Red Speckled Jewel Beetle illustration

Picture Wednesday: How to do bugs and jewels | Day 172

“Scientific illustration and botanical art often means hours of sitting alone, staring at plants through a hand lens.”

So says Lizzie Harper, a natural history illustrator who has been practising her craft for over fifteen years, working as a freelance illustrator upon commission.

Apart from doing scientific illustrations, Harper also produces beautiful graphic designs inspired by natural history – cards with flower-bedecked butterflies, postage stamps with intricate plant illustrations, gardening instruction guides and much, much more.

She also really likes bugs.

“Insects are my favourite creatures, and I love illustrating them in my natural science commissions.”

While I’m not much of an insect fan myself, Lizzie Harper’s touch makes them remarkably pretty, and is a wonderful example of the stunning variety of colour and iridescence found in the insect world.

Of course, in order to be good at drawing things from nature, you need to spend a lot of time getting to know them, intimately. For example, you need to collect beetles, and keep them for reference:

It is also necessary to understand the anatomy of your subjects. Such as this recent bug anatomy guide on Lizzie’s blog.

As you can see, being good at drawing and painting is just one aspect of being a good natural science illustrator. Keeping boxes of dead things is vital, too.


Please visit Lizzie’s image library for many more stunning images of beetles, and other things, too!

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