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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.

26 Shades of Lavender: Exploring the Lavender Fields at Chatfield Farms

Inhale the romance of lavender without traveling to the south of France! The lavender fields at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms boast 26 varieties of this beloved aromatic herb.

Ancient Egyptians added lavender to mummy preparation, and people in the Middle Ages believed it could cure illness. Today, lavender is widely used to reduce stress, induce slumber and lift the spirits. Begin with a visit to the stunning Chatfield Farms lavender fields to observe, sketch and collect specimens. Back in the classroom, develop a composition that portrays the beauty of the plant and tells more about its structure and use. Your colored pencil plate will be a lasting reminder of your lovely lavender learning experience.

 

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II.

 

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

 

Date(s):

Wed, June 26, 1-4 p.m. (Chatfield Farms), July 3, 10, 17, 24, 1-4 p.m. (Denver Botanic Gardens)

Instructor: Susan Dimarchi

 

Birds and Nests in Graphite and Color

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 you will study a moving subject while sketching and photographing it at rest and in flight. One session is spent at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s collections to study nests. 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.

 

Prerequisite: Light on Form.

Fee: $300 member, $360 non-member.

Date(s):

Wed, March 27, 9 a.m. – noon (Hibiscus), April 3, 9 a.m. – noon (Denver Zoo), April 10, 9 a.m. – noon (Denver Museum of Nature and Science), April 17, 24, 9 a.m. – noon (Hibiscus)

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I

 

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.

Prerequisite: Light on Form, Color Layering for Colored Pencil.

Fee: Member $260, Non-Member $310

Date(s):

Thu, Jan. 17, 24, 31, Feb. 7, 14, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Mon, May 6, 13, 20, June 3, 10, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II

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 Colored Pencil I, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Composition for Botanical Illustration, Perfecting Perspective.

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

 

Date(s):

Thu, March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Mon, June 17, 24, July 1, 8, 15, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

 

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.

Date(s):

Wed, Jan. 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Wed, April 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

 

Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink II- Onsite

 

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 Pen and Ink I, Perfecting Perspective, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Composition for Botanical Illustration.

 

Fee: $275 member, $325 non-member.

 

 

Wed, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

 

 

 

Botanical Illustration in Pencil I

Learn to draw! Begin 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.

Prerequisites: None

Fee: Member $280 Non-Member $330

Date(s):

Thu, Jan. 17, 24, 31, Feb. 7, 14, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Fri-Sun, Feb. 22-24, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

Tue, March 26, April 2, 16, 23, 30, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Fri-Sun, May 3-5, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Wed, May 29, June 5, 12, 19, 26, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Botanical Illustration in Pencil II

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: Light on Form, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Composition for Botanical Illustration, Perfecting Perspective.

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

 

Date(s):

Wed, Feb. 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

Wed, May 22, 29, June 5, 12, 19, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I

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: Light on Form, Color Mixing.

 

Fee: $280 member, $330 non-member.

 

Date(s):

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

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Thu, June 13, 20, 27, July 11, 18, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

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.

 

Date(s): Fri-Sun, Jan. 25-27, 9 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Date(s): Thu, March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9 a.m.- noon

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

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

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Cafe Botanique

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. The 30-40 minute talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a discussion. This lecture offers one elective credit hour in the BI-program. Fee: $5.

 

 

Case Bind a Miniature Book

Case binding is the most common type of bookbinding for hardcover books. It is the ultimate choice for books with a long shelf-life or heavy usage. In case binding, the pages of the book are arranged in groups called signatures and sewn together using the Coptic technique. Then, hard covers are attached to the book using pasted-on endpapers. In this workshop, learn step by step how to bind a traditional hardcover blank book. The only difference between your book and a normal journal is that your book will be only 2” x 1.5”. Miniature books are tedious to make and require high-precision measurements. We’ll make at least two different miniature books ready for little notes or to be used as holiday ornaments.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $210 member, $250 non-member. Fee includes supply kit for two miniature books.

 

Date(s):

Wed, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Celebrating Shofu-En Garden in Scratchboard

Shofu-en Japanese Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens is celebrating its 40th anniversary in June 2019. During this class you will focus on the beautifully aged pines and other signature species in the “garden of pines and wind.” You’ll discover the potential and excitement of scratchboard and learn to use contrasts in textures and values for dramatic, luminous effects. After a walk through the Japanese Garden with its curator, you’ll select a subject and maybe incorporate some of the garden’s symbolic objects, waterways or monzonite stones into your composition. You’ll add color as an accent to highlight areas of specific botanical interest or use it as a compositional element. Demonstrations and examples show how to create a vast range of textures to portray subjects with detail and accuracy. Sketch, transfer and render in ink or pencil on white scratchboard by using techniques to convey form, shading, textures and spatial placement. You’ll work toward completing at least one final illustration.

 

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I and entry-level color media.

 

Fee: $275 member, $325 non-member.

 

Date(s):

Tue, May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

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: $260 member, $310 non-member.

Date(s):

Fri-Sun, Feb. 15-17, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

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

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

Color Mixing

The first step to watercolor painting is mixing colors. Learn a system for combining colors consistently to eliminate frustrating trial and error. Exercises, demonstrations and discussion will show you how to achieve the broadest possible spectrum. Learn about paint properties and important information about choosing pigments. Practice mixing colors to match a variety of plant material. You’ll gain confidence and skills to improve your color work.

No prerequisites.

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

Date(s): 

Mon, Feb. 18, 25, March 4, 11, 18, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Tue, June 11, 18, 25, July 2, 9, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Composition for Botanical Illustration

The arrangement of line, shape and color in artwork is itself an art form. The difference between a pleasant picture and amazing artwork is often found in composition. This course begins with a study of recognized masters and contemporary illustrators. Learn how to use compositional elements and principles in your botanical illustration. Create your own thumbnail compositions and develop insight and expertise to enhance your future illustrations.

No prerequisites.

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

 

Date(s): Fri-Sun, Jan. 18-20, 9 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Date(s): Thu, May 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Drawing from Your Photos- Online with On-site Component

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

There are times when a live specimen is simply not an option. Discover how to work from photographs to create a successful illustration long after the specimen is gone. Start with instruction on taking effective photos for reference and editing them for clarity. Learn techniques to interpret and alter composition, color and lighting that will avoid that literal “drawn from a photo” look. Create a lasting plant portrait in colored pencil from your photos.

 

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I.

Fee: $310 member, $405 non-member.

 

Date(s):

In-class sessions: Fri-Sat, June 21-22, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

**All assignments are to be completed no later than August 15, 2019**

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

The Off-Site Learning Approach

Following the two-day concentrated classroom instruction, three internet sessions cover the remaining course elements. The successful completion of final artwork (a plate) one month (30 days) after the conclusion of the on-site session is the culmination of each of the distance learning courses.

 Students must use a scanner or digital camera to record their weekly achievements and email the high-resolution image to the instructor and the school manager. All student questions, as well as instructor answers, recommendations and suggestions are handled by email. The student must send a scan of the final plate to the instructor and the school manager in order to receive credit for the course.

 

Exploits in Watercolor

Looking for an adventure with early summer flowers? Roll up your sleeves, put on your apron and load your brushes! Dab, charge, blend and bleed; explore the properties of watercolor while painting fruits and vegetables. Expand your watercolor skills as you learn the importance of water management in watercolor painting. Students will experiment by painting on heavyweight watercolor paper with large brushes. Maybe it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and advance your wet-on-wet painting skills. Then relax and drybrush your way to a refined-study painting.

 

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

 

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

 

Date(s):

Fri-Sun, June 14-16, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Exploratory Field Sketching

Calling all inquisitive minds! Do you enjoy wandering the Gardens and exploring fascinating plant species? Do you often wonder who pollinates certain plants? As a group, we’ll engage in discovery walks around the Gardens, observing the spring flowers that are just emerging. Each week, you’ll select one plant or flower that you find intriguing and you’ll create a series of field sketches to document every detail of your subject. Taking your findings into your studio, you’ll conduct research to identify the species, understand its taxonomy, and discover its scientific name and any information that you find interesting. Possible themes might include dissection studies, documenting unique anatomical features, describing the life cycle of the plant, exploring plant origin and ethnobotany, pollinator partnerships or any characteristic that captures your attention. Using this information, you’ll finish your page of field sketches at home to present in an informal storytelling session at the beginning of the next class. The class will include a tour of the Helen Fowler Library at the Gardens to explore resources for researching your subject.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I or entry-level botanical illustration in color media.

 

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

 

Date(s):

Mon, March 25, April 1, 15, 22, 29, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

Explore Mount Goliath's Weathered Beauty

We’ll continue documenting the wildflowers on Mount Goliath for future interpretational material. Mount Goliath is North America’s highest constructed rock alpine garden, with some 250 species of alpine and subalpine wildflowers and a grove of 1,600-year-old-plus bristlecone pines. You’ll start with a garden specialist, and you’ll have the opportunity to become familiar with the blooming wildflowers before selecting and sketching your specimen. The following week, we’ll return to the site and do some more documentation prior to our work in the classroom. You’ll choose your medium and work toward a future interpretational guide for the site.

 

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I or Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

Fee: $310 member, $370 non-member.

 

Date(s):

Wed, June 19, 9 a.m. – noon (Denver Botanic Gardens), June 26, July 3, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Mount Goliath Nature Center), July 10, 17, 24, 9 a.m. – noon (Denver Botanic Gardens)

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

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