Esmée Somers Winkel
Scientific Illustrator & Botanical Artist

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Foto Esmée Somers Winkel
"Botanical paintings and Scientific Illustrations have an important role in the publications and theses of researchers. The aim of these illustrations is to register, preserve detailed information and report with the results of research in scientific journals and/or floras. By illustrating for students, PhD candidates, Postdocs and senior researchers I aim at making a large contribution to Science and to botany in particular.
There still is no better way to capture the essence of a living plant or animal then by drawing or painting. Despite the great techniques of modern photography only with an illustration a reconstruction of a damaged plant or dried herbarium material is possible for example.

This form of art also captures the beauty of plants, portraying their magnificence and splendour, the many wonderful details and the enormous variety in form and colour. Botanical art is a powerful way to connect people with their environment and its plant life. So by exhibiting internationally, giving workshops, lectures and demonstrations, I believe that the awareness of scientific illustration and botanical art will grow and in this way underline the importance of studying nature. "

"Growing up on a Caribbean island, I developed a vast interest in nature. So I moved to the Netherlands to study Biology at the Leiden University. Having received my BSc degree I started a traineeship with botanical illustrators at Nationaal Herbarium Nederland of Leiden University. Since 2008 I have been a member of their permanent staff and that year I also started my studies at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design and Maastricht University, taking a course in Master Scientific Illustration (MSI) focussing mainly on (bio)medical illustrations. Now I find myself working as a scientific illustrator and botanical artist for Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Quite often you can also find me browsing through and drawing plants at the Hortus Botanicus Leiden. The techniques I use are: pen and ink, watercolour, pencil and digital drawing programs. For an interview with the ASBA please click here and for an overview of my work by Katherine Tyrrell
please click here.

The title of my MSI graduation thesis is 'Description and drawings of the comparative morphology of mouth parts of various insects'. Here the mouth parts of various insects, such as the grasshopper and the bumble bee, and the drawing techniques used are described and illustrated.

I am an active member of the Dutch Society of Botanical Artists, help with the members administration and participate in their many exhibitions and field trips. I am also a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), the Dutch Orchid Society and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. My work is included in the permanent collections of
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Hortus botanicus Leiden, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Focus on Nature New York State Museum, the RHS Lindley Library and in private (Royal) collections. "