North Carolina Botanical Garden
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Botanical Art & Illustration Courses (All)


View by: Credit Courses (Certificate Program)  •  Non-Credit Courses  •  Visiting Artist Workshops



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.
10:00 AM to 4/27/2023 12:30 PM
Sketching Landscapes in the Garden
Have you ever wanted to loosely capture what you see in a sketch while out on a hike or sitting in your own backyard? In this class, the North Carolina Botanical Garden will become our classroom as we experience the healing benefits of sketching while out in nature. You can lower your stress levels and promote mental calmness as we sketch the landscape before us. This class is about loosely capturing the essence of the natural world, so don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of drawing experience as we won’t be focusing on all the little details. This class is for all skill levels.
9:15 AM to 5/3/2023 12:45 PM
Beginning Colored Pencil: Virtual
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Colored pencil is a next step in advancing from drawing to painting, and introduces the full array of fine art pigments. This course is a hands-on introduction to commonly used materials and techniques such as layering, blending, burnishing and tonal gradation. No prerequisites
1:15 PM to 5/13/2023 4:45 PM
Botanical Sketchbook: Virtual
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
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.
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
A Conversation Between Collaborators: The Weeds and Botanical Art - Hybrid
Author Katy Simpson Smith and botanical artist Kathy Schermer-Gramm discuss Simpson Smith's new novel, The Weeds, a story of love, survival, revenge, and botany set in the surprisingly verdant Roman Colosseum. Schermer-Gramm provided the art for the book, in the form of twelve eerily beautiful botanical illustrations. Now, the two speak on their creative practices, their collaboration, and all things plants.
1:30 PM to 5/13/2023 4:00 PM
Intermediate Drawing - Hybrid
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
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.
1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Wildflowers in Watercolor: Buttonbush
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Join botanical artist Beverly Dyer to explore spring wildflowers including the wildflower of the year, Buttonbush. In this class Bev will demonstrate how to capture the essence of spring wildflowers with watercolor. Working with loose watercolor and wet into wet techniques participants will enjoy exploring color and line. Beginners welcome. If you have a favorite spring wildflower bring along a photo.
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
10:00 AM to 2:30 PM
Crafting Botanicals with Paper: Carolina Lily
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
This workshop will feature North Carolina’s state wildflower, Lilium michauxii (Carolina Lily), as a hands-on introduction to making paper botanicals. In the process of making a Carolina Lily, participants will learn how specific components (e.g., the reproductive system, the leaves, etc.) can be rendered in paper to make a realistic replica of this beloved flower. Materials and tools will be provided for two blooming stems.
9:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Nature Journaling in the Garden
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
Develop your nature journaling skills, whether you are just getting started, want to add visual notes to a written journal, or simply enjoy drawing what you see. Through guided exercises, we’ll practice perceptual and drawing skills to quickly establish a framework for a diagram, drawing, or description in your journal, then experiment with portable drawing and painting media. We’ll also look at strategies for organizing your journal for outdoor excursions. All skill levels are welcome! Come dressed to venture outside. Bring your favorite journal and tools or refer to the provided materials list. $39 ($35 Members)
1:15 PM to 6/24/2023 4:45 PM
Advanced Drawing: Botanical Plates - Virtual
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.
9:30 AM to 6/16/2023 4:30 PM
Visiting Artist Master Course with Carol Woodin: Nature’s Rarities: Painting Native Orchids in Watercolor
Orchids are one of the art world’s most treasured subjects, and we’ll find ours growing in the landscape at NCBG. Students will begin by studying their choice of subject in its natural habitat, learning to collect field information accurately and quickly through drawing, watercolor studies, and photography. Returning to the studio, we’ll finalize and transfer drawings to either paper or vellum. Through lecture, demonstration, and hands-on practice, artists will learn to manage multiple layers of watercolor drybrush, capturing color, shaded form and surface qualities characteristic of orchids, while retaining botanical accuracy of their subject. By the end of the three-day course, artists will have their paintings complete or nearly so.
1:15 PM to 10/4/2023 4:30 PM
Virtual Visiting Artist Master Course: Rendering Textures in Graphite with Rogério Lupo
Event is Full: Accepting Wait List Registrations
A drawing done purely in graphite can by its very nature provide a spectacular result. But besides that, mastering the graphite technique yields us the tools for a detailed investigation of the subject by doing previous studies, so we can grasp the essentials of light and shade before working with other media such as colored pencils, pen and ink, or even watercolors. This workshop offers the fundamentals for that as well, but focuses specifically on the richness of textures found in nature with all their diversity, and how to represent them artistically either using only graphite on white paper or else graphite plus a light-colored pencil on toned paper.