The Practice of Botanical Drawing

Step-by-step guidance for using colored pencil and watercolor pencil; nature’s seasonal forms, patterns and colors are all covered, plus access to our motivational community and the Botanical Basics library.

  • 43


  • 14 hrs

    of Content

  • All Levels

    Skill Level

Learn More

This course is perfect for

Students who want to practice the basic techniques with longer, more detailed lessons that follow the seasons and encourage an ongoing practice that gradually advances throughout the program. Read more about the advantages of taking a botanical illustration course online.

Includes access to:

  • All 43 instructional videos
  • Downloadable PDFs with step-by-step instructions
  • Our motivational community Art Feed
  • Plus – all 40 Botanical Basics videos

Examples of Student Work

Want to start with basic techniques?

What do I get access to?

Sign up anytime. After your purchase the program, you’ll receive immediate access to:


Access to 14 hours of lessons content across videos, worksheets, videos and PDFs that will encourage you to continue to draw on a regular basis.

Topics Covered

  • How to draw flowers, fruits, and leaves
  • Single light source toning technique
  • Principles of perspective for drawing flowers
  • The fundamentals of plant anatomy
  • Colored pencil and watercolor combined techniques
  • Color Theory of the natural world

(Learn how to expand these lessons to various subjects!)


List of Lessons

+ Drawing a Branch (3 parts)
– Practice arc tone bar with 10 values and colors
– Learn how to shade from light to dark with 10 values and colors
Learn basic light source on a three-dimensional branch with smooth toning using a complete range of values from light to dark
– Practice rendering overlaps on a group of branches
– Learn how to draw and plan a composition, add tone, colors, and details including shadows and reflective highlights

+ Drawing an Acorn (3 parts)
– Draw a three-dimensional round nut form such as an acorn with correct light source and add color
– Learn basic perspective on an acorn cup form
– Explore the spiral patterns that appear on an acorn cup, and understanding perspective distortion

+ Drawing Leaves (2 parts)
– Learn to draw leaves with net veining in grayscale with correct light source
– Learn to draw leaves with net veining in color with correct light source

+ Drawing a Citrus Fruit (3 parts)
– Draw a large, round, yellow to orange form such as a citrus fruit
– Learn to use thumbnail sketches to plan a composition
– Bonus Video: Creating Shine on Citrus Fruit

+ Understanding Flowers (4 parts)
– Identify different flower shapes, take apart flowers, and study reproductive parts
– Learn basic perspective for flowers
– Understand light source thumbnail sketches, tonal drawing, and adding color
– Learn how to measure flowers accurately

+ Drawing Roses (6 parts)
– Draw a rose in color, from a bud to an open flower
– A rose is a complex flower with multiple petals, so use a dramatic light source and study a cup as a model
– Draw a rose in color, focusing on toning and contrast
– Blooming Rose time lapse video
– Comparing roses and peonies
– Rolling petals, sensitive line and feathering practice

+ Plant Exploration (2 parts)
– Learn what to pack in your travel kit
– Study and draw plants outside in the garden
– Learn perspective techniques for measuring a disc flower such as a daisy

+ Identifying Plant Families (2 parts)
– Identify and draw plants by organizing them into plant families
– Learn patterns and similarities in plants, reference 9 plant families that comprise over 75,000 plant species
– Includes a video from Thomas J. Elpel’s book, Botany in a day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification

+ Drawing Roots (1 part)
– Draw complex, overlapping roots
– Learn embossing techniques
– Draw a soil background around roots

+ Creating a Composition (1 part)
– Study the elements that make a composition
– Learn methods to plan a composition of a root or bulb

+ Color Theory (2 parts)
– Learn Basic Color Theory
– Color Bias Theory
– Learn Color Matching and Mixing with colored pencils

+ Creating a Botanical Illustration (2 parts)
– Create a complete botanical composition with several plant components
– How to use your drawing as a holiday or harvest card or print

+ Drawing a Water Drop (1 part)
– Use Wendy’s formula to draw a water drop step-by-step

+ Drawing a Pine Cone (1 part)
– Study complex spiral patterns on pine cones and learn to draw them

+ Drawing a Peach (1 part)
– Draw a peach in color
– Advanced Concepts: Planning a layout/composition and creating fuzzy edges

+ Drawing an Apple (3 parts)
– Draw a group of apples on a branch with colored pencil and watercolor
– Add an apple blossom to your apple composition
– This lesson combines techniques from previous lessons to build a composition with multiple fruits, stem, and leaves

+ Advanced Challenge: Decorative Design Elements (4 parts)
– Study the history of decorative design inspired by nature and show the work of decorative designers that follow this tradition
– Ways to create an original botanical illustration that’s a finished composition and then elaborate on it by creating decorative borders and elements
– Study what an s-curve is and how to create a simple repeated border pattern using elements from your original botanical illustration to build something decorative
– Create registration lines to line up a repeat so your images will join up when they need to as if they’re continuing

+ Advanced Challenge: Near and Far: Scale Variation in Botanical Illustration (3 parts)
– Draw a life size plant
– Create a distant landscape of a plant in its habitat
– Add scale elements to your composition
– Draw a plant’s magnified details

+ Year-Long Challenge: A Sketchbook of the Seasons (4 parts)
– Track a tree or woody shrub through all its stages for a year. Build a “Sketchbook of the Seasons,” with color and tonal drawings, herbarium components, and journal documentation from a tree and/or woody shrub as it changes with the seasons.
Winter: Start by finding your subject, collecting any available parts, observing, drawing, researching, and asking questions. Most of all, enjoy the process!
– Spring: Always be exploring, discovering, observing, and open to all that nature will bring you as your are on your mission.
– Summer: Focus on different views and cross-sections of emerging fruits and pods, a mature leaf, leaf arrangement, seed magnification, and fruit characteristics. Try including an interesting fact or observation!
– Autumn: Collect nuts, seeds, colored autumn leaves, and branches with next year’s developing buds. If your plant is small enough, consider investigating its roots before the ground freezes.

Explore lessons further!

Watch a Sample Lesson!



An image-focused forum (Art Feed) to receive feedback, motivation, connect with students, and build a botanical drawing portfolio. Join our vibrant, supportive community to make friends, share ideas, and get feedback from artists around the globe.

Live Interactive Webinars

The live monthly webinar is a great place to receive feedback on your work posted to the Art Feed, learn from suggestions, and participate in our global community in real time. Come to the live meeting or watch it later in the archive. You do not have to submit drawings to participate and learn from the critique.



  • "The learning environment of Draw Botanical is very supportive and encouraging. I am learning so many useful tips that enable me to achieve beautiful results with my artwork."

    Jill A.
  • "I do not have a talent in creative art, but botanical drawing gives me the satisfaction of creating something that is beautiful. Botanical drawing to me is meditation. While drawing, I automatically forget about everything else happening around me. The world becomes just me and the plant as I focus on drawing the plant as faithfully as possible to what nature created. As long as I "copy" nature, the product comes out always beautiful."

    Machi D.
  • "The access to all the video lessons, Art Feed and monthly webinars is great value for the monthly cost."

    Jill A.