I’ve been really into art journals as of late, and most recently I’ve been into my nature journal.
It all started because I’ve been walking about 4.5 miles most days. Where I live there is a riparian barrier, an area that’s untouched and left for nature. Luckily, there are trails that go right along these naturals areas, so I tend to walk there.
When I first started walking I was trying to just get through the walk, but now I have a lot more enjoyment for my walks — and even look forward to them — because of the nature along the trails.
On the first day of summer I decided to start keeping a nature journal. In it I record what I observe in my walks. Now I try to find something new and different that I might have missed previously.
I completely look forward to the walks and then I love my time working in my nature journal when I get back. It’s a beautiful way to start the day.
How I Put Together My Nature Journal:
You may recognize my nature journal cover as my art journal that I shared here. I ended up making my nature journal in the same way as I made my art journal and then I switched binders for my art journal and nature journal (because I wanted to put my nature journal in the green binder and my art journal is in a pink binder.)
The papers inside my nature journal are mostly white card stock because I wanted to keep it simple. I added a few envelopes, which I can imagine tucking things into. I also added some map paper throughout the journal.
How I Use my Nature Journal:
Originally I thought that I would take it with me on hikes in nature that I would take specifically to do nature journaling. I haven’t done that yet. Like I mentioned above, I take walks every day and I try to seek out something (or several things) new each day to draw in my nature journal when I get back home.
It’s not ideal to do it this way really, but it’s working for me so far and I’m really enjoying it. I’m sure I’ll fit in some times when I’ll just take my nature journal into nature and do some drawing right at the scene, too.
So I’ll say it right here: I am not good at drawing. However, I think we can all draw. There are certainly people who are more talented or have honed their skills more.
I’m also thinking of this as an exercise to practice drawing, too.
Don’t let your perceived inability to draw keep you from having a nature journal. You can write captions, too. I do that for every drawing.
What I Put in my Nature Journal:
- I put the same heading for each page: date, time (I usually just use a general time like mid-morning, etc.,) where I was and the weather that day.
- Observations of nature: what I see, what I hear, what I smell. Mostly I draw what I see, but sometimes I’ll add in a note about something I heard or smelled as well.
- Drawings of what I saw. Each day I try to pick out some new things I found, but I’ll repeat things, too, especially things that really interest me like butterflies and dragonflies.
- Things I find along the way: feathers, tree bark, small flowers, leaves and most recently butterfly wings. *
- Photos of nature. (I’ve only done this once so far, but I plan to add some photos to my nature journal as well.)
*Only things I find on the ground already. I never pick flowers or take things off of trees and would never ever capture a butterfly. However, when I found butterfly wings on the ground I couldn’t help but collect them. How sad that the butterfly died, but since it already was dead I was excited to examine the wings up close.
How to Start Your Own Nature Journal:
1. You could make your own in binder form like mine if you like. (You can get an idea here of how I did it.) Or you can just pick up any sketchbook or notebook and just start it.
(Hint: I think one reason my binder works so well for me is because I have “blank page fear” and also “I’m going to mess up this entire journal if I mess up a page fear.” The binder helps because it takes all the pressure out of messing up. If I “mess up” I can remove that page and start over and no one will know the difference.
It helps with blank page fear because I actually remove the page while I’m working on it. So the page is still blank, but it’s not an entire book of blank pages. It’s just one page that I’m going to use and experiment with.
I hope that helps if you have either of those fears.)
2. Start paying attention to things in nature. You don’t necessarily have to go into the woods. You could look out your window at a tree and document how it changes through the seasons. You could draw the flowers in your neighborhood. Just start paying attention to the natural world around you.
3. Write the date, the time, where you are and the weather. Or you can record anything else that you want!
4. Draw what you see. If drawing intimidates you, then you could just start by making lists of what you see.
Typically I draw with pencil and then use markers to add color.
5. Repeat 🙂
When you take the time to notice the things all around you, you’ll make a connection to the world that you didn’t have before. If you keep a nature journal you can’t help but notice the small things around you.
I’m just starting this, but I imagine that it will be fascinating to look back and see all the changes as I go through the year as well.
The Nature Jewelry eWorkshop is a great way to get inspired by nature and then make jewelry from that inspiration!
This virtual workshop has 3 parts:
Part 1: Creativity Booster (having to do with nature)
Part 2: Jewelry Making Lessons
Part 3: Jewelry Making Projects
There are 4 Jewelry Making Projects in this workshop!