Botanical art

Botanical drawing with coloured pencils with Ann Swan

Ref: SLW09033


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About this course

Learn to create vibrant, clean colours and realistic textures with techniques such as underpainting, layering and embossing. Working from seasonal subjects, these techniques will show you how to add depth, realism and interest to your finished colour pencil work.

Course Description

Immerse yourself into this course as you learn the tips and tricks of botanical painting with coloured pencils. You will study a variety of techniques that will help you make your colours leap off the page, and to amaze with fine detail. You will also learn the importance of planning, when and in what order to underpaint, blend, use resist or emboss.

On the first evening Ann will give a short Power Point presentation to illustrate some of the techniques, textures and fine details we will be tackling during the course with some updates about new materials and a short discussion about student expectations. You need to have a basic knowledge of working with coloured pencil or to have attended one of Ann's Taster Days or Beginners' courses.

Using some of her colour mixing templates you will learn how to mix clean colours with convincing shadows and how to plan your approach to your work to avoid accidents. Ann will demonstrate some of her many tricks and tips for creating realistic textures for bloom, velvety petals, strong highlights, surface patterns, hairy stems and furry leaves.

This workshop is for having a go and trying out all these techniques which when mastered will add depth, realism and interest to your finished colour pencil work and certainly help you attract an audience to your pictures. You will leave with a page or two of studies, some colour templates and lots of notes plus the start of a finished project which you will be able to complete at home with the knowledge you have acquired.


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, 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


  • Any other coloured pencils or equipment you like to use when drawing with coloured pencils
  • Any work you would like the tutor to assess
  • For this course you will need to purchase materials from the tutor as some of these specialist materials are not available in the College Shop

What students need to bring

  • Sharpen pencils.
  • Any other coloured pencils or equipment you like to use when drawing with coloured pencils
  • Any work you would like the tutor to assess

Available to buy

  • Notebook
  • Good quality hot pressed watercolour paper 300gms/140lbs - good makes are Arches, Fabriano Artistico
  • Erasers - kneadable or plastic
  • Handheld pencil sharpener with a fresh blade
  • HB pencil
  • You can also order direct from Ann by email to avoid postage charges and she will bring your items on the day. See her website for:
  • Single sheets of Fabriano HP 300gms paper 50x35 cms for purchase
  • Colour Mixing Templates £1
  • Ann Swan Fabriano Studio Watercolour Hot Pressed 300gms Practice Pads (please order in advance). A3 - £12.50, A4 - £7, A5 - £4
  • Faber Castell Polychromos 139 Light Violet (not easily available)
  • A range of Polychromos pencils £1.30 each - see colour list below
  • Prismacolor Premium Colored Pencils £1.75 each
  • Empty Copic markers £4.50
  • Promarker Clear Blender £4
  • Pergamano 0.5 embossing tool £5
  • Blender Pencils £1.30
  • Rapesco 64 Pencil Sharpeners £12.50
  • Eraser shields
  • Faber Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils: 103 Ivory, 278 Chromium Green Oxide, 174 Chrome Green Opaque, 173 Olive Green Yellowish, 172 Earth Green, 168 Earth Green Yellowish, 170 May Green, 193 Burnt Carmine, 194 Red Violet, 135 Light Red Violet, 186 Terracotta, 181 Paynes Grey, 199 Black, 157 Dark Indigo


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.


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

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