Course: Drawing Skills for Field Notebooks

A Tumamoc Art & Science Course

Each spring since 2018, the Desert Laboratory has hosted its flagship 8-week drawing course. In 2020, we closed the course early due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please join us for future Art and Science Program offerings. 

See below for details of the 2020 course; we will offer this again in Fall 2021 with similar themes each week beginning in late September to early October.


“We have misfiled the significance of drawing because we see it as a professional skill instead of a personal capacity . . . This essential confusion has stunted our understanding of drawing and kept it from being seen as a tool for learning above all else.”

Author and artist D. B. Dowd

Drawing greatly enhances our enjoyment of and learning about the natural world—and it’s a skill that anyone can acquire with instruction and practice.

In this 8-week drawing course you will go behind the scenes of the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill and learn techniques for observing, drawing, and keeping a field notebook with artists Paul Mirocha, Bill Singleton, and Barbara Terkanian.

Tumamoc classes are a unique blend of art and science: sessions will include not only art instruction but also lectures and interactions with research ecologists and naturalists. There is a high student-to-instructor ratio.

The course is suitable for all ability levels: non-artists, artists, scientists, naturalists, and curious lay people—we tailor each class to help everyone learn both drawing skills and the ecology of Tumamoc's denizens and landscape.

Cost for the course

Sign up for one session or all eight: $80 per session, or all 8 at a discount of $550.

BONUS: Sign up for all 8 sessions and receive a set of drawing tools and pouch (graphite pencils, non-photo blue pencil, sharpener, eraser, pen, viewfinder grid).

We are offering a 50% discount for students (limited availability; to apply, please email desertlaboratory@gmail.com and provide your (1) full name(2) which course or session/s you wish to take(3) your student affiliation (non-traditional students of all ages also considered), and (4) a paragraph or two describing how the course or session/s will benefit you.

Refunds available up to 7 days prior to the start of a course or session.

Other notices

Please contact us prior to registering if you have mobility issues. 

Because the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill is a research site and ecological reserve, pets and smoking are not allowed.