Botanical drawing in coloured pencil – bud burst with Susan Christopher-Coulson

Ref: S3D31376

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About this course

This course is about observing and drawing flowers from the exciting and exquisite time of bud burst and beyond to create either a single study or a small composition, capturing form, colour and texture.

Course Description

Working at your own pace in a relaxed atmosphere, this course offers an opportunity to learn about and experience drawing with different types of coloured pencils and papers. Techniques for drawing, mixing and layering colour will also be explored. You will begin to recognise the particular values of different pencil types and paper surfaces, as well as how to regulate pressure and pencil strokes for particular effects.

Botanical work is detailed and requires precise observation and drawing to create an accurate depiction that appears three-dimensional. The accurate replication of colour is also important. It would be helpful to have a small sketchbook (perhaps A5) dedicated to testing colour mixes and practising techniques for colour build up through layering and blending. This will form the basis of a personal reference book for techniques and colour work which can be continually experimented in to refine ideas and increase confidence and curiosity.

You will be given some guidance with composition and presentation, with individual attention as needed, as well as demonstrations of techniques and discussions about equipment and troubleshooting.

By the end of the course, you will have expanded your knowledge of colour application, technique and pencil use, from experimentation and practical application. You will have developed your confidence to continue with your study or composition at home.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply some of the materials, including small testing paper samples and a wide variety of pencil types for you to try.
  • The College will supply some plants from the gardens.

What students need to bring

  • Coloured pencils – preferably artists’ quality – including any water soluble ones as these can also be used dry. We will be working with dry technique.
  • A graphite pencil HB, B or 2B – your choice
  • A pencil sharpener – preferably with two holes to fit most pencils. The blades must be sharp!
  • Eraser – a soft, very kneadable putty type and a plastic eraser
  • Sketchpad/book for observational sketches and composition ideas, plus a small (possibly A5) for colour work to build your own reference source
  • Paper for final work, e.g. heavyweight cartridge, hot pressed or Bristol board – your choice
  • Some paper will be available by the sheet to buy if required.
  • A hand lens if required
  • A clamp/holder/pot/oasis for your specimen as required
  • Some suitable subject material – something you will enjoy working from

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pencils, pencil sharpener, putty eraser, plastic eraser, sketchbooks, paper – 300gsm cartridge paper, hot pressed 300gsm watercolour paper and Bristol board, low tack masking tape
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will bring a limited selection of coloured pencil types/colours, paper types – available by the sheet.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Susan Christopher-Coulson

Susan Christopher-Coulson gained a BA (Hons) in fashion design at Kingston Art School. Whilst working in the London fashion industry, Susan also taught part-time on the Art Foundation Course at Colchester Institute. Susan returned to drawing natural history and botanical subjects. Following the success of her first solo exhibition, botanical work became the focus of her work, which has gained many awards including two RHS gold medals. 


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

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