Sunday, February 11, 2018

Nature Journaling

I know what you are thinking......nature journaling in Canada, in February???

but I really think this is a time when we crave it.  I wake up dreaming of birds and green. Where is the colour?

So in the midst of our snowy winter some nature journaling is needed.  We always have access to reference photos, museums, and the zoo is also an alternative.

Now this is not a paid endorsement I am just so blown away by these books and his blog I needed to let you know.

For Christmas I asked for these 2 amazing books.

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling  and The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds.

There is so much information packed into these books I could not believe it....amazing.

But then I thought surely he has a blog or website and I found the treasure trove:

Here is the link to his blog archive.  He teaches a lot, videos his lessons and puts them on youtube.

I watched his whale sketching videos and then went to the Whales Tohora exhibit at Telus Spark.

Well not only has my whale drawing improved (look out Maui here I come :) but I absorbed so much info about whales from his video I had the staff member at the exhibit listening in as I described details to my daughter while looking at the big whale chart.  ("He was impressed, Mom")

For me I like to watch his video, sketch out notes while watching and then add extra details from the books.

Then I try to use what I have learned in practice.

Now I probably won't be out journaling in the wild until we get a chinook but I have lots of reference photos and I'm finding this a good warm-up to the rest of my painting day.

For you teachers out there please check out his blog and videos, he often has kids in his audience.  There is so much information he details about his subject matter while teaching you how to draw it.

See you next time.



  1. want to buy something like this for a gift, someone who thinks they are an artist, lol, can you recommend basic watercolor set of excellent quality, and what you draw with first? thanks, love your blog

    1. Hi Sheryl,
      So a good beginner watercolour set is a Winsor Newton Coton set,
      They sell several small travel sets. I like them because they are portable, easy to refill or replace the pans of paint, and have a good colour palette for nature journaling. If your artist continues you can then move to a more customizable palette with other paints (Daniel Smith or M Graham) but these can be used in the cotman set.
      If you want to splash out a little bit more you can try a Sennelier travel set, these are excellent paints,
      All good travel sets use full or half pans of paint. As you develop as an artist you want to make up your own colour palette and these sets allow you to fill empty pans with your own colours. You fill them with tube colour and then allow them to dry. Then you may up like me with several sets with colours based on seasons etc.
      For drawing you can beat basic straedtler HB pencils with a retractable eraser tool. Hope that helps.