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Art Classes at the Nature Museum


scientific museum collections displayed in open drawers, including birds, bones, shells, and more

Scientific Illustration Workshops with Alex Boersma
Sundays in September
Beginning at 2pm

Join scientific illustrator Alex Boersma for an afternoon drawing and painting nature! These afternoon workshops will explore using different media for scientific illustration, using our unique museum collections for reference. 

All levels of experience are welcome. Class size is limited, allowing for lots of one on one guidance.

It is required that you arrive to the class with materials. If you would like to include materials in your purchase, please select the appropriate ticket. Materials list can be found in the Eventbrite ticket description. Explore each workshop below for specifics.

Museum admission is included in the ticket price.

Upcoming Workshops

  • pink pressed botanical specimen in a scrapbook

    Botanical Illustration
    Sunday, September 8, 2019

    This workshop will explore using pen, ink, and watercolor to render botanical subjects. Participants will begin drawing in the Nature Museum using pressed plant specimens from the museum’s collections, then venture outside to sketch in the field. The focus will be on increasing participant knowledge about botany, observation of and appreciation for plants, and the skills needed to render plants beautifully, and realistically and scientifically. And, of course, having fun and meeting other plant lovers!

    Cost: $70/member (no materials); $75/non-member (no materials); $95/member (with materials); $100/non-members (with materials)

    Register Here
  • bright blue and green beetles on display

    Insect Illustration
    Sunday, September 15, 2019

    Learn how to capture the intricacies of your favorite tiny critters in this insect drawing workshop! Using specimens from the Nature Museum’s collections, we will create accurate and beautiful pen and ink drawings, while also discussing concepts such as proportion, value, and the challenge of drawing small subjects.

    Cost: $70/member (no materials); $75/non-member (no materials); $80/member (with materials); $85/non-members (with materials)

    Register Here
  • Birghtly colored extinct Carolina parakeets on display

    Painting Birds
    Sunday, September 22, 2019

    Let’s draw birds! This workshop will teach you how to accurately paint birds with watercolor, using the amazing bird specimens in the Nature Museum’s collections for reference. In the process, we’ll touch on subjects such as anatomy and feather structure and arrangement.

    Cost: $70/member (no materials); $75/non-member (no materials); $92/member (with materials); $97/non-members (with materials)

    Register Here
  • scientific museum collections displayed in open drawers, including birds, bones, shells, and more

    Scientific Illustration: Open Art Lab
    Sunday, September 29, 2019

    This workshop is an open art lab featuring an assortment of specimens from the Nature Museum / Chicago Academy of Sciences collections. Attendees bring their own art materials, and we supply specimens and informal instruction and art assistance. It's a great time to continue working on your illustrations and paintings from previous classes, or use your skills to create a new scientific or natural history illustration. Registration for a previous art workshop not required.

    Cost: $30/member; $35/non-member

    Register Here

About the Instructor

image description

Alex Boersma

Alex Boersma is an artist and scientific illustrator from Toronto, ON. She received a BA in Geology and Studio Art from Vassar College in 2015, and a Master’s in Science Illustration from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2017. Her artwork engages with the tradition of natural history illustration as a visual record of our changing relationships to non-human organisms. As an illustrator, Alex works with museums, scientists, and conservationists, creating visuals to engage the public in scientific ideas. Her clients include the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Stanford University, and Penguin Random House. Alex also teaches at Lillstreet Art Center in Ravenswood, where she is currently an artist-in-residence.

Instagram: @aboersmaillustration

Twitter: @boersma_alex

Questions? Email

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