In addition to my research to create Fantastic Flowers, I consulted closely with three botanists on the book: Dr. Ari Novy of the U.S. Botanic Garden; Dr. Peter Zale of Longwood Gardens; and Dr. Gary Krupnick of the National Museum of Natural History. They vetted my manuscript and illustrations for scientific accuracy and provided valuable feedback (and enthusiasm!) as I crafted the book.
These scientists were particularly helpful as I designed my approach to the back matter. Initially, I wanted to provide “shape” categories in which to place my 17 flowers and their pollinators. For example: “Flowers shaped like a long tube attract hummingbirds and insects that have long tongues to reach deep into the flower for nectar. Trumpet creeper.” However, my consultants advised against this. They said it was impossible to place the flowers’ pollinators in such neat categories, calling it “leaky science.”
Dr. Zale responded, “Your painting could use some modifications. The ends of the flowers should look more like stigmas than anthers. The styles should also be coming out of each flower. The flowers themselves should not be pointy but should curl open.”
Based on his comments, I revised my final illustration:
Read more about Susan Stockdale and Fantastic Flowers on our Sunday Brunch post. Find Fantastic Flowers at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble!