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Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

Learn how to see and draw nature like an illustrator. Build observational and visual interpretation skills in an interactive and enjoyable way.

There is one session available:

134,984 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Started Oct 6
Ends Nov 23
Estimated 6 weeks
3–6 hours per week
Instructor-paced
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

Whether an aspiring scientific or medical illustrator or someone who enjoys drawing nature's wonders, this first-of-its-kind MOOC course is for you.

The field of Natural History Illustration is about observing and illustrating subjects from nature, science and culture, with their linkages to the environment being central.

Our natural world is a fascinating place. Being able to observe and replicate it through illustration provides insights into life that can change how we think about ourselves and our surroundings.

You will learn essential skills and techniques that form the base for creating accurate and stunning replications of subjects from the natural world. This art and culture course is suitable for people looking to enter the illustration discipline as a serious pursuit or just looking to explore a passion.

As world-standard instructors, we will show you practical ways to develop your skills from the outset. Step by step, we will cover the fundamentals of Natural History Illustration, from the first observation of a subject in the field to the final replication in the studio.

This online course will teach you enduring skills that can be used in many different ways. Join us to explore, observe and draw the natural world and become part of a scientific tradition steeped in history.

Awards

edX Prize 2017 Winner

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Core scientific observational skills
  • Field drawing and sketching techniques
  • Concept sketch development
  • Composition for natural history illustration
  • Form, proportion and structure essentials
  • Drawing and rendering techniques

Week 1: Introduction
Introduction to course and overview of NHI of historical and contemporary practice to set the scene for an immersive skills building experience.

Week 2: Observational drawing
Introduction to Natural History Illustration methods and demonstration on observational drawing.

Week 3: Field sketching and recording techniques
Introduction to working in the field and recording subjects and their environmental surroundings quickly and accurately.

Week 4: The structure of flowers and leaves
Understanding plant anatomy.

Week 5: The structure of mammals and birds
Understanding animal anatomy.

Week 6: Rendering
Creating finished artworks.

Learner testimonials

Skip Learner testimonials

"The NewcastleX Natural History Illustration course helped boost my art career; opening new doors, and giving me the skills I need to confidently, and skilfully continue my career in the field. This course somehow manages to be excellent for both beginners, and those with experience in nature illustration. The online format allows learners the freedom to take their own pace, and find joy in learning, while being affordable. This course allowed me to find joy, and fulfillment in continuing my education. The community in the discussion board is inspiring, engaging, and heart-warming. I couldn't be happier!"
- NHI101x Student.

About the instructors

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