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David Austin Wedding Roses


You may already have seen this poster showing the various rose varieties from our grower, David Austin.
It’s a magnificent illustration by the designer Janie Pirie SBA.
Today, through David Austin and the answers it received from Janie, we offer you the opportunity to learn more about the creation of this botanical work of art.


A floral designer in her own right, Janie Pirie SBA specializes in floral and botanical art using coloured pencils.
Her meticulously drawn and striking compositions have immensely accurate detail together with great depth and a rich intensity of colour.


The aim of this creation for David Austin was to capture each flower, coming as close to real life as possible and maintaining each of the roses’ individual characteristics.



<< How did you go about starting the rose illustration?


Creating this piece was always going to be a challenge because I needed to capture each rose at its ‘perfect’ best.
The first thing to do was to get a good balance of colour moving around the ring, so I cut one of each rose and popped it into a small square of oasis.
I then arranged them in a circle on my greenhouse floor until I was happy with the gradations of colour.
Once approved, I started drawing.


The roses were sent to me in small batches, so I had to wait until they were nicely opened.
Needless to say, the drawings took some time because of the complexity of the petal formations.
When all drawings were complete, I traced them, and then cut out the tracings.
I needed an extra-large piece of HP (hot pressed) paper to work on.
The tracings were placed on the paper in the order we had agreed upon, and then I started adding buds and leaves until I was happy with the balance. (…)


Then it was on to the colouring.
Every bloom was on my desk for a while so I could match up exact colours and I made colour swatches for each one.
The joy of this was the perfume in my studio.
I started at the top and worked my way down the left-hand side until I got to Miranda.
Then I worked down the right-hand side until I reached Carey.
From there I worked across the bottom from left to right to complete all the darker pink and red blooms.


The first thing to do with any rose, but especially these multi-petalled ones, is to colour in the shadows as this helps to give form to the flower.
It also makes it much easier to follow.
My pencil points were kept as sharp as needles at all times, so I could get pigment into all the fibres of the paper surface.
This also helps to build up rich areas of colour.
Some roses took as long as 60 hours to complete.
This was particularly so in the case of Darcey and Tess, because I had to work in many layers to create the velvety red of their petals.