Considering Illustrations Like These for Perfume From Your Garden book

Friday - 16 August 2013

When Elise and I sat down to discuss the options for the illustrations for our upcoming book Perfume From Your Garden, color photos were considered, but the ability to get similar lighting and composition for them ruled them out.  Maybe in the future, but our timeline for a publication date of late Fall (Nov 8 is target date) means we can’t get them together by then.  I told Elise of some drawings that I had traced out of an herb book in 1983 or so. The doctor’s wife loved the illustrations in the book, and asked I used them for this drawing, as it was going to be hung on the wall in the office. So, I used them for a private, not-for-publication illustration for a doctor’s office.  At the time I was in grad school for landscape architecture, but had a landscape and interiorscape business on the side (a catering business, too!).

Well, trying to find the drawing, below, was a week of frustrating and increasingly sad time spent on the task, because not only couldn’t I find the drawing, I couldn’t find the original book.  I believe the book was on herbs of the south.  I had been collecting and studying herb books since the early 70s, and I remembered that it may have been in with some books that mildewed and was trashed.

Finally, going through the folders of hundreds of drawing I did as part of my grad degree and later career as a landscape architect and urban designer, I found this one drawing sandwiched in between all the off-topic drawings. Talk about happy!

Elise likes it too, and it closely matched the drawing I had sketched out for her quickly when I first mentioned the aesthetic.  I remembered the oval as having two lines, and being longer than wide, a bit more portrait style.

What do you think of this aesthetic? I’d love your opinion.  Elise is going to start work on these for all the plants in our book, from frangipani to rose to lemongrass and about fifty other scented beauties.  Let me know and let us know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

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oval herb drawing

8 thoughts on “Considering Illustrations Like These for Perfume From Your Garden book

  1. Cynthe Brush

    Anya ~ Congrats on finding your treasured drawing. Know just how you feel looking through years of ‘important papers!’

    This illustrative approach could be really sweet, especially if the drawings are done well. (Rosemary in this small sketch looks more like a pine tree branch to me.)

    Are you & Elise doing them yourselves or hiring a botanical illustrator? Definitely like the color accented drawings better than simple B&W linework, at least for a perfume book…..since perfumery is a sensual experience.

    The oval ‘frames’ would also be nice with photography. Have you considered seeing if the fragrant garden plant images are available as royalty free stock photography? There may already be some excellent botanical photographs available. IMO as a pro-graphic designer, gardener, and photographer (as well as budding perfumer), lighting does not have to be identical for each illustration.

    Another resource could be your readers. Survey them for the plant images you need making your book a collaborative effort. Offering ‘common practice’ usage fees & photo source credits would be appreciated by participants. (BTW, I have a nice Rosemary photo. Also, scented Geranium, if you want to consider this route.)

    Best wishes on your book!

    1. Anya

      Hi Cynthe:

      Elise and I have hundreds of great photos we’ve taken outselves, but the price of having a color book triples the cost. We are hiring graphic artists as necessary, and are musing about several option to make color photos available to readers.

      Thanks for stopping by,

  2. Julie Nelson

    I think they could work well, it depends on the design of your book. Is it going to be consistent with the cover and other images?

    Is is a rustic look which I find appealing.

    Hope that helps and congratulations!


  3. Suzy

    I’m definitely more drawn to artistic representations rather than actual photos. Maybe my brain processes and holds images acting as symbols better than the real thing. So yes, I’m really liking your idea Anya and Elise.
    Best of luck,

  4. joyce

    There is nothing like a beautiful full color photo of flowers. I would not mind paying more for a book with photos that include color for identifying purposes plus as you know Natures flower/plant colors work on a higher level in our brains…….

    1. Anya

      Hi Joyce:

      As mentioned above to Cynthe, we’re working on a free alternative, not in the book, where you can access color photos. Most want an affordable book, and yes, I’m like you, I’ll spend the $$$ for what I want, but it might really limit the sales/distribution of the book, and we want to get it out to as many hobbyists and perfumers as possible, so they can spend their money on equipment, lol.



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