Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature + giveaway!

Today I’m thrilled to offer Pikaland readers a peek into Jill Bliss’ new journal from Chronicle Books! Titled Drawing Nature, the journal is filled with basic tips and techniques from Jill on how to capture nature between its pages. Jill’s style is one of the most unique one out there – colorful flowing patterns of dots, lines and shapes have become her calling card amongst her renderings of nature.

Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature

Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature

Drawing Nature: A Journal by Jill Bliss
Hardcover: 192 pages

Hi Jill, can you tell us the inspiration behind the book?
Teaching others to draw throughout the years led to formerly teaching a series of nature drawing workshops here in Portland during the summer, which lead to the making of this book!

Your art is primarily inspired based on nature — can you share with us why it inspires you so?
Because it has everything in it! And I suppose it’s just what I know best having grown up on a farm.

Could you share your process of making art with us, and what are your thoughts when you put pen to paper?
I try to have an open mind when i draw. I may sometimes have a rough idea of what I want the drawing to look like when I’m finished, but generally I start in a specific place on the page with a specific thing and the drawing just builds from there! The process is more fun that way, and I learn and discover much more!

What advice would you give budding artists who are looking for ways to incorporate nature into their work?
Just do it! Nature is all around you – you can always find a leaf, a rock or a twig to study and draw! You don’t even have to find a “pretty” thing to draw – you can learn a lot, and learn to appreciate, mundane or boring things by taking the time time to study them and faithfully draw them!

Thanks Jill!

Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature

Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature

Jill’s book starts out with an introduction into drawing – the hows, whys and the hows, which will help those who needs a little more justifications on the need for sketching, drawing and seeing things with new eyes (I’m sold on the idea already, but it’s always nice to be reminded time and again!)

A brief and illustrated section on tools makes up the subsequent chapter, and finally the best part of the book – the how-to section. Jill breaks it down for you – taking you step by step into loosening up your hands and also guiding you to see things differently, thereby allowing you to put what you see onto paper in a relaxed, conscious manner. And onwards and forwards the section goes – from flower, to leaves, and branches until you are able to put them all together within the journal, which has plenty of pages for you to experiment on your own. Inspiring notes dot the footer of journal pages, and images of Jill’s own drawings are slipped in to inspire sketchers and doodlers as well.

jill Bliss: Drawing Nature

Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature

Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature

While I rarely reveal my works enough over here on the blog, I do admit a penchant for drawing trees. I do them up mostly with ink and pen, and they’re mostly black (because I had only black ink at the time.) I prefer free-hand drawing, tracing the contours of my subject matter with my eyes and letting my hands guide their way onto paper; and I rarely start out with outlines of any kind, unless it’s a commission for a client. Which is why Jill’s book is such a treat — it has opened my eyes to experiment with more color into my plain ol’ black and white images, and to transform them with markings, patterns and pure unfiltered, raw lines that will add character to almost anything that I see. And that is one of the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from Jill’s book — how to see.

To celebrate the launch of Jill’s journal, we’re giving away ONE copy of Drawing Nature to Pikaland readers! Just leave a comment stating your favorite flower, plant or tree, and we’ll pick out a random winner in a week’s time.

UPDATE: Commenting has now closed, thanks so much for participating. The winner of this giveaway is Nancy as chosen via random.org!


That’s it for this week folks! Have a lovely weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday!

103 Replies to “Jill Bliss: Drawing Nature + giveaway!”

  1. love Jill’s journal, so inspiring and full of spring! Lilacs are one of my favorites, among roses but I have a soft spot for Lilacs because they only come around for a short while. Oh, and nothing can top their scent.

  2. fasya says:

    big fan of hibiscus flower since it’s my country national flower and also can be use as medicine..what is more prefect than combination of beautiful and functional flower at the same time.

  3. julie v w says:

    Cherry trees when they’re in bloom! 🙂

  4. Simone says:

    Sunflowers!!! the sun in my hands…

  5. Nadia says:

    favorite flower has to be roses. love the beauty as they open and the smell. looks like a wonderful book! ciao!

  6. Elisa says:

    Tulips! Especially purple and white tulips.

  7. I have such wonderful memories of escaping into my grandmother’s fig tree. The green leaves hiding me, the smell of the ripe figs. It’s a memory of colors and smells…

  8. Dawn says:


  9. jill bliss says:

    so excited to have my book reviewed on pikaland today! amy, i’m so happy that i’ve inspired you! thanks everyone, and good luck!

  10. linda says:

    I used to love rare types of flowers…but now I’m going with the wild daisy…because it’s so beautiful to just see them on the hills of grass, here where I live. Simple beauty.

  11. Melissa says:

    After having to make a bunch of sugar flowers for a wedding last year, I think I have fallen in love with the ranunculus, it has so many pretty petals!

  12. My favourite flower is the tussilago – the first spring flower in Sweden; it pops up even when there’s a lot of snow left and symbolizes the end of a long, dreadful, cold, dark winter! It looks like a little sun: blog.afiori.com/2011…

  13. Grace says:

    The book looks fabulous. Thanks for the chance to win. I love lilies.

  14. emily says:

    I love Peonies. Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Sarah-Jane says:

    My favourite flowers since I was 2 or 3 are sweetpeas. I used to have fresh ones in my room whenever I stayed with my grandparents in Gloucestershire. xx

  16. Anne says:

    I love poppies! Great giveaway, cross my fingers 🙂

  17. Synne says:

    That looks like a awesome book!
    My favourite tree is the oak, because they get so old. I always wonder about all the things a really old oak must have seen.

  18. Frida says:

    Oh! This is so sweet! My favourite flower is carnation. Or maybe the wood anemone. Today I was out walking in the woods and it was full wood anemones everywhere! So beautiful!

  19. Anna says:

    oh so very nice! my favorite tree is a dogwood and favorite flower is a hyacinth (well, at least in spring- they smell so wonderful!)

  20. Zom G. says:

    Ooh, this book is on my to-buy list!
    Favorite flower: ranunculus. (Do I love the way they fall apart better than the way they have so many “u“s in their name? I don’t think I ever want to know.)

  21. Anne B. says:

    Dandelion when it’s white and fuzzy.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    I love that book and have been coveting it since I first heard it was coming out! I have a lot of favorite flowers, trees, etc. and am lucky to live in the Pacific NW and right across the road from a wonderful botanical garden and park. Right now I’d say my fave is probably orange honeysuckle (Lonicera ciliosa).

  23. DJ says:

    Awesome book!
    I love magnolias because they remind me of my honeymoon in Savannah 🙂

  24. Leah says:

    That book looks amazing.My favorite flower is the iris.Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Janet says:

    This book looks wonderful. Thanks for giving a copy away. My favorite tree would have to be the oak because I love little acorns.

  26. Doug Savage says:

    My favourite plant: any sort of orchid cactus. They take forever to bloom, but when they do, wow.

  27. murbel says:

    I love alstroemerias!

    I’ve been a fan of Bliss’s work for some time. This book looks great!

  28. bec says:

    wild blueberry bush – so yummy to pick from!

  29. Deborah Weber says:

    The book looks lovely. Just as I think my favorite flowers do – peonies.

  30. Dia says:

    This is so incredibly beautiful!I’d love one! I like white magnolias very much 🙂

  31. what a beauty… and forget-me-nots are my favourite, because of their perfect shade of blue.

  32. katie says:

    Poppy. because it’s my grandmother’s name 🙂

  33. Mitchie says:

    I have a top 5 favorite trees:
    tulip tree
    sweet gum

  34. Melissa says:

    I love irises!!

  35. Mola-mo says:

    This book look so lovely! I spend so much time beeing in the nature and really would like to draw what I see and then use the drawings in my illustrations. My favourite flower is the Norwegian springflower “Hvitveis”(don’t know the name in english).

  36. Lucie says:

    Oh I can’t tell you how desperately I want this book, it looks absolutely amazing! My most favourite plant, and the one I come back to drawing again and again, is the silver birch, I just can’t get enough of it 🙂

  37. I LOVE Jill Bliss… Love the book…she is so inspiring!!!
    I just love poppies…the soft prickly bulb and stem, the beautiful fragile flower petals and the gorgeous colours they comes in!!

  38. Lisa Dani says:

    Purple passionflowers are my favorites – they bring back childhood memories☺

  39. Nadine says:

    I’m not much of a plant nor flower person but I really like blue and white roses (:

  40. Iain says:

    Hands down (or up) my favourite’s the giant saguaro cactus.

  41. denise says:

    johnny jump ups – i like their name and they are edible!

  42. They are all a favorite. Perhaps my top favorite this week is the “Dandy-Lion” especially when it has gone to seed. I hope that counts as a flower…even though my ever diligent husband still thinks it is a weed. 🙂

  43. jeannie says:

    Bright red poppies. I love the black center.

  44. Jacqueline says:

    Passionflowers. They’re so colorful and intricate. I love them.

  45. Amy says:

    Hydrangeas! 🙂

  46. I really love roses, lilies and lavender. Love the smell of them. They smell relaxing.

  47. kim says:

    i love pomegranates, so i love the tree!

  48. Jinnie says:

    Lily pads. They looks like Pac-man. 🙂

  49. Kata says:

    My facorite tree is birch. They remind me of my childhood. 🙂

  50. Loops says:

    I love poppies. Because these make so lovely spotted red fields !

  51. Claire says:

    Wow! what a giveaway! i LOVE jill’s style of drawing!!
    my favourites are big, blousy, fragrant lilies as these beauties decide

  52. Melanie T. says:

    Magnolias, Silver Maples, Poppies, Ranunculus, Peonies, just to name a few.
    What an amazing artist and her new book is wonderful! Thanks.

  53. Rin says:

    A new flower favorite for me – baby blue eyes! They’re a pretty little thing that blooms in the spring, mostly in California.

  54. C.B. says:

    Awesome giveaway! Poppies are my favorite flower! Weeping Willows are my favorite trees!

  55. Ingrid says:

    Magnolias are my favorite, so delicate and lovely. 🙂

  56. i love poppies, they’re my favourite flower by far. And almond trees & cherry trees as equal 😀

  57. missDTM says:

    the fern is definitely my favorite plant. it’s so beautiful!!

  58. haley says:

    a deep-seeded love for baby’s breath <3

  59. Glenda says:

    ooo it’s so hard to pick just one! i would have to say that at the moment i’m really in love with hydrangeas…the day my daughter was born we received a beautiful pink one to plant for her (this was three weeks ago) and i’ve just been mesmerized by its beauty ever since!

    the book looks amazing, definitely going on the must-have list!

  60. aijung says:

    ooh, the book looks awesome. i love crocuses because they are the first to bloom and they are so innocent. if i ever own a house, i would like to have a magnolia tree leading to the front door.

  61. Kathi Tarango says:

    Hi! 😀 My favorite tree is the Platanus occidentalis, known as “Sicomoro” where I live. It’s leaves are kinda like the maple tree’s. I love it specially in late spring, because its buttonballs fall off ♥

  62. Elizabeth says:

    This is such a lovely book. My favourite tree as a child was the paperbark tree, we had a huge one in our front yard and I loved to pull the bark off and draw on it. 🙂

  63. Mathilda says:

    Hello 🙂 My favorite trees have always been birches, they remind me of home.

  64. Karina says:

    What beautiful book – love her drawings… My favourite right now is the dandelion – after this long, dark winter it’s so wonderful to see the small suns everywhere in the fields!

  65. Kayla Hood says:

    Hello Hello! My favorite tree is the Banyan Tree – the idea that its roots grow both into the ground from the base of the tree and also they grow from the branches of the tree and into the ground again is beautiful to me! It is very inspirational, too!

  66. Ronny says:

    Actually, I just wrote a blog post about my favorite flower yesterday! It would have to be the Queen Protea. They are layered with little triangles and can get huge. This is such a great post, what a real treat.

  67. Lilia says:

    Oh, I absolutely love gerbera daisies – they make me so so soooo happy!

  68. Kamala Caton says:

    Paper poppies. so simple and elegant!

  69. Mirabel says:

    oh Daphne!

  70. Ginigin says:

    When I was very little, I found a piece of wrapping paper covered with pansies and spent many hours for years drawing them over and over. So I would have to say pansies with columbine a close second.

  71. paprika says:

    dogwoods, pear trees, and cherry blossoms. our street is full of them:)

  72. Cora says:

    I love the Pincushion Hakea. I first saw it on a postage stamp and wanted to draw it in a drawing class. I found photos but I wanted to see the real thing. A couple of people in my class told me where they had seen a tree and I drove around and around looking for them. It was amazing when I finally got to see one in real life! … and then the funniest thing happened. When I got home I saw that there was one growing only two doors up from my place!

  73. janet says:

    My favourite are frangipannis – they’re so fresh and summery, and they smell amazing!

  74. Lisa Travis says:

    Love peonies best of all, they are gorgeous and smell wonderful. Mine should come into bloom next month, looking forward to it!

  75. Hannah says:

    I love calla lilies, such elegant and beautiful lines!

  76. Arlene says:

    what a great giveaway! i love peonies!

  77. Laura M. says:

    My favorites plants are succulents plants, any of this kind, I love their primitives forms, colors and textures.

  78. adzka says:

    I love chives when its blooming

  79. sara says:

    favourite trees: white pine, weeping willow, and aspen.

    thanks for the lovely giveaway! jill’s drawing nature journal is so inspiring…

  80. Nancy says:

    Bright pink azaleas are amazing, they almost punch you in the eye, the color is so intense!

  81. Kim Welling says:

    Oh this is lovely! My absolute favorite is the buttercup flower, preferably white or yellow. All those layered leafes, beautiful! 🙂

  82. The book is really amazing! My favourite flower is the dahlia.

  83. desi says:

    dandy lions! they are magic! 😀

  84. ikkinlala says:

    I like larch trees.

  85. Jena says:

    This book looks amazing!
    I love sunflowers. 🙂

  86. Cherry blossoms! The entire tree turns a lovely shade of pink.

  87. Anna says:

    I am completely fascinated by Jack in the Pulpits. They grow on the lichen around the edges of the lake at my family cottage and I love canoeing around and looking at them.

  88. Leny says:

    I love sunflower, purple orchid, and sakura flower. but the fact is I had never seen sakura blossoms in my entire life. hehehe

  89. Patti says:

    Lately, my favorite has been sedum. (As you witnessed on another recent giveaway)

  90. debbie ann says:

    I love Huon Pine tree. And I love Jill Bliss. I have used her journals and they are great.

  91. Beautiful book 🙂
    I love the look of White Birch Trees, especially situated against the Evergreens. The bark is lovely, so textured and paper-like that you can even use it in your art…

  92. Lay Hoon says:

    My favourite flower is rose.

  93. Heidy says:

    That’s a nice detailed sketch! For me, I love Baby’s Breath! They’re white, tiny and goes well with almost every other flowers for flower arrangement. Versatile! I like the lilies families too such as White Casablanca, Stargazer and Tiger Lilies! (^ε^) They’re gorgeous and the colours gives extra happiness just by looking at it.

  94. mary f. says:

    i’ve been enjoying moss. it makes everything look cozy.

  95. sloeginfizz says:

    I’m torn between nasturtium and ranunculus — love them both!!!

  96. Maaike says:

    colorful kitsch: the Dahlia does it for me!

  97. suzanne says:

    I love skunk cabbage!

  98. nik says:

    The Ginkgo is my favorite tree…cheers!

  99. My favorite flowering plant has to be the “Saucer Magnolia” (Magnolia soulangeana). It was hard to pick a favorite, there are so many beautiful flowers to choose from!

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