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My dear Book of Flowers

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

I had just completed my first sketchbook ever in May 2021, when I started to conceive this project. Yes, it was a project because this is how I approach my art practice: as a series of small and big projects. Due to my engineering background, it is natural for me to define goals, activities, processes, and methods, and to tackle things in general as projects. So, my main goal for this project was to have my own book of flower illustrations in which I would explore different flowers using a variety of media and techniques. And how I would achieve that? Well, I started to brainstorm about important things such as: Which sketchbook/journal would I choose? Which flowers would I explore? What media and techniques would I use?

As I considered this as a special project, nothing more obvious than using a special sketchbook/journal. I chose a Fabriano Venezia Book in its larger version influenced by Helen Wells, I must say. This sketchbook is 30cm x 23cm, which is not a usual size, and it can be inconvenient if you want to scan your work later, but as this was not my intention, I didn’t see it as a problem. This book has a beautiful cover with a geometric red pattern that has me sold the moment I saw it for the first time. Its paper is white, with a grain natural texture that works great for pencils, pens, and markers. It holds wet media such as gouache, watercolor, and acrylics, and opens flatwell. Summing up, it is an amazing sketchbook in my opinion.

The next task was to choose the flowers to be explored in the chapters. Chapters, what do

you mean by chapters? Well, as this was conceived as a book it should be structured in chapters, right? So, with 48 sheets and 96 pages available, I decided to divide the book into 9 chapters of 10 pages each. The remaining ones I used for the index and the others I left blank. Once the structure was set, the process of choosing the flowers was relatively easy since I had a long list of favorite flowers that I was dying to explore. It included: passifloras, orchids, lilies, proteas, violas, dahlias, anemones, camellias, and magnolias. By this list, you can see how eclectic I am as far as flowers are concerned, loving both classic and traditional ones such as dahlias and camellias, as well as exotics and unusual ones like passifloras and proteas.

Having defined these two main aspects of the project, my idea was then to exercise repetition by drawing and painting the flowers in distinctive styles so I could find my way to represent them. By doing that, I created a visual memory and started to recognize how I naturally interpret the overall flower shapes and their details. It was never my intention to draw them perfectly, what I wanted was to develop my style, my way to graphically express them. This was becoming clearer chapter after chapter, and at the end of each one, I felt more confident about how to draw them.

As the months passed, I began to realize that there were certain styles I most identified with and that I had developed specific ways of filling my pages. One of these ways consisted of drawing florals over expressive backgrounds that combined mark-making, collage, and

embellishment pieces. I named it Floral Boho Pages because it was inspired by the unconventionality of the boho style that blends different elements in unexpected ways. In my pages, this style was translated into a mix of bold colors, textures, and delicate patterns that you usually don't see together.

Another way of filling my pages came about because I wanted the pages next to my single Floral Boho Pages spread to talk to them. I wanted some kind of coherence between these

two pages even though they weren't exactly the same style. Thus, the Floral Sister Pages was born. These pages were nothing more than a double spread in which the same flower was explored in two different ways, but using a unique color palette. The style, flower design, and media could be different because what made them sisters were the flowers and the colors.

I continued exploring these two styles and every chapter has at least one version of each of these pages. They are definitely a source of joy for me, and every time I make one of these pages I feel proud to have launched myself on the adventure that this project was. Naturally, other styles have also emerged, but I still don't consider them as consolidated as these two, to the point of sharing the process behind them as I did in classes for Get Messy and the Flowers Magic Challenge. I enjoyed this project so much and feel that many good things can still come out of it that I have seriously considered working on The Book of Flowers II. If I do, don't worry, I'll share a lot more details here with you. Meanwhile, I would love to know what your thoughts are about this adventure of mine. Do you like a project-led approach, or are you a more free-flow person? And what about sketchbook sizes, what are your preferences? Do you enjoy longer projects such as this? I am dying to know!

Take care,


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Camila Garcia
Camila Garcia
Sep 26, 2022

Thank you, Barbara! I love to explore flowers, it's such a rich and enchanting subject. The collage pages (3D flowers) are indeed special and Lillie's chapter is one of my favourites.


Barbara Schorah
Barbara Schorah
Sep 24, 2022

oh my word what a beautiful book! I love it! especially those 3d lillies. Working with flowers makes you look at them in more detail and after looking at your book I'm going to take more notice. Thank you so much for sharing your work.


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