Botanical Illustration Class

Naturally Creative!
Preston Montague

  • Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – 6:30 pm8:00 pm
  • Tuesday, July 29, 2014 – 6:30 pm8:00 pm
  • Tuesday, August 5, 2014 – 6:30 pm8:00 pm
  • Tuesday, August 12, 2014 – 6:30 pm8:00 pm

Develop your child's observation, drawing, and writing skills using nature as a muse!

Students learn to draw as well as develop writing, creative thinking, and keen observation techniques using nature as a subject with local artist and landscape designer, Preston Montague.

In each class, students will draw plants and animals en plein air, identify plants, and discover plant and animal relationships in the gardens of the JC Raulston Arboretum. They will use creative writing to expand upon the plant and animal world found in the gardens building their imagination. At the end of the course, students will have developed a product that can supplement a portfolio. Students participating in all four classes will be able to select a piece to be printed onto the cover of a notepad for the students to continue their observations and writings.

Students can in enroll in individual classes or for the entire four class session.

Botanical illustration spelling 'Nature'

Naturally Creative! Course Outline

Class I – Introduction to Drawing, Observation, and Note-taking Techniques

Within the context of the garden, students will learn basic drawing and note-taking techniques in pencil, as well as learning the art of "seeing," rather than "looking." By developing these more complex observation and recording skills, students will be better able to express themselves visually, and become more competitive in the classroom.

Class II – Intermediate Drawing, Observation, and Note-taking Techniques

Students will build upon the drawing and observation techniques from Class I to accurately visualize increasingly complicated subject matter. Additionally, students will be introduced to the technical language of botany in their note-taking exercises to strengthen their scientific awareness and vocabulary.

Class III – Introduction to Color Theory and Creative Thinking

Students will learn the basics of color theory and how to apply that theory to create brilliant, full-color images with color pencils.  Students will also begin applying imagination to their observation and note-taking skills to develop creative writing.

Class IV – Putting It All Together and Exhibition

Students will apply their newly acquired knowledge of drawing, observation, and writing techniques to create beautiful botanical illustrations with creative narratives. Illustrations will be displayed at the end of the class for parents and visitors to enjoy!

Example of student's illustration

Class Supply List ***Updated!

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

All other supplies will be provided for use during the class. If you would like a supply list to purchase for home use, we can provide the list of supplies used in the class.

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

9 to 13 years old
$30.00 per individual class or the whole course for $90.00 for members, $40.00 per individual class or the whole course for $120.00 for nonmembers. Students will need to bring a sketchbook for use in the class.
To register, contact Elizabeth Overcash at or (919) 513-7011.
Although we understand that unexpected things happen, cancellations made less than five days prior to the program will not receive a refund. A 15% administrative fee per participant per class will be deducted from refunds.
JC Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Need directions? Click here.
Please contact Elizabeth Overcash, children's program coordinator, at or (919) 513-7011.