Botanical Illustration: Parrot Tulips in Coloured PencilCourse FullCourse Cancelled
Tutor: Roger ReynoldsCourse Code: 1221-02


Parrot tulips have such strong colours and fascinating shapes. They really demand to be tackled in coloured pencil. You will be able to choose the complexity of the tulip you want to paint, so the course will suit beginners and the most adventurous botanical artists. Help with techniques and using pencils (including demonstrations) will be provided according to individual needs. This is an opportunity to make use of all those colours!


Last year I offered this course, but because of covid-19 and the lockdown it was cancelled. The tulips I had planted did grow, so I photographed them, thinking they might provide backup when I offered the course again. However my photos were taken using a black background and the effect was quite strong, so this year I am offering parrot tulips from life again, but also from photographs, and (if you feel like it ) on black paper!

Tulips provide lots of colour, and parrot tulips provide lots of shape too. Coloured pencil work gives you the control to do this well, but also requires subtlety in technique to convey the twists, curves and shapes. If you feel like an adventure there are many exciting tulips to paint with fantastic colours and shapes, fiery stripy tulips, dark shining tulips, or highly patterned varieties. Careful help will be provided as you work, techniques, when required, will be demonstrated. Looking at the subtleties of the way light falls on petals is a crucial part of working out how to portray the curvature of your subject, so close observation and trialling of colours may be required. The aim is to push yourself further, no matter what skills you currently possess, and to produce a painting you can be proud of. It is worth reminding yourself that a parrot tulip is so irregular you simply cannot be wrong!

Please bring with you

Tulips are liable to open up in the warmth of a room, and parrot tulips unroll and spread during a day. It is very useful to take a photograph so you can check the original set-up, so please bring smart phones, ipads or other means of making a record for yourself to help you check details.
The best paper is watercolour paper, reasonably thick, 300g/m2 (140lbs) and smooth i.e. hot pressed (HP) such as. Fabriano Classico 5 or Fabriano Artistico. (see below)
Graphite pencils for initial drawing, but soft e.g. B, HB, (not hard pencils H, 2H)
Pencil Eraser – putty rubber ones are particularly useful
If you have mechanical pencil sharpeners, please bring them. (I discourage electric sharpeners, but only because they tend to ‘eat’ pencils.)
A sharp craft knife (Swann-Morton scalpels are best) so you can put a very fine point on your pencils
I usually have a small shallow plastic box with a lid that I can ‘sharpen into’ so that pencil dust can be kept under control round my working area. It might be helpful to set yourself up with something similar.
A large soft brush (or feather) is useful for sweeping away pencil debris from your work.
Paper towel kitchen roll is useful for several jobs.
If you bring or buy pencils please make sure they are from top quality manufactures, e.g. Faber Castell, Caran D’ache, Derwent, Prismacolor, but it doesn’t matter whether they are oil based, wax based or water-soluble. You can only reach quality work from quality pencils! Full sets of 120 Faber Castell pencils will be available on loan. You do not need to go out and buy them.

If you want to illustrate your own tulips please bring them, you will then have your specimens to take home to complete your work. Travelling with tulips can be difficult because the plants can be damaged. Wrapping a brown paper tube round the flower provides travel protection. This is particularly so if you use a train. Specimens will be available in the class and you will be able to take your specimen home with you.

If you feel like working on black paper, and have some that is suitable please bring it. If not, there will be some available from the tutor.

The following items can be purchased from your tutor

A supply of hot pressed paper will be available to purchase at cost price.


Some experience of botanical illustration is preferable for this class. If you are not sure if this is you, please ask!

Course Location

Missenden Abbey
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 0BD


Roger Reynolds

Roger Reynolds

Roger is a botanical illustrator who works in watercolour and coloured pencil. He is a long standing fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists where his work has been awarded a certificate of botanical merit, and has been used in their publications. He has exhibited at their annual exhibition in Westminster since 2004. In 2016 he was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Horticultural Society for his work illustrating plants. He is a member of the Institute for Analytical Plant Illustration which fosters the links between botanists and illustrators and he has an honours degree in botany. In 2018 he was a participant in the day of international botanical art exhibitions and as a member of the Association of British Botanical Art, represented the UK.

27th to 28th Mar 2021
Saturday to Sunday


9.45amStudents arrive
10am-1pmTeaching session
1pmLunch for all - residents may check in
2-5.30pmTeaching session
6.45 for 7pmDinner for residents
From 7-9.15amBreakfast for residents
9.30am-1pmTeaching session
1pmLunch for all
2-5pmLast teaching session

"Roger is an excellent, knowledgeable tutor. Very supportive and helpful." (May 2019)

"Excellent - best course yet."  (Summer School 2019)

"Roger is a patient and generous tutor." (Summer School 2019)

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For Botanical Illustration: Parrot Tulips in Coloured Pencil on 27th to 28th Mar 2021