Foraging with Kids Illustrations
All the botanical illustrations were in pen and ink. The art directors and I agreed that simple line drawings would work well. These would be clear for identification purposes. Also, they’d double as colouring-in pages. Adele and I love the idea of kids finding a plant, bringing it home (or eating it then and there!), then colouring in the relevant line drawing.
In fact, the publishers (Nourish books) have produced some rather lovely colouring in packs. These come with little colouring pencils. Notes on how to go about drawing plants are included (see my blog for more). There’s a dandelion and blackberry to colour in, and space to draw your own plant from life.
Species list for Foraging with Kids
There were about 60 illustrations to complete for the book. Many were of plants I’d drawn before. Lots are of familiar and easy-to-find species. Getting reference was very straight forward. In some cases, I just referred directly to other illustrations I’d done:
The illustrations were done in the growing season, spring and summer. This always simplifies things when it comes to botanical illustration!
There were some species I’d not drawn before, like this Ground elder Aegopodium podagraria. It was a good opportunity to have a close look at these plants, and gather reference for them.
In fact, soon after completing the Foraging with Kids illustrations, I was asked to paint Greater plantain Plantago major. Because I’d illustrated it for the book, it was really easy to work up a watercolour botanical illustration. Not only did I know where it grew in profusion, but I’d got all the details and reference ready.
Fungus in Foraging with Kids
We also had a few species of fungus in the book, like the Shaggy Ink cap.
These were fun, although a challenge. How can you draw a Giant puffball Calvatia gigantea, and give it the tonal values it needs, when using monochrome line? I relied on background details to give it a bit of solidity.
Promoting Foraging with Kids
Adele’s business and life involves taking foraging walks and giving talks. Promoting this book is easy; she brings a few copies with her to her events.
I do a fair amount of social media stuff, so tweeted and instagrammed about the book.
I also visited the publishers, who made a film of me at work, sketching a rose:
Here are the roses I illustrated for the book:
Reception and reviews for Foraging with Kids
Both Adele and I are delighted by the support we’ve had for this book.
I had a whole table, and ran linked workshops at The Story of Books in Hay to promote it.
It really seems to have hit the mark, especially in the healthy living and home education communities.
We love the idea that this book helps gets kids out of doors, and involved with the natural world.
I also loved working on this project; it was a joy from start to finish.