Botanical Art & Illustration Certificate Overview and Requirements

The Botanical Art & Illustration Certificate requirements provide a solid foundation in scientifically accurate drawing based on observation and fine art techniques.

In the course of the Certificate program, students will:

  • Acquire skills in drawing and/or painting accurately and beautifully.
  • Develop techniques needed to re-create amazing detail, natural color, and convincing form.
  • Gain knowledge of basic morphological features of plants.
  • Learn the elements of successful composition for scientific illustration or for fine artwork.
  • Through electives, learn business skills for artists and the history of botanical art.
  • Develop a personal aesthetic and a strong artistic identity.
  • Enjoy access to the exceptional collection of botanical art in the Garden's LuEsther T. Mertz Library and the library of the American Society of Botanical Artists.

 These core classes provide a strong, well-rounded foundation that prepares the student for higher-level classes. These classes can also be taken singly.

Certificate Requirements

* Courses offered in the Fall-Winter Season

P = Courses with a prerequisite before you can register

COURSE (in Recommended Order) CODE          HOURS
Botanical Drawing I: Methods and Materials
BIL 301
Botanical Drawing II: Developing Your Skills
BIL 302
The Basics of Visual Composition (should be completed early)
BIL 421
Botanical Drawing III: Focus on Flowers
BIL 303 P 18
Plant Morphology for Botanical Artists
BIL 300 P
Botanical Watercolor I
BIL 331 P 24
Practical Aspects of Botanical Art*
BIL 392 P 10
Plus one of the following:       
Internet Tools for Creatives, Part I: Social Media*
BIL 394   5
Internet Tools for Creatives, Part II: Website*
BIL 395   5
Pen and Ink
BIL 400 P 18
Colored Pencil
BIL 415 P 18
Elective courses     54

 **Plus a final project that meets Certificate standards


Students seeking a Certificate may focus their electives on watercolor, colored pencil, drawing—or they may choose a natural science concentration. Elective courses build on foundation skills and allow the student to tailor their direction of study.

The Secrets of Daffodils BIL 347 P 15
Drawing Mammals
BIL 358 P 15
Spring Flowers in Colored Pencil and Watercolor
BIL 433
P 15
Hibiscus in Colored Pencil and Watercolor
BIL 411    15
Drawing Spring Trees in Bloom
BIL 323    6
Tonal Drawing Techniques
BIL 356 P 15
Scaling Up: Enlarging
BIL 328 P 10
The Mystique of Carbon Dust BIL 376 P 15
Branching Out in Silverpoint
BIL 351 P 12
Watercolor Techniques: Sepia Wash
BIL 414 12
The Stages of Crabapples
BIL 402 12
Floral Forms BIL 325
Iridescence: Capturing Light on Form BIL 614 P 15
Accordion Book: Illustrating A Life Cycle BIL 615 P 18