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Botanical Illustration Course Registration is Live!

How many people in the world secretly dream of becoming an artist? Of capturing the beauty in the natural world all around them, recording its treasures?  During the past 6 years, I have had the immense pleasure of teaching the type of lifelong learner who takes this leap, through three sequential botanical illustration courses.  Students in these courses, each of which is taught twice annually, have come from all over the world.  Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Russia, Canada, Germany, the Dominican Republic, and the United States represent some of the wonderfully far flung places from which students draw and paint, and then, scan and submit their work for review, along with their words of reflection.

Many (most?) students have never taken an on-line course.  They initially offer a range of responses to Moodle, the interface through which the courses are taught, but all adjust and settle into a routine, immersed in the essential elements of these courses: reading in preparation for a lesson; engaging in a plethora of drawing and painting exercises, depending on the course, which they will scan and upload for feedback; writing reflectively about what they have learned, how they are learning it, and how they are celebrating their learning (or overcoming their challenges!); and talking with one another in a student forum.

There are no ‘lectures.’ Students can be in any time zone, working at their own pace, through the weekly lessons, for a period of about 6 ½ weeks.

Interested in learning more?  Click on these links to find out more about Botanical Illustration 1: Basic Drawing Techniques, Botanical Illustration 2: Working with Watercolor, and Botanical Illustration 3: Advanced Techniques.

Participants receive a certificate of completion from Cornell’s Office of Continuing Education.  Participants who take all three courses also receive a certificate of completion from the Department of Horticulture.

Join us!


  1. Juan P Marulanda says:

    I’m a senior citizen and would love to take at least the first course but I’m apprehensive as I took a “beginners” drawing course at NYU’s School of Contninuing Education when I was an undergraduate there 4 decades ago and, to my surprise, and disappointment, every person in the “beginners” class was an outstanding drawer, except me. I did not return after the first class because I felt out of place.

    Is this class for people who already know how to draw?

  2. Marcia says:

    It really and truly is a beginner course — two ways, really, since many are also taking a distance course for the first time.

    There are students who are advanced, and who take it for the discipline, or because they have been away from it for a long time. What is important to know, however, is that no one sees your work but the instructor, unless you choose to share/post it. In that way, I have come to truly believe that this online environment is ideal. You get step-wise, sequential, personal instruction; an opportunity to pause and slow down to enjoy the beauty of the natural world; rapid skill development; and the chance to talk with like-minded others. But, you enjoy this in the privacy of your home, without the feeling that you are looking over your shoulder, comparing yourself to others.

    The course registration is now closed, but feel free to email to be put on the next cycle of classes — I’ll notify you when registration is live in May, for a start date beginning in June.

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