NOTE: All member and nonmember tickets must be reserved in advance, and masks are now optional but recommended. Learn more about how you can join us!

Students enrolled in the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate program will learn how to draw botanical subjects with scientific accuracy, artistry and mastery of technical methods. Using a basic knowledge of plant morphology, participants will develop the skills needed to document plants in intricate detail, including the root system, upper and lower leaf surfaces, flowers, fruits and seed heads. This program is designed for students who are interested in pursuing art for pleasure and self-satisfaction, and they can choose between two concentrations: watercolor or colored pencil. Beginners, as well as those with art experience, are welcome. Students ay repeat most courses in the program at a 10-percent discount; however, a repeat course cannot apply toward certificate credit.

Receiving Class Credit: For both core and elective classes, students must attend all class sessions and complete and submit all the work required to earn class credit. Class credit is important if a student is pursuing the Basic or Advanced Botanical Art and Illustration certificate. Even if a student is not sure about pursuing the certificate, it is recommended that they earn credit for each class because this is difficult to do retroactively. If a student has to miss class (e.g. health reasons or a death in the family), they must contact the instructor at their earliest convenience to see if it’s possible to still earn class credit.

A note on recordings: The class recordings posted on Google Classroom are meant to aid students in completing their work between classes but are not a substitute for attending class.  Students are required to attend all classes and are not allowed to miss class and watch the recordings for credit.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Illustration by Betty Yee Yates

About the Program

Learn more about our certificate requirements, browse work from our students, meet our instructors and more.

For more details about our programs, or to receive personalized class recommendations from our helpful staff, please feel free to contact us at edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Confirmations will be emailed the day before each class, including a Zoom link. Please check your spam/junk mail folder, and if you have not received the link, email edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Relevant demos from virtual classes are recorded and made available to all registered participants for one month after the program.

All times are Eastern Time Zone.

Current Classes

Click titles for full details 

  • Pen and Ink I | Melissa Fabian | Thursdays: July 21, 28, Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25 | 6 - 9 p.m. | After-class meeting: Wed., Sept. 14 | 6 - 7:30 p.m. [please note new dates]

  • Watercolor III: Special Topics | Brenda Gail Jordan | Saturdays: July 16, 23, 30 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break) | After-class meeting: Mon., Aug. 15 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. 

  • Botanical Drawing II | Weldon Doran | Wednesdays: August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Sept. 7 | 6 – 9 p.m. (with small breaks) | After-class meeting: Wed., Sept. 21 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

  • Botanical Drawing II | Robin Menard | Saturdays: August 13, 20, and 27 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break) | After-class meeting: Monday. Sept. 12 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

  • Colored Pencil Florals on Black Paper I - V | Amy Lindenberger | Saturdays: Aug. 6, 13 and 20 | 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (with lunch breaks)  | After Class Meeting: Tues., Aug. 30 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

  • Drawing Birds in Spring/Summer Habitat: Water-Fowl of Pennsylvania | Melissa Fabian | Tuesdays: Aug. 16, 23 and 30, Sept. 6, 13 and 20 | 6 – 9 p.m. | After Class Meeting: Tues., Sept. 27 | 6 – 8:30 p.m.

  • Watercolor Brush Exploration for Calligraphy and Botanical Art | Visiting Artist Carol Saunders | Saturday and Sunday, August 20 and 21 | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (with lunch break) In-Person

  • Greens in Watercolor | Amy Lewandowski | Thursdays: Aug. 25, Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 | 6 – 9 p.m. | After class meeting: Monday, Oct. 17 | 6- 7:30 p.m. (please note new date)

  • Watercolor I: Techniques and Color Theory | Brenda Gail Jordan | Saturdays: Sept. 10, 17 and 24 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break) | After-class meeting: Wed., Oct. 12 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Classes in Progress

  • 2022 Phipps’ Allegheny Highlands Flora Project: Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens’ Native Plants | Choosing of Native Plants: Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard and Stephanie Lind | Student orientation: Thursday, Feb. 24, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard | Hunt Institute will be closed and emailing images to participants in June 2022 | Open Studios | Sundays: July 10; Aug. 14; Sept. 25; Oct. 23; and Nov. 6 | 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | In-person
  • Watercolor Drybrush/Limning Techniques | Christine Hutson | Wednesdays, June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 and July 6 | 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  (with half hour lunch break) | After-class meeting: Wednesday, July 20 | 10 – 11:30 a.m.

  • Botanical Drawing I | Weldon Doran | Wednesdays: June 8, 15, 22 and 29, July 6 and 13 | 6 – 9 p.m. (with small breaks) | After-class meeting: Wednesday, July 27 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

  • Botanical Drawing I | Robin Menard | Saturdays: June 11, 18 and July 9 | 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (with lunch breaks) | After-class meeting: Monday July 18, 6-7:30 p.m. 

  • Colored Pencil I: Techniques | Amy Lindenberger | Saturdays: June 18, 25 and July 2 | 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (with lunch breaks) After-class meeting: Tuesday, July 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

  • Making a Nature Journal | Lisa Rasmussen | Mondays: June 27, July 11 and 18 | 1 – 4 p.m. | After-class meeting: Monday, July 25 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Detailed Listings

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor painting by Brenda Jordan

Watercolor III: Special Topics | Brenda Gail Jordan

Saturdays: July 16. 23, 30 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After-class meeting: Mon., Aug. 15 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.  

$220 members | $250 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To increase watercolor skills working on specific technical issues

Level: intermediate

Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I and II

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session. Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

In Watercolor III, students will build upon their knowledge and skills from Watercolor II to work on specific technical issues in Botanical Watercolor. Classes will be devoted to instruction, demonstrations, and working on projects each day. The 2022 schedule will consist of: Day 1—tackling summer leaves; Day 2—shiny vegetables; Day 3—whites and blacks with flowers and bees. Final project will be your choice of one (or more?) of these techniques in a finished project.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Leaf drawn by Melissa Fabian

Pen and Ink I | Melissa Fabian

Thursdays: July 21, 28, Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25 | 6 - 9 p.m.
After-class meeting: Wed., Sept. 14 | 6 - 7:30 p.m. [please note new dates]

$225 members | $255 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to make tonal and semi-schematic drawings with pen and ink

Level: Intermediate

Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session. Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

Beginning with the fundamentals of pen and ink techniques, learn how to use different strokes to create a compositional balance of black and white tones. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Graphite drawing by Jessi Evans

Botanical Drawing II | Weldon Doran

Wednesdays: August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Sept. 7 | 6 – 9 p.m. (with small breaks)
After-class meeting: Wed., Sept. 21 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

$220 members | $250 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to apply skills gained in Botanical Drawing I to accurately capture various plant forms, details and textures that are unique to the subject.

Level: Intermediate

Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

Continue to develop your observation and drawing skills to accurately render leaves, stems, roots and flowers in varying positions, capturing details and textures unique to the botanical subject.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Graphite drawing by Jessi Evans

Botanical Drawing II | Robin Menard

Saturdays: August 13, 20, and 27 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After-class meeting: Monday. Sept. 12 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

$220 members | $250 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to apply skills gained in Botanical Drawing I to accurately capture various plant forms, details and textures that are unique to the subject.

Level: Intermediate

Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

Continue to develop your observation and drawing skills to accurately render leaves, stems, roots and flowers in varying positions, capturing details and textures unique to the botanical subject.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Drawing by Amy Lindenberger

Colored Pencil Florals on Black Paper I - V | Amy Lindenberger

Saturdays: Aug. 6, 13 and 20 | 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (with lunch breaks)
After Class Meeting: Tues., Aug. 30 | 7 – 8:30  p.m.

$225 members | $255 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to create colored pencil botanical drawings on a black background

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I and II, Colored Pencil I (or equivalent experience)

Supply list (PDF)

Colored pencil drawings are traditionally applied to white or light, neutral colored papers.  But some subjects – such as night blooming flowers – can be much more effective against very dark backgrounds and those backgrounds can be difficult (and labor intensive) to achieve with colored pencil.  Discuss colored pencil opacity and explore key techniques for using colored pencil on black and very dark-colored surfaces to keep colors true and luminous.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Colored pencil on drafting film by Melissa Fabian

Drawing Birds in Spring/Summer Habitat: Water-Fowl of Pennsylvania | Melissa Fabian

Tuesdays: Aug. 16, 23 and 30, Sept. 6, 13 and 20 | 6 – 9 p.m.
After Class Meeting: Tues., Sept. 27 | 6 – 8:30 p.m. 

$220 members | $250 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To study the habitats of native Pennsylvania water fowl during the spring and summer months and to create a final botanical drawing including the bird and its environment.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I and II and at least one of the following: Colored Pencil I, Watercolor I or Pen and Ink 

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

In this class students will explore a variety of methods for gathering nature illustration research on PA water fowl and their spring/summer habitat, work on study pages throughout the classes and create a final project. Different mediums and techniques will be demonstrated at each class giving students a choice of medium for the final artwork.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

Botanical Art and Illustration

Watercolor Brush Exploration for Calligraphy and Botanical Art | Visiting Artist Carol Saunders

Saturday and Sunday, August 20 and 21, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (with lunch break)

$175 members | $195 nonmembers
Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Objective: To learn watercolor brush techniques for calligraphy and botanical art
Level: Beginner to intermediate
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I (or equivalent experience)

In this 2 day in person workshop, participants will use a single series 7, #2 Kolinsky sable brush and learn how to hydrate, load and hold the watercolor brush to make a variety of thin and thick strokes and combine them to create leaves, stems and flowers with subtle color variations. Students will then use these skills to create decorative borders and letter forms and how to apply them to botanical painting. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

Botanical Art and Illustration

Greens in Watercolor | Amy Lewandowski

Thursdays: Aug. 25, Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 | 6 – 9 p.m.
After class meeting: Monday, Oct. 17 | 6- 7:30 p.m. (please note new date)

$220 members | $250 nonmembers 

Presented as a live webinar on Zoom

Objective: To be able to create a variety of greens in watercolor and apply them to plant specimens

Level: Advanced

Prerequisites: Watercolor I

Supply list (PDF)

Plants often have a wide variety of beautiful greens and it can be challenging to represent these different colors accurately. Learn how to assess the differences in the greens of plants by observing their subtle variations in hue, value and intensity. Practice painting different greens through a series of watercolor mixing exercises and then apply this information to an illustration of a single leaf or of multiple specimens. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor by Holly Johnson

Watercolor I: Techniques and Color Theory | Brenda Gail Jordan

Saturdays: Sept. 10, 17 and 24 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After-class meeting: Wed., Oct. 12 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$220 members | $250 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To have control of the brush, pigment and paper while learning to combine watercolor paints to create a rich and varied palette

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session. Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

Students will learn the basics of transparent watercolor as a medium, and gain a foundational understanding of the brushes, paper, and paints suitable for botanical watercolor. Using a limited palette, students will explore techniques such as washes and glazes, and practice creating a full range of hues, shades and tones using the limited palette. Through demonstrations and exercises, students will produce a series of studies that demonstrate the foundational techniques of transparent watercolor and application of those techniques to rendering plant forms.

Assignments for the day will be due by Friday at 5 p.m. of the following week, so that the instructor can put together a power point of all assignments for an in-class critique the next morning. All assignments for the class will be due one month from the date of the last class. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

2022 Phipps’ Allegheny Highlands Flora Project: Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens’ Native Plants

Choosing of Native Plants: Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard and Stephanie Lind
Student orientation: Thursday, Feb. 24, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard
Hunt Institute will be closed and emailing images to participants in June 2022
Open Studios | Sundays: July 10; Aug. 14; Sept. 25; Oct. 23; and Nov. 6 | 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Phipps Garden Center

$180 members | $200 nonmembers
Objective: To be able to create a botanical illustration from the beginning to end

Level: Intermediate to advanced
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I or Colored Pencil I 

Learn how to research and produce a beautiful and accurate painting of a native plant. In this long-term collaborative project, create a watercolor, colored pencil or mixed media painting, a copy of which will be catalogued into the Phipps’ Allegheny Highlands Flora Project for future educational or marketing uses. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.  

Registration is limited to 26 participants due to gallery constraints. There will not be an online gallery option this year.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Painting by Christine Hutson

Watercolor Drybrush/Limning Techniques | Christine Hutson

Wednesdays, June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 and July 6 | 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  (with half hour lunch break)
After-class meeting: Wednesday, July 20 | 10 – 11:30 a.m.

$220 members | $250 non members

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To use and build on or improve drybrush limning style techniques and create detailed illustrations

Level: Intermediate

Prerequisites:  Watercolor I

Supply list (PDF)

Limning, a traditional painting method dating back to the Renaissance, has been used by botanical artists and illustrators for centuries and is still favored by those who need to portray their subjects with great precision.  For this technique, tiny brushstrokes are used to build up a highly detailed image.  Receive online step-by-step instruction on this watercolor technique and practice it using high-quality photos of plants and flowers that you select as references.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Graphite Drawing by Betsy Doherty

Botanical Drawing I | Weldon Doran

Wednesdays: June 8, 15, 22 and 29, July 6 and 13 | 6 – 9 p.m. (with small breaks)
After-class meeting: Wednesday, July 27 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

$220 members | $250 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to accurately draw three-dimensional shapes using line and tone, and employ geometric and aerial perspective in drawing botanical subjects.

Level: Beginner

Prerequisite: None

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

Botanical illustration differs from traditional drawing because it captures a subject with scientific accuracy through observation, form and detail.  Learn to identify basic shapes in nature and use a step-by-step process to create the illusion of depth through light, shadow and perspective.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course.

This class is now filled. Please email edu@phipps.conservatory.org to be placed on the waiting list.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Graphite Drawing by Betsy Doherty

Botanical Drawing I | Robin Menard

Saturdays: June 11, 18 and July 9 | 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (with lunch breaks)

After-class meeting: Monday, July 18 | 6 - 7:30 p.m.

$225 members | $255 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to accurately draw three-dimensional shapes using line and tone, and employ geometric and aerial perspective in drawing botanical subjects.

Level: Beginner

Prerequisite: None

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Registration for this class is now closed.

Supply list (PDF)

Botanical illustration differs from traditional drawing because it captures a subject with scientific accuracy through observation, form and detail.  Learn to identify basic shapes in nature and use a step-by-step process to create the illusion of depth through light, shadow and perspective.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Sunflower by Brenda Jordan

Colored Pencil I: Techniques | Amy Lindenberger

Saturdays: June 18, 25 and July 2 | 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (with lunch breaks)
After-class meeting: Tuesday, July 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$225 members | $255 non members

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to create a gradual transition of tone and color with colored pencils.

Level: Intermediate

Prerequisites:  Botanical Drawing I and II

Supply list (PDF)

Using different techniques, you can make colored pencil tones look like a drawing or painting, providing you work with the versatility to create a wide variety of surface textures.  Develop your color perception and become familiar with colored pencil tools, color applications and color theory fundamentals. Learn to layer colors to achieve different hues and densities and master a variety of techniques, including burnishing, impressed line and sgraffito. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core class

Botanical Art and Illustration
Journal made by Lisa Rasmussen

Making a Nature Journal | Lisa Rasmussen

Mondays: June 27, July 11 and 18 | 1 – 4 p.m.
After-class meeting: Monday, July 25 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$170 members | $190 non members

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To learn how to make a nature journal

Level: Beginner

Prerequisites:  none 

Supply list (PDF)

Students will learn some of the basics of bookbinding in this course.  Each student will build a soft cover 48-page journal from start to finish.  This 8’ x 10” journal can be used for nature journaling or as a mixed media sketchbook. Kits containing materials for nature journal making will be mailed out to students prior to class. Kit prices are part of tuition.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Illustration by Betty Yee Yates

About the Program

Learn more about our certificate requirements, browse work from our students, meet our instructors and more.