Natural Science Illustration Program
Photo credit: D. Petrochko
Photo credit: L. Miller
Photo credit: L. Miller

Winter/Spring 2020 Courses and Workshops

PLEASE NOTE: All Natural Science Illustration classes are cancelled through June 30 due to COVID-19 concerns. Plans are being made to offer summer courses on-line. Please e-mail us (education office link below) if you want to be added to our mailing list for information on our summer and fall courses as it becomes available.

The Yale Peabody Museum’s Natural Science Illustration Program provides opportunities to learn a wide range of art techniques focused on nature and natural science illustration. Whether you are a beginner or professional, our skilled and certified instructors provide personalized support in small classes that will help you develop your abilities and discover new ways of encountering art and nature. The Yale Peabody Museum’s collections and exhibitions 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.


"Seeing Nature Through Art", an exhibition of our instructors' artwork is on display November 2019 - June 2020 in the Museum's third floor temporary gallery, and now also available on-line.  See all of the artwork, learn about the instructors, and view more examples of their work by clicking HERE.     


Choose from the following courses and workshops offered for the Winter/Spring 2020 term.  All 200-level courses require Drawing I (#101) as a prerequisite.  All participants must be at least 18 years of age.  There are no exceptions.  Registration deadline is 10 days before the first class.  Instructors will contact you to provide a list of art supplies needed for the class.  These materials may not be covered by the registration fee.  Please note: there are no member discounts for Natural Science Illustration classes.  



Click HERE to register and pay by credit card   

Click HERE to register and pay by other methods


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


Spring 2020 Courses


Course #241 (To be Rescheduled)

Colored Pencil I

Sundays, March 15 to May 17, 10am to 1pm (No class 4/12 & 5/10)

Instructor:  Jan Prentice

$400, 8 weeks

Registration closes March 5

Begin your exploration of color with this approachable medium. In our first few meetings students learn and practice key color concepts: primary and secondary color, local color, color temperature, hue, chroma and value. Armed with this information, students will then learn techniques needed to create beautiful, detailed drawings on a variety of drawing surfaces


Course #201B (To be Rescheduled)

Drawing II 

Saturdays, March 28 to May 30, 10am to 1pm (No class on 4/11 & 5/23)

Instructor: Dorie Petrochko

$400, 8 weeks

Registration closes March 11

Create silvery tonal portraits of animals and plants in graphite.  Natural Science Illustration typically utilizes the traditional light source used by artists since Renaissance times with the light coming from the upper left.  When depicting specimens in the classroom or images in photographs, it is helpful to be able to intuitively apply the traditional light source to the illustration.  Through exercises, students will be freed from having to work with special lighting.


Course #252 (To be Rescheduled)

Botanical Watercolor I: Portraits of Flowers

Mondays, March 30 to May 18, 10am to 1pm

Instructor: Linda Miller

Prerequisite: Watercolor I

$400, 8 weeks

Registration closes March 20

Discover how to paint portraits of flowering plants in watercolor as you observe them in the classroom. Hone your drawing and watercolor skills as you discover the intricacies of different plants that are blooming in the spring. Many examples of botanical art will be shared. There will be demonstrations and group critiques, and there will always be a focus on individual attention to each student.  We will visit the greenhouses at the Marsh Botanical Gardens on the Yale Campus.


Course #225  (To be Rescheduled)

Colored Pencil II

Thurdays, April 2 to May 21, 10am to 1pm

Instructor: Dorie Petrochko

$400, 8 weeks

Registration closes March 23

Using both traditional and experimental methods, students will master the techniques of colored pencil needed to create detailed and accurate illustrations for portfolio presentation or publication. Course concentration will be focused on refining techniques learned in Colored Pencil I, increasing pigment intensity, creating textural effects and working closely from museum specimens and still life objects.  


Course #244

Watercolor I

Tuesdays, April 7 to May 26, 10am to 1pm

Instructor: Linda Miller

$400, 8 weeks

Registration closes March 28

Watercolor is a medium that produces luminous, translucent colors. Practice mixing colors while learning about color theory, and gain experience applying washes and layers when using color in your scientific illustrations and paintings. We will be working with fruits, vegetables, flowering plants, and specimens from the Peabody Museum’s collections. Examples of many different kinds of watercolors will be shared. There will always be a focus on individual attention to each student, and group critiques and demonstrations will be shared.


Course #292

Drawing & Painting Life in the Eastern Woodlands

Wednesdays, April 15 to May 20, 10am to 1pm 

Instructor:  Linda Thomas

Prerequisites: Watercolor I & Composition and Design

$300, 6 weeks

Registration closes April 5

Students who want to challenge their creative skills and scientific knowledge will be creating their own unique art composition focused on a fragment of life in the eastern woodlands. Incorporating various seasonal flora and fauna into a composition while exploring concepts like symbiosis, predator-prey relationships, and food webs, this class is for students confident in their drawing and painting skills.


Course #270

Plant Morphology

Fridays, May 1 to June 26, 10am to 1pm (no class 6/19)

Instructor: Susannah Graedel

$400, 8 weeks

Registration closes April 21

Explore the exquisite variety of forms of flowers through the microscope.  Students will dissect and draw the parts of flowers to produce an artistic botanical “plate.”  The connection between flower structure and type of pollinator will be explored.


Course #286

Painting Flowers in Watercolor

Saturday and Sunday, May 2 & 3, 10am to 4pm

Instructor: Bivenne Staiger

Prerequisite: Watercolor I

$200, 2 days

Registration closes April 22

Learn the timing and sequence to paint flowers in watercolor with backgrounds that support and emphasize them. Painting stages and many techniques will be demonstrated with plenty of individual attention given. References provided or student can use their own.


Course #287

Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil

Wednesday & Thursday, May 27 & 28 AND

Wednesday & Thursday, June 3 & 4, 10am to 4pm

Class includes all four sessions

Instructor:  Betsy Barry

$200, 2 days

Registration closes May 17

From sketchbook to final layout, we will create a botanical illustration using colored pencil. Accuracy in rendering will be emphasized.


Course #271

Drawing & Painting Shells

Mondays, June 1 to June 29, 10am to 1pm

Instructor: Linda Thomas

$250, 5 weeks

Registration closes May 22

A variety of shapes, patterns and textures make shells of all sizes a great subject to explore in both black-and-white and color! Basic shell classifications and life history will be discussed. We will be emphasizing texture and light/shadow relationships with black-and-white, and capturing pattern and sheen with paint.


Course #145

All-Day Drawing Workshop

Saturday, June 6, 10am to 4pm

Instructor: Linda Miller

$100, one day

Registration closes May 26

Immerse yourself in the classical tools of observational drawing for a whole day! This is a great course for both beginners and advanced students. Bring your lunch.


Course #237

Drawing & Painting Gems and Minerals

Monday & Tuesday, June 8 & 9, 10am-4pm

Instructor: Dorie Petrochko

$200, 2 days

Registration closes May 28

Explore the fascinating world of gems and minerals using Peabody Museum specimens from David Friend Hall and the museum’s extensive minerology collection. Peabody collections staff will provide a tour featuring the specimens, and afterwards, we will render these 

in graphite and colored pencil and execute several small mixed media paintings suitable for your portfolio or personal collection. Open to all levels-previous drawing experience helpful. 


Course #260

Drawing & Painting Hummingbirds

Saturday & Sunday, June 13 & 14, 10am to 4pm

Instructor: Dorie Petrochko

$200, 2 days

Registration closes June 3

Capture the beauty of hummingbirds using graphite watercolor and iridescent pigments. We will work from photos, and bird cams. Students should bring a laptop or smartphone to class.  We will make a small flip book of hummingbirds. A knowledge of drawing birds is helpful.


Course #103

Field Sketching at the Marsh Botanical Garden

Saturday, June 20, 10am to 4pm

Instructor: Linda Miller

$100, 1 Day

Registration closes June 10

Sketch with conte crayon or graphite and/or paint with watercolor outdoors “en plein air” in different locations on the Yale Campus. There are two farms where vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants, and flowers grow; and there are greenhouses, trails with a river and a pond, as well as many kinds of old, unusual trees. There are also many types of animals and birds!