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Botanical Illustration

Denver Botanic Gardens' School of Botanical Art and Illustration program is designed to offer a comprehensive series of classes in botanical illustration, providing participants the drawing and painting skills required to render accurate and useful depictions of the plant world with a focus on detail. This program is for the dedicated illustrator, as well as the devoted amateur. It culminates in a portfolio and certificate for some students and offers an ongoing program of botanical illustration classes for others.

 

Attendance is required at the first class for all required courses. Please contact the program manager for the attendance policy on elective courses.

 

Please make sure that you have completed all the pre-requisites for this class by the time of the first session. Materials list for each course is attached to your registration confirmation.

 

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations more than one week prior to a class are subject to a 15% cancellation fee. Cancellations with less than one weeks notice are non-refundable; please consider your payment a donation to the Gardens.

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Please use your username and password to test your member login. If you login successfully, the registration option 'class adult' for $0 will appear and your login works. If you don't see it, email the registrar at registrar@botanicgardens.org or call 720 865 3580, leave your info and we'll send you a new password and username.

Please keep in mind if you've just renewed or purchased a membership it takes at least 48 hours to process.

Advanced Pen and Ink Techniques: Preparing for Publication

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Class will appear sold out until then.

Here we will create a plant study that clearly shows all aspects of the plant, including details of vegetative and floral/fruiting structures. We will focus on measured drawing, scale (enlargement and reduction), showing clear details (including dissections), design and composition, and suitability for reduction. The final piece should be ready for publication and contain a figure legend including either scale bars or magnification. Students are welcome to bring along their previous work for critique. Suitable for more advanced students. Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Light on Form, Perfecting Perspective, Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink II, entry-level course in any color media, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator or Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from Denver Botanic Gardens or completed certificate in botanical art and illustration, scientific illustration, nature illustration or equivalent from another institution.

 

No refunds for registration cancellations after January 12, 2015, unless your seat can be filled.

 

• Fri-Sun, March 6-8, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Lucy Smith, Kew Gardens, U.K.

 

Lucy T. Smith been producing pen and ink and color illustrations for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew since 1999. She has completed 200 plates for the upcoming “Palms of New Guinea” monograph, as well as hundreds of other illustrations for various other plant families. Her work is reproduced in many journals, including Kew Bulletin, Curtis’s Botanical Magazine and Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. In 2001, she spent six weeks on the Endeavour replica, following in the footsteps of Sydney Parkinson, the artist on Cook’s voyage of 1768-1771, for a BBC documentary called “The Ship.” She has received many awards for her work, including two gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society, the Margaret Flockton Award for Excellence in Botanical Illustration and the Jill Smythies Award from the Linnean Society of London. She teaches botanical illustration at Kew Gardens, the Chelsea Physic Garden and the Chelsea School of Botanical Art, all in London.

Along the Silk Road and from the Center of the World

The Silk Road extended 7,450 miles (12,000 km) through 24 countries from the Mediterranean to the China Sea, linking Eastern and Western civilization between the Ancient and Middle Ages. The Silk Road is historically famous for being associated with the trade between East and West, however while crossing through the Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia and China, it also came into contact with plethora of endemic plant species. Learn about the different species and select your favorite for a careful study. Working in watercolor and graphite, design a plate in the traditional scientific style, including landscape elements. You will start with a pale pencil underdrawing, or grisaille, which will allow you to tackle a watercolor painting with confidence. You’ll achieve continuous tone both in your graphite and watercolor washes. Demonstrations and individual help will guide you toward a finished work as you discover a set of new skills and tricks ready to use in your future illustrations. Fee: $250 member, $305 non-member (includes “Traveling the Silk Road” exhibit tour at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science). Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Light on Form or Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration.

 

• Thu, Feb. 19, 26, March 5, 12, 19, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Amaryllis in Transparent Acrylics

 

The awe-inspiring beauty of this native South African plant offers a perfect opportunity to explore acrylic as a transparent medium. Although transparent acrylic looks similar to watercolor, the damp-on-damp technique offers a more controlled and slower application process. The result: gorgeous, luminous washes! Step-by-step instruction, demos, and exercises will give you the necessary skills to build smooth washes, variegated patterns, soft textures, intricate details and a final amaryllis illustration. Fee: $250 member, $300 non-member (includes one blooming South African amaryllis or Hippeastrum from South America, depending on supply). Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Light on Form or Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration.

 

• Mon, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Art Materials for the Botanical Illustrator

Registration opens December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes will appear sold out until then.

 

This information-packed class will provide detailed information about all of the art materials used throughout the botanical illustration program. From papers to pencils, inks to pens, brushes to paints, students will learn where and how to find all the right materials and how they are used. Save time and money by shopping expertly the first time. Fee: $55 member, $85 non-member. Open to everybody with no prerequisites.

 

• Wed, Feb. 18, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

• Wed, May 6, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Beyond Pretty Pictures: Taking Composition Further

What makes a piece of art stand out above the rest? Why does a piece of art inspire? The answer most often lies in the composition. In this class, you address design from the very beginning. Starting with Notan (the light-dark principle), line, and shape arrangements, challenge yourself to go beyond direct imitation of what you see by initiating a drawing through thumbnails that define tonal relationships and harmony Through exercises and practice you will develop a complete, strong botanical composition and final plate, either in graphite or watercolor. Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Composition for Botanical Illustration, Light on Form or Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration.

 

• Wed, Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

• Wed, May 13, 20, 27, June 3, 10, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

BI in Colored Pencil I

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes appear sold out until then.

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. Techniques include layering, building and burnishing in color. This versatile, portable medium is perfect for sketching on location as well as producing studio pieces. Learn through instruction, demonstration and practice on small studies of botanical subjects. You’ll be ready to produce a finished plate in Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Light on Form, Color Layering for Colored Pencil.

 

Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member

• Mon, Feb. 16, 23, March 9, 16, 23, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member

• In-class sessions: Fri-Sat, Feb. 27-28, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

All assignments are to be completed no later than March 31, 2014.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member

• Thu, May 14, 21, 28, June 4, 11, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

BI in Colored Pencil II

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes appear sold out until then.

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. Learn techniques to create texture, detail and depth to enhance your subject. Experiment with different surfaces and solvents for blending and shading. Add depth with atmospheric perspective and learn finishing techniques that will make your drawings pop. Individual attention will guide you to create a finished botanical plate. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Light on Form, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Color Layering for Colored Pencil, Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I.

 

Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member

• Tue, March 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member

• In-class sessions: Fri-Sat, June 19-20, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

All assignments are to be completed no later than July 27, 2014.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

BI in Pen and Ink I

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. “Expressive line” and “stipple” become part of your artistic vocabulary as you practice this traditional medium with modern and versatile technical pens. Step-by-step instruction, demonstration and practice will give you the foundation you need to draw any botanical subject accurately and skillfully. Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I; Perfecting Perspective strongly recommended.

 

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member

• In-class sessions: Fri-Sat, March 27-28, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

All assignments are to be completed no later than April 7, 2015.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member

• Thu, May 7, 14, 21, June 4, 11, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

 

 

BI in Pen and Ink II

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes will appear sold out until then.

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. Working with both technical pen and traditional quill, learn advanced techniques to make strokes mimic the fuzz on a fern, the down in a milkweed pod or the mottled colors of a variegated begonia. Learn how to layer and manipulate lines and stipples to develop a full range of value, texture and atmospheric perspective. Pen techniques take on new meaning as you flesh out the final inked illustration of a plant of your choice. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Perfecting Perspective, Light on Form, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator.

 

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member

• In-class sessions: Fri-Sat, April 24-25, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

All assignments are to be completed no later than May 27, 2015.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member

• Thu, June 18, 25, July 9, 16, 23, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

BI in Pencil I

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes appear sold out until then.

Learn to draw! Begin with a brief history and an overview of the specific elements of botanical illustration. Learn the skills of careful observation and realistic drawing in graphite pencil, including line drawing, shading and perspective. Step by step, added techniques help you render accurate perspective, texture and detail. This is the entry course for every program student and a prerequisite for all required courses to follow. You’ll emerge from this class with the tools you need to draw anything. Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member. No prerequisites.

 

• Fri-Sun, Jan. 30-31, Feb. 1, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

• Tue, Feb. 17, 24, March 10, 17, 24, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

• Fri-Sun, April 3-5, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

• Tue, May 12, 19, 26, June 2, 9, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

• Fri-Sun, June 26-28, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

• Mon, June 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

BI in Pencil II

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes will appear sold out until then.

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. Learn additional techniques for shading, texture, perspective, depth and composition. A good drawing is the basis of botanical illustration in any medium. Group instruction and individual attention are tailored to help you complete a botanical plate in this subtle and striking medium. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Light on Form, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator.

 

Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member

• Wed, March 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member

• In-class sessions: Fri-Sat, June 5-6, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

All assignments are to be completed no later than July 10, 2015.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

 

BI in Watercolor I

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes will appear sold out until then.

 

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. Instruction, demonstration and practical exercises will guide you through a variety of watercolor techniques: flat and graded washes, highlights and drybrush detail. Learn to build washes for depth of tone and shading, and how to create soft and hard edges. With these foundational skills you’ll be ready to create a finished plate in Botanical Illustration in Watercolor II. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Color Mixing.

 

 

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member

• In-class sessions: Fri-Sun, April 10-12, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

All assignments are to be completed no later than May 11, 2014.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member

• Mon, May 4, 11, 18, June 1, 8, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

BI in Watercolor II

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9am. Classes will appear sold out until then.

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. Learn and refine additional techniques through instruction, demonstration and practice, with special attention given to layering, shading and building form. Discover brush techniques and colors that enhance perspective and depth. Follow painting steps through completion, from broad washes to final detail. Learn how to fix mistakes and understand why watercolor is a forgiving medium. Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Color Mixing, Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Light on Form.

 

• Tue, Feb. 17, 24, March 10, 17, 24, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

• Wed, June 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Birds in Graphite

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9am. Classes will appear sold out until then.

This class teaches common approaches to illustrating birds and how to overcome the challenging proportions and perspective of bird illustration. Start with a specific how-to session on bird photography and learn how to effectively use photographic references in artwork. The second session takes place at the Denver Zoo, where students will study a moving subject while sketching and photographing it at rest and in flight. Learn bird anatomy and physical characteristics through group instruction and individual attention. Using provided props, students will reference sketches and/or photos to create a sophisticated bird portrait ready to be framed, submitted to an exhibit or included in a portfolio. Fee: $305 member, $365 non-member (includes the entrance fee to the zoo on April 2). Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I, Light on Form, Perfecting Perspective strongly recommended or Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration.

 

• Thu, March 26, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

 

Botanical Zentangle®

 

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes will appear sold out until then.

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. Learn to relax and focus as you express your style through complex ornamental drawings that are simple to render but look amazing and complicated. We will practice strokes consciously and deliberately, observe botanicals and mock their natural designs to make our own “botangles,” or repetitive strokes based on plants. Using keen observation and contour drawing techniques combined with the ability to translate plant forms and textures into patterns, you will create your own special botangle. Fee: $90 member, $125 non-member. Open to everybody, with no prerequisites.

 

• Sat, Feb. 28, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Annie Reiser, CZT

 

 

Botany for the Botanical Illustrator

Registration opens December 9, 2014 at 9a.m. Classes will appear sold out until then.

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! Put away your pencils for this enlightening lab class designed specifically for students of botanical illustration. Take a close look at plant anatomy and learn to recognize botanical details that will make your drawings more accurate and realistic. Learn plant morphology through detailed instruction and supporting visuals. All of your botanical art will improve when you understand the subjects. Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member. No prerequisites.

 

• Fri-Sun, Feb. 6-8, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

• Tue, May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

• Fri-Sun, July 10-12, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

 

 

Brush and Quill - Expressive Ink on Mylar ®

Step away from tradition to try new techniques! Trade your technical pen for a quill and brush and learn to express ink lines in a relaxed and painterly fashion. Begin with a look at how other artists have used ink expressively. Demonstration and practice with the new tools and colored inks prepares you to start your own drawing. Choose a botanical subject and experiment with techniques for successfully depicting line, form and texture. Make a mistake? No problem! You can erase ink from Mylar and try again. Complete a botanical study and enjoy a fresh, fun way to approach this time-honored medium. Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member. Prerequisites: Pencil I, Pen and Ink I (Perspective or Light on Form recommended).

 

• Wed, Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Carbon Dust

Registration begins December 9, 2014 at 9am. Classes will appear sold out until then.

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. Using a combination of pencil lines and dust “washes” applied with brushes, this medium produces rich tonal renderings with the value range of charcoal and the precision of watercolor. You’ll be introduced to the various tools associated with carbon dust, including carbon pencils, dust, brushes, blenders and fixative. Choose a subject well suited to the technique and learn to use methodical layering to create a flawless continuous tone. Complete the finer details with pencil for a finished carbon-dust rendering. Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member. Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pencil II.

 

• Thu, Jan. 15, 22, 29, Feb. 5, 12, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Color Layering for Colored Pencil

Registration opens December 9, 2014 at 9am. Classes will appear sold out until then.

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. Two-, three- and four-color mixing will get you to the gorgeous greens and luscious lilacs you’ve been missing. Learn to determine shadow colors for vibrant results. Practice color matching with a variety of plant material as you create your own extensive color workbook to speed color selection and application for all future colored pencil drawings. Fee: $230 member, $285 non-member. No prerequisites.

 

• Fri-Sun, Jan. 23-25, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

• Fri-Sun, March 13-15, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

• Fri-Sun, May 8-10, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

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