Mushroom Fantasy Forest

Taken from Crazy About Mushrooms. A reference image from John Leech’s classic book, the Comic History of Rome.
Taken from Crazy About Mushrooms. A reference image from John Leech’s classic book, the Comic History of Rome.

This weekend’s subject for watercolor painting is a mushroom forest. I am fascinated by the small vegetable and how it has been depicted in illustrations so keep reading if you’re interested in them too. I have assembled some fun resources in this article.

Mushrooms historically have always represented something magical in fantasy. Why? Probably because of their psychotropic properties discovered from mycophagy. Crazy About Mushrooms points out how the Romans in the 5th century used them for “political murders,” and their article gives quite a compelling overview of the use of mushrooms throughout history. The Egyptians viewed mushrooms as linked to immortality. There are over 38,000 different types of mushrooms in fact (American Mushroom). In addition, Aristotle reflected on the mushroom, “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous” (Crazy About Mushrooms). It is no wonder mushrooms have been fascinating subjects for illustrators of fantasy. There is even an online Mushroom Instructional Packet for those who want to grow them.

I created this mushroom illustration as practice for a children’s book project I will be illustrating this upcoming month. I have primarily been painting in oils over the past month and decided to whip out my watercolors to get back into my practice with my favorite medium. The children’s book will be a collaboration between writer and producer, Peter Tran and myself, as illustrator. I will blog about the project throughout the next few weeks in more detail. However, below you will see the illustration I created over the weekend. You can view or purchase the illustration at my Etsy shop.

My original mushroom illustration (created 12-11-16)


The mushroom illustration was created with watercolor, goauche, and ink on a thick aquarelle watercolor board. I love the texture of this paper because it doesn’t have a lot of pockets and you can layer the watercolor with several washes before the paper begins to tear. 

Inspirational Mushroom Illustrations


“Mushrooms in History – The Greeks and Egyptians.” Crazy About Mushrooms. Online.

“A History of Mushrooms.” American Mushroom. Online.