At this moment, I am working on a book about garden plants. I have already made over 400 drawings of a wide variety of trees and bushes. One day, we hope to extend it with herbaceous plants, which will be a monumental, but lovely task 🙂
With this book, we do not only want to show beautiful plants. We also want to tell which birds and insects they attract to the garden, and which garden plants can spread to nature where they can become invasive species.
Increasingly many plants become invasive: transported by man to new areas for many reasons, but often as ornamentals, they spread to natural areas, where they compete with native plant species.
Our world is beautifully diverse and each region has its own, characteristic plant and animal species. Alien species are a direct threat to this diversity: eventually, everywhere the same species dominate.
I use my botanical illustrations especially to raise awareness about this problem and to help with the identification of invasive alien plant species.
As part of Interreg project Alptrees, a new Identification handbook is published which features my drawings! The handbook is available in English, French, German, and Slovene language and can be downloaded free of charge from the project website.
It is part of a series of three books, the other titles are “Management of non-native tree species in forests” and “Management of non-native tree species in urban spaces”. My drawings are used in the Identification handbook
In the framework of a country-wide education project on invasive alien species in forests, we made a well-received field guide. The guide is to assist volunteers and professionals in the identification of selected species of animals and plants.
An important goal of the guide is to help with early identification of newly spreading species. For this, we selected especially species that are in early stages of invasion and some which were, at the time of publication, not yet present in the country. This also means that some widespread alien species are not included.
You can download your copy of the guide, free of charge, from the project website: https://www.tujerodne-vrste.info/en/ There are English and Slovene versions of the book available.
There is a large difference in the amount of detail in this illustration. The butterflies are highly detailed, nearly every wing-scale is drawn. The flower, not so much. I made the butterfly and plant drawings separately, but find that they look great when they are combined!
Did you know that the Chinese butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) attracts many butterflies to European gardens, but it is also increasingly invasive in nature areas in Europe?
Digital art techniques have rapidly evolved. When I illustrated this dictionary in 2011, I did not yet have Adobe Illustrator, and indeed, vector illustrating was in its infancy. Instead, I made several hundreds of black-and-white drawings by hand and digitalized them in Photoshop.
The resulting artwork is highly suitable for the purpose but cannot easily be resized later on. Each drawing had to be made in an optimal resolution , so it could be used in the book without resizing.
The dictionary explains technical terminology not only about botany, but also about mycology (the study of fungi), which means that I learned a lot while I made the drawings for this book!
The book is written in Slovene language.