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Illustrating The Natural World Weekend

Illustrating The Natural World Weekend

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
Laura McKendry


This course explores different ways to illustrate elements of the natural world including animals, fish, birds, plants and flowers, seasonal produce, and wildlife habitats. We will experiment with methods of injecting character into your drawing whilst studying naturally-occurring texture, form, colour and pattern. You’ll be trying out a range of materials including watercolour, ink, pastel, coloured pencil, along with some altogether less conventional tools. This course will offer a variety of techniques using demonstrations and hands-on practical exercises, culminating in a final piece of work that pulls together all your learning throughout the weekend. We cover a lot of ground during two days - this is an exciting, playful and enriching course that is suitable for all levels.

Who should take this course?

This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in drawing the natural world - from beginners with an interest in drawing to artists seeking new inspiration

What will you take away from the course?

A greater understanding of ways to capture elements of the natural world through illustration; a development of practical skills in a variety of medium including working with texture, pattern, form and colour; a final piece that combines new techniques learned during the course.

Topics covered

  • Drawing aspects of the natural world including animals, birds, plants, flowers, the coast, seasonal produce and nature’s treasures.
  • Practical, playful exercises to create character in drawings.
  • Exploring texture, form, shape, pattern, and mark-making using different techniques.
  • Demonstrations and exercises with charcoal, watercolour, pen and ink, pastel, and other less usual tools.
  • Drawing from life, photo and video references.
  • Creating compositions, patterns and a sense of place.

Entry requirements

No pre-requisites. An interest in exploring the natural world using different materials.

Level: All levels

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Tutor Description

Hi, this is Laura McKendry. I’m a freelance illustrator and specialise in portraying the natural world - animals, plants, food, wildlife… I love to draw! Whether I’m working in charcoal, graphite, watercolour or ink. I thrive on the excitement and trepidation that comes from creating new work and love engendering this process in students. I’ve taught on the Enhanced Illustration and Illustrating Animals short courses at Central Saint Martin’s with Bill and Sion over the past few years and always find it exciting and enriching to see the diversity of work that emerges from students of all ages and backgrounds. Having done several short courses myself over the years, I understand their beauty in offering a relatively brief, but intense, opportunity to learn new techniques and develop existing skills. They’ve always reinvigorated my own professional practice, and I’m very excited to see what emerges this term. I hope to see you there!  

You can view my work here: and


Please bring any specific materials you want to work with, otherwise all materials will be provided.

Available dates