Natural Science Illustration Program

The Yale Peabody Museum’s Natural Science Illustration Program, begun in 2010, provides both beginner and professional artists opportunities to learn a wide range of art techniques focusing on nature and natural science illustration. Our skilled and experienced instructors provide personalized support in small classes to help you develop your abilities and discover new ways of encountering art and nature. The Peabody’s collections and outdoor locations provide endless subjects for drawing, painting, and sketching. Take an individual class or complete a sequence of classes to earn a Certificate in Natural Science Illustration.

Register using our online form for upcoming classes or browse the course catalog for a full list of offered courses. For information about course content, prerequisites, materials, and other details contact the instructor listed for each course by email directly. Contact us with registration and payment questions.

Courses will meet online or in-person as noted in the course description.  In-person courses will take place at the Yale Peabody Community Education Center in Orange, Connecticut

Some courses have prerequisites or require permission of the instructor to participate.  200 level courses require the successful completion of Drawing I (Course # 101) as a prerequisite.

Certificate Program Requirements

Students who would like to pursue a Certificate in Natural Science Illustration may announce their intention to seek the certificate at any time during their tenure in the program. To earn the certificate, a student must satisfactorily complete a total of 336 course hours. This includes the 10 core courses below (240 hours), a minimum of 93 additional hours of elective courses, and a 3-hour consultation for the final portfolio requirement.

Successful completion of courses for certification credit is based on in-class exercises, critiques, and final project evaluations.  Certificate students must complete a final project demonstrating proficiency for each course taken.

Required Core Courses

  • Drawing I
  • Drawing II
  • Pen and Ink I
  • Composition and Design
  • Colored Pencil I
  • Watercolor I
  • Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Plant Morphology
  • Marketing for Illustrators
  • Introduction to Adobe Photoshop for Natural Science Illustrators

Sample Elective Courses

  • Colored Pencil II
  • Watercolor II
  • Insects Writ Large
  • Field Sketching
  • Botanical Illustration

After completing all course work, students seeking the certificate will register for Portfolio Development. In this one-to-one consultation with an NSI instructor, a student will define final portfolio goals to produce 6 new works in a medium and theme that represent their strongest skills. The student also submits an artist’s statement with the final portfolio.

The new works in the completed portfolio are reviewed by a committee of NSI program instructors. Professionals in an allied scientific or artistic field may also review the work. This assessment is made on the student’s artistic skills and knowledge of the subject(s) as expressed in the accompanying artist’s statement. A certificate of completion is awarded after approval of the submitted portfolio. Certificate awardees will have created a professional portfolio that reflects their training under experienced professional artists with certification by the Yale Peabody Museum.

The course work for a Certificate in Natural Science Illustration can usually be completed in 2 to 3 years. At current rates, a student can expect to pay approximately $7,000 in registration fees to complete the minimum number of courses required for the certificate. Art supplies and incidentals are additional.

Enrollment Eligibility

  • Courses are designed for adults. All participants must be at least 18 years of age. There will be no exceptions.

Course Prerequisites

  • Courses numbered 200 and above require Course 101 Drawing I as a prerequisite. Check individual course descriptions for additional prerequisites.

Location of Classes and Course Information

  • All classes are currently offered online via Zoom. When in-person classes resume locations will be included in the course description.

Cancellations & Course Changes

  • Courses may be canceled for low enrollment or for any other reason. Registrants will be refunded 100% of the course fee or can receive credit toward a future course.
  • The Yale Peabody Museum reserves the right to reschedule courses, withdraw or modify a course, and substitute instructors at its sole discretion. The Museum will make every effort to notify students of such changes in advance.
  • In case of class cancellations because of inclement weather, the instructor will make every effort to contact students by email or phone in a timely manner. However, it is the registrant’s responsibility to check with the instructor to confirm whether a class will meet. Instructor contact information is provided to enrolled students before the first class of each course.

Registration & Payment

  • Register and pay for courses using our online form. Contact us with any questions about registration and payment.

Refunds

  • No refunds will be given to registrants who cancel fewer than 30 days before the course start date. A full refund will be issued for courses cancelled by the Peabody Museum.

Reproduction Rights

  • On registration, the Yale Peabody Museum requests permission to photograph both the student’s image or likeness and the student’s artwork created in each course, along with the rights to reproduce these for educational and publicity purposes. The Yale Peabody Museum will not use such images if the student does not grant permission.

Winter/Spring 2023

  • NSI 267X: Introduction to Adobe Photoshop for Natural Science Illustrators

    In this 8-week course, students will take their completed illustrations in a traditional medium and manipulate them for publication in Adobe Photoshop.  The famously complicated and ever-changing Photoshop palettes and tools will be discussed and the tools most often used by professional scientific illustrators will be covered.  After taking this course, the students should have a working knowledge and basic understanding of Adobe Photoshop.  This course meets online.

    Instructors:
    • Ikumi Kayama
      ikumikayama@gmail.com
    8 weeks; 24 hours total

    Digital

    $480.00


  • NSI 177X: Digital Techniques Workshop: Want to Build a Website? Start Here!

    Composition of website code and torosaurus photo

    Check upcoming courses list for availability.

    Are you considering creating an online portfolio or a website? This course is for those who have yet to have their own online space or are looking to reboot their outdated website. Since everyone's needs and goals will be different, this course will guide the students one step at a time to narrow down what type of website service/platform would match their needs while considering comfort levels in the digital space.

    Instructors:
    Ikumi Kayama
    ikumikayama@gmail.com

     

    2 weeks; 4 hours total

    Digital

    $80.00


  • NSI 267X: Introduction to Adobe Photoshop for Natural Science Illustrators

    Composite image of an owl in Adobe Photoshop

    Check upcoming courses list for availability.

    In this 8-week course, students will take their completed illustrations in a traditional medium and manipulate them for publication in Adobe Photoshop.  The famously complicated and ever-changing Photoshop palettes and tools will be discussed and the tools most often used by professional scientific illustrators will be covered.  After taking this course, the students should have a working knowledge and basic understanding of Adobe Photoshop.  This course meets online.

    Instructors:
    Ikumi Kayama
    ikumikayama@gmail.com

     

    8 weeks; 24 hours total

    Digital

    $480.00


Office of School & Teacher Engagement
+1 203 432 3775 peabody.education@yale.edu

Contact the Education Office for questions about registration and payment.  For questions about course content, prerequisites, and other details please contact the instructor listed for each course.