Orangeville Workshop — September 2020 — Maggiolli Art Supplies & Services

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my first workshop of 2020 started on September 23 & 25 in Orangeville. I was at Maggiolli Art Supplies in the centre of this picturesque little town to instruct a workshop titled The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing.


The Town of Orangeville is located 58 km northwest of Toronto in Dufferin County. Orangeville was named after Orange Lawrence, a businessman born in Connecticut in 1796 who owned several mills in the village. As a young man, he moved to Canada and settled in Halton County. Lawrence purchased the land that became Orangeville. He settled in the area in 1844 and established a mill. The post office in the town dates from 1851. In 1873, Orangeville was incorporated and given town status. The public library, located at Broadway and Mill Street, was completed in 1908. The town is  noted for its well-preserved buildings. Unfortunately, Orange Lawrence committed suicide December 15, 1861.

Maggiolli Art Supplies – Workshops – Art Services

158 Broadway Avenue, Orangeville

Located In Downtown Orangeville, near the public library (158 Broadway, Orangeville).

Established in 1996, Maggiolly Art Supplies – Art Classes & Workshops – provides artists in the Orangeville area with a full range of art supplies, art classes and workshops for adults and children.

Art Studio Rental / Full Range of Artists Supplies / Art Classes (Adult & Children) / Art Storage / Custom Canvases And Framing Services /Art Gallery Rental (519) 942-9560

Below: All decked out and ready to go with full COVID protocols in place — social distancing, washing hands and, of course, the ever present mask — in all styles, patterns and colours. Welcome to our brave new world!

Above: Artist Instructor Michael Spillane and local artist Ann Livingstone (during the Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing workshop), standing in front of Emilia Perri’s wonderful painting called “Harvest!” Michael has another workshop coming up in October teaching Florals on a Black Background in Coloured Pencil.

The Workshop

The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing

The drawing process starts with a series of gesture sketches and exercises to establish a good composition. Once the basic composition of the subject has been decided, the next step is to produce a simple geometric framework of the plant as a base for developing the drawing. When the sketch is completed over the geometric lines, a final contour drawing completes the process prior to applying graphite tonal values.

Below: First the basic geometry of the subject is established, then the contour or line drawing, followed by tonal rendering in graphite.

First project: Fuchsia in graphite.

Layering different pencils in graphite creates a high contrast drawing.

With step-by-step instructional pages, demonstrations and individual attention given to each student, developing drawing skills necessary for botanical art becomes relatively easy.

Above: Blending stumps and/or tortillons and a kneaded eraser work hand in hand with the H and B pencils to produce these drawings.

Above: A range of graphite pencils are used to develop the drawing including 2H, H, F, B & 2B (hard and soft grade pencils).

Below: Student drawings.

Below: Two sisters, two red masks and two fuchsias!


Above: Elizabeth, almost close on 87 years young, takes up drawing. A lesson to us all: you are never too old to start anything!

The next project on the second day of the workshop featured Daffodils, completed using a hatching technique in graphite.

Hatching is a technique often used in graphite or pen and ink drawings to produce tone and texture in a range of values by applying small hatch lines or strokes sloping in the same direction. Darker values are built up by closing the gaps between the hatch lines to produce more density in the hatching. Cross-hatching is also used where the lines are crisscrossed over each other to create a different range of darker values.

The sketch of the daffodils is transferred onto illustration board and the first layers of hatched lines are established.

Left: Outline drawing of the daffodils on the illustration board and the first layer of hatch lines.

Above: Using the Mono Tombow eraser (available from Maggiolli Art Store), an excellent erasing tool for highlighting areas and fine lines in graphite drawings.

Below: Detail step-by-step pages help to complete the project.

Below:The layers of hatch lines are starting to show contrasting values and three-dimensional form.

Developing the drawing layer by layer.

Below: Finished projects. Daffodils in graphite on illustration board

This step-by-step project is featured in my new book: Botanical Drawing & Painting and is available on and

My next workshop, Florals on a Black Background in Coloured Pencils is on September 26 & 27 at Southampton Art School & Gallery.

201 High Street, Southampton, Ontario / Telephone: (519) 797-5068
Hope to see you there!

Michael Spillane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s