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Make and Play

Explore Louvre Abu Dhabi art works at home!

Make and Play are short, fun videos for all the family to make art inspired by the collection using simple materials.

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Tag us @LouvreAbuDhabi

Make a Plant Illustration | Art Activity

Make a Plant Illustration

About the Artwork

This page is from a scientific work called De Materia Medica, which was originally written in Greek, then translated into Arabic. It shows how to gather plants and use them to make herbal remedies and medicines.

Make a Plant Illustration

Title: Make a Plant Illustration

Overview: Make an illustration of a plant inspired by the artwork

Themes: illustration

Artwork Photography Caption:  Arabic translation of the Greek treatise on plants
De materia medica
Pedanius Dioscorides (40–90 CE)
Baghdad, Iraq, beginning of 13th century
Louvre Abu Dhabi
©Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi / Photo Hervé Lewandowski

Age Range: 6 -12 years old

Activity Timing:60 minutes

Materials: Watercolour or Acrylic Paper, Coffee or tea, Pencil and eraser, Paint brushes, Paint, Markers, Plant leaves and stems

Thinking Questions:

• What do you see?

• What type of plant do you think is drawn on the page?

• Have you seen a manuscript before?

• Can you identify the purpose of the manuscript?


1.Fold the edges of the paper.
2.Slowly tear along the fold
3.Use a paintbrush to stain the paper with coffee or tea
4.Leave the paper to dry.
5.Add another layer of tea or coffee
6.Keep adding layers until you are satisfied with the colour of the paper
7.Set the paper aside to dry

You can use two methods to create your illustrations

Method 1 (Tracing)
1.Trace the outline of your plant onto the sheet of paper
2.Look closely. Notice the details of the plant.
3.Mix different colours to match your plant
4.Fill in the details of the plant
5.Use lighter and darker colours to add dimension to your illustration
6.Use markers to write about the plant
7.Leave to dry

Method 2 (Printing)
1.Apply paint over the plant of your choice
2.Press your plant onto the paper
3.Remove the plant
4.Paint over the print and add details
5.Use markers to write about the plant
6.Leave to dry

Head outside to sketch and draw plants in their surroundings. Explore different ways to illustrate them. Have fun!

Share your designs!
Tag us online @LouvreAbuDhabi #MakeandPlay

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