by Anna Urbanek
Imagine that: I’m 20% done.
Well, not really – but I’ve finished twentieth plant entry from the planned hundred, and I think it calls for a celebration. Or, at least, for noting it in a blog post for future reference.
If you haven’t heard of the project, Herbalist’s Primer is my pet project: an illustrated guide to real-world magical plants. It’s a guide for beginner herbalists, magicians, witches, and alchemists. It’s an exercise in whimsy: a mix of honest-to-science botany, even more enjoyable ethnobotany and folklore, the modern occult, and a completely fantastical resource for tabletop roleplaying and writing fantasy novels.
I like my hobbies eclectic.
It all started in May, because I was going slightly off-course because of the pandemic. Now, I’m writing a book. The plant entries, like the one on Calendula above, are not all that there’s going to be in the book, but they’re the most time-consuming part, as I both write and illustrate them at the same time.
And today, I did entry #20. A pretty good one, if I say so myself.
I have learnt so much in the four months.
- digital watercolors aren’t that hard
- clean layout and accessibility will always be more important for me than the fanciness
- I don’t know enough about botany, but I will know quite a bit at the end of this book
- quality takes time, and I better find it
At the moment, I’m spending about five hours every day, working on this project. On top of my full-time graphic design work, kids, house upkeep, and some other stuff. But you know what?
It’s worth it. I love this project. I have never been so excited about anything else I’ve made.
I hope you love it too.
Here’s your regular reminder that you can read all of the entries from the Primer and get the illustrations as commercial-license stock art on our Patreon, where we’ve just passed the 25 Patrons milestone.
We love them all. Join us!