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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.

Birds 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 how-to session on bird photography and learn how to effectively use photographic references in artwork. Learn bird anatomy and physical characteristics through group instruction and individual attention. Using provided props, reference sketches and/or photos, you will create a sophisticated bird portrait ready to be framed, submitted to an exhibit or included in a portfolio.

Prerequisite: Entry-level color media.

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


Thu, Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19, Dec. 3, 10, 9 a.m.-noon

Instructor: Heidi Snyder


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 Session Two- ONLINE

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 have 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.

ONLINE Zoom-session

No prerequisites.

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



Fri-Sun, Sep. 25-27, 9 a.m.  2:30 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

Denver Arts Week(end) 2020: Dia de los Muertos Collaboration - ONLINE

Mexican Cultural Center and Denver Botanic Gardens

What is papel picado? In this hands-on workshop, discover the importance this colorful Mexican folk art to Dia de los Muertos and learn how to create your own papel picado using simple materials.

Dia de los Muertos is a celebration that holds great significance within Mexico and for its people. In 2003, UNESCO declared Día de los Muertos an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Rather than grieving over the loss of a beloved family or friend, this celebration commemorates the lives of the dearly departed and welcomes the return of their spirits.






Handmade Nature Journals: A field Guide to Autumn at Home - ONLINE

In this class we will learn how to create beautiful pages for a nature journal to document autumn in our neighborhoods at this unique moment in time. Start with a directed nature walk to explore the environment around your home—whether you live in an urban area, on the plains, or deep in the mountains, there is nature worth documenting everywhere around you. From our notes, drawings, and photographs we will translate your discoveries into beautiful pages of artwork, and bind them into a handmade field guide that you can keep for years to come.

Date(s): November 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 1:00- 2:30 p.m.


Fee: Member $200, Non Member $240

Instructor: Sarah Pedry

Improve Your Handwriting- ONLINE

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.


Mon, Nov. 16, 23, 30, Dec.7, 14, 9 a.m. - noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen


It All Begins Here with Darrell Anderson

Celebrate Denver Arts Week(end) and get creative at lunch! Join acclaimed artist Darrell Anderson for 30 minutes of exploring form and the joy of creating. Whether you have been drawing for years or never held a pencil before, Darrel will challenge you to think, move, see, feel and experience the world in new ways. Challenge yourself and discover what you can create with a simple pencil and sheet of paper. It all begins here.

Date(s): November 6, 2020, Noon - 12:30 p.m.

Fee: Free - one registration per streaming device required



Light on Form - ONLINE

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.

Please note this is an Online course.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I.

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


Tuesdays October 20, 27, November 10, 17, 24 6-9 p.m.

Wednesdays November 18, 25, December 2, 9, 16, 1-4 p.m.

Friday-Sunday December 3, 4, 5, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.























The Garden through Hokusai's Lens - ONLINE

Hokusai, best known for "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji," was a prolific, influential printmaker and painter to the Impressionist and Post-impressionists. He edited his compositions like a director in a film, commanding the eye across the surface in order to tell his version of the "story." Using black ink and water, we will study the Gardens' Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden to construct vignettes using sumi-e painting techniques on rice paper. Our final project will be a hanging scroll made from one of our ink sketches.


Date(s): December 12, 9 a.m.- Noon


Fee: Member $60, Non Member $70

Instructor: Lori Ann Levy-Holm



The Garden through Rousseau's Lens - ONLINE

Rousseau told his friends that he traveled to Mexico in order to execute his jungles paintings. Actually, he visited the botanic gardens in Paris and used their plantings as the basis for this series. The animals he incorporated into these paintings were either observed at the zoo or drawn from library books. In this workshop we will explore the flora and fauna of our Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory to create a collage that would reflect Rousseau's exaggerated landscapes.

Date(s): November 21, 9 a.m.-Noon


Fee: Member $60, Non Member $70

Instructor: Lori Ann Levy-Holm

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