Monday, 14 March 2011

Drawing lichens in winter

During the winter months there's not much to draw out there botanically, but lichens make a fascinating subject. You can see them better in the winter woodlands when there's no leaf-cover.  They can be easily found littering the forest floor, blown down from their treetop homes by winter gales.

  A fascinating organism; they are made up of green algae (and sometimes cyanobacteria aswell) living within the body of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship ; the algae provides the food by photosynthesis and the fungi gives protection against the elements.

They have a variety of many different forms and textures, making them very interesting to draw.  Some are large, frilly and bushy, others are fine and dusty and some are so tiny that they occupy a micro world only seen with a hand-lens.

A magnifying glass is needed to get close up on the detail, or even better a x10 hand-lens.
They are good to draw in all medias especially pen and graphite pencil.
I like to use a Pilot, fibre tip pen, with water resistant ink so it's good with watercolour washes too. You can get different size nibs, the smaller the better for me!

Using pen really shows up all the little details on a lichen twig. 

Here I used lots of different marks with the pen - dots, dashes & squiggles.

For more info on lichens here's an interesting link to the British Lichen Society.

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