Thursday, March 22, 2018

Great Book of Floral Patterns

A review copy of this book arrived last week and I've already used it to paint tulips.  Usually an art book is a winner to me if it inspires me to get out the paints; this one is a little different.  Exactly as I hoped when I ordered it, it will serve as a reference, an encyclopedia of flowers.  When I decided to watercolor tulips, instead of wasting an hour on the Internet looking for a reference photo (that I was allowed to use), I flipped to the tulip pages and found lots of examples to get me started.

You'll notice that I said "allowed to use", in the previous paragraph.  That's because I'm concerned about copyright.  I wouldn't want anyone using my designs or images without my permission and so I don't do it to others.  If in doubt I tend to err on the side of caution, always preferring to use copyright-free images as reference material. 

Therefore, one of the first questions I had about this book is regarding the allowed use of the images.  This is only addressed in the copyright section on the flip side of the title page.  "Readers may make copies of these patterns for personal use.  The patterns themselves, however, are not to be duplicated for resale or distribution under any circumstances."  So, users should know that this is not copyright-free material.

Each person who uses flowers in their art or crafting might use this book in a different way.  The first five chapters (83 pages) teach you how to draw and shadow flowers and leaves and how you might use different flower shapes in your art or crafts.  Once you understand the basic flower shapes, you practice with design and layout, creating bouquets and then groupings of different shapes.  These groupings might be curves of various shapes, or corners, for example.

The rest of the book (140+ pages) is filled with line drawings and photographs of every imaginable many popular flowers.  There's a section on quilt squares and another on arrangements & close-ups, where line drawings are done in bouquets, hearts, circles, half-circles, curves, and in various containers.  You can use the patterns as they are or use the information in the previous sections to make the changes that you need for your particular application.

After I started drafting this review, I wanted to draw the camellias that recently appeared on our bushes this spring.  Unfortunately, they are not specifically included in this book, but I was able to use the flowers that are structured and shaped the same way as camellias to begin a drawing.  (Of course I could have just drawn from a real flower or taken my own photograph, but I wanted to see how I might use this book if those options weren't available to me).

One of the things I particularly like about this book are the line drawings.  I find it much easier to complete a flower drawing using a line drawing in conjunction with a photograph of the flower.  They will also be a great teaching aid in how to see the flower structure.  Drawing is all about seeing, and I'm still learning to do that.  If you use flowers in your art and crafts but your drawing skills need some help, this book will be a useful addition to your library.

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