5 Online Courses to Learn Naturalist Illustration from Scratch

Learn to create nature-inspired drawings and compositions using different art techniques with the help of expert illustrators

Naturalist illustration developed during the time of great explorations as a way to depict all species discovered in the Americas. Contrary to their scientific counterpart, naturalist illustrations were not realistic representations and could reflect the artist's personal vision.

Other than a pencil, ink, and brush, a naturalist artist also carried a magnifying glass to help them investigate, compare, and measure all sorts of details to best capture what they were observing.

To learn to create naturalist illustrations professionally from scratch, we have selected five courses with five different expert teachers who will share all their tips and techniques.

Naturalist Illustrations with Watercolors: Drawing and Composition, a course by Cristina Cilloniz

Watercolor is a versatile medium that requires a lot of attention to detail and brings calm to those who paint with it.

In this course, you will learn to draw and combine animal figures with botanical elements and complete a naturalist illustration in watercolor under the guidance of botanical illustrator and artist Cristina Cilloniz (@cristina_cilloniz).

Naturalist Bird Illustration with Watercolors, a course by Antonia Reyes Montealegre

Illustrator Antonia Reyes (@antoniapajarito), known as Antonia Pajarito, creates naturalist watercolor paintings that communicate emotions with their details. In her course, Antonia will show you a creative process that will have you open your eyes, mind, and heart to capture all the elements of a bird’s universe.

She will teach you to observe and interpret nature as a 21st-century scientist. You’ll learn about watercolor and how to draw basic bird anatomy, colorful plumage, and more.

Illustrating Nature: A Creative Exploration, a course by Laura McKendry

Laura McKendry (@laura_mckendry) creates attractive fine art prints, greeting cards, wrapping paper, homewares, and more using experimental illustration techniques.

In her course, Laura will teach you to explore watercolor, inks, and unexpected materials to create three pieces inspired by the natural world. You will learn how she incorporates those techniques into her artworks and will inspire you to find creative ways of depicting nature.

Artistic Watercolor Techniques for Illustrating Bird, a course by Sarah Stokes

Sarah Stokes is a self-taught artist who communicates her passion for art and nature through unique watercolor compositions. Her work is exhibited in the United Kingdom at Whitewall Galleries and Clarendon Fine Art.

In her course, Sarah will guide you in creating an illustration of forest life using modern watercolor painting techniques. You will start from the basics and progress through various methods, which will culminate in unique compositions.

Naturalist Animal Illustration with Procreate, a course by Román García Mora

Biologist and illustrator Román García Mora (@romangm) is specialized in scientific and naturalist illustration and has worked for National Geographic and Quo magazines.

In his course, you will learn to examine an animal’s features in detail and recreate them in an attractive and precise visual form, using Procreate on your iPad.


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