In mid October our second year Illustration students went on a field trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh as part of their current Herbarium project.

The students were welcomed by Lesley Scott, Assistant Herbarium Curator. First, Lesley introduced the Collection's function and history. The students then had time to draw from the education specimens ranging from herbarium sheets, preserved specimens in jars, lichens and a range of seeds and pods.

The herbarium project challenges the students to create three finished illustrations that focus on plants to complement a piece of prose or poetry, be suitable for use in an editorial piece or to illustrate a field guide or other reference work.

As well as the field trip to the Botanics, the project has involved drawing from plants brought in to the studio, drawing in allotments, and drawing applied plant forms found in St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile.

Lecturer Jane Hyslop said, “Students are encouraged to see the importance of looking directly at the source and this was underlined at the Herbarium where the importance of botanical illustration was discussed. Students found the herbarium a fantastic and exciting resource and were astonished by some of the specimens that we were shown.”

She continued, “I certainly enjoy taking students out on field trips - it opens their eyes and puts real life into the subject. It also helps to show them what is available and encourages students to research in a wider way - it is all too tempting to rely on the internet.”