Interaction Art, Inc.
Sippin Nature™

Blending captivating images with natural history narratives

Master Illustrator Debra Jane Carey



Artist Statement

Botanical illustration is a balance between the realistic rendering of a plant, 
and the stylistic interpretation of the artist.

As a wildlife illustrator, writer and conservationist, my artistic style is a balance of realistic to stylistic interpretation. Nature subjects are rendered using pre-20th century illustration techniques of form, translucency and depth. Within the matrix, negative space allows the viewer to journey and discover my depiction of natural interactions. Surprise and learning revealed through narrative of the ecosystem or micro-habitat culminate in an understanding of each unique association.

Classic two dimension illustration is depicted on vellum (sheep skin) or drafting film using pen & ink or watercolor. The substrates and mediums I choose are Italian handmade paper for control of glaze absorption in watercolor, drafting film to obtain detail of burnished color pencil drawings and low VOC latex for ecologically green wall murals. Many workshops complete my graphic design abilities. I use camera and various graphic applications to achieve compilation for print design.

My desire to publish my research and illustration is still forming. Through the learning process my corporation has formed collaborations and lifelong bonds with numerous people and organizations. The hats I wear of Illustrator, Promotion Company, Event Coordinator, Curator or Juror supply the highest reward, to foster the growth and understanding of conservation.

Debra utilizes pre-20th century techniques of form and translucency to capture her subjects. The art begins with research. Personal sketches capture the morphology, photographs and historical references emerge giving life to her art.

Botanical illustration uses the sfumato technique in all media. This is what causes an object with a great amount of negative space to appear three dimensional. Sfumato is an artist technique of allowing tones and colors to shade so gradually that there is no perceptible transition. Developed by painters that applied thin, translucent layers of color to create perceptions of depth, volume and form. Sfumato translates from Italian meaning “vanished” and is derived from the Italian word fumo meaning “smoke” describing the subtleness in tonal change. Two of the best examples in history come from Leonardo da Vinci. His famous hand drawing shows anatomical knowledge yet the pencil technique abounds with depth, volume and form. Leonardo’s Mona Lisa is painted using tiny dots in up to 40 layers resulting in highlight, mid-light, lowlight, shadow and cast shadow that emerge from small spaces for complete manifestation. The pencil stroke is a figure “8” movement with varying pressure to achieve form. Layering hue’s of color pencil create soft or burnished volume. The two brush method in watercolor with the addition of thin glaze layers create depth perception.

Perspective is the second pre-20th century technique used in botanical illustration to show visual perception. This technique includes the way objects are spatially placed and the tonal value given to the foreground, mid-ground, background and far-ground. Perspective translates from Latin perspicere meaning "to see clearly" referring to how the eye perceives the image on a flat surface. Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) invented the first known perspective picture. The painted the Baptistry in Florence from the gate of the cathedral. It was a painted panel with a hole at the vanishing point. Reflecting the image in a mirror while looking through the hole the viewer observed linear perspective.

The renaissance technique Chiaroscuro (ke-ära-skooro) takes the result of the sfumato technique and perspective technique creating form with a balanced light and dark contrast. 

Many ground natural pigments early colorist’s used are in today’s clean paints. Debra has studied each paint manufacturer she selects to obtain translucent glazes. Watercolor paint and paper are selected to produce lightfast hues and acid free qualities. Debra uses low VOC (volitile organic compounds) faux finishing products to produce translucent wall murals. These tools allow each piece to transcend the subject from any surface while maintaining scientific clarity.

Through evolutionary time plants and animals have adapted to a changing climate and environment. Scientific explorers that discover these adaptations reveal amazing passive as well as active interactions. Debra searches like others, to show Darwin’s “abominable mystery” of the co-evolution of pollination. She hopes that she may contribute in a small way, to the conservation of the subject’s microhabitat, through her art and prose.


Corporate Pollination Illustrator
Services History of Pollination Biography
About Researching Pollination Resume
Contact Evolution and Pollination Statement
Links Economic Pollination History


Interaction Art, Inc. P.O. Box 383 Bradenton, FL 34206
Phone 941-226-1604

Website and Content Copyright ©2005-2020 Debra Jane Carey,