Botanical Illustration Classes

Courses are designed to provide a thorough foundation in the classical approaches and disciplines of botanical illustration.   Arranged in a series format, classes are structured for students pursuing the Garden Education Certificate in Botanical Illustration. Students may enroll in the certificate program only after taking “Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration” and “Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration.” Courses must be taken in sequence as listed in the curriculum, and classes in the series after the basic drawing classes  are open only to certificate students.  Pre-requisites are listed under individual course descriptions.

Looking for other media, including fiber arts and other drawing styles?  Check out Art in the Garden.

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Class Schedule
December 2018-April 2019

Botanical Illustration Sunday Studios | December 9, January 13, February 10, March 10, April 14

Mentors and students work on certificate projects together in an informal setting.  Open to Botanical Illustration certificate candidates only.

Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration | January 19, 26, February 2, 9 OR January 21, 28, February 4, 11

This class explores drawing materials (papers and pencils), line quality and expressiveness as well as basic aids to drawing (types of rulers, compass and stencils). Students study the basics of proportion, perspective and composition in addition to simple approaches to rendering form with tone.  Instructor: Hazel Buys.  No pre-requisites required.

Winter Botany for Botanical Illustration | January 25, February 1

Explore the intricacies of plant forms in winter. Morning sessions help you learn to understand the structure of cones, berries, twigs. Study and draw a diversity of plant parts under the guidance of a botanist. Afternoons are devoted to graphite illustrations of plants related to the morning’s discussion.  Instructors: Sheila Hayden and Judith Towers.  Pre-requisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration.

Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration | February 16, 23, March 2, 9

Continue to explore line quality and expressiveness in this follow-up to “Introduction.” Students continue to develop the basic techniques and knowledge covered in Introduction to Drawing. Complete one or more drawings of a seasonally-appropriate botanical subject of your choice, practicing the core concepts taught in the class.  Instructor: Hazel Buys.  Pre-requisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration.

Advanced Watercolor Techniques for Botanical Illustration | February 19, 21, 26, 28

This class covers drawing and painting fruit and vegetables, as well as refining students’ skill sets in design, composition, use of color and painting technique. The focus is on understanding shape, volume and correct light source. Sessions address textured surfaces, shine and moisture drops.  Instructor: Betsy Lyon.  Pre-requisites: Introduction to Drawing for BI, Intermediate Drawing for BI, Introduction to WC for BI, Intermediate WC for BI, Botany for BA, Introduction to Pen & Ink, and mid-point review completed.

Introduction to Watercolor for Botanical Illustration | March 16, 23, 30, April 6

Students learn about painting materials (papers and brushes), practice watercolor painting skills and complete exercises demonstrating core techniques. Complete one or more painting(s) of a simple botanical subject (e.g., leaf, nut, simple flower) of your choice, practicing the painting skills taught in the class.  Instructor: Hazel Buys.  Pre-requisites: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration and Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration.

Master Studio/Portfolio Development with Juliet Kirby | March 19, 21, 28, April 2

Williamsburg-based botanical artist Juliet Kirby leads this four-day watercolor workshop for advanced botanical artists and certificate students working on their final portfolio.  Pre-requisite: Advanced Watercolor Techniques for Botanical Illustration.

Botany and Journaling with Lara Call Gastinger | March 20, April 17, May 15

Explore botany and art together. Join botanical artist Lara Call Gastinger to learn how to use a sketchbook to observe the ways plants change each month. Explore strategies to condense the natural world within the pages of your sketchbook. This class meets once a month for three months to document seasonal changes.  No pre-requisites required.


The spring/summer 2019 season of classes will publish on April 3, 2019.

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Interested in gaining a thorough foundation in the art of botanical illustration?

Explore our Botanical Illustration Certificate Program.

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