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.

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.  Please note Covid-19 related requirements for in-person classes.  All guidelines are subject to change.

Class Schedule December 2021 – April 2022

Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration: January Session | January 15, 22, 29, February 5 IN-PERSON

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. Instructors: Hazel Buys and Claudette Baker

Prerequisite: None


Pen and Ink: Introduction to Drawing Pens for Botanical Illustration | February 7, 14, 21, 28 IN-PERSON

This class builds on knowledge gained in the first two graphite drawing classes for botanical illustration. Learn how to render form and value through the simplicity of a mere black line. Focus is given to exercises that promote thinking three-dimensionally, releasing the creative process and using simple techniques such as hatching and stippling. Learn to use various drawing pens to render form and texture.Understand the difference between a fineliner, a technical pen, a brush pen, and a rapidograph, and discover the limitations and benefits of each.  Instructor: Stephey Baker

Prerequisite: Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration


Graphite Techniques: Building on Basics | February 16, 23, March 2, 9 IN-PERSON

This course builds and expands on the knowledge learned in Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration. Practice toning the key shapes found in Nature using graphite. Learn how to set-up your light source in order to achieve the full range of values needed to create three-dimensional form for your subject. Learn to translate colors into black and white, how to enhance the illusion of depth and space in your work and create various textures.  Instructors: Claudette Baker and Stephey Baker

Prerequisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration


Winter Botany for Botanical Artists | February 18, 25 IN-PERSON

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

Prerequisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration


Graphite Techniques: White Flowers-Using Light and Shadow to Create Form | March 14 IN-PERSON

Use this class to improve your use of tone in graphite drawings.  We’ll practice in the morning on basic shapes–ball, stick, bowl–and in the afternoon transfer what was learned to white flowers.  Instructor: Christine Drake

Prerequisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration


Master Studio with Juliet Kirby | March 16, 21, 23, 30 IN-PERSON

Williamsburg-based botanical artist Juliet Kirby leads this four-day watercolor workshop for advanced botanical artists and certificate students working on their final portfolio. Participants bring a plant of their own choosing. This course continues to emphasize composition, accuracy, and direction of light.

Prerequisite: Advanced Watercolor Techniques for Botanical Illustration


Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration | March 19, 26, April 2, 9 IN-PERSON

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.  Instructors: Hazel Buys and Claudette Baker

Prerequisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration


Studio Intensive: For the Love of Paper | April 5, 12, 19 IN-PERSON

In this studio intensive you’ll discover why paper is one of the most important tools a botanical artist has at their disposal. Learn how to test and evaluate paper using simple fool-proof techniques, why all paper is not created equal, and how selecting paper suited to your chosen medium determines your success as an artist. If you’re a paper lover, come join Stephey and Claudette to discover papers suited for graphite, watercolor, pen & ink, color pencil, mixed-media, and more.

Prerequisite: Color Mixing for Botanical Illustration


Watercolor Techniques: White Flowers-Using Light and Shadow to Create Form | April 13 IN-PERSON

Use this class to improve your use of tone in watercolors. We’ll practice in the morning on basic shapes–ball, stick, bowl–and transfer what was learned to white flowers in the afternoon. Proficiency with basic washes is required. Instructor: Christine Drake

Prerequisite: Color Mixing for Botanical Illustration


Botany for Botanical Illustration | April 30, May 7, 14, 21 IN-PERSON

Botanical illustrators need to be well versed in the intricacies of plant forms. Morning sessions help you learn to understand the structure of flowering plants and conifers and to study and draw a diversity of plant parts under the guidance of a botanist. Students keep an illustrated study journal. Scientific names in botanical illustration are discussed and used. Afternoons are devoted to graphite illustrations of plants related to the morning’s discussion. Instructors: Sheila Hayden and Judith Towers

Prerequisite: Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration


Color Mixing for Botanical Illustration | In-person May 4, 25, Virtual May 5-24 HYBRID

Stephey Baker guides you through the process of color mixing 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. NOTE: This is a hybrid class, with beginning and end in-person sessions. Students are expected to work on their own and post progress regularly. The instructor will be available for individual check ins during the online portion of the class. A mandatory orientation session for the online portion is included.

Prerequisite: Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration


Botanical Illustration Sunday Studios IN-PERSON

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

January Sunday Studio | January 9

February Sunday Studio | February 13

March Sunday Studio | March 13

April Sunday Studio | April 10

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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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