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.

Due to the ongoing COVID19 coronavirus pandemic, all classes are cancelled as of March 14, 2020. Online registration is not available.

Class Schedule
December 2019 – April 2020

Certificate Courses

Botanical Illustration Sunday Studios | January 12, February 9, March 8
(There is no Sunday Studio in December)

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

Composition for Botanical Illustrators | December 7, 8, 14, 15

This class explores different compositional principles students can use to create harmony and balance in botanical paintings. Become better at analyzing your work, developing your eye for design and the possibilities in putting together line, mass and color.  Instructor: Christine Drake.

Winter Botany for Botanical Illustration | January 17, 24

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. Emphasis is placed on observation, accurate representation of details, and labeling.  Instructors: Sheila Hayden and Judith Towers

Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration | January 18, 25, February 1, 8 OR January 20, 27, February 3, 10

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. The class works with botanical subjects appropriate to the season.  Instructor: Hazel Buys

Watercolor Techniques: Building the Basics | January 31, February 7, 15, 22

Build on previous knowledge from the two introductory drawing classes and begin to hone the basics of your Watercolor skills. This class provides hands-on experience using various watercolor techniques such as wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, damp brush and dry brush, including how to discern greyscale value and its color equivalent and how to use graphite as an underpainting.  Instructor: Stephey Baker

Advanced Watercolor Techniques-Complex Forms | February 21

This is the first of four one-day workshops to be held in 2020 to meet the requirement for Advanced Watercolor. Artichokes serve as plant models to learn about painting complex forms, spiral formations and the Fibonacci Series.  Instructors: Christine Drake and Juliet Kirby

Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration | February 29, March 7, 14, 21

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. Accuracy of drawing is emphasized as well as artistic expression. Instructor: Hazel Buys.

Master Studio/Portfolio Development | March 3, 5, 10, 12

Williamsburg-based botanical artist Juliet Kirby leads this four-day watercolor workshop for intermediate level botanical artists and certificate students working on their final portfolio.

Botany and Journaling with Lara Call Gastinger | March 25 OR April 22 OR May 20

Explore botany and art together. Join acclaimed Charlottesville botanical artist Lara Call Gastinger to learn how to use a sketchbook to observe plants. Explore strategies to condense the natural world within the pages of your sketchbook. Take all three workshops to explore how the same plants change each month.

Introduction to Pen and Ink for Botanical Illustration | March 28, April 4, 11, 25

This class builds on previous knowledge gained from intro & intermediate graphite drawing, by providing easy step-by-step instructions on how to draw using pen & ink. Learn to translate highlights & shadows to create a volume using simple pen and ink techniques such as hatching, contour-hatching, and stippling (to name a few).  Instructor: Stephey Baker

Graphite Techniques: Building on Basics | April 2, 9, 16, 23

Practice toning the key shapes found in Nature using graphite. Revisit setting the proper light source for your subject in order to achieve the full range of values needed to create three-dimensional form. Learn to translate colors into black and white and how to enhance the illusion of depth and space in your work.  Instructor: Claudette Baker

Color Mixing for Botanical Illustration | April 8, 15, 22, 29

Stephey Baker guides you through the color mixing process step-by-step. Hone your color mixing skills in a relaxed and inspired environment through creative discussion and testing/evaluating of watercolor paints. Color matching accuracy, artistic expression and establishing a personal creative process are emphasized.


The Spring/Summer 2020 season of classes is suspended. Check back for details after June 10.

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

Explore our Botanical Illustration Certificate Program.

Learn More