Weekend Connect to Nature Art Challenge!


Botanical Sketching

The aim of this task is to sketch with the aim of learning and observation….it’s simple easy and just for fun. No need for fancy art equipment – a piece of plain paper and few pencil crayons will do it. This is something we have enjoyed in the St Nicks Observational Drawing class. There are four easy steps. (Five if you count making a cup of tea!)

Step 1: Find something pretty / interesting to draw and also a couple of tea cups of different sizes.

Step 2: Draw two or three circles on your paper of different sizes – using the cups as a guide. (Then go and fill one with a nice cup of tea to go with the rest of the task!)

Step 3: Once you have your circles use them as little view points to sketch your chosen item. Focus in on the interesting aspects of the item. For example you might want to fill one with an enlarged view of the structure, another with a colour match of the item and a third with a fine detail or pattern.

Really pay attention to the item you are drawing (not the paper). Notice details – perhaps the way a leaf curls, or the fine hairs on a stem. Experiment with different shades and colours. Try to forget about the name of what you are drawing and focus more on the shapes, textures colours and pattern. The more you look, the more you will see.

Step 4: Once you have completed your sketches annotate them with observations of the details that you aimed to capture.

Finished! A lovely page of botanical observations and sketching. If you enjoyed this task you might want to fill a sketch book using similar techniques. Making small boxes or circles to fill can make it feel like a less daunting task than filling a whole white page.

The more I do of these – the more I learn. Every time I think I won’t find much to sketch I end up finding loads of details to explore.

Hope you enjoy. Have a good bank holiday weekend!

Best wishes,


  1. Ooooo – I haven’t got the ones you mention, I will look into them. I’m slowly growing my own nature…

Published by Emma

Hi my name is Emma! I am a writer and artist. I work for the NHS at Converge (www.yorksj.ac.uk/converge) and I am also an MA graduate in Creative writing and am currently studying for a PhD in Humanities. I have been leading a creative writing class at the beautiful St Nicks in York (www.stnicks.org.uk) for the last five years. When I am not at work I'm on my allotment or at Base Camp (my home) planning new adventures.

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