Drawn to Nature: The Art of Botanical Doodling

The practice provides a timely, creative break.  

botanical doodling

Artist Vicky Katzman. Photo by Erik Rank

While many of us drew inspiration from nature during Covid-19, some actually drew the natural world. From doodling trees with the Native Plant Society of New Jersey to drawing daffodils with Greenwood Gardens to rendering paperwhites with the Morven Museum & Garden, budding artists took a creative break from the pandemic in virtual botanical-drawing workshops.

“It can be meditative to slow down and draw something,” says Vicky Katzman, who will teach in-person outdoor workshops, including two for children, on drawing native plants at the Thielke Arboretum in Glen Rock this summer. “When you’re involved in looking at a plant and drawing it,” says Katzman, “your mind isn’t spinning with anxious thoughts.”

Edison-based botanical artist Robin Jess sees a growing need to connect with nature through art. “It makes you appreciate the natural world,” says Jess. 

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Jess, whose work includes New Jersey’s Pinelands license plate, is surprised at the interest in botanical illustration. As co-editor of Botanical Art Techniques (Timber Press, 2020), Jess saw the book sell out its 8,000-print run within the first two weeks of publication. “I don’t even know a thousand botanical artists, so there’s got to be some new people,” she says.

Outdoor botanical-art classes can be found this summer at museums, public gardens and arboretums, including Grounds for Sculpture, the Morris Museum, and Frelinghuysen Arboretum. Check their websites for info.

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