Botanical Illustration


FACILITATOR :Willie Schlechter


The aim of this workshop is to concentrate on the principles of drawing and watercolour painting of plants. Simple practical exercises will take the student through various stages in order to build up to a final, fairly accurate botanical painting. These exercises will include pencil drawing of a fruit or flower using contour lines and shading to create form; colour mixing and matching and various ways of applying watercolour paints; composition; all in preparation for a final botanical painting. No previous experience in botanical painting is required and students will be given individual attention.


Willie Schlechter received a BA FA (fine art) degree in 2004, and an MPhil VA (illustration) degree in 2008 from the University of Stellenbosch. During his Masters studies he was introduced to botanical art by Vicky Thomas, and has since been working and teaching within this genre. Willie has exhibited his botanical work at various venues in South Africa since 2008, including the Kirstenbosch biennale (2 x bronze medalist), Botalia, Painted Flora (silver medalist) in Lucca, Italy and 21st World Orchid Conference (merit award). Willie has been teaching Art and Design at Stellenberg High School since 2008 and occasionally presents botanical workshops and art classes.




PAINTS Winsor & NewtonArtist Watercolours in a tube or Meimeri, or Sennelier (not Cotmans or cheaper less good paints)

Cadmium Yellow

Cadmium Lemon

French Ultramarine Blue

Winsor Blue green shade (or Cerulean)

Cadmium Red

Permanent Rose

PAPER A large sheet of Arches Hot Pressed 300g watercolour paper

A sketch book or several sheets of sketching paper

A pad of tracing paper (A3 or A4 size)

A flip file for notes and artwork

PENCILS One HB pencil and a 2B sketching pencil

BRUSHES One No. 2 and/or No.4 sizeRotmarder-Kolinsky 3338.04-0590 or

Raphael Series 8404 or W&N Series 3A kolinsky sable with a fine point.

OTHER A board to lean on

A palette preferably with six or more wells (new ones need to be scrubbed with Vim to make them less slippery) or a white plate

A soft eraser

A jar for water

A soft, fine cotton cloth – an old hanky or pillowslip (not polyester)

Scissors / NT Cutter


A plastic container (ice-cream tub) and floral oasis so you can arrange your plant.

A cardboard screen made from two pieces of card approx. A3 size taped together like a book cover

And a plastic tool box to carry everything. (Available from Plastics for Africa, PicknPay )

(Most of this equipment will be available from the art shop in the Neelsie centre at the University)

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