About the

Certificate in Botanical Art & Illustration

Interested in botanical art, but not ready to commit to a full certificate program?
Consider our Botanical Art Fundamentals Online Program–click here to learn more!

Art and illustration are central to the study of plants. Conventional scientific botanical illustrations accompany taxonomic articles and field guides. In botanical art, the artist has more freedom to make personal visual choices to draw the viewer in and evoke an emotional response, but the image remains scientifically correct.

Founded in 2001, our certificate program provides participants with a well-balanced curriculum in both botanical art and illustration that includes scientific background, visual arts theory, and practical experience in different media.

To receive certification, students enroll in the program, complete 14 core courses, three elective credits, and an Independent Final Project. Course offerings are designed for graduation within a three-to-five-year period. Classes are taught by local professional artists, usually for 14 hours total over four sessions. Many require homework assignments; the amount of time students need to spend on homework varies and usually ranges from five to 15 hours per week for each course.

The North Carolina Circle of the American Society of Botanical Artists holds regular open studios at the Garden. Students of the Certificate program, beginners especially, are encouraged to connect with the Circle and attend open studios. Open studios take place on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m., except in July and on UNC holidays. Circle membership is not required to attend open studio. To connect, go to the North Carolina Circle blog and sign up to follow the Circle blog by email.


Black and white illustration of Echinacea
Echinacea by Karen Sapir

Core Courses
Beginning Drawing
Beginning Colored Pencil
Beginning Watercolor
Composition: The Bones of the Painting
Intermediate Drawing
Intermediate Colored Pencil
Intermediate Watercolor (Traditional or Expressive)
Integrating Composition and Color Theory
Pen and Ink
Advanced Drawing: Botanical Plates
Advanced Watercolor (Traditional or Expressive)
Botany for the Artist
One seasonal local flora course (Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter)

Sample Electives
Acrylic (1.0)
Advanced Colored Pencil (1.0)
Field Sketching (1.0)
Gouache (1.0)
Graduation Preparation: What You Need to Know (0.5)
Mixed Media: Botanicals in Watercolor, Colored Pencil, and Pen and Ink (1.0)
Pen and Ink: Media Explorations (1.0)
Plant Taxonomy (1.0)

View and register for upcoming courses



Enrollment is open continuously. A $100 enrollment fee covers administrative costs for five years, after which point a renewal fee will apply for those continuing in the program. Course fees are administered separately. Students must be at least 18 years of age to enroll.

Enroll in the certificate program


Christiane Fashek
Dorota Haber-Lehigh
Lisa Rasmussen
Kathy Schermer-Gramm
Patricia Savage
Program Handbook
Current Students
Header artwork by Diane Rainey. Gallery by: Camilla Tulloch, Gigi McDonald, Roberta VanDalen, Joanne Lott, Wei Ting Chi, Sherry Graham, and Karen Sapir.