Nature Illustration Certificate Program

Discover your talent as an artist or work in the studio for fun, while you enjoy the surroundings at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The Art Institute program offers individual classes as well as a certificate of completion program in nature art. The unique backdrop of the Museum becomes your class-room while you have the option of drawing birds, mammals, insects and desert botanicals. You can also participate in a wide variety of classes and workshops including oil painting, nature journaling, mixed media and photography.

Experienced, professional artists provide individual instruction in the classroom setting located in the museum’s Baldwin Education Building. Whether you sample a few classes or complete the certificate program, you will increase your appreciation and knowledge of the desert!

Required Courses
The following 14 courses are required if you wish to receive a Certificate of Completion in Nature Art and the recommended sequence of courses may vary per individual. If you enroll with previous experience you may schedule a portfolio appointment with the Director for the possibility of waiving core classes. Core classes waived due to proven ability may be replaced with electives. Most courses consist of exercises, critiques, demonstrations and homework assignments. A list of supplies for each course is available in the Art Institute office and will be sent with your class confirmation.
  • Pencil I
  • Pencil II
  • Color mixing
  • Composition
  • 'Light on Form' or 'Perspective'
  • Watercolor I
  • Watercolor II
  • Colored Pencil I
  • Colored Pencil II
  • Pen & Ink I
  • Pen & Ink II
  • Scratchboard
  • Portfolio Preparation
  • *certificate electives


Elective Courses
Elective courses are designed to increase the participant’s knowledge, ability and experience in nature art and beyond. In addition to the 14 required courses, you must complete at least 100 hours of elective classes. Workshops and classes that count toward the Nature Art Certificate are noted as certificate elective courses in the catalog. Photography courses are not a part of the Nature Art Certificate Program at this time and are considered Non-Certificate electives.

Portfolio Review
Upon completion of all coursework, you will be ready for the portfolio review. Call the Art Institute Director for more information (520) 883-3082 or go online to www.desertmuseum.org/arts.

The Nature Art Program must be completed in its entirety in order to receive a Certificate. Eighty percent of a class must be attended in order to receive credit for that class. Pace of program depends on the individual. Certificates are awarded each spring in conjunction with an annual student art exhibition.