Here's a quick and rather sloppy insight into the construction of a scientific illustration, which is more or less an idealized representation of a subject to aid in identification: SO basically a picture from a field guide.
First you need to approach the subject like a sculptor: you need to realize the subject in a three dimensional space. Just like a sculptor you begin with a block, or a cube in our case, and construct with in it, moving from general to more specific forms (it's best to do this process on tracing paper and using different colored pencils helps keep things organized).
.... If you're like me and have a very loose and lazy style you'll soon discover two things:
- this is a job for impeccable draftsmanship and organization AKA the complete antithesis of yourself.
- the sheer complexity in design of even the smallest forms in nature
And so all in all its a fun challenge and I recommend trying it out... but being a little more organized then me. Your constructions should be really well drafted before moving on... if you look below obviously I fudged mine so I could just get down to drawing the final. :D
Final sulphur shelf AKA the chicken of the woods illustration done in black colored pencil on illustration board.If you really wanna try out the chicken of the woods this is a great site in particular to visit during your research, its informative and the end result in the kitchen looks pretty appetizing...well.. for a wild mushroom: http://www.wisconsinmycologicalsociety.org/1-seasonal-photos.htm
Final illustration depicting orthographic views, size comparisons, habitat, life cycle and behavior... in other words all the information I could cram in there!