Botanical drawing with coloured pencils – creative colour mixing with Ann Swan

Botanical art

Ref: SLW11516

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Places available

About this course

Create vibrant, clean colours and realistic textures using underpainting, layering and embossing. Working from seasonal subjects add depth, realism and interest to your work.

Course Description

Immerse yourself in 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 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, your tutor will give a short presentation to illustrate some of the techniques, textures and fine details you 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 pencils or to have attended one of the tutor’s beginner courses.

Using some of your tutor’s colour mixing templates, you will learn how to mix clean colours with convincing shadows and learn how to plan your approach to your work to avoid accidents. Your tutor will demonstrate 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 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 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

What students need to bring

  • Sharpened pencils
  • Any 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

  • Available from shop:
  • Notebook
  • Good quality hot pressed watercolour paper (Arches) 300gms/140lbs
  • Erasers – kneadable or plastic
  • Handheld pencil sharpener with a fresh blade
  • HB pencil
  • Available from tutor:
  • For this course you will need to purchase some materials from the tutor as certain specialist materials are not available in the College Shop. You can order direct from Ann by email to avoid postage charges and she will bring your items on the day. See her website to purchase any items required:
  • Ann Swan Fabriano Studio Watercolour Hot Pressed 300gms Practice Pads (please order in advance). A3, A4, A5
  • Available from Ann on the day:
  • Faber Castell Polychromos – see basic requirements below
  • A range of Polychromos pencils – a selection
  • Prismacolor Premium Colored Pencils
  • Empty Copic markers
  • Promarker Clear Blender
  • Pergamano 0.5 embossing tool
  • Blender Pencils
  • Rapesco 64 Pencil Sharpeners
  • Eraser shields
  • Basic requirements for the course are as follows:
  • Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper 300gms/140lbs (Arches available from College Shop) graphite pencil, pencil sharpener, notebook, eraser (available at College Shop and from Ann)
  • Blender pencil, blender pen, magnifying glass and Faber Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils in the following colours:103 Ivory, 278 Chromium Green Oxide, 174 Chrome Green Opaque,172 Earth Green, 168 Earth Green Yellowish, 170 May Green, 193 Burnt Carmine, 194 Red Violet, 135 Light Red Violet, 274 Warm Grey V (available from Ann on the day)
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


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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