Introduction to botanical drawing with Ann Swan

Ref: S1D13152

Location: West Dean

About this course

An introduction to the materials and techniques used to produce vibrant coloured pencil plant portraits.

Course Description

On this course, you will learn about the materials used for coloured pencil botanical work and the reasons why they are effective. You will learn the basic skill of laying down colour smoothly, mixing colours and choosing effective shade colours.

The tutor will demonstrate the techniques of layering, embossing, burnishing and underpainting and give you clear guidance as you have a go yourself. You will learn basic leaf techniques and how to mix realistic greens with some ways of achieving fine veins.

You will leave with some colour mixing templates and notes from the course, plus a leaf study and a good idea of how to go about starting a botanical drawing in coloured pencil. Once you have completed this course, you will be able to learn more on a longer course with the tutor.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • 2 x A4 sheets of 300gms hot pressed (smooth) watercolour paper
  • Faber Castell Polychromos pencils: 103 Ivory, 278 Chromium Green Oxide, 174 Chrome Green Opaque, 172 Earth Green, 168 Earth Green Yellowish, 170 May Green, Warm Dark Grey
  • Blender pencil
  • Winsor & Newton blender pen
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Derwent Graphic HB pencil
  • Eraser shield

What students need to bring

  • Notebook
  • Pencil Sharpener

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of general art materials
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will bring a selection of additional and optional materials for students to try or buy:
  • A further selection of Faber Castell and Prismacolor coloured pencils
  • Rapesco 64 desk top sharpener (please order in advance by email)
  • Practice pads of Fabriano Studio watercolour paper (please order in advance by email)
  • Embossing tools

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toed shoes or sandals.


Ann Swan

Ann is one of this country's leading botanical artists and teachers working primarily in coloured pencil and graphite. She has been awarded four RHS Gold Medals and her work is in the prestigious Shirley Sherwood Collection and the RHS Lindley Library. Ann is an enthusiastic and nurturing teacher with over twenty five years' experience and now teaches around the world. Her book 'Botanical Painting with Colour Pencils' is a leader in the field.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.