Botanical Illustration Course

My most popular and comprehensive course continues to grow with a whole new section on composition in this course!

NEXT COURSE START DATE December 31st 2020. Available to book. This course is filling up quickly, there are 6 places out of 16 available.

Cost £450 You can now pay a 50% deposit to secure your place, remaining payment due one week before the course start date. 

The Course in Brief

Learn essential drawing and painting techniques that will enable you to develop as a botanical artist or illustrator

Access online and printable materials with video tutorials, available for up to 2 years

Receive personal written and digitally edited feedback of your work for each of the 6 assignments

Complete optional supplementary exercises

Use the private student social media group for assignment specific discussion topics

Receive end of course assessment and digital certificate of completion

Book now

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. Written materials and an extensive video library alongside individual tutor feedback, 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.

 The course is delivered in 2 parts, Graphite and Watercolour 

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 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

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

Keeping a sketchbook

Setting up workspace, subjects and lighting

Dissection and scaling parts

Rules of composition

Graphite Study Pages, Hellebore

Part 2. Watercolour: The second half of the course focuses on purist watercolour technique. 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: e.g. modelling, drawing, stippling and polishing. After completing some simple exercises studies of leaves, fruit and flowers, 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. Creating a study page

3. Composition, tonal painting and botanical illustration


Over 30 supporting videos, new material added 

Downloadable materials, worksheets and documents

Printable colour chart

Guidance on botanical terminology

Colour Study Page, Meconopsis

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. If you are an absolute beginner and want to gain some painting experience first, you may want to consider the Botanical Art for Absolute Beginners Course instead, which has specific subjects. Click here to find out more.

Take a look at a few pages from a supplementary worksheet below and a shortened video, to give you an idea of the content in Botanical Illustration, which is more in depth than in the Beginners course. There is a lot of content in this course!This is just a supplementary part of the course with advice on colour mixing and leaves, which supports the actual course.


You will receive comprehensive written feedback for 6 assignments, and I often edit the work digitally to show students, where changes could be made. There is also a final overall appraisal and recommended 'next steps' in the final feedback.  Email support is also available throughout if you need help or advice during the assignments and a student Facebook group provides additional support and materials.


When does the course start and when will I receive access to the materials?

The next course starts Dec 2020.

Log in details will be emailed to you approximately 10 days in advance of the start date. 


Suggested Materials List

 Click here to download 


How long does this course take?

A  period of approximately 32 weeks. You have around of 16  weeks on average to complete each part of the course 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.


How much does it cost?

The course cost  £450, this is payable by direct bank transfer or via Paypal. You may pay in two instalments, so two payments of £225.


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 experience in painting or drawing. At the start of the course all students will be asked to submit 3 images of recent work and to submit 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


What materials do I need to undertake the course?

Here is a list of suggested materials for prospective students Click here to download

Obviously, you don't need all of the items on the list but I provide alternative brands because availability varies from country to country.


IT Specifications

An internet connection and email account, such as a gmail address are required.

A free  Skype account is required, if you wish to participate in an online tutorial element (optional)

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.

Video clips on the website are viewed via YouTube.


All of the above are fairly standard on most computers. But please email me if you have any questions.


To Register:

  • 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 10 days before the course start date 

  • if you wish to pay by bank transfer, please email me for information



Once registered you will receive an email confirmation of your place, within 24 hours. You will be contacted 1 week before the start date with log in details. Places are limited so book early! Registration is available for the July presentation.

Please read the Terms & Conditions before registering for a course

Prebook by paying a 50% deposit of £225 and the remainder when the course starts using the Pay Balance button or pay in full using the Buy Now option.

This website and all of its content, unless otherwise specified, is copyright of Dianne Sutherland (2012)

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complete a Botanical Illustration