Buy any course, get one free!

FlashsaleIG copy

Through December 7, buy one online art course and receive a second course for free. These are LIFETIME ACCESS courses that never expire. And, if you would like to give one or both courses to someone else, I can email printable gift certificates to your inbox.


  • Go to my Online Courses page.
  • Choose any course and use the BUY NOW button to purchase it.
  • Send me an email at and let me know which course you would like for free. (Need a gift certificate? Just say so!)

Course site links and passwords — or gift certificates — will arrive in your email within 24 hours.


  • Birds & Butterflies on Vintage Postcards
  • Drawn & Decorated Watercolor Lettering
  • Birds in Watercolor and Beyond
  • Birds in Colored Pencil
  • Draw Dogs and Cats
  • Draw Owls: Designed for the Dark
  • Draw Horses and Ponies
  • Drawing Children
  • Eight Flowers Eight Ways
  • The Heirloom Garden in Colored Pencil
  • Botanical Sketchbook Painting
  • Draw and Paint Six Culinary Herbs
  • Draw and Paint Fairies in Nature
  • Draw and Paint the Enchanted World






New Online Course!

Gentle Garden: Botanicals & Pollinators in Carbon Pencil
12 lessons – lifetime video access – start anytime
PLUS one live streamed session (details below) $90

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botanical art

Less smudgy and easier to control than charcoal, richer and darker than graphite — and with no graphite “shine” … carbon pencil is a sensitive and satisfying medium for botanical drawing. In a series of 12 step-by-step video lessons, learn new techniques while drawing a wide range of flowers and their pollinators. Each video is accompanied by illustrated printable pages and a selection of licensed reference images.

KEEP YOUR COURSE ACCESS FOREVER. There is no expiration date for your video access; the password-protected site is yours permanently. Beginning October 1, a new lesson will post weekly for 12 weeks. Work at your own pace. Unlimited instructor feedback is available anytime you like, via email. You do not have to complete a lesson each week — your site password will never expire.

NEW! BEGINNERS WELCOME – THIS IS A “FREEHAND OPTIONAL” COURSE. Please don’t let a lack of drawing experience keep you from the course. Every lesson begins with a demo of how to draw a preliminary sketch in 2B pencil before we begin to layer the carbon pencils… BUT if you prefer to concentrate on carbon pencil blending and shading now, and save the freehand sketching practice for later, I will also provide printable preliminary sketches you can transfer and use to get started. Happy to help!



  • Week 1. Skill builder – soft blending and surface patterns. Draw a carbon pencil study of heliconius butterfly Red Postman.
  • Week 2. Botanical drawing – Use soft blending / surface patterns to draw the dazzling heliconius butterfly Zebra Longwing on flowering lantana.
  • Week 3. Skill builder – creating depth and contrast with layering, also drawing textured stems and leaves. Draw a carbon pencil study of long-stemmed plants you choose.
  • Week 4. Botanical drawing – Use techniques for creating depth and textured leaves to draw hardworking bumblebees on bearded iris.
  • Week 5. Skill builder – drawing over soft tones to create furry, shiny, and velvety textures. Draw a carbon pencil study of the world’s cutest pollinator, the honey possum (Australia).
  • Week 6. Botanical drawing – Use drawing over soft tones to draw flying fox (Pteropus bat) and the exotic wild banana blossom.
  • Week 7: Skill builder – combining carbon pencils to create metallic textures. Draw a carbon pencil study of the wonderfully metallic aquatic leaf beetle.
  • Week 8: Botanical drawing – Use combined carbon pencils to draw a water lily leaf beetle on Nymphea odorata, a fragrant white water lily that traps its pollinators!
  • Week 9: Skill builder – Four steps to a rich solid black background. Draw a carbon pencil study of a creamy magnolia blossom isolated on a black background.
  • Week 10: Botanical drawing – use four-step background technique to draw a moonflower and its nocturnal pollinator, a beautiful sphinx moth, in a nighttime setting.
  • Week 11: Skill builder – blending and detailing to create brick texture and wood texture in carbon pencil. Draw a carbon pencil study of a patterned daylily with weathered brick background.
  • Week 12: Botanical drawing – use blending and detailing to draw heirloom multiflora petunias spilling over a window box, and their hummingbird pollinator.

PLUS – THIS SESSION ONLY! WE WILL HAVE A LIVE-STREAMED DRAWING SESSION TOGETHER. During the course, at a date and time we will mutually decide based on time zones for all students, I will host a one-hour open drawing session in real time using Zoom, a group meeting app where you can simply log in on your phone, tablet or computer and we can talk to one another directly. I will draw during the live session, to help answer any technique questions you may have. More about this as the course unfolds.



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Carbon pencil magic


All is Illusion – 12×16 carbon pencil on hot press watercolor paper

Exquisitely gentle shading, lush velvety black tones… I have completely fallen in love with carbon pencils. I’m working hard on a new online course, so I can share some carbon pencil magic with you.  Gentle Garden will begin October 1, and will focus on using this lovely drawing medium to create botanicals (and their pollinators – bees, butterflies and hummingbirds). The details will be available soon.

To my Journey students

Dear Friends,

I have some news – originally, our year-long course was set to end on June 29, with a bonus lesson to finish out the cycle on July 7.

However… in response to a steady stream of email requests, I am extending the lessons for two months, through the end of August. (We have lots of teachers among us, and summer is their creative time!)

Here is our itinerary for the remaining lessons:

6-1 Beautiful Lookalikes: monarch, viceroy, queen and king butterflies (watercolor sketching)
6-8 Monarch life cycle and host plant in colored pencil (botanical drawing)
6-15 Trompe l’oeil Butterfly Collection in colored pencil (realism)
6-22 Summer wildflowers with a splash (loose watercolor)
6- 29 Summer wildflower color wheel in colored pencil (botanical drawing)

The month of July will focus on birds of prey — from the tiny shrike to the world’s largest raptor, the harpy eagle. Four lessons will feature a different bird and a different technique each week.

Our final month, August, will focus on colored pencil and will be all about animals and their settings. Deer, fox, aquatic animals and even the domestic cat will each have a week this month… with our final lesson going out August 31.

The archives will be open to you permanently, starting on June 30. The July and August lessons will be added to the archives when we conclude.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for joining me in this year of drawing and painting nature. 🙂




The tape is drawn… to secure a sheet of paper that is drawn… which contains a drawn butterfly who uses the illusion of owl eyes to frighten away predators. I love the medium of carbon pencil, with its slightly mysterious feel and lush, bottomless black values. I’m working on a collection of drawings now that will combine wild and tame aspects in a symbolic or narrative way.





Les Papillons

Free pen-and-ink video lesson: Draw a baby robin

Contrary to centuries of popular folklore, the robin is not a reliable sign of spring in most of the world. Hardy and unconcerned with the cold, robins have been known to remain straight through New England winters and to leave breeding grounds on the Arctic tundra not because the temperatures dropped, but only when food supplies grew scarce.

The red-winged blackbird, whose migration is as regular as clockwork, should be our harbinger of spring. But somehow, the robin manages to hold on to his title year after winter-weary year.

In this video lesson, we will use the wonderful textural qualities of pen and ink to draw fledgling robins, just at the brink of flight. Baby birds are fun to draw, because they are so angular and awkward. And all baby birds — robins and otherwise — are wonderful indicators that spring is well and truly here.

Watch the video all the way through and print the illustrated pdf pages before you begin. Happy drawing!

Click to open pdf pages:

If you liked this video, let me know! Email me at to be added to my mailing list. Suggestions for future drawing topics are always welcome, too!



About those robins…


This week’s Journey video lesson is a fun technique — pencil textures over a watercolor base — and our subject is the robin. Lots of folks associate this fellow with the first return of Spring, but actually the robin is quite cold-tolerant and often he opts to stay put, instead of flying south for the winter. A better harbinger of warmer days would be the noisy and numerous red-winged blackbird.

Free: Paint a Spring Hare


Easter is only a few weeks away, so here is a video tutorial (and a set of printable pdf pages) to guide you in creating a spring hare in watercolor and pencil. I used 140 lb. Strathmore watercolor paper and a #4 synthetic round brush in the demo, but feel free to substitute if you have different supplies.

This video first appeared in my Draw Paint Letter yearlong course. I hope you enjoy it.

Click to watch video:


Click to print pdf pages:

Draw a Vine Wreath

REF Brown Hare




Something old, something new


Carbon pencil drawing in progress

I was baffled, the first time an art teacher handed me a piece of charcoal. A quiet child who compulsively inked animals on inappropriate surfaces (inside textbooks, on school desks, on walls, on the arms of giggling classmates), I had been enrolled in a Saturday class in hopes that it would channel the drawing urge.

Our subject was an uninspiring bowl of oranges — in retrospect, probably not a wise choice for a classroom full of energetic nine-year-olds. My brittle black stick of vine charcoal snapped in half and peppered the paper with a galaxy of specks and smudges. After a few minutes, I abandoned the still life assignment and sketched a herd of prehistoric horses I had seen in a book on cave paintings. Dark smudged heads and bodies fading to pale bellies, slender galloping legs. The teacher did not approve.

I did not return on the following Saturday, and for the next 51 years I had little interest in drawing with charcoal… until I met the carbon pencil a few weeks ago, and immediately fell in love.

A blend of lamp black and clay, the carbon pencil is harder than traditional charcoal. It produces a deliciously deep, flat black with none of the annoying shine that graphite can leave on the paper. The carbon pencil has a lot to teach me about drawing… and none of it involves a bowl of oranges.


Fidelis        carbon pencil, Val Webb 2019