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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.

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.

 

 

Color Layering for Colored Pencil

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, radiant reds 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 the supply list).

Date(s):

Fri-Sun, Jan. 24-26, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

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

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Fri-Sun, June 5-7, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (105)

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Color Mixing

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: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, Feb. 18, 25, March 3, 17, 24, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Wed, June 3, 10, 17, 24, July 1, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Complex Color Layering: It's All in the Planning

Complex Color Layering: It’s All in the Planning

Say good-bye to muddy tones and learn how to choose the correct colors for layering and shading without losing the brilliance of the specimen’s true color. Create deep, vivid but clean colors without compromising the form of the plant. Learn in which order to apply techniques such as resist, underpainting and embossing to build up pattern, fine detail and texture. Discover how to deconstruct your plant material and plan your approach to your finished colored pencil work. Using the techniques demonstrated, you will be able to tackle multiple colored and textured plant material with confidence.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I or intermediate skills in colored pencils.

Fee: $365 member, $415 non-member.

Date(s): Tue-Thu, May 5-7, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: Ann Swan, UK

 

Ann Swan is one of the United Kingdom’s leading botanical artists working in pencil and colored pencil. She is well known for her fine detail, vibrant color and strong contemporary style. Awarded four Gold Medals from the Royal Horticultural Society, her work is represented in the prestigious Shirley Sherwood Collection and the RHS Lindley Library. She is an enthusiastic and nurturing teacher who runs regular workshops from her studio in Wiltshire and worldwide, this year visiting Spain, France, Italy and the United States. Her book “Botanical Painting with Coloured Pencils” is a leader in its field.

 

Composing Digitally

Composing Digitally

When someone asks you to send a JPEG image at 300 DPI, do you think, “WHAT?” Unravel the lingo and learn the basics of versatile and necessary Photoshop or GIMP software. Start at the very beginning and learn to navigate the toolbars, size artwork and files, adjust color, crop and more! Use simple skills to manipulate photo references. Learn the process for producing a digital file to meet specifications for exhibit entries. Bring your computer; if you do not have Adobe Creative Cloud, you can use the freely distributed GIMP program and leave with the confidence to handle images on your own.

No prerequisites

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

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

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Composition for Botanical Illustration

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: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 10, 17, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

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

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

 

 

Conifer Cones, Textures and Tones in Carbon Dust

Conifer Cones, Textures and Tones in Carbon Dust

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, 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.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil II.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Thu, May 21, 28, June 4, 11, 18, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Embossed Botanicals

Embossed Botanicals

Embossing is an art form used to raise a shape from the surface of paper. The embossed shape casts a delicate shadow and, when combined with color, creates an elegant effect. We provide decorative letter and flower patterns, and you learn how to design, cut a stencil and choose the best paper surfaces for embossed subjects. Finish your project with ink or colored pencil accents and leave the class with an elegantly embossed design.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $$290 member, $$340 non-member.

Date(s):

Wed, April 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Explore the Galleries and Living Collections (Charcoal)

Explore the Galleries and Living Collections (Charcoal)

Drawing at a large scale can be daunting, but with charcoal it is surprisingly quick! Charcoal is easier to control than most media, and in this class you will get your hands dirty while we complete four large, loose drawings. Modeled after a classic figure drawing class, we will work at standing easels (perhaps working up to 22” x 30”) and focus on single central subjects from the Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling exhibition. Afterward, we will go outside and concentrate on the Gardens’ conifers.

Note: We will be standing for the entirety of each three-hour class (no drawing horses are available for seated drawing).

Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling is organized by The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.

No prerequisites.

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

Date(s):

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

Instructor: Meredith Feniak

 

Ferns Uncovered

Ferns Uncovered

Ferns predate most other plant species on Earth, and the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory is home to specimens of many varieties that continue to thrive today. Their delicate structures and textures are fascinating to study and a pleasure to illustrate—in fact, ferns have been illustrated for more than 1,500 years! Working in pencil and brush, you’ll develop pigment-free values and master seamless gradations from lightest light to darkest dark without the usual graphite sheen. Concentrate on the stem-like rhizomes, leafy fronds and sporangia underneath the leaves. Learn to draw complex detail without losing overall form. All the skills that you learn in this class can be transferred to any other medium, improving your overall confidence in your artistic skills.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil II.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, March 24, 31, April 14, 21, 28, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Focus on Foliage

Focus on Foliage

Focus on foliage and fill the need for green this winter. Here is your chance to explore the Boettcher Tropical Conservatory and be bold, paint glossy and produce some vibrant greens. Enhance your color-mixing knowledge with the many shades of green. Start with leaf studies and learn techniques to tackle variegation, margins and shine. Your expanded painting skills for depicting leaf form and color will advance your future botanical paintings.

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

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Wed, March 25, April 1, 15, 22, 29, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Focus on Natural Forms: Feathers and Bark

Focus on Natural Forms: Feathers and Bark

Explore ways to create finely fashioned feathers and textured tactile bark. Ann will demonstrate the techniques she uses such as underpainting, resist and embossing to build up textured layers and capture the exquisite detail of feathers and bark. In this class you will use both graphite and colored pencils.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I or intermediate skills in graphite and colored pencils.

Fee: $365 member, $415 non-member.

Date(s): Fri-Sun, May 1-3, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: Ann Swan, U.K.

 

Forgotten Legacy: Colorado's Lost Apples II

Forgotten Legacy: Colorado’s Lost Apples II

We continue the documentation of Colorado’s heritage apple varieties and devote this session to flowers. In Forgotten Legacy: Colorado’s Lost Apples, you visited the site of your variety during the blooming season and observed the structure of the flower in detail, including the color. During this one-day session, you’ll receive guidance on how to add the finishing touches.

Prerequisite: Forgotten Legacy: Colorado³ Lost Apples.

Fee: $85 member, $105 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, June 30, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

From Seed to Plant

From Seed to Plant

We are fascinated by process, so let’s start at the beginning and illustrate the seed first. Learn how to sprout a bean seed for observation and document its development week by week as the sprout adds roots and foliage. The process begins with a talk by a Gardens’ expert on seed selection and development as well as directions for scientific observation. In weekly color illustrations, you’ll note changes as the plant begins to grow. In the meantime, you’ll have a mature plant to illustrate in graphite as a backdrop for your weekly botanical snapshots. Learn how to integrate two compositions in different media for an effective presentation. Over the course of five weeks, you’ll see your plant change from seed to shoot to seedling, and you’ll gain a better understanding of germination and growth to share through your own botanical plate in colored pencil and graphite.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I, Composition for Boatnical illustration, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, April 27, May 4, 11, 18, June 1, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Improve Your Handwriting

Improve Your Handwriting

Handwriting is becoming a lost art since email and text messaging are now our primary written communication methods. Researchers suggest that developing writing skills will aid in the visual identification of graphic shapes. This workshop will teach you how to develop and improve your handwriting skills using simple methods. With practice, you will be able to make neater writing a habit.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 9 a.m. - noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intensive Foundational Certificate Block I

Intensive Foundational Certificate Block I – On-Site

Fee: $1,800, including materials listed in the supply lists.

Botanical Illustration in Pencil I -Mon-Tue, July 6-7, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn to draw! Begin with 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.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

Light on Form- Wed-Thu, July 8-9, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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.

Instructor: Randy Raak

Foundations for Botanical Rendering (Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I)- Fri-Sat, July 10-11, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

Color Layering for Colored Pencil- Mon-Tue, July 13-14, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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, radiant reds 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.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

Color Mixing- Wed-Thu, July 15-16, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

Deep-Dive Day- Fri, July 17, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

 

 

Introduction to Botanical Illustration

Start at the beginning. Whether you’ve had no experience with drawing or have forgotten what you learned way back when, this is the class for you. Learn drawing basics step by step in this gently paced course. Carefully explained demonstrations, simple exercises and helpful critiques will show you how to draw what you see. Build your drawing skills to enter the School of Botanical Art and Illustration with confidence.

No prerequisites. Note: If you have had some drawing experience, please go directly to Botanical Illustration in Pencil I.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, Sep. 9, 16, 23, 30, Oct. 14, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Date(s):

Thu, Nov. 7, 14, 21, Dec. 5, 12, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Light on Form

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: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

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

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Thu, March 26, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Fri-Sun, June 12-14, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. - 105

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

Tue, June 9, 16, 23, 30, July 7, 9a.m. – noon - 105

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Classic Leather Journal- Mostly for Teens

MOSTLY FOR TEENS:

Make a Classic Leather Journal

You’ll carry it with you always to record your daily activities, your accomplishments, your ideas. No matter the subject, collect and cherish your drawings and writings in a timeless leather journal you make yourself. The classic 4.5 x 6 writing journal will include a pen holder. It closes with either snaps or magnets when not in use.

No Prerequisites.

Fee: $95 member, $125 non-member (Including the paper and leather for the cover).

Date(s):

Thu, June 11, 18, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

May Flowers in the Chinese Way

May Flowers in the Chinese Way

Chinese flower painting is not so much about botanical specimens as it is a poetic expression of the beauties of nature. In this workshop, students will learn to paint roses and tiger lilies by employing two types of Chinese brushwork: baimiao (the outline method), which captures the details that characterize the gorgeous flowers, and mogu (the boneless technique), which emphasizes speed and energy with splashed ink and colors on absorbent paper. Students will also explore a number of Chinese characters that will make up interesting sayings to go with their rose and tiger lily paintings. Writing Chinese characters and painting not only give insight into Chinese culture but can also be a relaxing and meditative practice for people of all ages.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $365 member, $415 non-member.

Date(s): Fri-Sun, May 15-17, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: Sally Yu Leung, San Francisco, CA

 

Sally Yu Leung is an independent researcher and curator of Chinese decorative arts, collector and the founder of the James Cahill Asian Art Study Center at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. She has been a teacher of Chinese calligraphy and brush-painting at Pixar Animation Studios since 2000, as well as guest instructor for Denver Botanic Gardens since 2008.

 

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