The book Botanicum is fresh off the presses. Illustrator Katie Scott and writer Katie Willis (Director of Science at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew) have combined their talents and celebrate the richness of plants in the book. Every page treats the reader and viewer to a botanical celebration bursting with written knowledge and drawn beauty.
The mini-documentary we’ve produced about Katie Scott will help you to get to know Katie a bit better. We also talked at length with her about Botanicum and how it was produced in collaboration with Kew, the world-famous centre for botanical and mycological (the science of fungi) knowledge.
Katie says: “Botanicum is my new book, published by Big Picture Press in collaboration with Kew Gardens. The fact that the founder of Kew is involved in this book is great gift from me. The fact that it is also written by Kew Gardens’ Director of Science Katie Willis makes it even better. Doing something with Kew Gardens has always been one of my greatest dreams. And now it’s happening. It’s unreal!”
Being able to spend months behind the scenes at Kew is the best thing to have happened to me in my working life.
Access to Kew
“Botanicum is a follow-up to Animalium, my animal book, which was published two years ago. We already knew we wanted to do a follow-up with plants. Because Kew became involved in the creation of this book, I was able to make use of all their facilities. They have just over seven million pressed plants in herbariums that I was allowed to look at. I had access to the archives, which even contains works by Darwin. I was able to admire the plants in their natural environment in the greenhouses, and spent hours roaming around the impressive gardens where you can spend days on end. I was also allowed to look at all herbariums and wander through the nurseries. There’s no better place to do research.”
“When I left university I wrote in a notebook that I would love to work with Kew Gardens one day.”
“I think that creating this book is my greatest success to date. When I left university I wrote in a notebook that I would love to work with Kew Gardens one day. The fact that that is happening now and in this amazing form is so remarkable. I have worked so hard on this book: days, evenings, weekends. Yes, I feel tremendously emotionally involved with this book. Obvious I didn’t choose all the plants myself, but everything was done together, very much in collaboration. There isn’t a single plant in the book that I’m not happy with. I’m proud of every one, and that feels really good.”
In the shops
“I’m so enthusiastic about the book, and it’s so nice to finally have it physically my hands. Producing this book has been a long process. You spend a year creating it, and then you have to wait until it’s actually published. Finally that’s happened. It’s on sale.
It really is very well written. I personally have learnt so much from the book. Obviously I love flowers and plants, but botany as a science is complicated. It’s difficult to write about it in such a way that everyone can understand it, and I believe that Katie Willis has been incredibly successful in doing that. It’s a fantastic introduction to the botanical world.”
You can buy the book here. Keep an eye on our website over the coming period, because we will shortly be giving away a copy of Botanicum.