resources for artists
plant anatomy and terminology
Zomlefer, Wendy B. Guide to Flowering Plant Families. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
If you can have only a single book about plant anatomy, this is the one to have. For each plant family, the author/illustrator provides copious pen-and-ink drawings to illustrate the anatomy of a few characteristic plants in the family—and these illustrations are superb. An unexpected bonus in a book on plant morphology is the section 'Observing, Dissecting, and Drawing Flowering Plants'. This chapter contains a wealth of practical advice for artists on a subject not often covered in artists' books.
Harris, James G. and Melinda Woolf Harris. Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary. 2nd ed. Spring Lake, UT: Spring Lake Publishing Co., 2001. An indispensible book to have for any non-botanist interested in botanical illustration. Floras and general botanical treatments will likely include terminology unfamiliar to the artist, and this book, with its many diagrams, is invaluable.
Mauritz, Sara G. Fearless Latin. A Gardener's Introduction to Botanical Nomenclature. Printed by CreateSpace, 2011.
Perhaps the most approachable book available on the topic of understanding and pronouncing botanical Latin, this book began as a monthly column in the newsletter of the Portland Garden Club (Oregon). As the author notes in the preface, her intent was to take the fear and trepidation out of learning botanical names by offering information in small, easily-digested portions. The brief but thorough chapters include a guide to pronunciation, principles of nomenclature, and basics of plant anatomy as reflected in botanical naming.
Baumgardt, John Philip. How to Identify Flowering Plant Families. A Practical Guide for Horticulturists and Plant Lovers. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 1982.
A concise guide to the anatomical characteristics of a selected group of flowering plant families, with a single page of pen-and-ink drawings for each family. The book begins with an excellent and substantial section on understanding floral formulas and drawing floral diagrams, a subject that is usually treated only in passing in other books on plant anatomy.
Harrison, Lorraine. Latin for Gardeners. Over 3,000 Plant Names Explained and Explored. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Botanical Latin can be challenging for the non-botanist, whether gardener or artist. The book begins with a concise explanation of the conventions used in writing botanical names (what is the proper sequence of names, what is italicized, and what is capitalized), things that every botanical artist needs to know. The bulk of the book is an alphabetical index of botanical names that includes a pronunciation guide. It is interspersed with lovely illustrations and includes profiles of selected plant genera and brief histories of prominent plant hunters.
Garland, Trudi Hammel. Fascinating Fibonaccis. Mystery and Magic in Numbers. Parsippany, NJ: Dale Seymour Publications, 1987.
Understanding the fibonacci spiral is criticial for accurately drawing many desert plants, particularly the cacti. This is a brief, accessible, and fun book.
Sidman, Joyce. Swirl by Swirl. Spirals in Nature. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , 2011. Science, nature, and scratchboard. Written for children, this delightful book shows the fibonacci spiral in all aspects of nature. The many examples of the spiral are presented in colorful scratchboard illustrations by artist Beth Krommes. The last page of the book provides a brief explanation of the fibonacci sequence. This is an excellent introduction to the mathematics found in nature.
Bell, Adrian D. Plant Form. An Illustrated Guide to Flowering Plant Morphology, New Edition. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2008.
This beautifully illustrated textbook in plant morphology has been greatly expanded and improved from the 1991 edition. It is intended for botany and horticulture students but is a great asset for any botanical artist who wants a greater understanding of the details of plant anatomy. It includes over 1,000 splended pen-and-ink drawings.
Hickey, Michael and Clive King. Common Families of Flowering Plants. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Twenty-five plant families are included here with illustrations of several species within the family. A thorough and well-illustrated review of general botany begins the book, which ends with an extensive glossary of botanical terms.