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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.

Prerequisite: Light on Form.

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


Thu, Jan. 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen


Mon, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 1-4 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt



Cafe Botanique - Botanical Illustration and the Prairie: A Tale of Two Sisters - ONLINE

Botanical Illustration Diploma presentation

Learn about the collaboration of sisters Linda Forbess (illustrator) and Helen Alexander (ecologist and writer) to produce Tallgrass Prairies in Mid-America: A Guide to Common Plants and Reflections on Prairie Landscapes of the Past, Present, and Future. Botanical illustration requires observational skill, artistic talent, and a willingness to work closely with scientists—and all three were important in this endeavor. In this program you’ll explore the drawings, fieldwork, and review process that celebrates the tallgrass prairie, the book’s inspiration.

Linda Forbess earned her Foundational Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from Denver Botanic Gardens in 2015. She plans to complete the Gardens’ Diploma in Botanical Illustration in 2020.

Helen Alexander is an ecology professor at the University of Kansas. She is currently collaborating with Forbess and biologist W. Dean Kettle on a book about environments and environmental history of the central United States.

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