I often get asked which course or tutorial is the best option. There are a few different routes that you can take depending on your experience, needs and budget. So here's some information that might help you to decide.
First of all there is the difference between Tutorials or Courses to consider, here are the main differences:
TUTORIALS: offer video rich learning experiences alongside supporting PDF's and exercises to support your learning. There is no personalised feedback but you do keep access to the tutorial indefinitely and benefit from future updates, so you can learn at your own pace and it's designed to be flexible and affordable. Tutorials can be suitable for beginners but also for more experienced artists who wish to develop certain aspects of their work. You can work your way through several tutorials to progress your experience, which is what many people have done, or study individual tutorials that suit your specific needs. To find out more about the full range of tutorials: click here and read below. Cost ranges from £55-£110
COURSES: offer a more in depth learning experience with assignments and personalised feedback to help you to progress by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. There is a time-frame for completion of the course within two years but this can be extended and the courses have some flexibility. Learning doesn't need to be stressful and I try to make the courses as flexible as possible because we all have different demands on our time . Feedback is usually given in a three week turn-around unless it's submitted very late. There is a Facebook group for sharing for those who want to do so but it's optional. There are currently two available options with Courses, firstly the Botanical Illustration Course and the Advanced Botanical Illustration Course, which is a flexible mentoring programme depending on the individual student needs. Cost range from £480 - £950
TUTORIALS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
If you have little or no experience:
Botanical Art for Beginners Tutorial
There are a few tutorials that can get you started on your botanical art journey but the obvious choice is the Botanical Art for Beginners Tutorial 11, is a fairly new addition and based on a beginners course that I used to run. This gives you a great introduction because you can find out if botanical art is for you without having to sign up for a lengthy course. There are a range of videos demonstrating various subjects which are suitable for beginners, these include: fruit, leaves, petals, flowers, seed capsules and vegetables etc. as well as videos on watercolour techniques. It's not a copying style tutorial and encourages you to paint your own subjects but you can also paint along with some of them. As with all tutorials, there is no feedback but if you feel you need some tutor guidance - personalised feedback can be provided for an additional fee. Just email to enquire about availability of such support. Cost £75
Drawing Perspective and Creating Form Tutorial
Tutorial 3 is all about drawing. Of course good drawing skills underpins all botanical paintings and tonal drawing helps us to understand form under the effect of light without the confusion of colour, so, if you want to improve or learn observational drawing from scratch, tutorial 3 Graphite: Drawing Perspective and Creating Form. This guides you through the process of observational and measured drawing using line, which can be difficult for many people, particularly with perspective and more complex arrangements, it builds from simple portraits to more complex forms. Then moves on to different shading techniques and how to render a subject using just tone. Cost £55.
Tutorials 1 and 2, Watercolour Techniques and Colour mixing
These are the most popular two tutorials they are suitable for beginners or those who wish to expand their knowledge of both essential areas of work. I've listed them together as they go hand in hand but are available as two separate tutorials. Many exercises are included and supported with video technique examples to guide you through the various approaches in watercolour, from washes to dry brush and with colour mixing from a limited palette, which makes it more manageable to gain an understanding of your palette - why and how we use coloured from mixing, layering or dry brush is also demonstratedted in actual subject videos. Video example below is one of many from the Watercolour Techniques tutorial. Cost £55 for each tutorial.
Keeping a Sketchbook Tutorial
This option is suitable for beginners and more experienced artists, its about good practice when documenting plants, so it fits in with all courses. I base it on my approach to documenting plants and the importance this has in developing knowledge of plants and botany - as well as learning to experiment with approaches to subjects with techniques and composition. This tutorial is having new materials added shortly regarding how to make your own sketchbook based on my current sketchbook project which you can see in the video below. Cost £55
For Artists with more experience:
Achieving Depth and Detail in Watercolour, tutorial 6 demonstrates more advanced techniques via actual subjects, such as achieving rich colour, transparency, pattern, hairs etc. It useful if you have areas of your work that are proving sticking points. Cost £55
Drawing and Panting Leaves
This is the tutorial number 8 and it replaces the old Illustrating Leaves course. It has a lot of content in both written materials and video, simply because leaves are so diverse and often so neglected, so there's a lot to include. The tutorial teaches the basic observational drawing, tonal drawing, leaves in perspective, and a variety of different leaf types, from the greens to autumnal leaves as well, different surface and patterns are all covered as are the basics in colour mixing and the importance of understanding and applying underlying colours. Below is a short section from a video of a cyclamen leaf. Cost £110
An Introduction to Painting on Vellum
Tutorial 10 is for those artists with experience of botanical painting who wish to venture into the world of painting on vellum. It teaches the basics on materials and preparation and provides video tutorials on a range of subjects with varying difficulty and the techniques required. It also covers what to do when it goes wrong!. Cost £75
TWO NEW TUTORIALS for Summer 2022
In June and July, two new tutorials will be launched, the first will be all about flowers, learning about flower parts and how to paint them and the second is about painting with gouache and watercolour on coloured paper, with many white flowers. The cost will be £55 for each tutorial.
Heres a sped up video from the new flowers tutorial, the actual video is almost two hours long so you will learn all both the painting process mostly in real time with voiceover, as well as learnng about the featured plants and some tutition on plant parts with dissections
Below painting on coloured paper, a new tutorial woll be available later this year.
COURSES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
This is an in-depth course that is in two parts, the first part is graphite and the second part is watercolour. This is my most long standing course and it teaches techniques in both mediums and the process of illustrating botanical subjects from start to finish with research and study pages, composition and to final illustrations with personalised feedback at every stage. It has advice and guidance on pretty much everything, from sharpening a pencil to advice on on developing your skills and experience beyond the course..... in short it's everything that I wished someone had taught me when I started out on my journey as a professional botanical artist. It's suitable for all levels as it starts at the beginning with basic drawing and build skills, but some basic experience in general drawing and watercolour is helpful in advance of undertake this course or you could take some tutorials first, such ad the Beginners tutorial or Drawing and Watercolour Techniques.
It now has a dedicated website of its own and some new materials are added each year as it continues to develop. This course usually get booked up quickly and the next presentation begins in August. To find out more click here.
ADVANCED BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATION COURSE
I offer just 5 places each year on this mentoring style course, which aims to advance your practice to a professional level. This course is best suited to the more experienced artists who want to develop their profession with support by producing a body of work. It's ideal for those who have completed or are in the process of completing another course, or those who have already completed their studies and need professional guidance, this may include a wish to enter exhibitions, apply for society memberships or to developing project work etc. I work with each student and assess work at the outset, then woto develop their portfolio in a focused way and also touch on marketing, pricing and social media etc.. The programme also has the added bonus of including most of the tutorials, because in many cases students need to add to their skill set or may have missed some of the important building blocks during their previous learning or simply need to reinforce some aspects. Students to date have had some great success Click here to find out more about this Course. It will be available again in December 2022 to begin in January 2023.