For many years, the Society discussed the need for a ‘correspondence course’, where students learn by working and practising on their own on set assignments, then have the work assessed by experienced Tutors. From all over the world, including the UK, frequently requests came from aspirant botanical artists unable to attend a day, weekly or residential course, for whatever reasons, on the subject of how to learn botanical painting.
When writing The Art of Botanical Painting, it became obvious that it would be an excellent textbook for distance learning, thus the Society’s idea for a Distance Learning Diploma Course was born. The Course is not for beginners in watercolour painting but rather for those with some knowledge of the subject and a wish to learn more about botanical art and its associated skills. The Society’s aim is to develop those skills and help to create a good, well-rounded botanical painter.
The Course is open to students anywhere in the world and there are currently students from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Brazil, Canada and the USA as well as Europe and the UK. The Course lasts for 27 months and the fee includes a student subscription to the Society for the duration of the Course.
Students often enquire whether they are good enough to be accepted on the Course. Before application for registration, students will be asked to provide a colour print of their work so that the Course Director can assess their proficiency.
Students often have the goal of membership of the Society, which is a high aim, but those who gain a Distinction on the Course will be eligible for the fast-track membership method.
DipSBA or DipSBA(Dist) may be used after the student’s name for those students who were awarded the Society’s Diploma.
Each of the first eleven assignments is a practise piece and these will be expected to reach the designated tutor by a due date. The subject for each one has been carefully chosen to improve the student’s ability in the main areas of botanical art and illustration, including design. Tutors will award a mark to each assignment as an indication of the student’s current ability, which, together with the accompanying critique or Tutors Assessment Mark Sheet (TAMS) will enable the student to see which areas need to be improved upon. The TAMS will show 10 key areas of assessment and the Tutors will include advice, diagrams and colour notes as necessary. Marks given for assignments will NOT contribute to the Course total. The Course grade will be based solely on three Diploma Portfolio pieces, the sketchbook and an essay.
Students may telephone, at designated times, or email their Tutors throughout the Course. In this way students will be able to take advantage of Tutors’ comments, act upon advice to amend or re-attempt part of the previous assignment, for their own satisfaction and to aid the learning process.
The Introductory meeting will be held in the first year and a Seminar will take place during the second year, both in the Spring during the Annual Open Exhibition of the Society in London, when students can meet Tutors and each other, take the opportunity for social contact and discussion, show the Tutors amended work, talk about any difficulties and take part in practical demonstrations. Students are required to keep a sketchbook throughout the course in which to do exercises, pencil and tonal studies, colour notes and charts and layout sketches as required. This sketchbook will be judged as part of the final Diploma Portfolio. Also included with the final Diploma Portfolio should be an essay, chosen from a list of subjects, which the student can work on for the duration of the Course. Appropriate allowance will be made for students whose first language is not English as the essay will be judged on content and understanding rather than grammar.
Tutors are all respected botanical artists and Members of the SBA with many years of experience in a variety of fields ranging from teaching, illustration, botany and commercial design.
A prospectus, list of assignments, details about starting dates of Courses, application form, fees and payment arrangements are Downloadable as a PDF here Course 13 commences on the 1st January 2016.