Botanical Illustration Certificate Program

Designed to provide a certificate of competence in the classical approaches and disciplines of botanical illustration, this program teaches you to draw and paint plants in a technically detailed manner.   Drawing on the Garden’s mission to engage people with the natural world, our courses emphasize proper set-up of live specimens, accurate drawing, correct depiction of tone and value, and work in the traditional media of pencil, pen and ink and watercolor.

The Program:Judith Towers Botanical Illustration

Complete the Core Curriculum courses in order, and participate in elective classes, mid-progress review, and complete a final project.

Classes are generally offered once or twice a year in three seasons: Winter/Spring (December-April), Spring/Summer (April-August), and Summer/Fall (August-December).  All courses are not offered each season.  View the current season’s available courses and link to online registration.

Curriculum NOTE: the curriculum is under revision for new requirements beginning January 1, 2019. Applications for the program will be taken starting in 2019 only after completion of the required pre-requisites noted above.

Core I Classes (required)
  • Introduction to Drawing for Botanical Illustration (20 hrs.)
  • Intermediate Drawing for Botanical Illustration (20 hrs.)
  • Introduction to Pen & Ink for Scientific Illustration (20 hrs.)
  • Introduction to Watercolor for Botanical Illustration (20 hrs.)
  • Techniques for Watercolor Painting for Botanical Illustration (20 hrs.)
Midpoint Portfolio Review
Core II Classes (required)
  • Botany for Botanical Artists* (20 hrs.)
  • Advanced Watercolor for Botanical Illustration – two sessions (20 hrs. each)
Electives (Minimum  of 80 hours)
Final Portfolio Review

*Can be taken at any time during the program

Available Courses for the Current Season

View the current available schedule of classes for Botanical Illustration and link to online registration for all available classes.

View classes and Register

Program Details:

Current hours required: Minimum 240

Cost: Enrollment is free.  Classes cost between $10-$12 per hour, plus materials, if provided.

Advisor Program: As an enrollee, you are assigned an advisor who is available to guide you and act as a resource while you complete the work that will be reviewed both at the mid-point and final reviews.

Primary Instructors:  Hazel Buys, Juliet Kirby, Judith Towers, Sheila Hayden, Lorraine Brevig, Betsy Lyon

To enroll: Complete and submit the GES Botanical Illustration enrollment form.
NOTE: the program is not accepting new enrollments until 2019 after completion of the required pre-requisites. A revised curriculum will go into effect on January 1, 2019. Check back here for updates.

For detailed program information, requirements, and instructor bios view the program brochure, or email [email protected]. NOTE: Requirements and brochure will be updated effective January 1, 2019. No new certificate enrollments will be accepted until January 1, 2019.

Learn more about the Garden’s historic botanical illustration examples from the Garden’s collection of significant botanical paintings by A. Descubes, and the Imperial Edition of Reichenbachia:  Orchids Illustrated and Described.

Not interested in this formal Botanical Illustration track?

Check out Art in the Garden for a variety of classes to enhance your understanding and appreciation for the natural world, learn new skills, and enjoy the company of like-minded artists!

Learn More