Certificate in Natural Science Illustration

Creatively Capture the Natural World


Program Details

  • Location: UW Seattle
  • Duration: 8 months
  • Times: Evenings, Weekends
  • Cost: $5,370

Next start date:

September 2019

Get Details

About this Program

Natural science illustration combines the beauty of nature with the precision of scientific observation. Working in both traditional and digital formats, science illustrators produce work for publication in textbooks, science journals and online sites, as well as for exhibition in museums and art galleries.

In this certificate program, you’ll learn to render detailed zoological and botanical illustrations using a variety of media. We’ll cover a comprehensive set of nature illustration skills using carbon dust, color pencil, stipple pen and ink, watercolor and gouache. You’ll study principles related to forms, biomechanics and structural diversity found in the animal kingdom. Learn digital illustration and online publishing techniques, and get tips on contracts, copyrights and how to market your work. 


Artists who want to hone their visual illustration abilities, along with scientists looking to add or improve these skills.

See Requirements

Video Overview

Bart Rulon, one of the instructors of the Certificate in Natural Science Illustration, shares highlights of the program.

Duration: 03:45

what you'll learn

  • Fundamental principles related to anatomical, cellular and physical form and function
  • Techniques to depict form using light, line, measure and perspective
  • Approaches to accurately creating zoological and vertebrate scientific illustrations
  • How to produce wildlife and botanical drawings, including field sketches
  • Methods to enhance the presentation of finished work 

get hands-on experience

  • Study and render biological specimens provided by the program
  • Practice digital illustration techniques in the state-of-the-art Mac computer lab
  • Take field trips to sites such as the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium and Skagit River Wildlife Refuge
  • Put together a student show for display at a UW gallery

Program Overview

Complete the courses listed below to earn the certificate. You may be able to take individual courses without enrolling in the certificate program; check the course pages for details.

Learning Format


Attend classes part time at one of our convenient locations in the Puget Sound region. You’ll engage face to face with your classmates and instructors as part of a highly interactive curriculum. Learn More »

Program Sessions


Closed Sessions