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Botanical Illustration

Constance Sayas, MilkweedBotanical art and illustration is the well-established tradition of portraying plants for scientific purposes, recording vanishing species for historical record, or rendering the beauty and inspiration we experience in the flora of the world around us.

We invite you to join the tradition of artists who have portrayed the beauty of plants for centuries. Our core curriculum provides comprehensive instruction in botanical art and illustration.

In the School of Botanical Art and Illustration, you will learn the skills to render plants in remarkable scientific detail and the artistic techniques needed to create beautiful and lasting plant portraits.

Beginners will acquire new knowledge and skills, and experienced artists will refine techniques and find fresh directions for their work. All students enjoy small classes in a positive and encouraging atmosphere.

With close to 200 courses and workshops offered each year, we'll help you to combine scientific accuracy with an aesthetic vision to create beautiful botanicals. Sample the program with an introductory course or jump right into the core curriculum. Whether you have painted for years or did your last great work in grade school, our instructors will meet you where you are to begin your botanical art and illustration journey.

NEW! 2015 Summer/Fall Botanical Art & Illustration course catalog

Registration begins June 9 at 9 a.m.

2015 Summer/Fall BI Catalog

Visit the School of Botanical Art and Illustration blog.

Visit the School of Botanical Art and Illustration page on Facebook.

Contact the School of Botanical Art & Illustration.

Upcoming Classes

Colorado Mushrooms

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Mushrooms are notoriously difficult to distinguish, and while picking a poisonous one isn’t always dangerous, eating one can be deadly. This class starts with a field trip and the possibility of sketching your specimen insitu.

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Composition for Botanical Illustration

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

The arrangement of line, shape and color in artwork is an art form in itself. The difference between a pleasant picture and amazing artwork is often found in composition.

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Drawing on Tradition: Arcimboldo – Nature and Fantasy

Thursday, July 30, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

In the 16th century, court painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo brought a satirical twist to portraiture. Creating caricatures in fruit and vegetables, he showed that we truly are what we eat.

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BI in Pen and Ink I

Thursday, July 30, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Pen and ink is at the heart of botanical illustration. Expand your drawing repertoire as you learn techniques to create line, form and texture in black and white.

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Into the Dark - Cast Shadows

Friday, July 31, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Why do cast shadows do what they do? This five-hour class offers advice, inspiration and permission to add cast shadows to your illustrations.

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Sewn Board and Drum Leaf Bindings

Saturday, August 1, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Learn simple, elegant and functional techniques in bookbinding that are influenced by historic bindings. The sewn board binding uses thread and adhesive to bind the pages, and the drum leaf binding uses adhesive alone.

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Open Studio

Monday, August 3, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Open Studio is for everyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace.

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Herbs: Culinary and Curative

Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Olive, garlic, basil, rosemary and oregano are among the plants important for culinary and medicinal purposes in the past, and they probably found their way into your last marinara sauce.

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Color Mixing

Friday, August 7, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

The first step to watercolor painting is mixing colors. Learn a system for combining colors consistently to eliminate frustrating trial and error.

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Botanical Zentangle®

Sunday, August 9, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Based on the worldwide doodling craze called Zentangle® started by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, we will learn and practice repetitive strokes that form intricate decorative botanical patterns.

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Open Studio

Monday, August 10, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Open Studio is for everyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace.

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Matting and Floating Artwork

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Preparing your work can be fun and affordable if you know the tricks and techniques. This one-day workshop covers mat-cutting and inexpensive framing options. Start with an overview of equipment, materials and measuring.

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Color Layering for Colored Pencil

Friday, August 14, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Colored pencil presents a special challenge: mixing color directly on your drawing! Learn to use a simple color-mixing method adapted to the application of colored pencils.

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Open Studio

Monday, August 17, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Open Studio is for everyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace.

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Garden to Dye For

Monday, August 17, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Since ancient times, plants have been used to dye fiber. Flowers, stems, roots, leaves and fruits: all parts of plants can contribute to dye colors.

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BI in Watercolor I

Monday, August 17, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Become part of the watercolor botanical tradition. Combine drawing skills and your knowledge of color mixing as you discover the delight of putting brush to paper to learn the specific techniques of transparent watercolor.

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BI in Pencil I

Friday, August 21, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Learn to draw! Begin with a brief history and an overview of the specific elements of botanical illustration.

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Open Studio

Monday, August 24, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Open Studio is for everyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace.

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Science, Art and Communication – Master Class

Friday, August 28, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Creating a scientific illustration combines your knowledge of art, science and your personal human touch, translating a subject into an accurate image on a surface.

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Scripture Gardens

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Scripture Gardens are quiet and serene places that feature plants referenced in ancient religious texts.

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Leaves, Leaves and More Leaves

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Focus on foliage! The greens of summer are just as beautiful as the blooms. Start with a study of nuanced shades of green, and then add techniques and tricks for rendering margins, surface texture and venation.

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Classic Leather Journal

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

You’ll carry it with you always to record your daily events, your accomplishments, your ideas. No matter the subject, collect and cherish your drawings and writings in a timeless leather journal you make yourself.

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BI in Pencil II

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Simple and classic, pencil drawing is a timeless art form. Expand on the drawing skills you learned in Botanical Illustration in Pencil I as you reinforce and refine your knowledge of graphite pencil.

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Improve Your Handwriting Skills

Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Handwriting is becoming a lost art since email and text messaging have become our primary written communication methods. Researchers suggest that developing writing skills will aid the visual identification of graphic shapes.

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Critters from the Gardens Close-Up

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Insects, spiders and crawly critters are creepy, but so important for the well-being of your garden and the vibrant ecosystem.

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The Medieval Medicine Cupboard: Herbals and Simples

Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Maybutter and five blades of saffron, a poultice of hot barley and herbs, rose and nut oils, little twisted violet sugar-sticks, betony and vervain—this is just the beginning!

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Make Your Characters Live! - Master Class with Lynne Chapman

Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

The most important element of a picture book illustration is the character design.

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Blackwork

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Blackwork is an embroidery technique whose history can be traced back some 500 years. Its height of popularity was in the time of King Henry VIII, when Catherine of Aragon brought blackwork-adorned garments with her from Spain.

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BI in Colored Pencil I

Monday, September 14, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

You’ve learned to layer colored pencil, now learn techniques to draw effectively in this medium. Apply your drawing skills and learn new methods specific to colored pencils.

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Café Botanique

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 6:30 p.m.
York Street

Café Botanique is a part of the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program and is open to Botanical Art and Illustration students, Gardens' members, the general public, academia and artists.

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Light and Bright Color: Quick Landscapes

Friday, September 18, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Let’s get together to create small, quick and evocative landscapes. We’ll explore easy ways to create impact right from your first stroke!

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Light on Form

Friday, September 18, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Take your drawings from flat to fabulous. The secret to portraying light and shadow on your subjects lies in understanding the scientific method of lighting as it applies to different forms.

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Trompe L’Oeil in Colored Pencil

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

What exactly am I seeing? Take realism to the next level and put perspective, composition, light on form and realistic drawing to the test.

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Botany for the Botanical Illustrator

Friday, September 25, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

What is the difference between a carpel and a pistil? Where can I find the stamen? The science of the subjects you draw determines what you see!

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Open Studio

Monday, September 28, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Open Studio is for everyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace.

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Watercolor Pencil II

Monday, September 28, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

More to explore! Build on your watercolor pencil skills and add more techniques to your toolbox. Create a swatch sampler of watercolor pencil with varied paper and media, including walnut and colored inks, gouache and more.

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Chinese Flower Painting

Friday, October 2, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

The Chinese flowering chrysanthemum is a symbol of autumn and longevity. It blooms when most flowers wither under the onslaught of frost and icy winds. Bamboo exemplifies integrity, for it bends in a storm but does not break.

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Open Studio

Monday, October 5, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Open Studio is for everyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace.

Read More

BI in Pencil I

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Learn to draw! Begin with a brief history and an overview of the specific elements of botanical illustration.

Read More

Botany for the Botanical Illustrator

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

What is the difference between a carpel and a pistil? Where can I find the stamen? The science of the subjects you draw determines what you see!

Read More

Café Botanique

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 6:30 p.m.
York Street

Café Botanique is a part of the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program and is open to Botanical Art and Illustration students, Gardens' members, the general public, academia and artists.

Read More

BI in Colored Pencil II

Friday, October 9, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Take your colored pencil skills to the next level and become proficient in this fun, versatile medium. Work through a step-by-step process to create a preparatory layered drawing.

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Introduction to Botanical Illustration

Friday, October 9, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Start at the beginning. Whether you’ve had no experience with drawing or have forgotten what you learned way back when, this is the class for you. Learn drawing basics step by step in this gently paced course.

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Open Studio

Monday, October 12, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Open Studio is for everyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace.

Read More

The Playful Alphabet

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Do you have a shoebox filled with your favorite finds, such as dried leaves, seedpods, seashells, colorful pebbles, a ribbon, a dried rose, a feather?

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BI in Watercolor II

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Watercolor basics got you started; now develop your confidence as you work toward completing a finished plate from a live specimen in this most traditional of botanical media. The emphasis here is on bringing it all together.

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Photoshop Elements for Beginners

Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

When someone asks you to send a JPEG image at 300 dpi, do you think, “WHAT?” Unravel the lingo and learn the basics of versatile and necessary Photoshop software.

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BI in Watercolor I

Monday, October 19, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Become part of the watercolor botanical tradition. Combine drawing skills and your knowledge of color mixing as you discover the delight of putting brush to paper to learn the specific techniques of transparent watercolor.

Read More

Color Mixing

Monday, October 19, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

The first step to watercolor painting is mixing colors. Learn a system for combining colors consistently to eliminate frustrating trial and error.

Read More

BI in Pen and Ink II

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Take your pen and ink skills to a new level of sophistication. Explore the Gardens’ limitless world of color, texture and complex botany and incorporate this information into black-and-white illustrations.

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Autumn Leaves in Watercolor

Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Expand your watercolor repertoire. Colorful autumn leaves are your playground as you explore new techniques and materials to create artistic leaf studies.

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Light on Form

Thursday, October 22, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Take your drawings from flat to fabulous. The secret to portraying light and shadow on your subjects lies in understanding the scientific method of lighting as it applies to different forms.

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Greeting Cards with Copperplate

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Copperplate, Spencerian or English roundhand (this technique is known by several names) is enjoying a resurgence of interest because of its fine lines, handmade quality and romantic overtones.

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Advanced Botanical Zentangle®

Friday, October 30, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

This class is a continuation of Botanical Zentangle® that aims to polish “botangle” skills by translating plant forms and textures into Zentangle-like patterns.

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Perfecting Perspective

Friday, October 30, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Do you shy away from complicated plants? Even experienced illustrators sometimes struggle with foreshortening and simplify their subjects to eliminate difficult elements.

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Carbon Dust

Monday, November 2, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Push your drawing skills into a new realm. Carbon dust has been a mainstay medium for medical and scientific illustrators for more than 75 years.

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Perfecting Perspective

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Do you shy away from complicated plants? Even experienced illustrators sometimes struggle with foreshortening and simplify their subjects to eliminate difficult elements.

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Color Layering II: Analogous Colors

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Neighbors on the color wheel, analogous colors provide a pleasing palette for botanical illustrations. Learn about the various effects of layered and adjacent analogous colors and how to create interest with harmonious blends.

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Café Botanique

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 6:30 p.m.
York Street

Café Botanique is a part of the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Program and is open to Botanical Art and Illustration students, Gardens' members, the general public, academia and artists.

Read More

Aquascapes: Liquid Landscapes in Mixed Media

Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Dive into the stunning world of the underwater garden! Aquascaping is the art of creating unique aquatic landscapes that mimic natural landscapes or abstract paintings, using freshwater aquatic plants, stones and wood.

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Color Layering for Colored Pencil

Friday, November 6, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Colored pencil presents a special challenge: mixing color directly on your drawing! Learn to use a simple color-mixing method adapted to the application of colored pencils.

Read More

BI in Watercolor II

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Watercolor basics got you started; now develop your confidence as you work toward completing a finished plate from a live specimen in this most traditional of botanical media. The emphasis here is on bringing it all together.

Read More

BI in Pencil I

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 6 p.m.
York Street

Learn to draw! Begin with a brief history and an overview of the specific elements of botanical illustration.

Read More

Composition for Botanical Illustration

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

The arrangement of line, shape and color in artwork is an art form in itself. The difference between a pleasant picture and amazing artwork is often found in composition.

Read More

BI in Pencil I

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Learn to draw! Begin with a brief history and an overview of the specific elements of botanical illustration.

Read More

BI in Pen and Ink I

Friday, November 20, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Pen and ink is at the heart of botanical illustration. Expand your drawing repertoire as you learn techniques to create line, form and texture in black and white.

Read More

Exploits in Watercolor

Monday, November 23, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Looking for adventure? Roll up your sleeves, put on your aprons, load your brushes! Dab, charge, blend and bleed; explore the properties of watercolor while painting fruit and vegetables.

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Colored Pencil Catch-Up!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 1 p.m.
York Street

Was your last colored pencil class years ago? It’s time to catch up! Innovative materials, techniques and surfaces are constantly introduced to this ever-evolving medium.

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Light on Form

Friday, December 4, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Take your drawings from flat to fabulous. The secret to portraying light and shadow on your subjects lies in understanding the scientific method of lighting as it applies to different forms.

Read More

BI in Pencil II

Friday, December 11, 2015 - 9 a.m.
York Street

Simple and classic, pencil drawing is a timeless art form. Expand on the drawing skills you learned in Botanical Illustration in Pencil I as you reinforce and refine your knowledge of graphite pencil.

Read More

A test for your registration login

Friday, December 25, 2015 - 10 a.m.
Offsite

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