Butterflies are self propelled flowers - R H Heinlein


For Flower Collage II I took the liberty of including butterflies as an artwork project rather than a floral themed project.

Today’s project is dedicated to making drawings of butterflies, and there is a little snag to it, because, as some of you know who have done my courses before, I like to incorporate handwriting and letters in many of the projects, and here is another one, but this time we will be using numbers.


Butterfly drawings in sketchbooks

For this mini project you will be making three kinds of drawings related to butterflies. These drawing will be used as reference for the next steps towards making collages.


Observational drawings Look at the butterflies mood board on Pinterest and make some observational drawings using your dip pen and high flow black ink. I dilute mine with about 40% water and have it in a small flat container similar to a lid that is easy to dip into.You can also use a fine liner (marker) instead for drawings if you like, but this is a good way do get used to making lines and detail marks with this simple tool.

Here's the direct link too: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/estemacleod/butterflies/

How do you like to draw the butterflies? Realistically, naively, simplified or elaborately? There is no wrong or right, just use the butterflies as inspiration for your drawings, one page is enough.

Butterflies from numbers

You will be making butterfly drawings by using the numbers from 1 to 9 as starting point. The reason for this is to have the numbers as anchor points and shape 'prompt' to create butterfly forms.

The numbers all have their own shapes, so this is an alternative way - adapting the shapes of the numbers to become wings, butterfly bodies and antennae. Again draw with the dip pen. Do not use a pencil first as this reinforces doubt, this is an exercise where you just jump in and do it, the focus and energy is on making basic butterfly shapes that can become more intricate with patterns and details.

If you don’t like the drawing you just made, do another! It is a quick and easy way to make imaginary butterflies and you are bound to find a few that you like.

Number wings

Using numbers as starting point for individual butterfly wings is the next sketchbook drawing in today’s mini project.

In preparation for the weekend’s assignment you are to make single butterfly wings from the numbers 1 to 8. Use them in any way you want, incorporate the shapes as outline or just a section inside the wing. Use your imagination! Look at the butterfly examples and play with lines and forms. These are just single wings and a preparation for doing them on a larger scale using carbon copy paper to duplicate forms. More on this later this week.


By doing these drawing exercises you will prepare yourself for the bigger project by practicing drawing with the dip pen and by focussing on butterflies, real and imaginary as inspiration for forms and patterns. I hope you enjoy this first drawing mini project

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly - R Buckminster Fuller

© 2020 Esté MacLeod

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