Illustration workshop: natural history

Course Dates: 20/05/20 - 24/06/20
Time: 10:00 - 13:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street

Learn how to capture wildlife on paper, from fossils to fleeting birds and butterflies. Gain skills using a variety of different media including digital. Includes trips to the Natural History Museum.


What is the course about?

This course guides you through the basic techniques of careful observation, pencil drawing and mixing colours to the more advanced skills ranging from creating depth and perspective to rendering detail, texture and pattern in a wide range of natural subjects. The course also includes guidance on how to use a digital camera and image editing software to enhance your observations and present your illustrations at a professional level.

What will we cover?

- Keeping a sketch book
- Drawing from nature and photographs
- Colour Mixing
- Painting
- Rendering details and textures, patterns of skin, fur, claws, feathers and scales.
- Using digital technology in combination with hand drawn images
- Putting together an illustration portfolio.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Draw natural history subjects with accuracy
- Mix colours to correspond with observed colours
- Successfully execute tonal gradation, texture and pattern
- Use digital technology to enhance your illustrations
- Present a portfolio of natural history illustrations.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for beginners and starts at an introductory level. Experienced students can also gain from the advanced aspects of the course and the professional guidance.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught with workshops, short lectures, practical exercises, tutorials and hand-outs. There will be a trip to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington on the third week. You will be required to keep a sketchbook outside the class. Please note the City Lit uses Apple Mac computers in Digital arts, Graphics & Illustration and Photography.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You will need a sketchbook, roughly A5 in size.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit offer a range of courses in Illustration, Graphic Design, Animation, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to enhance your illustration practice.

Tutor Biographies
Joanne Roberts Tutor Website

Joanne trained in art at The Slade School of Fine Art where she achieved a Masters of Fine Art. She then went on to train in illustration at Putney School of Art and Botanical illustration at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. She now works as a freelance artist and illustrator exhibiting throughout Britain, Germany, Italy and the United States, illustrating books and records for Strange Attractor press, Kumon, Mottomotto and Exgratia among others. Joanne teaches Botanical illustration and Natural History illustration at CityLit and South London Botanical Institute. She says “there is something very enjoyable about teaching people how to slow down and really look at the natural world around them.”

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: VK440

Wed, day, 20 May - 24 Jun '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £159.00
Concession: £121.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.