Zoe Keller’s Graphite Explorations of the Natural World

by Andy SmithPosted on

Illustrator Zoe Keller‘s absorbing, hyperdetailed odes to the natural world are rendered in graphite and ink. The Portland-based artist uses landscapes, field guides, and her own memories to source the varied flora and fauna that appear in her works. The artist says that she blends “hints of narrative” into her natural explorations.

“Research is a big part of my process,” she said in an interview with Light Grey Art Lab, where she’s shown her work. “I like having some constraints when I go into a drawing; or example, I might only draw animals and plants that are endangered in the state of Oregon or stick to drawing flowers that grow on this one tract of prairie in the north-eastern corner of the state. These boundaries make a blank page more approachable, and also mean that I can step away from a finished drawing with a deeper understanding of the natural world, which is really the biggest reward. I go from research to small sketches to light under-drawings, then work from top left to bottom right finishing the drawing, and finally go back and adjust lights and darks across the whole thing.”

See more of her recent work below.