Bamboo recently had the pleasure of hosting artist and illustrator Peggy Dean at the Wacom Experience Center for a class on Botanical Line Drawing. Peggy hails from the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest where her blend of modern calligraphy and flora-inspired line drawings are right at home.

Lucky for you, we took some notes from the class and made a few personal cards along the way. Here’s some tips for getting started on your own botanical stationery (that anyone can do!) using a Bamboo Slate or Folio.

Image credit: Peggy Dean, Pigeon Letters

Tools and Materials

  • Ability to draw a dot or a line
  • Personal inspiration and desire
  • Pen + paper (consider Bamboo Slate or Folio)

From inspiration to creation

Nature is a great guide, so to get started, try going for a stroll in your neighborhood for inspiration. Take a look at the flowers and leaves around you. Bring your Bamboo Slate or Folio with you, and start drawing what you see.

When drawing flowers, try to identify the essence of the flower with gestures – what are the most prominent lines and angles in the flower? Add leaves. Leaves are often symmetrical, and starting with the stem is a great way to keep track of your drawing – especially if you’re drawing a lot of leaves together in a small space. Simple lines can make a big impact, and as Peggy taught us, with line drawing less is often more.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try holding your pen different ways for different outcomes. If you hold it more stiffly, you’ll make more straight lines and create a “doodle” effect. If you hold it from a different and looser angle, your lines will feel more organic. The Bamboo smartpads also detect pressure, so if you want thin strokes, press lightly with your pen. For bolder and thicker strokes, press harder.

A hand drawn wreath makes a beautiful, custom design for any stationery or e-card. To make your wreath or laurel symmetrical, make small marks with a ruler to guide your hand. Or count the dots on the Bamboo smartpad paper to figure out how to position it centered. Then add leaves and flowers to your liking to fill it out. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect! As Peggy often says, mistakes don’t mean it’s wrong. Often times, mistakes lead us to the most rewarding finish.

While you’re at it, try live streaming your drawing to an audience or friend. With the Live Mode in the Inkspace app, you can draw on paper and have your work appear simultaneously on your tablet or connected screen.

From analog to digital: creating your own stationery

Lastly, digitize your creation using the Bamboo Slate or Folio for personalized stationery that lasts a lifetime and can easily be sent to your friends and family. Once you’re done drawing on the smartpad, press the button to turn it into a digital file. Open it up in the Inkspace app, where you can add more color or highlights, convert to a PDF or export to vector for further refinement. The end result? A custom, digital design that still has hand drawn texture and a personal touch.

Check out Peggy’s blog to learn more about her process and how she uses the Bamboo Slate!