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Short Courses 2017 Human Anatomy Botanical Drawing The Drawing Book Exploring the Exotic Still Life Introduction to Life Drawing The New Sylva: Drawing Trees with Sarah Simblet Life Drawing - Michaelmas Term 2017 Deconstructing the Cubist Still Life Chinese Calligraphy and Landscape Painting The Archaeology of the Self Calendar of Short Courses 2017

Botanical Drawing

Last edited on Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 12:04 PM by Juliet Franks

Sarah Simblet's successful Botanical Drawing course will be available again in 2017. This course is designed to accompany her book, 'Botany for the Artist: An Inspirational Guide to Drawing Plants'

Course dates: Monday 21st August - Sunday 27th August 2017 - this course is now fully booked

This is a seven day non-residential course that includes workshops, lectures and visits to the University collections. 

Based in the drawing studios of the Ruskin School of Art and in the nearby University of Oxford Botanic Garden, this course offers a unique opportunity to learn a broad range of essential drawing skills, including the best use of materials and techniques, while immersed in the rich diversity of the plant species that grow in both an historic botanical garden and along the banks and meadows of the nearby river Thames.

Botanical Drawing is an intensive drawing course that aims to inspire confidence in the beginner and refresh the work of the more experienced artist. No previous experience is needed. Basic materials are provided and participants who complete the course will achieve a portfolio of both experimental and traditional drawings, and will have learned skills relevant to both Fine Art practice and botanical illustration. 

'A perfect combination of botanical lectures, tutor demonstrations and one to one support on individual work with an emphasis on process rather than final result.  All set within a generous, relaxed atmosphere in the Ruskin, I wouldn’t change a thing…'  Botanical Drawing participant, 2016


Day 1 :  am: Sarah presents her own drawings.

              Pm: Visit to draw in Oxford Botanic Gardens.

Day 2 :  am: Lecture on Diversity and Meaning in Drawing.

              Pm: Studio work: Large scale, brushes and ink.

Day 3 :  am: Practical look at Plant Anatomy. Articulating parts.

              Pm: Using pen and ink: Analytical thinking.

Day 4:   am: Practical demonstration: How to draw trees.

              Pm: Drawing trees in Christ Church Meadows.

Day 5:   am: Group Q&A: Demystifying drawing.

              Pm: Studio excercises.

Day 6:   Free drawing all day. Botanic Garden or Studio.

              Voluntary studio session on sketch book making.

Day 7:   am: Lecture on lighting and atmosphere in drawing.  

              Pm: Studio excercises. Concluding critique.


The Ruskin will provide each participant with easels, donkeys, paper, plants and containers, pens, nibs and ink, charcoal, a garden cane and an annual pass to Oxford Botanic Garden.  You are welcome to bring along to the course any additional materials, plus your own sketchbook. 

To watch an interview with Sarah Simblet please follow this link

Booking a Place

Booking can be done on the University of Oxford's online store

Ruskin courses are only available to adults over the age of 16 years. 

There are three payment rates available :

i) Standard Adult : £990.00

ii) Oxford University students, staff and alumni (10% discount) : £891.00

iii) Students (with a current NUS card) and OAPs (5% discount) : £940.50


If you select a discounted booking rate, you will need to present your University alumni/staff card, NUS card, or some form of identification indicating your OAP status at the start of the course.


Cancellation Policy

For information on the Ruskin's cancellation policy in relation to the summer courses, please refer to the short course introductory page

Information and reviews on the book, Botany for the Artist can be found here :

Dr Sarah Simblet

Dr Sarah Simblet is a fine artist, writer, broadcaster and anatomist, whose work explores the relationship between science, history and art. The author of Anatomy for the Artist (2001), The Drawing Book (2005), Botany for the Artist (2010) and co-author of The New Sylva (2014), she is dedicated to sharing and encouraging visual intelligence in others through her drawings, teaching and broadcasting worldwide.

She is Tutor in Anatomy at the Ruskin School of Art (Undergraduate BFA) and teaches Short Courses in Anatomy, Botany and Drawing on the Summer School Programme. 

During a teaching visit to South Africa, Sarah was interviewed at Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden and this is available online here :

For more information on Sarah Simblet’s current project, please follow this link: or for more examples of her work google-image Sarah Simblet.