Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

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10/10 stars
based on  94 reviews
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Cost FREE
Start Date On demand
Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • On demand

Course Provider

edX online courses
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be tau...
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
22466 reviews

Course Description

Whether an aspiring scientific or medical illustrator or someone who enjoys drawing nature’s wonders, this first-of-its-kind MOOC course is for you.

The field of Natural History Illustration is about observing and illustrating subjects from nature, science and culture, with their linkages to the environment being central.

Our natural world is a fascinating place. Being able to observe and replicate it through illustration provides insights into life that can change how we think about ourselves and our surroundings.

You will learn essential skills and techniques that form the base for creating accurate and stunning replications of subjects from the natural world. This art and culture course is suitable for people looking to enter the illustration discipline as a serious pursuit or just looking to explore a passion.

As world-standard instructors, we will show you practical ways to develop your skills from the outset. Step b...

Whether an aspiring scientific or medical illustrator or someone who enjoys drawing nature’s wonders, this first-of-its-kind MOOC course is for you.

The field of Natural History Illustration is about observing and illustrating subjects from nature, science and culture, with their linkages to the environment being central.

Our natural world is a fascinating place. Being able to observe and replicate it through illustration provides insights into life that can change how we think about ourselves and our surroundings.

You will learn essential skills and techniques that form the base for creating accurate and stunning replications of subjects from the natural world. This art and culture course is suitable for people looking to enter the illustration discipline as a serious pursuit or just looking to explore a passion.

As world-standard instructors, we will show you practical ways to develop your skills from the outset. Step by step, we will cover the fundamentals of Natural History Illustration, from the first observation of a subject in the field to the final replication in the studio.

This online course will teach you enduring skills that can be used in many different ways. Join us to explore, observe and draw the natural world and become part of a scientific tradition steeped in history.

Reviews 10/10 stars
94 Reviews for Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and look forward to each assignment with anticipation. I have created art on a hobbyist level in the past but have thought I was too busy in recent times to sit down and draw. This course has rekindled my enthusiasm and I wish it was longer than 6 weeks. There has been a lot to learn - the process of doing an online course, the content of the course itself and learning to assess both my work and that of others. Despite some issues with the peer assessment process, that was due to confusion among some of the participants and not a fault of the course. I particularly have enjoyed participating in the Facebook group which was established to support the course. Thanks to my fellow students for their friendship and support. I would certainly enrol in this course again or in a follow up/extended course should it be available.
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10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I am deeply grateful to the instructors and the university who made this course available. Although I received a degree in art education many years ago, I had not done any drawing or painting for a few years until this course. This course helped motivate me to begin drawing again. I've always been interested in botanical illustration, but never really dabbled in it until now. I've done landscape drawings, and animal drawings in the past, but I was thankful for the tips and tricks and resources that were given during this course. As it turned out, I didn't have time to complete weeks 4 and 5, but I look forward to perhaps re-taking the course in the future, if it is offered again. Thanks again to the instructors, other students, and the university and EdX. Fantastic course!
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I am really enjoying this course as it has made me look more carefully at nature and more analytical of its creations. It has made me do more research re skeletons and muscles and structure in plants. Peer reviewing has been a great process too with much learning for both the assessed and assessors. For a 101 course it surely delivers. I believe that Edx could benefit from providing more of these 101 creative on line courses as it introduces people as potential students to more courses. If a reasonable fee structure (or pay for course work information as you go...) could be designed, these courses could be expanded to 6 months or longer. A lot of students don't want to attempt let alone pay for an expensive degree. There's a whole leisure industry/art/craft population to tap into out there and not everyone can gain access to 'live' tutors. Most people find solace in creating and exploring 'culture' and the environment. I've al... I am really enjoying this course as it has made me look more carefully at nature and more analytical of its creations. It has made me do more research re skeletons and muscles and structure in plants. Peer reviewing has been a great process too with much learning for both the assessed and assessors. For a 101 course it surely delivers. I believe that Edx could benefit from providing more of these 101 creative on line courses as it introduces people as potential students to more courses. If a reasonable fee structure (or pay for course work information as you go...) could be designed, these courses could be expanded to 6 months or longer. A lot of students don't want to attempt let alone pay for an expensive degree. There's a whole leisure industry/art/craft population to tap into out there and not everyone can gain access to 'live' tutors. Most people find solace in creating and exploring 'culture' and the environment. I've also enjoyed and found extremely supportive, the spin off Facebook support group! I'm ready for NHI 102!
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fran alexander profile image
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fran alexander

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
This has been a great course for me. I am not an artist and I did the course for pleasure and to learn. It ticked both those boxes. I learnt so much from the other course participants as well. Some very talented people who were willing to share their expertise and were so encouraging. Thanks to all involved. You have made a difference in my life.
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Constance Reeder profile image
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Constance Reeder

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I have thoroughly enjoyed this class. I am studying to become a botanical illustrator at present and am extremely focused on watercolor techniques, so this course offered a little break from flowers and helped me to keep fresh on my graphite work as well. Also, I don't think I would have ever considered trying to draw a chipmunk, rabbit or a cockle shell, but I did and I was truly surprised by the results! Blessings to all the people who put this course together. I hope you plan to do more in the future. I would definitely consider taking them when I have the time. Blessings!
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Ingrid Burggraf profile image
Ingrid Burggraf profile image

Ingrid Burggraf

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I have found this learning experience to be the best in my life. Whilst we have covered a huge and sometimes for me a daunting number of skills and challenges (I had never drawn a bird nor manmal before the start of this course) I have loved every minute of the experience. Not only that, I have learned such a lot and greatly developed my confidence where I now view my entire environment as potential drawing material. An enormous plus has also been the meeting online of like minded people who share a love of nature and drawing. Seeing the work of others and receiving their feedback has been invaluable. This 6 week course is basically a glimpse into the 3 year degree course run by Newcastle University. I would LOVE for this course to be run again in 2017 and would definitely participate.
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Fraz haley profile image
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Fraz haley

8/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I thought the course managed to cover all aspects of the subject and has whetted my appetitie to further studies. the videos were short and concise, I would have liked further viewing/reading to be recommended in an attached list. I am hoping htere will be another course from Newcastle Uni
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Chris Seager profile image
Chris Seager profile image

Chris Seager

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I chose this course purely for personal interest. Mainly to take my rather questionable attempts of making doodling marks on a piece of paper up to a level of being a recognisable subject. This course has taught me so much and by following the tutorials within this course I have been able to turn my childish stick figures to a level which others have mistaken for black & white photographs! Like any learning experience you need to do your own research and spend the time to practice a LOT! This course definitely points you in the right direction and provides the focus to achieve amazing things. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to draw what they see in their world
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Janet Threlfo profile image
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Janet Threlfo

8/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
I have enjoyed this course. It forced me to concentrate on drawing which I love but am not very good at. I didn't enjoy marking others work as I feel I don't have the expertise to do so but I did find other students reviews of my work interesting. This course has encouraged me to try harder and even explore other courses.
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student

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 8 months ago
I was always enthusiastic for drawing and wanted to make career in this field. Now I feel that I can live my dream :). Why I was not aware of this course earlier in my life. Better late than never...
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Nick Dalrymple profile image
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Nick Dalrymple

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
This is my third edX class. I have learned a lot from each one, but this is the first one I took for fun, and was it ever. I'm a retired teacher and have always enjoyed painting, drawing and crafts, but I've never had any formal training before this class. I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in drawing and illustrating. From the novice to the professional, everyone will improve their skills from taking this course. PS I am a Master Naturalist (MN) in the United States. MN is a volunteer group with training. Even if I don't continue to hone my skills as an illustrator, the class has helped me be a better observer of nature.
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Dalila Graciela profile image
Dalila Graciela profile image

Dalila Graciela

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
I love Nature and Science. I'm Writter and Scientific divulger.I had published 30 books, specially for children and my dream is to do all the ilustrations by myself. In this course Drawing Nature, Natural History ilustration, my first Mooc ever done,I found all I needed: Excellence in teaching with the Instructors and all the Content of the course. A very positive exchange of communication with thousands of peers from all around the world, and a very usefull and easy internet platform or provider to contain all this. My sincere and deep thanks to New Castle University for giving me this opportunity of learning and sharing my passion. I really Hope to enjoy a Second Part of this Course including how to draw accurately insects, and proffesional techniques abouth how to use and apply colour to owr draws. THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH!! My best wishes to all the Staff of NHI and I hope to see all you again next year. Dalila Giampalmo - Patag... I love Nature and Science. I'm Writter and Scientific divulger.I had published 30 books, specially for children and my dream is to do all the ilustrations by myself. In this course Drawing Nature, Natural History ilustration, my first Mooc ever done,I found all I needed: Excellence in teaching with the Instructors and all the Content of the course. A very positive exchange of communication with thousands of peers from all around the world, and a very usefull and easy internet platform or provider to contain all this. My sincere and deep thanks to New Castle University for giving me this opportunity of learning and sharing my passion. I really Hope to enjoy a Second Part of this Course including how to draw accurately insects, and proffesional techniques abouth how to use and apply colour to owr draws. THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH!! My best wishes to all the Staff of NHI and I hope to see all you again next year. Dalila Giampalmo - Patagonia Argentina.
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John Fitter profile image
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John Fitter

8/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
I loved the whole course and would only hope it could be made longer, maybe 10 weeks, with a little more of instruction in the videos for beginners to learn how to draw/shade. I would love to see a second course on colour/watercolour/paints.
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student

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
A wonderful merging of art and science. It was definitely a challenge, even for someone with previous drawing experience. What I enjoyed was the different way of approaching drawing, i.e. drawing from the left side of your brain, so to speak. Not only did it improve my observational skills, but it made me much more aware of the underlying structure of objects, as skill that is super-useful even in other aspects of art. I also liked the practical approach and that there were tasks to complete.
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Jane Mueller profile image
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Jane Mueller

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
This is the best online course I have ever taken. As a beginner, I learned about the importance of really observing, of getting proportion correct, of understanding the basics of plant structure, and mammal and bird anatomy, and the keys to tonal shading and how to achieve the details of fur, feathers, scales, etc. All of this information was well presented in videos and text, and the assignments challenged students to put their new knowledge to use. Having global classmates, who shared their illustrations of flora and fauna was icing on the cake. Many were very generous about helping their fellow classmates improve their illustration skills. All in all, a totally excellent experience. I'd take this class again in a heartbeat just for the fun of it. Well done University of Newcastle, Australia!
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Kate Jenvey profile image
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Kate Jenvey

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
I absolutely loved this course and learnt some wonderful new skills that I can implement in the future. The course embodied three of my interests in art, nature and science and set about teaching the required skills in a thorough and logical format. This was my first online learning experience and I found the program easy to follow and enjoyed the sense of support and encouragement from the other participants. Congratulations to all involved and making this come to fruition, it was a fantastic concept.
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Ray de vries profile image
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Ray de vries

10/10 starsDropped
2 years, 9 months ago
I loved this course. I was a rank beginner, but it challenged me to observe properly, drove me to look into youtube video's for information where I was lacking which the course couldn't possibly cover, and generally opened my eyes to what was possible i.e. that natural history illustration is a skill, which, with practise, I could also do. Unfortunately I couldn't complete the last assignment owing to sudden work commitments, but I would encourage others to take this course. Enjoyed the camaraderie between students and the very prompt attention by the lecturers to any student questions. For a real beginner, the 3 - 6 hours per week posted isn't really applicable towards the end - for beginners I would say its 6 - 12 hours for the last couple of weeks/assignments. I do hope this course, and others like it, (possibly basic drawing skills?) will be on offer in 2017.
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alfonso e sierra profile image
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alfonso e sierra

10/10 starsTaking Now
2 years, 9 months ago
Excellent content, conferences, videos, drawings from the Course and References, very didactic and enjoyable, I was looking forward for the new addition. Thanks for leaving it posted for us to review, hope you will offer an advanced course in the near future. The Instructors: 5* to all, thank you for your patience and good humor. Thanks to the University and the school for offering this magnificent course.
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Margaret Magennis profile image
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Margaret Magennis

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
Great course! Highly recommended! A really lovely way to engage with nature and enjoy seeing and drawing. Course content was really approachable and the course well-paced with good tuition. Tutors were really engaging and supportive. Well done - this is a great concept for on-line study!
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D V N Sarma profile image
D V N Sarma profile image

D V N Sarma

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
This is a bold and novel experiment in conducting scientific drawing course in MOOC format. I think it is successfull Iin every way
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Rowena Henderson profile image
Rowena Henderson profile image

Rowena Henderson

8/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
I was amazed at the progression in my observation & drawing skills. I was dubious as to how this would be achieved in an online forum, this course over delivered on my expectations. Thank you fro the opportunity, it was fun & educational
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Ellen Auriac profile image
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Ellen Auriac

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
I loved doing this course the information was extensive and the instructors were clear. The web site was user friendly and the feedback quick although to have teacher feedback as well as peer reviews would have been appreciated. Well done edx for providing access to this wonderful fountain of knowledge.
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Patricia Gutierrez profile image
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Patricia Gutierrez

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
This is my first ever course in drawing, as a biologist I always wanted to draw but was terrible at it. This course has given me the techniques both for adequate observation and for drawing and I just can't believe that in 6 weeks I ended up drawing macaws. Of course more practice is needed but the method is so good that one really can learn how to draw nature in a very short time. I am very pleased with this course, it is excellent. The EdX platform works very good, thank you for this course.
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Damiano Niero profile image
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Damiano Niero

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
Amazing course to start approaching natural history illustration. The course is designer for every level and everyone could start it.
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Student

10/10 starsDropped
2 years, 9 months ago
The course content was well presented and accessible even to a complete beginner like me. I enjoyed the teaching which, as ever on an EDX course, was to a high standard. I did not submit my work for assessment as I felt that the time allowed for each piece was not enough for me. However, this has not devalued my experience.
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Kavita K profile image
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Kavita K

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
This is one of the best MOOCs I have done. The organization, content and presentation were excellent. The assignments were well structured and the clear guidelines made for effective peer assessment. The instructors and the reference materials were inspiring. I loved the diversity of learners (and their drawings)- in terms of abilities, geography and approach. As a relative novice, I felt my drawing skills improved tangibly in the 6 weeks of this course and I learnt several useful techniques. The discussion forums were well moderated and supportive. Excellent course!
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student

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
A wonderful course, full of interesting tips to improve your drawing skills or to start from scratch. The evaluation made by other students it's also very useful to refine your week points.
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Sandra McEwen profile image
Sandra McEwen profile image

Sandra McEwen

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
The course content and presentation is brilliant. It provides extremely useful guidance about design and drawing techniques. The pace is comfortable, and online delivery lets you learn at times that suit you. The opportunity to chat with, and learn from, students in other countries is really rewarding.
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Derya Sisik Atalay profile image
Derya Sisik Atalay profile image

Derya Sisik Atalay

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
I found this course very good.If you opened another one in intermediate level I would attend it as well.
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student

10/10 starsCompleted
2 years, 9 months ago
This course is a great opportunity for access to instruction that would normally cost a lot, not to mention that for me for exemple it's on the other side of the world. It is very well structured and ideal for all levels, I took it as a complete beginner and did quite a progress still and I enjoyed the whole process. The objectives were always clearly explained in the lessons and videos. It was a pleasure to follow this course with highly qualified instructors and a staff that was always there to solve all kinds of problems.
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