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RBGE Diploma in Botanical Illustration (Online)

A hand holding a paintbrush painting the edge of a green leaf

The Diploma in Botanical Illustration at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is ideal for those who want to take botanical illustration to a professional level. Designed for those with a background or some experience in art, design or illustration, this three year RBGE diploma develops skills across a complete range of watercolour, pencil and pen.

Please note that the next intake for this course will take place in September 2020. You can use the form below to ask us any questions, but please read through the handbook first as it may answer your questions! (See link in menu to the right).

What are the course aims?

  • To develop observational skills through the direct visual examination and informed study of botanical subjects. This is in order to render accurate and informative imagery of the specimens, using watercolour, pen and ink and other graphic methods.
  • To develop an appreciation of and a familiarity with the living, preserved and library collections at RBGE and other Botanic gardens. To get to know some of the key areas of botanical research and conservation and the role that botanical illustration can play in this.
  • To develop and enhance the students’ drawing and painting skills, together with proficiency in botanical illustration, for artistic, illustrative and scientific purposes.
  • To develop in students an understanding of the process of thorough botanical research and an awareness of the historical context of botanical illustration.

What are the course dates?

The next intake September 2020. The course is a 3 year course.

What are the entry requirements?

Students aiming to enter the Diploma course will also be required to demonstrate a pre-existing level of skill in drawing and painting, ideally botanical or plant in subject. There is considerable competition for places and initial selection will be through portfolio assessment (6 - 10 pieces) and your written application form. Your application can be submitted online or by post/in person, and should also demonstrate your skill, interest and enthusiasm for the subject.

How can I prepare for studying online?

Experience of using your computer, using websites, using email and participating in online forums will stand you in good stead for learning online. Online learning may be a new experience for you – if it is, you would need to take time to familiarise yourself with the learning environment and set aside dedicated time to learn. As an online student at RBGE you need to become comfortable with using PropaGate Learning – this only comes with continued familiarity so you would need to be a proactive online student!

How much study time is involved?

This course requires a significant amount of home study - approx. 18 hours per week.

How do I apply?

We are currently not taking applications, however you can still complete the form below to receive updates on the course. Applications wil open early in 2020


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Find out more - RBGE Diploma in Botanical Illustration

Please ask us any questions about the course or application procedure.

Please read through this year's Applicant's Handbook for full details on the course.

If you still have any questions about the RBGE Diploma in Botanical Illustration (Distance Learning) course or application procedure, please submit your query here.

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