Botanical Illustration Class


"Drawing in Nature I: An Introduction to Botanical Illustration"
Preston Montague

  • Saturday, June 28, 2014 – 9:00 am11:00 am
  • Saturday, July 12, 2014 – 9:00 am11:00 am
  • Saturday, July 26, 2014 – 9:00 am11:00 am
  • Saturday, August 2, 2014 – 9:00 am11:00 am

Botanical illustration is a powerful tool for understanding and communicating nature 's design. Whether for scientific exploration, self-expression, or both, botanical illustration gives us an opportunity to document those moments in nature that inspire us. Drawing in Nature I introduces participants to the observation skills and drawing techniques necessary to visualize the plants and animals that nourish our love for nature. Designed for enthusiasts with little to no artistic training, this beginner 's course will provide you with a foundation for visual representation in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. Each class is designed to build upon one another, and will be held both indoors and outdoors to accommodate weather conditions.

Course of four sequential classes. Students are highly recommended (but not required) to participate in all four classes.

Botanical illustration spelling 'Nature'

Drawing in Nature I Course Outline

Class I – Introduction to Drawing and Observation Techniques

Students will learn basic observation techniques for "seeing" and extracting nature 's forms, then introduced to the drawing techniques necessary to express those forms visually. Pencil is the medium for this course, and mastering pencil technique can be applied to charcoal, conté crayon, and other dry mediums.

Class II – Intermediate Drawing Techniques and Composition

Students will learn more complicated drawing techniques to more accurately visualize natural forms, and will be introduced to composition theory to begin creating more complex images. Pens will be the medium used to explore texture, light, and shadow.

Class III – Introduction to Color: Theory and Application

Students will learn the basics of color theory and how to apply that theory to create full-color images that convey light and texture. Colored pencils will be the medium; whose application is the foundation for understanding how to use the more advanced medium of acrylic paint and watercolors.

Class IV – Putting It All Together and Exhibition

Students will apply their newly acquired knowledge of drawing technique and color theory to create complete botanical illustrations. Illustrations developed by students who have participated in all four classes will be matted, framed, and temporarily exhibited at the JCRA for the public to enjoy.

Example of student's illustration

Class Requirements

  • Office Depot Sketchbook, Hardcover, 9" × 12", 75 Sheets

  • Ticonderoga Pencils, #2 Medium Soft Lead (Box of 12)

  • Maped Manual Pencil Sharpener, Aluminum

  • Prismacolor Magic Rub Vinyl Eraser, White

  • Sharpie Permanent Ultra-Fine Point Markers, Black (Pack of 12)

  • Prismacolor Verithin Art Color Pencils, Assorted (Pack of 24)

  • 3-in-1 Wood Document And Photo Frame, 8 1/2" × 11", Black

The supplies are available from the JCRA for an extra $40.00 and are good for one or more class sessions.

Preston drawing buckwheat

Preston Montague

Preston Montague is an artist, educator, and landscape designer who developed a passion for the natural world while growing up in the rural foothills of Virginia. Currently, he works in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he focuses on projects that strengthen relationships between people and nature. Preston received his Master 's degree in landscape architecture from NC State University and holds bachelor 's degrees in horticulture and fine art. His latest body of work, NATURE, is a series of didactic botanical illustrations designed to promote natural science literacy using art and storytelling. Preston 's work can be found at

$50.00 per individual class or the whole course for $160.00 for members, $60.00 per individual class or the whole course for $200.00 for nonmembers. Please note the registration price does not include the needed supplies. A supplies pack (good for one or more class) is available for an additional $40.00.
Please contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 to register. The class requires a minimum of six participants to proceed and is limited to eight participants.
Class cancellations can be made through June 13, 2014 (Friday). No refunds will be made after June 13. A $5.00 cancellation fee applies per class. If registered for the entire course, the first class cancellation will be reduced by an additional $40.00 due to the discount applied for registering for the entire course.
JC Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Contact Chris Glenn at (919) 513-7005 or for more information about this class.