Botanical Illustration Course - BOOK NOW for January 2024 start
Three places remaining on this course
My most popular and comprehensive course continues to grow - When I began writing courses over 10 years ago, I wanted to include all of the aspects of botanical art that I wanted to learn myself when I set out, the most recent updates reflect student feedback.
NEXT COURSE START DATE January 14th 2024 with, includes new sections on dissection and scaling, overlapping leaves and below ground parts, you will also be expected to keep a sketchbook BOOK NOW
Cost £490 You can now pay a 50% deposit to secure your place today, the remaining payment due one week before the course start date.
The Course in Brief
Learn the fundamental drawing and painting techniques that will enable you to develop as a botanical artist or illustrator
Complete final botanical illustrations in colour and graphite as well as all the preparatory work that leads up to them.
Access online and printable materials with numerous video tutorials, available for up to 30 months. So you can still access even if you have finished the course.
Receive personal written and digitally edited assessment of your work for each of the assignments. Email support is available throughout the course and via the chat facility.
Complete supplementary exercises and sketchbook work
Use the private student social media group for assignment specific discussion topics (optional)
Create a full graphite illustration and study page
More About the Course
Learn botanical illustration using both graphite and watercolour. This course will guide you through the process of producing beautiful botanical illustrations from start to finish, from plant to painting, with advice on materials and the workspace to techniques. You will carry out drawing and painting exercises and techniques filled by study pages and finally creating final works in graphite and watercolour. From August 2023, this course includes a new sections dedicated to dissection and scaling of flowers and other plant parts as well as using techniques such as aerial perspective in your painting as well as the below ground parts of plants.
Included printable materials, an extensive video library and a new image library for reference. You will receive tutor feedback and digital editing of your work when required to show you what could be done differently.
This approach will help you to develop your own style through technique based learning. This is not a course where you paint along or copy me and you will always be encouraged and supported to find and research the subjects that interest you.
Feedback and guidance will be provided at all stages as well as support in specific areas that may be difficult for you.
You will also be given some guidance on exhibiting and marketing you work.
The course is delivered in 2 parts, Graphite and Watercolour, you will also be expected to keep a sketchbook. Take a look at the student gallery to see examples of some work by students
Part 1. Graphite: This part of the course teaches line and tonal drawing including the graphite techniques: hatching, cross hatching, stipple and continuous tone. Measured line drawings and simple tonal shapes and subjects will enable you to understand form in relation to light. Thereafter, you will draw subjects such as leaves and flowers in, profile and perspective. These techniques are put into practice in a study page exercise exercise before undertaking your final graphite composition and tonal drawing. Above is an example of a tonal drawing of Primula vulgaris, which was prepared in advance of a colour illustration. Note the small compositional changes made in the final painting. You may also complete a tonal painting using one colour.
Graphite Tutor Assessed Assignments
1. Line and tone drawing, graphite techniques
2. Creating a study page,
3. Final graphite botanical illustration
Other exercises and activities from the course:
Setting up workspace, subjects and lighting
Making the Cut: Dissection and scaling parts (New section)
Create a leaf, flower, fruit and stem study pages demonstrating diversity in each New
Below ground, roots bulbs and stems New
'Rules' of composition and guidance
Creating depth, separation and distance (New section)
Part 2. Watercolour: The second half of the course focuses on purist watercolour techniques. You will learn the various washes and dry brush techniques, including flat or tea wash, graded wash, blended wash, wet-in-wet as well as my own dry brush techniques. You will explore colour mixing using a limited palette to achieve accurate matching and harmonious variations. After completing some exercises with studies of leaves, stems, fruit and flowers ( with new examples for August), you will put these techniques into practice by choosing a subject for a colour study page, this will include colour mixing and colour charts. Thereafter, composition exercises will help you to move on to your final study, a full botanical illustration of a subject of your choice.
Watercolour Tutor Assessed Assignments
1. Watercolour techniques
2. Create a study page of your chosen subject
3. . Composition, tonal painting and botanical illustration
Many supporting videos, in real time with new material added based on requests from students.
Downloadable materials, worksheets and documents
Printable leaf colour chart
Guidance on botanical terminology
Access to an online image library for leaves, flowers and dissections and other course images so that you can view up close
A Few Course Highlights
Learning how to research your subject by creating annotated study pages is an integral part of becoming a botanical illustrator, and for each part of the course you will learn how to do this in graphite and watercolour as preparation for your final illustrations,
Graphite Study Page, Hellebore
Colour Study Page for a final drawing of Ludisia discolor
Making the Cut: Dissect and Illustrate
This new section of the course teaches you to dissect and identify plant parts in a range of different flowers, and gives insights on how to identify and label the parts, so will learn a little more about the botany side of your subject matter. you will also have access advice on botanical terminology and identifying parts as well as an online image library of photographs and illustrations of dissected flowers and plant parts.
You will also learn to use scale bars and will be introduced to understanding and drawing floral diagrams. This supplementary material will enable you to add accurate dissections to your illustrations.
Depth, Separation and Distance
From my years teaching I believe that one of the most challenging areas for botanical art students is the overlapping parts of plants, particularly leaves. You will learn how to deal with such parts in order to create depth, separation and distance in your work.
Trying to decide which areas should be lighter or darker and why can be difficult so. In response I have written a new section of the course addressing aerial perspective and other strategies to deal with this complex area within a composition.
The example shown here is Calotropis gigantea, giant milkweed, it demonstrates using different saturations and values in overlapping leaves.
Below Ground, Roots and Bulbs etc
We should not forget about the parts of the plant underground, these tell an important part of the story for many plants, and so, I have decided to dedicate a new section to them.
In this new section I shows how to deal with illustrating the complex parts and negative space found in roots and bulbs, corms and tubers,
as well as different bulb, corm and tuber surfaces, which can be challenging to paint.
Here you can see the intricate fine roots that grow from the base of a Cyclamen coum tuber, its important to know how roots emerge from the tuber as other species have roots that grow from the sides as well as from the base.
In addition to the course you will be expected to organise work into a sketchbook, some students find this daunting and initially, there is no pressure to make perfect sketch book pages and you will be given guidance about what to include and why but keep in mind that its a more relaxed activity, for your own benefit.
Over time it will become invaluable reference material for you and I guarantee that it will improve you work.
The sketchbook will not be assessed but you will be expected to submit some examples of sketchbooks studies, which support your working practice.
Shown here: From my personal sketchbook, Ranunculus repens, The creeping buttercup
Is this Course Right for You?
There are no prerequisite qualifications or experience required for this course, however, it does require some independent working and decision making and you have to choose appropriate subjects to study and illustrate in depth with a considerable amount of technique exercises to complete. That said you will receive support and guidance throughout. If you are an absolute beginner and want to gain some painting experience first, you may want to consider one of the tutorials in drawing and watercolour or the new Botanical Art for Beginners tutorial or Course, which have specific subjects and watercolour techniques tailored for beginners. Click here to find out more about the Starting Small: Beginners assessed course,
Take a look at a few pages from a supplementary worksheet below to give you an idea of the content in Botanical Illustration. There is a lot of content in this course and this is just a supplementary part of the course with advice on colour mixing and leaves, these supplementary parts are there to support your learning and new videos are bing added on tricky subject areas such as complex flower centres and roots.
You will receive comprehensive written feedback for 6 assignments, and I often edit the work digitally to show students, where changes could be made, this approach provides students with clear guidance on 'what to change and how to do it', work may also be resubmitted with changes to ensure that you have understood and benefitted from the advice. There is also a final overall appraisal and recommended 'next steps' in the final feedback. Email support is available throughout if you need help or advice during the assignments and a student Facebook group provides additional support. You may also take a break if needed as life sometimes gets in the way.
When does the course start and when will I receive access to the materials?
The next course starts 14th January 2024. You will receive access to the website one week before the start date
Details on how to register on the course website and to log in will be emailed to you approximately one - two weeks before in start date.
How long does this course take?
A period of approximately 40 weeks. You have around of 20 weeks on average to complete each part of the course ( graphite and watercolour parts) and but may take more or less time on particular assignments/parts if you wish. I like to keep this flexible and believe that each student is different. You will have access for up to 2 years to complete if you need more time, occasionally this can be extended beyond two years.
How much does it cost?
The course cost is £490, this is payable by direct bank transfer or via Paypal. You may pay in full for the price shown or two instalments, with two payments of £250 and £240, the final payment must be pid at least one week before the course start date.
What previous experience do I need to undertake this course?
Although there is no prerequisite qualification for this course, it is envisaged that students will have some basic experience in painting or drawing which does not need to be botanical. At the start of the course all students will be asked to submit 3 images of recent work and some information regarding your previous experience to assess your level of ability and learning needs. If you are unsure whether or not this course is right for you please email me for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org
What materials do I need to undertake the course?
Here is a list of suggested materials for prospective students ( currently being revised due to changes in availability and quality of materials)
You don't need all of the items on the list and alternative brands can be used because availability varies from country to country.
An internet connection and email account, such as a gmail address are required.
You will need to have Adobe Reader to access the PDF documents. The documents can also be saved and printed off if you have a printer.
You will need to take digital photographs or scans of your work and email the images as jpegs for assessment.
Videos on the website are viewed via YouTube and Vimeo.
All of the above are fairly standard on most computers. But please email me if you have any questions.
Click the 'Buy Now' Paypal button below, you will be redirected to Paypal, the account is in the name Picturehouse. You will have the option of paying via a Paypal account or by credit /debit card.
If someone else paid for you, could also send me an email to confirm who is taking the course.
If you wish to pay in 2 instalments use the 'Prebook Deposit Button', the course must be paid in full 7 days before the course start date
if you are in the UK and wish to pay by bank transfer, please email me for information
Once registered you will receive an automatic email confirmation of your place, within 24 hours. You will be contacted 1 - 2 week's before the start date with information detailing how to register on the course website. Places are limited so book early! Registration is now available for the next presentation.
Please read the Terms & Conditions before registering for a course
Prebook by paying a 50% deposit of £250 and the remainder when the course starts using the Pay Balance button or pay in full using the Buy Now option.