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, courses are structured for students pursuing the Garden Education Certificate in Botanical Illustration. Courses must be taken in sequence as listed in the curriculum, and courses in the series after the introductory drawing courses are open only to certificate students, unless otherwise noted. Pre-requisites are listed under individual course descriptions.

Our certificate curriculum is currently being revitalized. New certificate enrollments are on hold to allow time for this revitalization process. To place your name on the certificate interest list, please email [email protected] and you will receive an email when enrollments resume.  

Looking for drawing and painting courses open to non-certificate students? Check out Art in the Garden.

Classes are offered in-person, as synchronous (live) online programs, or using hybrid methods with both in-person and virtual content. Class delivery methods are denoted next to each listing as VIRTUAL, IN-PERSON, or HYBRID.

Class Schedule April – August 2024


One-day sessions enable artists enrolled in the Botanical Illustration certificate program to enhance their botanical artworks under the guidance of one (or more) of our skilled instructor(s). With each session, artists will gain a deeper understanding of the creative process specific to botanical illustration. 

NEW! Tips & Techniques Studio – April | April 20 | IN-PERSON

Every Tips & Techniques Studio session will explore a different theme across a variety of mediums and will include a demo, lecture or live interview session as well as ample time for studio work. Participants will be able to ask questions and receive feedback on how to complete current work in any medium, improve a work in progress or begin something new altogether. Studio sessions will provide an opportunity to meet peers and collaborate in a relaxed environment. 

Pre-requisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration

NEW! Watercolor Techniques: Irises | May 4 | IN-PERSON

Few garden plants rival irises in their diversity of form and range of floral color. Via introductory lecture with botanist John Hayden, this one-day workshop will provide an overview of the genus Iris, including a survey of vegetative structures (root, stem, leaf), reproductive features (flower, fruit, seed), and a brief survey of taxonomic diversity within the genus. Students will be guided in creating botanically accurate watercolor renditions of Iris by artist Sheila Hayden.   

Pre-requisite: Introduction to Watercolor for Botanical Illustration  


Explore various drawing techniques through virtual workshops with award-winner, scientific illustrator and artist Rogério Lupo, who will teach from Brazil. Each course includes drawing demonstrations of the various skills discussed. Students enrolled in the Garden’s Botanical Illustration certificate program will earn elective credit.

Fundamentals of Graphite Shading with International Artist Rogério Lupo | May 8, 15, 22, 29 | VIRTUAL 

This virtual course led by renowned international artist Rogério Lupo aims to provide all the theoretical and practical tools necessary for beginners to initiate their practice and for intermediate students to improve their skills in graphite shading. You will learn about the different types and qualities of graphite, and how and when to use them; explore the different results that can be achieved according to the techniques and materials used; and much more.

NEW! Refined Hatching with Pen Nib & Ink with International Artist Rogério Lupo | May 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6 | VIRTUAL 

This virtual course led by renowned international artist Rogério Lupo addresses the most appropriate way to use a dip pen nib in order to get the best from it. Learn simple procedures to help obtain the finest lines and reveal how to preserve, cleanse, and restore the nibs. We will explore simple methods for maintaining the best flow of ink, keeping its good quality, and avoiding dehydration. The instructor will propose a series of basic exercises and a variety of botanical subjects will be addressed and demonstrated in live classes, all embodying the essentials of the visual language of hatching to represent light and shade. 

Pre-requisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration; Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration also recommended

NEW! Rendering Textures in Graphite with International Artist Rogério Lupo | June 13, 20, 27, July 11, 18, 25, August 1 | VIRTUAL 

A drawing done purely in graphite can, by its very nature, provide a spectacular result in botanical art and illustration. In addition, mastering the graphite technique yields us the tools for a detailed investigation of the subject by doing previous studies, so we can grasp the essentials of light and shade before working with other media such as colored pencils, pen and ink, or watercolors. This virtual course led by renowned international artist Rogério Lupo offers the fundamentals of light and shade, but focuses specifically on the richness of textures found in nature with all their diversity, and how to represent them artistically either using only graphite on white paper or graphite plus a light-colored pencil on toned paper. 

Pre-requisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration 

NEW! Colored Pencil I: Rendering Beautiful Artworks in Colored Pencil | June 1, 15 | IN-PERSON

Learn to transfer and apply the botanical illustration knowledge you have already gained to the amazingly versatile medium of colored pencil with botanical artist, Gail Goodrich Harwood. In session one, we will explore the properties of Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and effects using different substrates. Students will practice techniques of layering, blending, burnishing, and edge clean-up while rendering small botanical subjects. In session two, we will render a completed work from color-matching to under-drawing, to layering, burnishing, and finishing. 

Pre-requisite: Color Mixing or Introduction to Watercolor for Botanical Illustration  

NEW! Graphite Techniques: Succulents | June 8 | IN-PERSON

The world of succulent plants includes far more than cacti. Botanist John Hayden will introduce students to the morphological categories of succulent plants, i.e., stem succulents, leaf succulents, and caduciforms. Prominent families of plants that include succulents will be surveyed: Cactus family, Euphorbia/Spurge family, Crassula family, Dogbane/Milkweed family, Yucca family, and Agave family.  Students will be guided in rendering their choice of succulent plant in the medium of graphite by artist Sheila Hayden.

Pre-requisite: Introduction Drawing for Botanical Illustration

NEW! Botanical Sketchbook: Connecting to Nature & Deepening Skills | June 24, 28 | IN-PERSON

With Stephey and Claudette Baker as your artistic guides, discover ways to let your creativity run wild in your sketchbook. Using simple strategies like words, numbers, and drawings, learn how to balance creativity and science, in a way that offers both scientific accuracy and creative freedom. Keeping a sketchbook can be a safe, private place for stimulating creative thought, experimenting with various media, and nurturing your own creativity. By using a sketchbook thoughtfully, you can create a rich personal library of botanical references to draw from when developing formal botanical work. Blank pages invite you to document wonders, develop curiosity, and learn more about the natural world.

Pre-requisite: Introduction Drawing for Botanical Illustration

NEW! The Art & Science of Painting Birds | July 17, 19, 24, 26 | VIRTUAL

In this virtual course, award-winning artist Patricia Savage guides students in the drybrush watercolor method utilized by scientific illustrators. On Days 1 and 2, students will study the anatomy of the bird’s skull, feet, wings and feather groups using photographic specimens on loan from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and handouts provided by the instructor. On Days 3 and 4, students will receive instruction on how to create value gradations, color temperature, chroma and matching color while painting their own bird.

No formal pre-requisite, but Introduction to Watercolor for Botanical Illustration is recommended

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Updated Adult Learning Cancellation Policy

As of April 12, 2024, the Garden has an updated cancellation policy for Adult Learning programs.

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