Becoming a Member

The path to membership

The Society has evolved over the last few years and its membership structure has been modernised to fit with the wishes and aspirations of practising artists, existing members, alumni and others interested in this art form. The Society is the foremost organisation supporting and promoting botanical art within the UK and further afield. As such it is also the professional body for those practising the artform.

We now have three main categories of membership

• Fellow Member (formerly called Full membership)
• Foundation Member (formerly called Open membership)
• Student Members (students currently studying the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course)


Fellows are those artists whose work is consistently of a high standard of artistry and observation and who can rejoice in becoming part of a Society that has a broad and yet vibrant selection of artistic styles, while still supporting and highlighting the excellence of exquisite botanical illustration.

This type of membership is restricted to professional, practising artists who require the qualification ‘SBA Fellow’ to demonstrate excellence in this field. Our aim is to encourage and support those at the pinnacle of their artistic prowess.  Our Fellows will be representative of the very best botanical artists from around the UK and the world. There will be a rolling programme of applications going forward.  Your application can be submitted at any time and will be considered for Fellowship at one of two dates per year. This qualification is widely recognised and a requirement for applicants for certain roles in the profession and is only awarded if rigorous criteria are met (set out below under the heading ‘Rules’).

An election committee made up of experienced Fellow Members of the Society and guest judges from the botanical and or art world (when available) will judge your application.

Our Fellow membership application process is separate from our exhibitions. We hope that each applicant’s work will be of such a high standard that we can offer membership on one application but if your work is considered not quite ready, you can apply again for the next application date with new or improved pieces. Elections to Fellow membership take place biannually with application closing dates of 31 January and 31 July.

We want to encourage you and we hope you will aspire to join us, so we have plans to offer ‘portfolio days’ when you can bring / send work in to ask advice, etc. about seeking help on how to improve.

What happens next?

After being elected to Fellow membership you will be entitled to use the letters SBA (Fellow) after your name, signifying a guarantee of excellence in the world of botanical art. The Society will then expect only your finest work to be submitted for our shows, the selection is achieved on points and is not based on personal opinion; your work alone will be your passport to selection.
You will also be bound by our code of conduct which ensures that the worldwide esteem in which the SBA is held is retained.

The application process can be accessed by using this link

Rules of Process/Criteria:

Digital uploads/emailed scanned images of five of your best completed original pieces (this can be two single studies and three compositions or four completed pieces and four sketchbook studies. We prefer to see works that we have not already seen submitted for an exhibition.)
• The election committee may include a professional in the field from outside the Society.
• Written artist statement to be submitted, we request this in order to learn more about you the artist, your work, what is important to you and what you as an artist can bring to the Society.
• Opportunity to view supplementary things such as portfolio, work in progress or sketchbooks to enable the Society to get a fuller picture of your work and style.
• Relevant and appropriate process for overseas/distant applicants so that they are able to apply and not be discriminated against and make the costs of applying more manageable
• Consideration of the applicant’s work in the round and their approach to botanical art e.g. examples of your presence on social media.
• It is preferable but not always essential to have had work, ideally several works, submitted and accepted for a past SBA exhibition.
The Society is also keen to receive applications for Fellow membership from those artists who have completed the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course, especially those who achieved a Distinction or who have gone on to develop their individual style. The Society may approach artists with a proven professional track record and reputation in the field of botanical art or illustration.


1. The most significant benefit is to use the title ‘SBA Fellow’. This internationally recognised qualification demonstrates professional expertise and is a guarantee of professional competence and artistic creativity. Fellowship is a requirement for applicants for certain positions in the field of botanical art and is a widely acknowledged accreditation for commissioners of art, other Fellows and the public in general. It is also a significant recognition of your status as a professional artist whose work is of the highest quality
2. Our Welcome magazine and pack (printed), all about the Society featuring illustrations from our Fellow members
3. Twice yearly digital magazines featuring artwork, articles, tutorials and other items
4. Winter magazine (printed); a celebration of our year in art and the achievements of our members
5. Submit works or articles for our magazines and downloads
6. Have your own artist page in the SBA Fellow artist pages of the website and display the details of all your courses and workshops on the members’ courses page
7. Enter up to six works into the London exhibition at a submission fee of £18 per work (subject to selection)
8. Reduced commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm
9. Membership card and badge
10. A free copy of our show catalogue when attending the exhibition, on production of membership card
11. Have your accepted work feature in our main show catalogue.
12. Advance notice of SBA events
13. Enjoy being associated and feature with other SBA Fellow artists via the publications produced
14. Commercial commissions and opportunities that arise are offered exclusively to our Fellow SBA members
15. Opportunity to exhibit and sell sundry items at shows e.g. books, cards, prints, folios, etc
16. Opportunities to exhibit in satellite SBA shows UK and abroad e.g. Palmengarten, etc.
17. Make connections and gain exposure for your artwork
18. The opportunity to attend the Christmas social event
19. The opportunity to attend free or subsidised trips to museums or other events with your fellow artists
20. The opportunity to attend exclusive SBA study events from time to time
21. Experience being part of an international art organisation, including the opportunity to meet fellow artists and other interested individuals, inspire and gain support from one another and share information and news about the world of botanical art
Subscription fees
UK based artists: £130 pa; outside the UK: £145 pa (higher to cover additional postage costs), due 1 January each year.
An invitation to renew subscriptions is issued each year in January and subscriptions must be paid by 31 March each year.  Failure to do so (without explanation) will mean you cease to be a member.  You will then need to reapply.

FOUNDATION MEMBERSHIP (replaces Open Membership)

The SBA has refined its new level of membership. Foundation membership is available to graduates of our Distance Learning Diploma Course and will be available for a period of one year following graduation. This membership is primarily an intermediary step for members that are inspired to proceed to Fellowship.  Specifically, we hope that our former students will use this membership to move towards the Fellowship qualification should they so wish. We see it as a year for them to consolidate their artistic practice and to prepare their pieces to submit for the application process.

Students qualifying via the Distance Learning Diploma Course (DLDC) who become Foundation members are entitled to use the qualification DipSBA or DipSBA(Dist) after the student’s name for those who were awarded the Society’s Diploma. Foundation members are bound by the Society’s Code of Conduct.

Rules of Process/Criteria:

• Students having successfully completed the Distance Learning Diploma Course will be accepted as a Foundation member for the first year after graduation. It is hoped that they can use this year to consolidate their learning from the Diploma and to use the opportunity to consider how they might develop themselves further as an artist.


• Our Welcome handbook and pack (printed), all about the Society and featuring illustrations from our past and present Fellow members.
• Winter magazine (printed) a celebration of our year in art and the achievements of our members
• Twice yearly digital magazine featuring artwork, articles, tutorials and other items
• Periodic email news
• The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study events
• Enter up to five works into the London exhibition at a submission fee of £18 per work (all work is subject to selection)
• Commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for 75cm or more (to receive this benefit you must be an Foundation member within the month that precedes any of our open shows and membership cannot be back dated)
• Access to on line seminars to aid preparation for Fellow Membership application, from time to time
• Can provide a stepping stone towards Fellowship


Included in the relevant course fees (only applies to students currently studying with the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course)


• Exhibition: up to five works at a submission fee of £18 per work (all work is subject to selection)
• Commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm
• Welcome and biannual magazines (free)
• Twice yearly digital magazine featuring artwork, articles, tutorials and other items
• The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study events


No subscription


• Exhibition: up to five works at submission fee of £18 per work
• Commission on exhibition sales of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm
• Christmas event (chargeable)
• The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study event

All members will be required to have an active email address in their own name and to keep the Society advised of any changes to this or other contact details.

Updated June 2020