Children’s School Botanical Illustration Workshops

Back in May this year I was invited to King Charles Primary School in Falmouth, Cornwall to deliver a workshop as part of their ‘Enrichment Week’. As a former teaching assistant and holding children’s Botanical Illustration workshops across the county, it’s always a pleasure to enthuse these little sponges! Sixty children aged between, seven and eight, with some adult hands, we had a fun morning taking great care of our specimens and looking closely at the details.

USING HB PENCILS AND A MAGNIFYING GLASS FOR CLOSE OBSERVATIONS

Schools collaborating Art and Science

It cannot be stressed enough the importance of Art and Science working closely together, which is nothing new and has been a powerful partnership that goes back even centuries before Leonardo Da Vinci made it well known. In fact Botanical Illustration was in practice during the 3rd century BC, where it was a complimentary artwork to enhance medicinal findings. The use of illustrations would have been alongside early text to help identify plants and explain basic botany to physicians and scientists.

Over the years of course both Art and science has seen a huge progression, yet despite the invention of the camera and using photographs to identify plants, there is still much demand for botanical and scientific illustrators. The reason being is that the artist can illustrate plants in such a way that it can be viewed not just from different perspectives and focuses. Yet through dissection, and careful rendering different aspects of relevance, an artwork can be illuminated in such a way to provide clearer information for the viewer.  Many scientists will refer to illustrated guides rather than photographed versions as the illustrator often can show more information in a far more concise manner.

A great gift to pass on to school children

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DETAILS

Teaching children to look closely at natural forms around them is such a wonderful skill for them to have. All to often with the ever growing, fast paced tech world we live in, you are sadly more likely to see children’s eyes glued to a screen rather than observing more natural forms. This I feel is a great shame, and although many devices offer huge benefits to the way we are educated, they are just another tool of our time. The point where we lose sight of educating our children to have an awareness and care for the planet we live on will only lead to hard and unhealthy times ahead for our future generations.

Back to the Classroom

In just one morning, I was able to teach a little basic botany and some drawing techniques which these year 3 children at King Charles Primary school absolutely excelled at. You would not believe how calm, quiet and relaxed 60 pupils can be when given the task of drawing all the tiny details from their chosen plants. Much the same as my adult workshops, although with the curious minds of children, some great questions about plants. Added to this it is always an absolute pleasure to spend time with children individually and see a transformation in the confidence in their drawing abilities with just teaching a few new skills.

Small steps

My aim is to educate children on the importance of nature, and exploring through art the careful observations. It is so easy, indeed for all of us to walk a life without really living it. Once we begin observing what is around us, on this beautiful planet, hopefully it will encourage us all to look after it. Even if that first step is teaching children to respect plants, hopefully the rest will follow.

Thrilled to have so many parents come and speak with me after the school workshop, and to discover that their children had really enjoyed it, is great news. Maybe some future Botanists or Artists have been inspired! With that in mind I launched a BOTANICAL ART COMPETITION for the year 3’s. I have literally just had the entries back, which I must say are really fantastic! I will be posting some of them soon on the Blog once I’ve awarded these mini Botanical Illustrators their prizes!

To book me for your school

If you are interested in booking one of my workshops for your school, please do get in touch, via the contact form. I have all the relevant CRB Certificates for teaching children, and experience in working in schools.

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