I’m working on refining some of my sketches from my coloring book to either be used in a new coloring book edition, or as prints. In this example I was aiming to draw with more controlled lines, and also a variety of line-weights. I also added areas of pure black shading so that shapes would really pop and it would have a strong sense of depth. The plant species you can find are: Polystichum munitum, Hydrangea paniculata, Hostas, Astilbes, Hellebores, Acorus and of course Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple). I used Pigma Micron pens with the line-weights 005, 01 and 02. For some of the larger pure black shading I used thicker black Pilot Bravo! pens which happen to be my favorite for doing some of my really quick sketching.
In the original sketch, above, you can still pick out the various plant species. But this is a quick sketch, and has only a few areas of light hatch shading. I can see how both drawings have their merits. The original sketch is much looser. However, for coloring purposes, I can appreciate how some colorists would want to have more enclosed spaces in which to color, if they prefer coloring within the lines. Below is an example of how I started to color in the refined drawing with colored pencils.
I realized while doing my own coloring on this drawing, that in order to have a lot of variety of colors, other than greens, I need to draw in as many flowers as possible! That may seem obvious. But one of the challenges with this type of garden drawing is that there’s a point at which the illustrator needs to decide how much to stick to reality versus imagination. For instance, I took a lot of liberty in showing the Hellbores in bloom- most of the other plants bloom in the summer and Hellebores would be done blooming by March or so. That being said, a gardener may elect to keep the old flowers on the Hellebore through summer, ie not deadhead, in which case all these various blooms could actually coexist. Bottom line is that if you are going to color garden drawings in a realistic manner, you better have a lot of different greens to work with, I have about twelve various green tones and I still feel limited. And this is after I have done a lot of color mixing and blending with the colored pencils. What is your take on coloring garden themed drawings? Leave a comment below!