Last Saturday I attended the workshop „Drawing plants with coloured pencils“ held by Elke Hanisch. The workshop took place in a very cozy location in Hamburg St.Pauli, which I already knew from Chris Campe’s Lettering workshop last year. She was also the one who invited Elke to give this workshop. I’ve found Elke’s wonderful botanical drawings through Chris Campe’s Instagram account and was enchanted right away. So it was a no-brainer that I booked a spot when a workshop in Hamburg was announced. It has been a while since I’ve done studies of plants and flowers and I was eager to learn more about coloured pencils as a drawing medium.
From the fundamentals…
We were an all female and (almost) all illustrator/designer group, so we all had the fundamentals of drawing down. After a meet and greet with coffee, tea and sweet buns and quick introduction round, we started warming up with a 10 minute sketch of a plant of our choice that have been placed on our tables. No pencil allowed, so no erasing either. Which was a bit intimidating for an eraser addict like me. The results were placed up on the wall for us to look at. And the styles were all different from the start. It was wonderful to see.
Now that we had our first taste of coloured pencils, Elke told us about the different brands and their kind of pencils (some softer than others, some with a different color palette). She had a vast assortment for us to try as well to experience the differences firsthand. Then we did a variety of techniques from shading to mixing colours and hatching styles, first separately and then a mix of all of the techniques.
Once we were done, it was time for a lunch break with homemade salad, bread and cheese provided by our wonderful hosts Chris and Elke.
…to the finished drawing
Feeling re-energised after the break, we set off to study plants extensively. Each of us had to choose a flower/plant for drawing and then really look and observe our subject while drawing. Again straight with coloured pencils and no quick layout with pencil or the likes. I probably choose the most difficult flower, a thistle, but it was the most interesting for me. Elke gave all of us helpful tips about composition, where to add more weight or leave something just sketched and colours. I had still time to do a second drawing and chose a Chinese lantern plant, because they’re so delicate and the orange colour is striking.
Here are my drawings
At the end we added our drawings to the wall to compare our first sketch to the finished drawings. The results were impressive. We all improved during the day. I was quite happy with my results and very impressed what one can achieve with coloured pencils. It’s definitely a medium I want to work with more in the future. And I also want to do more studies of plants or other objects, simply to loosen up my routine of comic/manga illustration. It would definitely add to my visual library.
I learned a lot at this workshop and had a really great time. I can highly recommend attending it if it’s held in a town near you.
A few more impressions from the workshop