional food source for the butterflies and tons of other pollinators.


The seed packet said they would grow to be around five feet tall but ours are over ten feet!

I read that Mexican sunflowers reseed easily so I’m hoping to have lots next summer. Maybe you’ll be inspired to grow them too if you have some extra space to create a nurturing environment for Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. If you already grow them, leave me a comment and let me know about your experience!


I tried to capture the gorgeous colors in watercolor in my sketchbook and decided to make the painting into a pdf that you can download and print. Print it on letter size card stock to use it as a greeting card or you can print it on good quality paper to display it in a frame. The size is 5 x 7” when the excess is trimmed away and folded.


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