The RBGE Diploma in Botanical Illustration is one of our flagship botanical illustration courses. This independent, RBGE certified course hones the many skills you need to capture plants in pencil, pen and paint. It runs over two years part-time. The main focus is on observational drawing, pen-and-ink work and painting skills, but by the end of the course, students should develop expertise in a wide range of botanical illustration techniques.
Students will be trained in visual analysis, fundamentals of botany, the essentials of different plant structures and the ability to assess and produce botanically accurate drawing and painting work.
Year One: The diploma involves one taught day per week over three terms of study. The taught programme includes:
- Drawing fundamentals leading to complex skills
- Paint fundamentals: mixing and application
- Painting the details: using orchids
- Measured drawing, pen and ink, cross-sections, herbarium study
- Composition in white
- Other media, coloured pencil, dipping pen, vellum
- Botany: plant form and function and its relevance
- Historical context
- Native plant project
Year Two: This is a home study year in which students are expected to produce a complete portfolio of work to an approved standard.
Both years are supported by a series of tutorials. Teaching will be on site at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and associated sites around Scotland.
NEW - Blended Learning Option starting June 2013!
Taught over 3 years at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh the Diploma in Botanical Illustration (RBGE DipBI) includes residential and distance elements that ensure you can immerse yourself in the environment of one of the world’s best botanic gardens with the convenience of online learning.
- Enhance your drawing and painting skills and techniques
- Develop new skills in traditional and specialist areas of drawing
- Foster a fascination with plants, and appreciation of botanic gardens
- Produce a portfolio of work that is both diverse and focused
The course will begin in June 2013. Please download the applicants’ handbook and complete the application form at the back.
Students aiming to enter the Diploma course are expected to have a reasonable level of skill in artistic illustration, ideally botanical or plant in subject, and should have a demonstrable interest in the area of study. Selection of students is through portfolio assessment and interview.
We also offer an extensive series of botanical art short courses and workshop that provide you with the basic skills before beginning the Diploma, as well as other art and crafts workshops.
Dates and times
The programme begins in September, and follows a three term academic year structure on Tuesdays, 10am - 3.30pm for Year One. Year Two is all home study.
How to apply
You can download the Applicant's Handbooks from the 'Downloads' box on the right. The Applicant's Handbook contains further information on the courses and an application form. If the information in the Handbook does not answer any questions you may have, please contact the Education office via our enquiry form (select 'Education') or directly at:
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Telephone: 0131 248 2937