The Art of Botanical & Bird Illustration by Mindy Lighthipe

Awesome books keep coming my way and I hope it remains like that. This time I got inspired to level up my nature-themed drawing and painting skills with Mindy Lighthipe‘s book, The art of botanical and bird illustration. It starts with the very basics of recommended materials, their properties and how she makes use of them: from different types of paper to digital cameras and pinterest. She also uses different kinds of mediums: graphite, watercolors, gouache, pastels and colored pencils, which gives more freedom of expression depending what type of illustration we want to achieve.


The Art of Botanical & Bird Illustration: An artist’s guide to drawing and illustrating realistic flora, fauna, and botanical scenes from nature

by Mindy Lighthipe

Keywords: reference, illustration, painting, drawing, plants, birds, realism, watercolor, colored pencils, graphite.

*Paperback, 144 pages
Published November 1st 2017 by Walter Foster Publishing

This is not a 3-step DIY book for you to just follow and copy drawings, if you want instant gratification and a book that helps you create something ready in a day, if you don’t want to spend the time learning, then I wouldn’t recommend this book for you. If you are willing to do the work and take your time to practice, this book gives you foundations so you can choose your own subjects and create whatever nature illustration you want. It includes tips, notes and exercises that will help you polish your craft. Some of them are: graphite pencil tonal scale worksheet, color charts, brush techniques, how to photograph botanical subjects, surface contour, how to light a subject, leaf, flower and bird anatomy/ morphology (only what is relevant for achieving realistic illustrations), tonal rendering, several examples of her illustration process (with helpful images), how to achieve realism and three dimensionality, etc.


“Learning to draw requires patience and dedication. Many people believe it’s about talent, but drawing is a skill. With practice, it can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to learn”

– Mindy Lighthipe, The art of botanical and bird illustration.


I specially liked how detailed the explanations were and how much of her own experience is shared in here. The way she uses mylar (which I didn’t know about) on both sides of the page was totally new to me.  I would have loved to own a book like this one when I was studying Biology, but it is never too late to start!. I think this book is a great resource if you want to create realistic nature illustrations with emphasis on plants and birds. Those who practice urban sketching or keep travel journals and include nature in their sketchbooks can also benefit from it.

*eArc provided by Walter Foster Publishing


| Indiebound | Amazon | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Barnes&Noble | Wordery |


You can check her Youtube channel for nice tutorials:

About Alicia

I enjoy sharing my love for good books with other people. I wish you can find the type of books meant for you. Art is my passion. Both activities allow me to travel to imaginary places, learn, grow and share my journey with others. Feel free to join me, I love company.


  1. Watercolor_my_life

    Omg I just bought that yesterday! Your review makes me think that was a good buy. 😁 If anyone is reading my comment around the date I wrote it and is interested in the book, the kindle version is currently on discount at only 2.99 (Amazon Canada)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cool!! it was most definitely a good buy. I just checked and amazon US has it also on sale 😀 thank you for sharing sweetie!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Watercolor_my_life

        It’s a pleasure dear! I want to slowly build up my ebook collection so I try to frequently check the kindle store for deals. You can find some gems hidden in there!


  2. Fantastic Review, Alicia! This sounds like a great resource book for people exploring their creativity!❤❤ You rock girl!📚❤📚❤🤘🤘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow…
    do you actually spend time drawing these?
    If so.. you are amazing! I don’t think I have the patience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you are referring to the video, that is the book’s author teaching how to use contour lines to make objects look more 3Dish and realistic. But yes, I do draw and spend a lot of time practicing, I have a long way to go but I want to ultimately create illustrations or crafts inspired by the books I read 😀 so I need to keep practicing and developing my skills. Someday I’ll show you something worth sharing with the world 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Blogger Recognition Award! – Hammock of Books

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