IAPI – the Institute of Analytical Plant Illustration

Posted on January 24, 2016 by Niki under Uncategorized

  How the days fly past – this time last week I was on my way to Birmingham to speak to IAPI – the Institute for Analytical Plant Illustration. Not my usual way of spending a Saturday, but it was worth the travel. The invitation to speak came through botanical artist and IAPI member Valerie Oxley when […]

2016 – A new year for digital botanical illustration

Posted on January 10, 2016 by Niki under Uncategorized

  First of all, a very Happy New Year to anyone reading this blog! Last year turned out to be a busy one for me, and my botanical illustrating posts had to take a bit of a back seat. But my resolution this year is to get back to this blog and to continue my explanations about […]

5. Freedom of movement – flexibility in digital botanical illustration

Posted on March 23, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

  From talking to others it seems that my images are often thought to be collages, but that is not how I see them, or indeed work with them. And since this relates to my previous post about overlap, it seems a good time to clarify this misunderstanding. I want to emphasize that my images […]

4. Hidden but not lost – overlap in botanical compositions

Posted on March 16, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

This post is about how I use ‘overlap’ in my own illustrations and how it is one of the advantages of working with this digital technique. And by overlap I mean the overlapping of plant parts when compiling a composite botanical composition. So to be clear, that though related, this is quite distinct from the Stage […]

Change – botanical illustration in an age of change

Posted on March 8, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

  I came across this quote the other day: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”   Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher (1788-1860)     I don’t know about “all truth”, but happily my digital work has gained support over the years and appears […]

3. Mixed media in the botanical illustrations

Posted on March 2, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

  Since many of my illustrations are composite images, they lend themselves to mixed media work, where parts created in different media can be combined together within the final image. But not mixed media in the traditional botanical artists’ sense of, for example, pen and watercolour, but digital mixed media. By this I mean any combination […]

2. Enlarging hidden detail

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

  Portion of Viola odorata illustration with a virtual magnifying glass © Niki Simpson One of the benefits, indeed one of the fascinations and delights, of working digitally with photography for illustration work is the ability to zoom in, literally at the touch of a button, to reveal otherwise hidden detail. Photography enables the capture of considerable […]

1. Reading the botanical illustrations

Posted on February 15, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

  Part of the reason for setting up this new website, is to find ways to demonstrate and  help explain my images. So I have been experimenting with ways to do this and this is the first post along these lines. I plan to considerably expand the About page, but in the meantime, this is a […]

Starting with botanical drawing and painting

Posted on February 11, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

    Sketch pads: pencil and watercolour study of Chimonanthus  praecox © Niki Simpson I came to these digital botanical illustrations through painting and drawing plants. For as long as I can remember I have drawn, painted and loved plants, and I can even remember dissecting my first flower at a very young age – a cowslip, which […]

Beginning my digital journey: Apr 2003 – Feb 2004

Posted on February 4, 2015 by Niki under Uncategorized

First exhibit in the Reception area at RHS Wisley, Jan 2004 © Niki Simpson Many people have asked me when and how I started working digitally, so for the record, my departure from the traditional botanical art path began in April 2003, following my Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust award. It started with a morning of […]