Leigh Anne Lester: Composite Floral Drawings 

Spring 2013 Window Works artist Leigh Anne Lester is a San Antonio-based artist who creates mixed-media versions of amalgamate plant species. Her work merges prehistoric ferns with backyard weeds to create specimens that resemble 18th century botanical illustrations.   

In this activity, you will use multiple botanical illustrations to create a contour (an outline) drawing of a hybrid plant. 

 Materials 

Printouts or images of botanical illustrations:

White paper  
Pencils 
Tracing paper  
Sharpies or markers 
X-acto knife or scissors  
Binder clips (paper clips also work!)  
 

Instructions 

  1. Look through the various websites (like the links above) and (if you have any) books on botany for illustrations that you may want to use for your drawing. Select four to six different illustrations. Be sure to select species that have different roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. 
  2. To begin creating your hybrid plant, trace an outline of the root system from one of your plants onto your tracing paper. Shade and add details—this layer will be the most detailed because it is your “source plant.” 
  3. Begin to add onto your hybrid plant by tracing other species of plants onto your drawing. Trace different stems leaves and flowers, but be sure they connect to your source plant. Fill in as many or as few details as you want! Think about creating positive and negative space* as you grow your hybrid. 
  4. Using a second piece of tracing paper and a colored sharpie of your choice, create the next generation of your plant by turning your first drawing over and trace pieces of your first plant. Move the tracing paper around to create a new plant! Then, fill in your outline with your colored sharpie. 
  5. Cut out some of the negative spaces between your colored sharpie drawingThink about how the cut out negative space will look when placed over your first drawing. 
  6. Layer the two images and clip them together with your binder clips (or paper clips). 
  7. Create a title for your composition and share on social media—tag us: @artpace, #ArtpaceAtHome; #MakeArtHappen.  

* Positive space refers to the filled space taken up by objects while negative space is the empty space around or between objects. 

To read about Leigh Anne Lester’s Spring 2013 window work installation, Cultivated Divergence, please visit our Residencies and Exhibitions page. 

Sample images by Education Intern Ryene Sanders: