RBGE Diploma in Botanical Illustration

Frequently asked questions

What does the course cover?


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. The emphasis will be placed on the development of skills through a series of tight and precise exercises. Botanical painting will also be studied within its historical context.

What are the study options?

This course can be studied as an attended course or as an online course

What is the format of the course?


Attended Course
In the first year students will attend classes at the Garden one day per week. Year two is a home study year in which students are expected to produce a complete portfolio of work to an approved standard.

Online Learning Course
The Online Learning Course takes place over three years and follows a set time-table. Through PropaGate, RBGE’s virtual learning environment you will work through the same learning modules as the taught course.

This course requires a significant amount of home study - approx. 18 hours per week.

What do I need?


Basic details of the materials required for the course can be found in the Applicants’ Handbook. A more detailed list will be provided on acceptance to the course.

Do I need any prior knowledge?


Although there is no formal level of qualification necessary for entry to this course, there is a need to demonstrate a high level of motivation, together with evidence of personal commitment to botanical illustration. It is expected that all artists who join this course will embark on a steep learning curve.

Students aiming to join the Diploma course will be required to demonstrate a pre-existing level of skill in drawing and painting, ideally with a botanical or plant in subject matter. There is considerable competition for places and initial selection will be through portfolio assessment (6 - 10 pieces) and your written application form.

Please note that this course is not designed for beginners. Artists at beginner’s level would gain most benefit from the RBGE Certificate in Botanical Illustration course. The certificate course has been created as an ideal stepping-stone to the Diploma and offers an introduction to the basics skills of drawing and painting needed to record plants and produce a portfolio of work. We also offer a series of Botanical Illustration Short Courses.

How much time would I need to dedicate to this course?


This course requires a significant amount of home study - approx. 18 hours per week.

What support is available for online students?


Both courses are supported by a series of tutorials. For onlie students, these will typically make use of virtual video tutorials. Online students also have the opportunity to make the use of the forums on the course. These provide a way for students to talk to one another and to tutors in order to ask questions. Technical help is also only an email away or available via the forums on the course.

What does the course cost?


Attended course: The current course fee is: £3,500. A £500 deposit is payable on acceptance of a place with the remainder due at the start of the course.

Online course: Course fee £3500, a £500 deposit is payable on acceptance of a place with the remainder due at the start of the course.

All course fees are subject to change on future courses  Additional costs to be borne by students are listed in the Handbook.

When can I start?

We are currently in the process of planning for the 2020/21 academic year, however this process has been delayed slightly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are interested in joining the waiting list for this course please email: education@rbge.org.uk including your name and the course you are interested in.

When details are confirmed you will be sent a copy of the applicants’ handbook as soon as it’s released.

Please note that while we work to support students on courses that were unable to complete this year as planned, some courses may have to start at a later date or in some cases might not be able to run at all.

How do I apply?


If you would like to receive details of the next course when they become available, please email education@rbge.org.uk to be added to the mailing list. Please include the name of the course you are interested in and whether you are interested in the attended or online course.