Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sarah Simblet and The New Sylva

Master Class in Drawing at Cal Lutheran University
in Thousand Oaks,  California
March 12, 2014
I was lucky enough to attend this Master Class with Sarah Simblet.  Sarah is the director of drawing at Oxford's Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. 
She has published three books:
"Anatomy for the Artist", "The Drawing Book" and "Botany for the Artist.
Her latest endeavor, "The New Sylva", a celebration of trees and forests is an updated version of the book written in the seventeenth century "The Sylva" by John Evelyn.
The New Sylva by Gabriel Hemery & Sarah Simblet
Sarah's first copy of the book for review. 
Really amazing publication for both Arborists and Artists.
The class started out in a classroom at Cal Lutheran University.  Sarah spoke of her making of the book and the 200 Pen and Ink Botanical drawings that make up the book.
She was able to bring along a couple dozen lithographs of her work from the book
and many original sketches of details.
Her work is truly amazing to see in person. 
Sarah explaining the process of two years of drawing trees.
Sarah explaining the process of learning how a tree moves in the wind.
"You have to get to know your tree, circle it, touch it, smell it."
She brought along some of the large offset pages from the printing of the book.
After the classroom portion of the class, we all went outside to pick a tree to sketch. 
Hard to do with all those leaves on the tree.  It's much easier when the tree is bare, but here in California and our warm weather, most of the trees don't loose their trees for long.
More information on Sarah Simblet
The New Sylva can be purchase at Amazon


  1. Thank you for writing this really interesting post. I love the way that you've captured the spirit of Sarah's delivery in the photos.

    I hope you don't mind but I've shared a link to it with the readers of our book blog at


    1. Gabriel, Sarah is so passionate about her work, it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon listening to her insight on such a wonderful piece of work. I am so looking forward to adding the book to my library of botanical works. Lori V.

  2. This sounds like it was very inspirational. Come east, we have lots of barren trees to draw!

    1. Suzanne, I may take you up on it, but I may wait until it warms up a bit and then the leaves will be back!