North Carolina Botanical Garden
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Certificate Program in Botanical Art & Illustration


Program Overview


Click here for non-credit botanical art and illustration courses!


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Upcoming Event
Certificate in Botanical Art & Illustration
The Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration provides comprehensive courses to people who wish to improve their skills in drawing and painting plants in an accurate and technically detailed manner. Studies leading to the certificate will enhance the experience of both the professional and the dedicated amateur artist. The program is designed to give students a well-balanced curriculum combining basic scientific background, visual arts theory, and practical experience using various media.
Botanical Art Fundamentals: An Online Program
The Botanical Art Fundamentals Program is designed to give students a foundational level curriculum combining basic scientific background, visual arts theory, and a basic level of experience using various media. Classes are taught by North Carolina art professionals and botany professionals. The program can be completed 100% in the virtual format, although individuals may also choose to take courses in-person as well. Course offerings and scheduling are designed for completion within a one and one half to two-year period.
8:30 AM to 10/15/2022 11:30 AM
Virtual Visiting Artist: Illustrating Characteristics of Leaves in Colored Pencil
Registration Closed
In this 2-day workshop, Wei-Ting will share with you how to observe a leaf and note its characteristics, and use colored pencils to create realism in different types of leaves. Learn to render leaves using both dry and wet colored pencil applications. Learn a variety of colored pencil techniques including layering, tonal gradation, burnishing, blending, embossing, and more. Practice your new skills on green and autumn leaves as well as waxy and fuzzy leaves. The workshop format will include demonstration, hands-on practice time, discussion, and critique. Pre-recorded videos and step by step drawings will offer demonstrations that you can turn back to time and time again.
1:15 PM to 2/4/2023 4:45 PM
Beginning Drawing: Virtual
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
An introductory level course of drawing for beginners and those wishing to refresh their skills. Includes using a sketchbook for line drawing exercises on seeing to draw, quick sketching, mapping for accuracy, and other basic principles of drawing. This is a live two hour Zoom format class divided into a group session for lecture, demonstrations, and group critique with the instructor followed by one on one individual appointments for consultation and problem solving. Prerequisite for Intermediate Drawing, Beginning Watercolor, and Beginning Colored Pencil. Note: This class involves homework assignments. The amount of time students need to spend on homework varies and usually ranges from five to 15 hours per week.
1:30 PM to 3/4/2023 4:30 PM
Winter Flora
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
This course is designed for a broad audience as well as for students who are enrolled in either of the Garden’s certificate programs. Field trips and exercises provide experience in the use of identification keys and recognition of plants in their winter condition in natural settings. Enjoy discovering that many trees and shrubs are easily recognized when not covered with leaves!
9:15 AM to 2/8/2023 12:45 PM
Intermediate Traditional Colored Pencil - Virtual
This course adds to the information covered in Beginning Colored Pencil and hones skills in color, value and layering. Students will be introduced to new surfaces and techniques. This elective is intended for students who wish to develop a strong, more advanced-level skill in colored pencil. Prerequisites: Beginning Colored Pencil, Intermediate Drawing.
9:30 AM to 2/11/2023 12:30 PM
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
This course is introductory in nature and designed for a broad audience. It covers basic principles of botany including taxonomy, anatomy, morphology and physiology. Class time is divided between lectures and examining/dissecting samples. There are also opportunities for making observations in the gardens.
9:30 AM to 2/10/2023 12:30 PM
Plant Taxonomy
This course builds on the fundamentals taught in Botany and prepares students for supplementary material covered in Flowering Plant Families. It is a core course for students enrolled in either of the NCBG public certificate programs. Students learn the basic concepts of the taxonomy of vascular plants and how to identify plant families by making observations of selected characteristics. The use of taxonomic keys is introduced. Interesting examples are studied to illustrate current issues in plant taxonomy and nomenclature. This course serves as a prerequisite for Flowering Plant Families.
1:15 PM to 2/24/2023 4:45 PM
This course is a broad study in the elements that formulate a good artistic composition. Students learn how to make visual choices and determine how parts of a plant are arranged on the page to balance botanical accuracy and artistic sensitivity. Composition serves as a prerequisite for Integrating Composition and Color Theory. Note: This class involves homework assignments. The amount of time students need to spend on homework varies and usually ranges from five to 15 hours per week.
1:15 PM to 2/25/2023 4:45 PM
Intermediate Expressive Colored Pencil - Virtual
This course makes use of the techniques and information covered in the Beginning Colored Pencil class. Students will continue developing skills in drawing in colored pencils with attention to form, texture and detail. Using live botanical specimens, students will apply their drawing skills to create botanical portraits of seasonal plants such as twigs, leaves, petals, flowers, pods, and fruit. We will develop personal and expressive aesthetic while maintaining scientific accuracy.
2/7/2023 1:15 PM
Pen and Ink - Virtual
In this class, students learn to draw with pen and ink using standard techniques and conventions. Students work with both “old-fashioned” dip pens and modern technical pens to create accurate botanical drawings. Prerequisite: Intermediate Drawing.
9:30 AM to 3/29/2023 12:30 PM
Botany for the Artist - Virtual
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Traditional botanical illustration was relied on to record and share the identification of plants through accurate representation. Botany for the Artist is a practical course which hopes to encourage the inquisitive artist to understand, interpret and improve their botanical knowledge by reinforcing terminology, observing and notating plant structure and practicing identification with the taxonomic keys. The four lessons—Habitat, Flower Parts, Leaf Comparison, and Fruit Structure—will culminate with the students drawing a graphite work representing a specimen identified at the NCBG.
1:15 PM to 4/1/2023 4:45 PM
Beginning Watercolor - Virtual
In this class, students are introduced to watercolor and learn basics techniques such as flat and graded washes. Students learn to paint various simple shapes (spheres and cylinders) and a small botanical subject. Prerequisite: Beginning Drawing.
1:15 PM to 4/15/2023 4:45 PM
Mixed Media: Botanicals in Watercolor, Colored Pencil, and Pen & Ink
This class is designed to increase your skills and confidence in the use of the various art media taught at the Garden. The instructor demonstrates techniques to combine watercolor, ink and colored pencils to create vibrant botanical paintings. Students receive one-on-one instruction to evolve their own unique drawing and painting. Prerequisites: Pen & Ink, Beginning Colored Pencil, Intermediate Watercolor
9:15 AM to 5/3/2023 12:45 PM
Advanced Traditional Colored Pencil - Virtual
This course builds on Beginning and Intermediate Colored Pencil techniques. Using a live plant and/or reference photographs of their choice, students will create a small series of colored pencil pieces of native North Carolina plant(s). Prerequisite: Intermediate Colored Pencil.
1:15 PM to 5/13/2023 4:45 PM
Botanical Sketchbook: Virtual
Take your sketchbook outdoors and reconnect with plants in their natural environment. In this course, students are encouraged to shed old habits and try new techniques as they travel through the variety of gardens and habitats in their home areas. Through a combination of guided exercises and free experimentation, students discover new ways of seeing plants, new problem-solving skills, and a refreshing way of thinking about layout and color. Several media are used, from ballpoint pen to watercolor to pencil. No prerequisite.
1:30 PM to 5/13/2023 4:00 PM
Intermediate Drawing - Hybrid
In this class, students continue their journey to learn the skills needed to produce accurate tonal graphite botanical drawings from life. Covered topics include: more methods to increase accuracy, transitioning to tonal drawing, light on form fundamentals, realistic textures, and rendering fine plant details. Prerequisite: Beginning Drawing.
1:15 PM to 5/31/2023 4:45 PM
Intermediate Expressive Watercolor: Virtual
This class introduces students to fluid watercolor techniques such as wet-on-wet. Students will learn to work with more water in the beginning and middle of the painting process and then rely on the skills learned in Beginning Watercolor to refine and add detail towards the end of the process. Students will create textures for backgrounds, work on color mixing using a limited palette, and learn to use glazing and masking fluid. Techniques for correcting mistakes in watercolor will also be covered. Upon completion of this course, students will have knowledge/skill of the following: • Working with various amounts of water and watercolor paint; • Working wet-on-wet; • Working with masking fluid; • Making a variety of watercolor textures such as salt, plastic wrap, etc.; • Glazing; • Working with a limited palette; and • Color mixing
1:30 PM to 6/24/2023 4:00 PM
Advanced Drawing: Botanical Plates - Hybrid
In this course, students work towards refining drawing skills in creating a plant portrait. Specifics to this class include rendering a tonal botanical plate, working with live plants, studying plant anatomy, as well as mapping and cross-contour drawing for accuracy. Prerequisites: Intermediate Drawing, Composition.