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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.

Botanical Illustration 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.

Prerequisites: Light on Form.

Fee: $260 member, $310 non-member.



Tue, July 23, Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen


Wed, Sep. 11, 18, 25, Oct. 2, 16, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt



Botany for the Botanical Illustrator

Botany for the Botanical Illustrator

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. Your botanical art will improve when you understand the subjects.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $280 member, $330 non-member. Includes fee for supplies provided (specified in the materials list).


Date(s): Wed, July 17, 24, Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski


Date(s): Fri-Sun, Nov. 8-10, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski


Date(s): Fri-Sun, June 28-30, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski


Color Layering for Colored Pencil

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.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $370 member, $420 non-member. Fee includes supplies (specified in supply list).



Fri-Sun, July 19-21, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin


Fri-Sun, Sep. 6-8, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin


Light on Form

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. Beginning with basic geometric shapes, refine your skills in showing light and volume on any subject. The class will work entirely in graphite pencil, but the principles apply to all other media. As you progress from fruits and vegetables to leaves and flowers to entire plants with complex shapes, you will overcome the obstacles in creating three-dimensional drawings.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I

Fee: Member $260 Non-Member $310


Thu, July 25, Aug. 8, 15, 22, 29, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas


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

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt


Fri-Sun, Sep. 27-29, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak


Mon, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas













Open Studio

Open Studio is for anyone 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. A tutor is available for help and advice (10 a.m.-noon), but there will be no formal teaching. The tutor will help you get started on a project or advise how to add the finishing touches. Attending the Open Studio is ideal for anyone who wants to advance his/her personal projects (or ideas) or needs to refresh his/her knowledge of any media.


Fee: $35/session member, $45/session non-member.


Pre-registration required.



Mon, July 15, 9 a.m. – noon (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, July 22, 9 a.m. – noon (Constance Sayas)

Mon, Aug. 5, 9 a.m. – noon (instructor TBA)

Mon, Aug. 12, 9 a.m. – noon (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, Aug. 19, 9 a.m. – noon (Susan DiMarchi)

Mon, Aug. 26, 9 a.m. – noon (Marjorie Leggitt)



Wall as Canvas: The Basics of Painting Murals

Learn how to paint interior and exterior walls with your own designs in this introduction to mural painting. The process, tools and techniques (as well as a few trade secrets) are discussed, but this is also a hands-on course. Experience going large by painting our classroom wall, which will be removed for repairs. Have a go!

No prerequisites


Fee: $275 member, $325 non-member. Includes fee for supplies provided (specified in the materials list). .


Date(s): Fri-Sun, July 26-28, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Meredith Feniak


Wonderful Wetland Wildflowers in Watercolor

Take a walk on the wild side! Both delicate and hardy, delightful varieties of wetland wildflowers present challenges in composition, spatial relationship and perspective. Start the class with an orientation to the subject by experts specializing in wetland and riparian ecosystems. Select your favorite plant to illustrate from a list, and focus on planning your painting and watercolor techniques, including loose wet-on-wet and controlled drybrush, to capture every detail. Preferably work from a live specimen to create a lovely, lasting portrait of a wildflower from Colorado’s wetlands.


Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator.


Fee: $300 member, $340 non-member (includes “Field Guide to Colorado’s Wetland Plants” by Denise Culver).


Date(s): Tue, July 16, 23, Aug. 6, 13, 20, 1-4 p.m.


Instructor: Constance Sayas

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