Billy Showell “Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables”


Billy Showell “Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables”

“Portraits of fruits and vegetables” – a pleasant surprise for all watercolor lovers. Billy Showell, author of the book, presents a practical guide to botanical illustration that is sure to inspire your artistic exploits.

Who is this book for?

For those who paint and dream to paint. It doesn’t matter how you paint now: good or bad, fast or slow, a lot or a little. The author claims that an artistic gift is not given to a person at birth, the ability to draw as such is not inherited, only a craving for this type of creativity is inherited.

If you have been experiencing such cravings for a long time, then it’s time to get down to business. In drawing, just like sailing or driving a car, practice is very important. The more and harder you practice, the better the results.


What is this book about?

The book is about how to see beauty in the ordinary, and how to show it to the beautiful. Every day we eat vegetables, fruits or berries, giving more importance to their taste, rather than appearance. But looking closely, we will see how interesting, unusual, and unique they are. Pay attention to the name – it speaks.

It is about portraits, not still lifes, that will be discussed. Plants are part of nature, and this is how Billy Showell portrays them alive.

It all starts with the basics: what colors are, how to mix paints, clear palettes are presented, the necessary materials are listed (all that is needed, but no frills).


A separate chapter is devoted to composition. I must admit that Billy Showell herself has a simple and beautiful composition. Considering that we are not talking about sketches, but about full-fledged paintings, I find this chapter extremely useful.

Another chapter is entirely devoted to paints. The author talks in great detail about the watercolors he draws, the colors he uses, and specifies which types of fruits and vegetables will require which color mix. If you do not have paints yet and you are eager to get started as soon as possible, then with this book you can safely go to an art store.

Now Winsor & Newton paints are easy to buy, they will cost much more than domestic ones, but you definitely will not get confused in the names of the shades. If you paint with our paints, you will have to look for a correspondence between Russian and English.

Botanical illustration assumes an extremely realistic depiction of plants and fruits with all the roughness, veins, spots and other features. And this requires mastery of certain techniques and the ability to use auxiliary materials. The book demonstrates these techniques perfectly with step-by-step examples that a beginner can understand.

I am pleased with the variety of fruits presented in the book. All the fruits and vegetables familiar to us have found their place on the pages. The artist tried to describe the peculiarity of each of them (how to depict peculiar pineapple scales or corn grains, zucchini strips or pear spots).

Particularly useful for beginners is the chapter on Light and Shadow. Glare, shadows, reflexes are very important elements, which must be properly understood, because they make the drawing three-dimensional.

The most interesting part, in my opinion, is “Projects”. Here are four “hands-on jobs”. The work on each stage of creating a juicy and realistic image of a vegetable or fruit is explained in detail and clearly. Moreover, each of these projects is a compositionally holistic picture.


How was this book made?

I admire this edition and the desire to take up paint. Large format book, printed on coated paper and filled to the brim with author’s illustrations. They are everywhere: on the cover, endpapers, pages with dedication, content and alphabetical index.


The processing quality of the drawings is excellent, everything looks juicy, bright and very believable. The book motivates, inspires and inspires action. It is a pleasure to present such a publication and would really like to have it in a home library in a paper version, not an electronic one.



An excellent guide to botanical illustration, including theoretical and practical parts. The theoretical part is written in living language and contains all the necessary information for beginners, the practical part is presented in a very accessible way and will allow you to get down to business immediately.

“Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables” will be a wonderful gift for all drawing people and people interested in drawing.

Download the book “Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables”

You can see several spreads of the book “Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables” by following the link.

Buy the book “Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables”

The easiest way to buy a book by Billy Showell “Portraits of Fruits and Vegetables” is in the online store in paper form at a price of 1,079 rubles or in electronic form for 349 rubles.

Author: Evgeniya Suvorova

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