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Annie's flowers ....

Have you ever thought about putting together a compilation of the artwork you have produced over the years, if only for your own record or a present for your mum?

One of our members, Annie Morris certainly has and in this post Annie describes how she went from a germ of an idea to a successful publication. Today's digital world makes this a lot easier than it was. Using simple desktop publishing or even word processing software, can result in a very sophisticated end product.

Annie Morris - A project for these trying times.

In my career as a Botanical Artist I have always felt the need for a project and I thought I would like to share this one. Like many of you I love my garden and find inspiration for my paintings from what grows in the plot around my house.

Figure 1. Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale

For this project I decided to illustrate as many of the flowers as possible using pen and ink direct onto watercolour paper, I used Saunders Waterford Hot Pressed in a pad 12x9” so that all the illustrations would be the same size. This makes it much easier for the final layout.

I then put down washes of watercolour with a minimal amount of dry brush work to finish. I think the areas of the paintings left without colour add to the depth of the finished work.

If you set aside a few hours each day to go out and pick a flower and bring it in to draw you may be surprised how quickly you will build up a collection.

So then…what to do with the collection? It was a chance conversation with the person who scans and reproduces my work who said ‘I could make you a book’ and I thought ‘why not’? As the illustrations were already scanned I simply had to write some text and decide on covers, paper colour, overall size, final layout etc. Plenty to keep me occupied!

Figure 2. Black Bryony - Tamus communis

A simple example of the text that accompanies the illustration in Figure 2 was:

Black Bryony - Tamus communis

" This is a member of the Yam family and has large tubers under the ground making it hard to eradicate should you want to prevent it climbing over your hedges. I love it for the ropes of orange and red berries in the autumn"

Brief, informative and personal and I think it adds to the visual experience. After all it is the image that really grabs your attention.

Figure 3. Foxglove - Digitalis purpurea

Once I had completed the creative part of the exercise I had to think about finances. This is a self-published book so I needed to pay out quite a large sum in advance of any sales and hope to at least cover my costs.

The most difficult part was trying to decide how many to have printed and ‘would they sell?’ I decided on 75 which to my surprise I sold within two weeks so I went back to the printers for some more!

Because of the success of my first "self published" work I am now working on a second book.

If you are willing to put your mind to publishing your own work it is not as scary as you would think.

My recommendation. Go for it!

Annie Morris - June 2020


Annie's book titled " Floral Images " covers a series of thirty plants painted over a twelve month period.

If you have any questions for Annie feel free to email her directly or if you would like more articles about "self publishing" drop us an email. Alternatively, head over to the ABBA Forum and post your questions. If you have also "self published", add your bit. Only ABBA Members can post on the Forum once they have signed in but anyone can read the posts.

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