Billy Showell “Botanical Portraits”


Billy Showell “Botanical Portraits”

The third book by the remarkable British artist Billy Showell on botanical illustration will not leave any artist indifferent.

“Forget about the standard empty orange wine bottle and paint your favorite plant.”

Who is this book for?

For everyone who has a soul for botany. It is not at all necessary to be a watercolorist; lovers of marker, pencil and other techniques will also find a lot of useful things here. This amazing book will be useful for both novice and experienced artists.


What is this book about?

Billy Showell’s new book “Botanical Portraits” is a great departure from her previous books: “Portraits of Flowers from A to Z” and “Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables.” Three books on the topic of botanical illustration – and all different, you see, this is a great achievement for a modern author. If the previous two books contain mainly exercises and master classes, then this book contains much more theoretical material.

Basic principles

The main principle that Billy Showell follows is the depiction of the beauty of plants. In her works, the artist deviates from the canonical botanical illustration and disregards some rules in order to create a more interesting composition. In her opinion, she does not create botanical illustrations necessary for the compilation of scientific works, but botanical paintings.


Working with nature

After opening this book, do not expect to find a recipe for creating a botanical masterpiece in 2 hours. The author advocates a detailed approach to the creation of the picture. The preparatory part (before starting to work with watercolors) takes almost more time than the main one.

Several pages are devoted to the preliminary study of nature. A list of questions (for example: is the stem even or is it thickening in some places?) Will help draw attention to the details necessary to create a drawing.

Particular attention is paid to caring for cut plants and ways to extend their “presentation”. After all, working on a botanical illustration is a rather lengthy process.


Materials (edit)

The chapter on materials, which is almost the same in the two previous books, has different content in this one. Firstly, the author managed to change the set of her favorite shades and the company of paints, and secondly, on the book’s page I saw some materials for the first time. For example, an eraser stencil that allows you to erase individual small areas without harming the rest of the drawing. In addition to the stencil, you will find many more amazing things.

Color mixing

There is not a single ready-made green in Billy Showell’s palette. Incredible, right? In fact, without trying to do her job quickly, she has the ability to mix as close to real color as possible. A large chapter is devoted to mixing the colors most common in botanical painting, from pink to black.



The composition is described in great detail. Billy Showell recommends, first of all, when creating a composition, take into account the natural environment for the plant and its characteristics. In addition, in this chapter you will learn about:

  • balance in composition
  • mass distribution
  • space in composition
  • the most successful angles
  • classical and modern composition

How was the book made?

This is a rather heavy, square-format hardcover book. With a bookmark! It would seem a trifle, but for such a book it is very convenient: there are a lot of pages, the material requires comprehension. The print quality is excellent. The ivory pages contain many works of authorship. All the practices are accompanied by clear photographs. Moderate-sized text is arranged in accordance with the illustrations. The book is convenient to use, the reduced height makes the simultaneous work with the book and with paints possible not only on a huge table. And besides the benefits, reading this book brings a lot of aesthetic pleasure.



There is not a single step-by-step master class in this book, but you will get acquainted with painting techniques, the subtleties of working out details and adding patterns, as well as learn about colors, competent mixing, composition and design of works. The professional growth of the author is visible in comparison with previous books. Since the book focuses on working with your own nature, and not on photography, it will help you master the basic techniques of botanical painting and create your own unique “portrait”.

Buy the book “Botanical portraits”

Billy Showell’s book “Botanical Portraits” can be bought in the online stores and Labyrinth at a price of 900 rubles.

Author: Evgeniya Suvorova


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