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October 26, 2016. Dear NewcastleX learner.

Welcome to NewcastleX’s MOOC, Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

Thanks for your interest and being part of our course. We are passionate about drawing in a realistic and beautiful manner and we would love to share some of our knowledge and tips of the trade with you. Our focus is on natural world objects and their surrounding environments and we will teach you how to draw these through simple and easily understood steps.

Course Syllabus


Final drawing: Bonsai oak.

6. week, 2016



Drawing of bird: Dompap

Basic form and comments.

5. week, 2016


Drawing of leaf: Silver poplar

Geometric form, structure, commnets.

4. week, 2016




Drawing of flower: Høstanemone

Geometric form, petal form, flower form, arrangement, flower.

4. week, 2016


field sketch

Drawing field sketches: Juniper

Structure, form, color.

3. week, 2016





field sketches



Drawing birds: Seagull

3. week, 2016

3 items

Drawing: 3 items after own choice.

2. week, 2016.

smal 2







tonal 1

Drawing: Tonal experiments


1. week, 2016.

End of the story:


Now what?


Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101

Course banner

Hi Susanne Birk,

Thank you for being such enthusiastic and supportive participants in our first MOOC! We trust you feel that you have learnt how to observe and draw more accurately. We also hope you have found the course both educational and enjoyable.

We had students ranging from primary/junior school through to professional illustrators in this course. No matter at what level people entered, it is amazing how far you have each progressed with your drawings. It has been inspiring to see those more experienced illustrators share their knowledge so generously with beginners. Hasn’t it been extraordinary to see the large variety of flora and fauna from around the world that you have shared?

We would also like to thank you for your patience as we sorted out a few teething problems. This was the first creative MOOC ever offered by EdX and the first that the University of Newcastle has ever designed! As such, there were a few issues with the platform and delivery that needed to be sorted as we progressed. So, thank you for letting us know when there were problems and for sticking with us!

Based on your feedback and our observations, we would like to offer it again next year. We’re also refining our ideas for the design of the next Natural History Illustration MOOC. Please let us know what you would like in your feedback.

Finally, we would like to offer once again a big thank you. Your willingness to encourage each other, provide useful feedback and give support has been wonderful to see. We hope you stay in contact with each other via the Facebook page and the meet-up groups. Please continue to observe and depict the wonders of nature with the new enthusiasm gained through our course.

Happy illustrating!!
The NHI101x team

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