All the Nature Journaling Supplies from Wild Wonder Conference 2021

Below you will find all of the supplies from the 2021 nature journaling conference!

I did my best to find links where you can find all the nature journaling supplies. The intention is to have all of these in one place that is easy to look at for peopel who are going to take the classes still (video recordings post conference) or as reminders for people who took the classes during the conference. It will also be useful for people who did not buy tickets but want to know what supplies the different teachers used. I recommend buying directly from the teachers when possible, I have listed their online stores below. I have also included affiliate links to amazon for supplies that are available there. I will get a small percentage from purchases made there. Click on the link after the name of the art supply or book.

The classes are listed in order from the beginning of the conference and by name of teacher. Most of the text is copied from the teachers own writing I have added occasionally (note from Marley) before giving my own words or information.

Melinda Nakagawa “Journaling Marine Wildlife of Monterey Bay”: Journal: Canson XL Mixed Media spiral sketchbook, 7×10 size. https://amzn.to/3jsobra
She also uses: John Muir Laws’ Sketchbook : http://johnmuirlaws.com/product/the-laws-sketchbook-for-nature-journaling/

Platinum Fountain Pen. medium nib. https://amzn.to/3jt2l6Q
(Note from Marley: I am not sure which converter she uses but there are several that could be used to allow you to use the waterproof ink she recommends)
Carbon (waterproof) ink. https://amzn.to/3Aa7QgJ
Pentel Aquash waterbrush, Medium https://amzn.to/2UeZdRr
and Large https://amzn.to/363vJZv
John Muir Laws’ Custom Palette: http://johnmuirlaws.com/product/custom-watercolor-palette/

Wendy Hollender “Botanical Sketchbook on Kraft Paper with Colored Pencils
Pencil Sharpeners:Recommendations to choose from:

Desktop pencil sharpener:some brands are: Muji https://amzn.to/3Aa8zOZ ,CarlAngel-5(Rodahle or Q-Connect

Hand held pencil sharpener: Faber Castell Pencil sharpener in a box. https://amzn.to/3h4VVcu
Graphite pencil. H lead. I like Tombow H pencil. https://amzn.to/2SzfksG
Erasers:Kneaded eraser https://amzn.to/3drGdWU
Tombow Mono round Zero Eraser https://amzn.to/3h7jXUy
Small see thru Ruler for measuring: Westcott See –thru ruler 12 inch https://amzn.to/361jwVj

Colored pencils: Faber-Castell polychromos colored pencils (note from Marley: here is a set that contains most of her colors. Specific colors she mentioned listed below) https://amzn.to/3y6lwrd
●Cadmium Yellow 107●Cadmium Yellow Lemon 205●Pale Geranium Lake 121●Middle Purple Pink 125●Ultramarine 120●Cobalt Turquoise 153●Permanent Green Olive 167●Earth Green Yellowish 168●Earth Green 172●Dark Cadmium Orange 115●Purple Violet 136●Dark Sepia 175●Dark Indigo 157●Chrome Oxide Green 278●Red Violet 194●White 101●Ivory 103●Warm Grey IV 273●Burnt Ochre 187●Venetian Red 190●Light Yellow Ochre 183●Burnt Sienna 283●Madder 142●Olive Green Yellowish 173●Bistre 170●Dark Flesh 130Faber-Castell

Albrecht Durer Watercolour Pencils: https://amzn.to/2U7Ftzk These have the same color names as the Faber Castell polychromos.●Middle Purple Pink 125●Permanent Green Olive 167●Dark Cadmium Orange 115●Pale Geranium Lake 121●Purple Violet 136●Dark Sepia 175●Cadmium Yellow 107●Burnt Sienna 283●White 101●Light Yellow Ochre 183●Warm Gray IV 273●Earth Green 172●Ultramarine 120

Verithin pencils:*Dark Brown https://amzn.to/3qAJbNV , *Black https://amzn.to/2Ua6zFZ *Gray 70% https://amzn.to/2TnPt7o
Prismacolor White Pencil (Note from Marley: this is a 12 pack which is way cheaper than buying one by itself. Split with a friend or nature journal club) https://amzn.to/3jrdAwI

Brushes:Watercolor brushes by Interlon in sizes: 0/3, 0, 6 https://drawbotanical.com/product/interlon-watercolor-brushes/
Or mix of Waterbrushes from Pentel https://amzn.to/3w088ne
Collapsible Water Cup by Faber Castell https://amzn.to/3x8pMGC
Palette for mixing watercolor pencils:A sheet of Dura-Lar matte film https://amzn.to/2Ua7wy3 for use with Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencils as a mixing palette Or this awesome Caran d’Ache Aquarelle WatercolorPalette https://amzn.to/3Aa873j

Stonehenge Kraft Paper available in pads 9 x 12 inch size or 11 x 14 inch size https://amzn.to/3h1XAzM . I make custom reclosable spiral binding pads that can hold refills of stonehenge kraft paper available at: https://drawbotanical.com/product/custom-hot-press-watercolor-spiral-pad/
Small sheets of tracing paper any kind https://amzn.to/3y8krPW

Embossing Tools for paper Set of 1 -3 small sizes) https://amzn.to/2Te2RLA Frog prong flower holder (optional) Magnifying glass Draftsmen Mini Duster (Brush for wiping away debris) Recommended Text“The Joy of Botanical Drawing”,by Wendy Hollender Art supplies available at: http://www.drawbotanical.com

Amy Schlesser “Doodling Diagrams” No supply list for this class but Amy recommeded this book. “Dear Data” Book: https://amzn.to/3qCygDo This book is also really good on diagrams: https://amzn.to/3qDWOMt

Kristin Antonio “Microscopic Observations of the Natural World”
Portable Carson Micromini Microscope https://amzn.to/3AiUfnl , Phone adapter Clip https://amzn.to/2TfcXvL , foldscope https://www.foldscope.com/

concave slides https://www.carolina.com/microscope-slides-covers/student-quality-concavity-slides/FAM_632970.pr , covers, sample containers

Day 2 of the Nature Journaling Conference

Karen Romano Young “Telling Your Science Stories Visually” Karen did not give a list of supplies but here are some of her books and a great book about visual story telling and comics.

Understanding Comics https://amzn.to/2UbJZgc
Her Books:
Try This https://amzn.to/2ULLxxG , Bug Science, Shark Quest https://amzn.to/3qEn9dl , Doodlebug https://amzn.to/3jvgsc7 , A Girl, a Raccoon and the Midnight Moon https://amzn.to/3w9Snu3

Ryan Petterson “Virtual Fieldtrip: Geology of Death Valley”
Strathmore Visual Journal (mixed media, 9x12in) https://amzn.to/3h4EA3Band a basic ballpoint pen (Bic Cristal, 1.6mm). https://amzn.to/3qAKpc6 “Geology Underfoot in Death Valley” https://amzn.to/3qD5EKf

Mattias Lanas “Field Sketching with Water Soluble Ink”
Pilot Black Razorpoint: https://amzn.to/3weAsCA
Sakura white Gelly roll (assorted sizes): https://amzn.to/3yaOTsx
Sakura water brush (3 sizes): https://amzn.to/3jtHlgi

Roseannn Hanson “Watercolor Made Simple!”
Paint (I do sell the Minimalist Paint Kit https://www.exploringoverland.com/shop/minimalist-paint-kit I demonstrate with, but you can also compile your own. Yellow: a neutral, transparent, non-staining (“lifting”) yellow. My favorite is Cobalt Yellow aka Aureolin (PY40). https://amzn.to/3jv4xL7 Will also work: Hansa Yellow. https://amzn.to/365RzvI You don’t want a really warm yellow such as Quinacridone gold. Magenta: a cool, transparent, non-staining (“lifting”) magenta. My favorite is Quinacridone Rose (PV19) https://amzn.to/3jyTO2m . Will also work: Quinacridone Magenta https://amzn.to/2Tlo3iw . Note: you don’t want a red. Red is not a primary color!Cyan: a cool, transparent, non-staining (“lifting”) blue. My favorite is Manganese Blue Hue (PB15)https://amzn.to/2UjihhO . Will also work: Cerulean (PB35) https://amzn.to/3jx5vXo or Manganese Blue by Old Holland (PB33).Burn Sienna: https://amzn.to/2UWPcJd I like Daniel Smith but any will do. Indanthrone Blue: a warm, transparent dark blue (PB60)https://amzn.to/3AfMAGx . Tools Paint brush (any round-style will do) or water brushWater container (if not using water brush)Micro-fibre cloth or paper towels or old towel PLUS some kleenex Watercolor paper (loose or in notebook), minimum 90-pound weight. Cold-pressed is probably best for beginners. Strathmore 400 series 9X12 90lb cold press https://amzn.to/2UWPsIb Several squares of waxed paper for a fun way to do quick “resists” and a dull pencil to do the transfer

Day 3 of the Nature Journaling Conference

Emilie Lygren “Writing our Way to Wonder: Creating Poetry from Journal Entries” Emilie did not require any special materials but you can find her book of poetry here https://emilielygren.com/books-broadsides/

Carol and Margaret Mackie “Making Your Own Journal: Easy Small Books for Nature Journaling” This awesome class had a very simple supply list you probably have at home. You can also check out their etsy shop http://ArtcrossingsStudio.etsy.com

  •  7 sheets of printer paper
  • · scrap paper
  • · glue stick
  • · scissors
  • · pencil
  • · old credit card

 

Liz Clayton Fuller “Quick Bird Studies in Gouache”
Stillman and Birn Nova Series Tricolor Sketchbook, cool grey toned paper, 7×10”https://amzn.to/3jrsh2V

–  Size 8 Flat Brush (for laying down large areas of color) https://amzn.to/2TewjB7
Size 4 Round Brush https://amzn.to/3h4isGCSize 1 Round Brush (for detail and texture) https://amzn.to/3A8PIns

–  Ceramic palette for color mixing (any palette will do!) https://amzn.to/2TferGj
Airtight palette (note from Marley: Liz did not mention this in her list but I think this is the palette she uses to store her paints. I put my gouache into a regular palette and it totally dried out and crumbled. During here class I saw that she was using two palettes, an airtight one for keeping the colors and another one for mixing. I’m pretty sure this is the airtight one she was using: https://amzn.to/2TmUTQc

–  Small spray bottle for keeping gouache moist https://arttoolkit.com/products/pocket-mister/ use promo code marley15 to get 15% off before July!
Two cups of water, one for clean water and one for rinsing brushes https://arttoolkit.com/products/x-shot-collapsible-water-cup/use promo code marley15
(note from Marley: Below are the colors she has in her palette (bold colors were used in the class. I did not put links to each color tube individually but there is a palette that is similar: Holbein Set of 24 5ml tubes https://amzn.to/3h5Hnte 
–  1st row: Ivory Black https://amzn.to/3ybMQVe
Zinc White, Terre Verte, Emerald Green, Permanent Green Deep, Cobalt Blue, Peacock Blue, Primary Cyan
–  2nd row: Raw Umber, Chinese Orange, Flame Red, Alizarin Crimson, Opera Pink, Violet, Ultra-marine deep, Primary Magenta
–  3rd row: Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Yellow Orange, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Permanent Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Primary Yellow

Erica Stephens ” Journaling the Jurassic: A Fossil Fieldtrip”
* Pencil & eraser (kneaded eraser)
* Journal – preferably with connected pages in the middle (The Laws Sketchbook for Nature Journaling) http://johnmuirlaws.com/product/the-laws-sketchbook-for-nature-journaling/
* Watercolors (Koi Watercolor Pocket Field Sketch Box, comes with water brush)https://amzn.to/2TluK48
* A few different colors of gel pens, colored pencils &/or markers for the metadata (Artwerk gel pen set w/refills)(note from Marley: I spent a while trying to figure out which gel pens she is using, I could not find a brand called Artwerk but these gel pens seem to have a case with that name on them.  https://amzn.to/3y7NX8k https://amzn.to/3yaX4Ff 

Optional: Curiosity ..and love of dinosaurs! (note from Marley: I could not find where to get either of these online, supply your own.

Richard Louv Keynote Speaker

Richard did not mention any supplies but here are some of his books.
“Last child in the woods” https://amzn.to/3hp1wcG
“The Nature Principle” https://amzn.to/3y4xzp0

Day 4 of the Nature Journaling Conference

Painting Shiny Bugs Class with John Muir Laws
Big hat: Jack Recommends going to a garden store and picking the biggest brimmed hat that you can find. He recommends foldable synthetic type hats for durability, packability and longevity. Here is an example from the company Columbia: https://amzn.to/3x8CPI

All of these supplies are available on his website store: http://johnmuirlaws.com/store/
Black Grape Prismacolor Pencil
Non Photo blue Pencil
Aquash Waterbrush
Blue Pencil he used for highlights (not sure what color but it was probably Prismacolor brand

Permanent White Gouache he uses, available if you buy his complete palette or you can just get the gouache here: https://amzn.to/3hp2CVQ

His Palette from his website: http://johnmuirlaws.com/product/custom-watercolor-palette/
Or the individual colors he used in the class
Pthalo Yellow Green https://amzn.to/3jvy47B
Pthalo Blue https://amzn.to/2TmYsG4
Hansa Yellow Light https://amzn.to/3x91ZXc
Quinacridone Gold https://amzn.to/2SBJLOW
Winsor Violet https://amzn.to/3wd81od

Mike Rohde “Creative Lettering for Your Nature Journal”
The Sketchnote Handbook: https://amzn.to/3y8PkDz
The Sketchnote Workbook: https://amzn.to/3hk4hMt
Gel pen or felt tip pen, medium (0.5 or 0.7mm is ideal) black Paper Mate Flair (his favorite pen) 12 pack of black : https://amzn.to/3qGnEUm
Gel or felt tip pen, medium, your favorite color – mine is teal: Sakura Gelly Roll 5 colors including teal, pink, purple, blue, magenta .6 mm https://amzn.to/3qEwAcw
Paper mate flair (his favorite pen) 24 Color pack: https://amzn.to/361uY3e

Mark Simmons “Cartooning Techniques for Journaling”
– Sakura Pigma Microns (I like the chunky 08 size) https://amzn.to/3h6ky8Q
– Zebra Brush Pens (sometimes found under the “Zebra Zensations” brand) Variety pack with 4 types. https://amzn.to/3qDPXCF
– white gel pens and Liquid Paper correction pens for highlights and touchup https://amzn.to/3wbKUdM
(Marley prefers: Jumbo Correction pen for large https://amzn.to/3hmgdxgand Uniball Signo for Fine: Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen: https://amzn.to/3yOAzXV
– Pentel Aquash Water Brush: Pentel Waterbrush Large: https://amzn.to/3v0gLyb
Art alternatives 11X17 Sketchbook: https://www.joann.com/art-alternatives-hard-bound-sketch-book-11in-x-8in-landscape/17639303.html
Understanding Comics book: https://amzn.to/2UbJZgc

Amy Tan “Backyard Chronicles”

(Note from Marley: No special nature journaling supplies are needed for her class but Amy did give this list of her favorite tools and books)

Favorite equipment
For in the field:

  • Custom Nature Journal Bag and Laws Sketchbook (both available in John  Muir Laws’ store: https://johnmuirlaws.com/store/
  • mechanical pencils:   .5 HB,   .5 4B,  .7 HB,  .7 2B,  Pentel Twist-Erase Click Mechanical Pencil:https://amzn.to/3mUxOid
  • selection of  Faber-Castell colored pencils stored in a small plastic case
  • sharpener,  kneaded eraser, smudge stick,  measuring tape, magnifying glass and small binder clips, stored in a pencil pouch

For journaling and sketching The Backyard Chronicles at home:

  • Fiorentina journal refills,  unlined,   7 x 10. (6.25” x 9.5”), 288 pages  (I use my own covers)  (note from Marley: this is the closest thing I could find to to the paper she mentions: https://amzn.to/3h7jp0G )
  • mechanical pencils:   .5 HB,   .5 4B,  .7 HB,  .7 2B
  • Prismacolor colored pencils

For detailed bird drawings:

Bethan Burton “Skyscapitos: Mastering Cloud Shapes and Sky Colors
Arches watercolor paper Arches 300gsm cold pressed watercolour paper: https://amzn.to/2UiUluA (note from Marley…this paper is expensive but has a big effect on your results. I used my normal nature journal paper and some of the techniques that Bethan demonstrated did not work)
Washi tape or masking tape: https://amzn.to/3625eUv
Masking fluid: https://amzn.to/3y9Lfz1
Staedtler Lumicolor permanent pencil: https://amzn.to/3dxAO0p (note from Marley. I’m not totally sure this is the kind of pencil that she mentioned.)

Watercolor: (note from Marley: Bethan mentioned using any watercolor you have. I recommend Daniel Smith and have provided links to those examples of the colors she mentions) lighter blues (such as cerulean, cobalt, ultramarine, manganese and pthalo) to achieve a convincing sky colour. We will also talk about darker blues (such as indigo, prussian or indanthrone blue)

Brushes: two flat brushes (6 mm ~#0 https://amzn.to/2UQjahT and 15 mm ~14# https://amzn.to/3js94OA ) for making washes and a round brush (size 6) for adding detail https://amzn.to/3hrfqev

Dr J. Drew Lanham Keynote Speaker
Some books by him
“The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature” https://amzn.to/3dvVXrE (audiobook) Hardcover: https://amzn.to/364Y2H2
“Sparrow Envy” https://amzn.to/367MyTj

Day 5 of the Nature Journaling Conference

Vitor Velez “Even the Sky is Not the Limit: Creative Layouts”
Supplies coloring pencils from Faber-Castell(polychromos series): .Cold Grey IV.Black.Walnut Brown.Dark Phthalo Green. Here is a set that contains his colors and more. https://amzn.to/3qEPdgt

Sterre Verbokkem: “Working with Toned Paper in Black and White
Strathmore Toned Paper: https://amzn.to/3w3dcr3
Bic Mechanical Pencil. HB or 2B
Black ink https://amzn.to/3dxzASN or very dark watercolour too https://amzn.to/2SBRUTw . Water brush https://amzn.to/3v0gLyb.
Fineliner pens. https://amzn.to/3663Y2K
Faber Castell white charcoal pencil (note from Marley: this pencil is the most essential tool to getting that uniqie style that makes Sterre’s work stand out. https://amzn.to/3dxHOdH
Grey posca marker https://amzn.to/3663lWE

Robin Carlson “Lively and Expressive Field Sketching in Brush Pen and Watercolor”
Fude Demanen Fountain Pen: https://amzn.to/2QBCJby
Pentel Pocket Brush: https://amzn.to/3w7EjRL
Kuretake Fude pen #8: https://amzn.to/3juL1hW
Pentel Waterbrush Large (used with ink): https://amzn.to/3v0gLyb
Carbon ink https://amzn.to/3dxzASN
Aquash gray https://amzn.to/2SHQXcy

Kim McNett “Virtual Fieldtrip: Coastal Alaska”
Dry bags sea to summit : https://amzn.to/3dyyHcS
Prismacolor non-photo blue pencil https://amzn.to/2Uaduz0
Pentel Mechanical Pencil size 0.5 : https://amzn.to/3mUxOid
Micron Pens 01, 03 and05 https://amzn.to/3663Y2K
Clear Pocket Ruler https://amzn.to/3yb6IYt
Pentel Waterbrush Large: https://amzn.to/3v0gLyb
WatercolorPaper(coldpress#140) https://amzn.to/3dwE7Fc
Watercolors:-UltramarineBlue(MGraham) https://amzn.to/3hkMB3n -CobaltBlue(MGraham) https://amzn.to/3AdIBKt -CeruleanBlue(MGraham) https://amzn.to/3jwphCy -CobaltTeal(MGraham)https://amzn.to/3AiCuEE -PermanentAlizarinCrimson(MGraham)https://amzn.to/3x81EUA -QuinacridoneRose(DanielSmith)https://amzn.to/2U8WXvb -BurntSienna(MGraham)https://amzn.to/3666Mg1

Kate Rutter “The Sense-Ational Nature Journal”
Fudenosuke Brush Pen from Tombow. https://amzn.to/3w6gHN9

Birding Homework (live episode)

Do you ever give yourself nature journaling homework?  In this live episode of the Nature Journal Show, Marley shows us how to use birding homework to make us better nature journalers.  Follow along!  You will need: your nature journal, a writing utensil of your choice, a bird guide book, and your computer.

“Whether you’re in the field learning or at home learning – the nature journal is the perfect place to make your learning so much easier, your work so much better, and improve your memory so much more.”

Marley comes prepared with an agenda:
  1. First, he sets up his page so his information stays organized.

    Marley sets up his Sparrow Study
    Marley sets up his page for the sparrow study, using a grid to separate and organize the information for each species.
  2. Second, he uses the bird guide to draw quick sketches of the birds he wants to study.  Marley’s tools of choice:  Pilot Futayaku gray and black brush pen (his favorite!). Tombow brush pen in pale gray.  Pentel waterbrush size large. John Muir Laws’s custom watercolor palette.
  3. Third, he reads the descriptions in the bird guide and adds notes to his journal.  Here, Marley references the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America.
  4. Fourth, he listens to the birds’ songs on Dendroica and creates a sonogram of what he hears.
Marley uses Petersons for his Sparrow Study
Marley uses a bird guide book to find and write characteristics and details about the sparrows in his birding homework.

Why do homework this way?

Why not simply read about the birds in the guides or on a website?  What purpose does it serve to write all of this down when it’s not even your own field notes?  Marley has an answer for this: by writing down the information and interpreting it into your own way of thinking, you remember it better.  This is not busywork – you are training your brain to remember these details so they will serve you when you are out in the field.

Marley notes that it’s important to write down your sources for this information: “Think of it as your metadata!”  It is OK to copy from the book as long as you are not selling your work – but you should always credit your sources.  That way, if you need to revisit or modify the information, or if someone else wants to study it too, you know where it originally came from.

Using Dendroica's spectrogram
Marley uses Dendroica’s spectrogram feature to help him “see” the birdsong

A few extra tips

  • When you’re doing your birding homework, don’t worry about making your drawings perfect.  This is practice, and getting hung up on perfection might make it harder for you to complete the exercises.
  • Some birds, such as sparrows, have different dialects depending on where they are from. For example, a white-crowned sparrow from your area might sound very different from a white-crowned sparrow who lives somewhere else, so try to find a song sample that’s from your region.  If you can’t, try listening to multiple song samples from different areas and seeing where the similarities in them fall.
  • Use “it reminds me of” when you are listening to bird songs.  You can liken a particular note of the song to an instrument, or even to words.  Many birders hear phrases inside the songs that help them to remember their rhythm and cadence.
  • Listen to the song more than once.  Really slow down, and use the spectrogram to help you “see” the song.
  • Drink coffee.
birding homework sparrow study
The birding homework is done! For today…

Now that you’ve done your birding homework, go out into the field and try to use what you’ve learned!  You can always go back and add notes when you’ve learned something new, or do more birding homework to further improve your skills.  Interspersing homework with field study might just be the way to go.  Don’t forget your binoculars!

 

To meet another nature journaler who is also a birder, check out Marley’s interview with Christina Baal.

Are you new to nature journaling? If so, then this post has the basics : How to Nature Journal in 10 Steps

Do you need help choosing nature journaling supplies? In that case check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How to Nature Journal a Collection

Right now, I’m going to show you how to nature journal using the “collection” technique. This is one of the basic nature journaling approaches. You can use it even if you are just getting started with nature journals. Experienced nature journalers will also benefit from this technique.

The basic idea is simple. You are out walking in a nearby park. You brought your nature journal but don’t know where to start. There are birds everywhere, there are wildflowers, and you also notice tons of lichen on the trees. “This is kind of overwhelming!” You think to yourself.  “I only have 20 minutes for nature journaling.” What should you do?

How to Nature Journal a Collection

  • First, you need to choose the category for your collection. The category can be taxonomical, such as plants in the sunflower family (asteraceae), or a collection of warblers. The category could also be “things growing on other things.” In this case you would “collect” lichens, mosses, epiphytes, or fungus.
  • Second, think about your page organization. Do you want to divide your paper up into squares right away? How do you want to organize the individual subjects of your collection?
  • Third, think about how much time you have and how in depth you want to get with each subject of your collection. If you start off putting in a ton of information and details with the first few subjects and then simplify dramatically with the last few it will look bad.
  • Fourth, start drawing and nature journaling the individual subjects. Use words, images, and numbers for each one. Try to keep a consistent style to facilitate comparison and make the collection look better.
Examples of Nature Journal “Collections”
An example of a nature journal collection with birds for how to nature journal a collection
A nature journal collection by Paula Peeters quickly captures bird species that she heard during her nature journaling session in Australia.
A nature journal collection showing different species of mushrooms
A nature journal collection with 10 different mushrooms collected over the course of an hour. Marley Peifer’s nature journal.
Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How To Nature Journal Biocultural Diversity: Mariia Ermilova Terada

Mariia Ermilova Terada shows us how to nature journal biocultural diversity. Not only does she nature journal in three languages but she also incorporates the human-nature connection into her pages. In contrast, most nature journalers today omit this relationship. For example, I often choose nature subjects where I cannot see the human interaction. I frequently exclude hikers, benches, telephone poles from my landscape paintings. Another example is that I rarely nature journal my garden, my salad, or the other aspects of nature my life is directly dependent on.

In addition, we talk about Mariia’s studies, her love of frogs, fabric arts, and the role nature journaling can play in making the world a better place. Don’t miss the lightning round!

How to Nature Journal Your Breakfast

Did you nature journal the plants and animals that you ate for breakfast today? What about the plants or animals that made your clothes? Have you ever included the indigenous names for plants or animals on your page? If nature journaling is supposed to connect us more to nature why do we often avoid the subjects we are most closely connected to?

How to nature journal biocultural diversity

In the above example we can see how Mariia applies nature journaling to an everyday scene. Her neighbor caught a fish and is cooking it. This nature journal page captures that subsistence relationship. In addition she gives the name of the fish in three languages and points out how it is an invasive species. The combination of comic, recipe, and species profile give this page a biocultural significance. how to nature journal biocultural diversityIn contrast, Mariia could have just nature journaled a random butterfly. “What’s wrong with nature journaling a random butterfly?” In fact, there is nothing wrong with choosing a subject just because of an aesthetic interest. But let’s be self aware. Why don’t we nature journal what we eat?

how to nature journal biocultural diversity
How to Nature Journal Biocultural Diversity
  1. First, be curious about local traditional knowledge about nature in the area where you are. What culture has been living there? What was their relationship to the plants and animals and landscapes you are drawing? Is there a way you can recognize and incorporate some of that into your journal? However, be aware of the issue of cultural appropriation.
  2. Second, be curious about cultural context. Even the magnolia in your garden, the chicken in your soup, or your house cat have a cultural how to nature journal biocultural diversitycontext. Even a quick search on google could find some cool background. What if you included a map, names in other languages, or historic references next to that sketch of your feline or flower?
  3. Finally, what are some biocultural connections from your own life? You can also try to nature journal some of the aspects of your own life that are connected to nature. What plants, animals, fungi, minerals etc do you relate to on a daily basis?

See more of Mariia’s work: https://taplink.cc/mariia_ermilova_terada

Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How to Nature Journal Old Trees

Drawing old trees is one of my favorites! I’m gonna show you how to nature journal old trees; in this case a charismatic old oak tree. I’ll use ink, watercolor, and graphite pencil to draw a portrait of the tree, sketch the basic scene, illustrate lea, and depict some of the moss. I will also talk about other nature journaling techniques and watercolor tips.

It was a cold January day in the mountains of Northern California. The weather forecast predicted snow later that day. Despite the cold and my low energy I knew this was my only chance. Because if it snowed I would be stuck up here and unable to get home to edit this video for you.

It’s at times like these where you need a system.

How to Nature Journal Old Trees in  5 Steps
  1. Firstly, start with metadata. Always start with metadata: location, date, time, weather, etc
  2. Next, simplify the complex. Old trees fascinate us partly because of their complexity. You need to simplify or you will be overwhelmed. Starting with thumbnails and using a viewfinder will help enormously.
  3. Third, prioritize value relationships over color. Value is the difference between light and dark. This is one of the main visual priorities. For more about value see this post by John Muir Laws called “Color gets all the credit: Value does all the work.”
  4. Next, zoom in on details. What are some details you can add? Try drawing the leaves, the flowers, the seeds.
  5. Lastly, don’t settle with just a portrait. It is very fun to paint the portrait of a tree. However, by itself this is not nature journaling. Try to incorporate some notes, some measurements, some contextual information or diagrams. Did any birds visit? What does the bark look like closeup? Adding these perspectives will enrich your page and your experience.
Some of the Supplies I Used on This Trip
Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How To Nature Journal From Your Window!

Do you know how to nature journal from your window? This nature journaling technique is useful on cold, snowy, or rainy days. It is also useful during global pandemics or if you can not get outside for other reasons.

Do you ever not feel motivated to nature journal? Do you ever feel down in the winter? I feel those things too despite what you might think from my video persona.  Luckily, nature journaling makes me feel better regardless of how low energy or depressed I’m feeling. I didn’t want to make this live episode. I had a lot of self doubt about whether I had the right “energy” to nature journal. That’s why I started and ended with a gratitude exercise. Because your mindset is the foundation of your nature journaling and your life.

How to Nature Journal From Your Window in 3 Steps
  1. Set the Stage: You want to do this more than once. Therefore you need to find a good location.
    1. First, it should be convenient. A gorgeous view is nice but if you are teetering at the top of a stairwell it is not worth it. Also consider your family movements. Where will you be disturbed the least? The less energy to initiate a session the better. If you have to move a ton of furniture each time forget it.
    2. Second, it should be consistent. This way you get into a habit more easily.
    3. Last, consider the view. Is there a variety of stuff to see?
  2. Set Your Expectations: Ok, maybe this should have been first. Create realistic expectations and clarify your goals around nature journaling from the window. I strongly recommend input based goals not output based goals. For example, “I will nature journal from my window for 15 minutes every day.” In contrast “I will paint a pretty sunset in watercolor every day.”Which of these goals is more achievable?
Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How to Nature Journal Where You Grew Up

What was your connection to nature where you grew up? In this video, I show you how to nature journal where you grew up as I explore the natural area I first explored and fell in love with as a kid. Come on this adventure with me. See where I went as a kid. We’ll nature journal Southern California plants and nature mysteries. In addition we will  learn some techniques for reconnecting to a place.

Nature journaling is a powerful tool for science and for art. However, many people forget that journaling is probably the most powerful tool for connecting with feelings. Despite the direction science has gone in we cannot truly separate emotions from our connection with and understanding of nature. In fact, we can improve our nature journal pages by including more of these feelings. Not only that but when you get the feelings out of your head you can observe more of the world around you and perform better as an artist.

How to Nature Journal Where You Grew Up

  • First, be prepared. You can expect some strong feelings to come up when you visit your childhood nature. Many people will experience grief because their favorite tree from childhood is cut down. You might have lots of anger come up because the whole natural area has been developed. Be prepared for some emotions to come up. Try to be well resourced before you go. Did you get enough sleep? Do you have other major emotional drains in your life right now? If you are stressed in other ways it may make you more sensitive and reactive to what comes up for you.
  • Second, journal what is. For most people things have changed since they were a kid. This might make you avoid going back there. “I can’t nature journal there because it has all been developed.” “I can’t nature journal there because it is private property now.” The solution is to nature journal what is. Don’t ignore the human impacts. That is part of the place now, that is essential to the story. At the very least you could write a title, draw a simple map, and write down a few of your feelings. You will feel better by doing this and you will show respect for a place that helped shape you.
  • Third, use nature journaling to experience the place more like a kid. Your nature journal can help you see the place as you did when you were growing up. The nature journal process can help you slow down and remove the jaded perspective of an adult. This will help you connect to the place more instead of just walking around with your normal adult mind-wandering and ruminating. The default mode network is the part of your brain that will prevent you from connecting to this place.
Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How to Nature Journal Bugs!

We learn how to nature journal bugs and why they matter in this exciting conversation with the Beetle Lady! Why are kids fascinated with bugs? What about bugs grosses some people out? If we only like plants and birds then why should we nature journal bugs? Be prepared for the answers to these questions as well as more fun questions in this episode of the Nature Journal Show.

Stephanie Dole is a PhD entomologist, educator, artist, and mother in the Silicon Valley area. She teaches super fun hands-on bug classes for kids of all ages through her company and alias “Beetle Lady.” I’ve had the fortune of seeing some of her collection, including many pet insects and other invertebrates such as tarantulas. I have also been able to nature journal insects at her house and take her How to Draw Insects class. Check out her awesome reviews and offerings at her website.

Why Nature Journal Bugs?

  • Incomparable beauty. First of all, they are mindbogglingly beautiful. Where else in nature can you see the bright colors, intricate patterns, and fascinating forms of insects?
  • Diversity and Adaptations. Bugs display more diversity than almost any other type of life in addition to their beauty. Not only that, bu they also have some of the most fascinating and extreme behaviors and adaptations! Bugs do weirder stuff than any aliens in science fiction.
  • They are accessible and ubiquitous. Insects and other invertebrates can be found almost anywhere!  Mammals, reptiles, and even birds are not that easy to find or look at. This reason by itself would be enough to make them an important subject for nature journaling.
  • They are essential to ecosystems. Bugs provide so many services that humans could not survive without them. They are also a food source for many animals that people think are more cute. For example: no bugs=no birds.

3 Pro Tips: How to Nature Journal Bugs

  1. Learn to find them. First of all, you should improve your ability to find cool bugs in the wild. Practice looking under things, noticing damaged leaves, noticing other signs of invertebrates.
  2. Connect the dots. Pay attention to the relationships that your favorite plants and animals have to bugs. What more can you learn about the birds and plants this way? Even if you “dislike bugs” this could be eye opening.
  3. Get a pet. Bugs actually make great pets. They are good for kids and adults. They can provide a source of endless nature journaling inspiration. To see more about nature journaling pet insect check out this fun episode  with tips on how to nature journal your pet!
Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How to Nature Journal on a Kayak

Learning how to nature journal on a kayak can take your enjoyment of nature to the next level. You are guaranteed to see new things because a kayak is an easy way to access hidden areas. Even a small lake in a crowded park will have niches that you can reach while everyone else is walking on the trails. You can have a more immersive nature experience all to yourself.

However, there are also some challenges about nature journaling from a kayak. These challenges prevent many people from even trying. I made this video to help you overcome those challenges.

Ten Tips for How to Nature Journal on a Kayak

  1. First of all choose a good location. You want a location that is close, convenient, calm, and comfortable. This will make it easier to nature journal.
  2. Practice kayaking and nature journaling separately first. It is exponentially harder to learn two new skills at the same time than to learn one. The more you can practice these skills separately the better you will do when you combine them.
  3. Keep your supplies simple. Don’t bring expensive stuff that you will get precious about. You don’t want to be fumbling with lots of stuff.
  4. Be safe. Follow all safety recommendations for the body of water where you kayak.
  5. Go with a friend. This is safer but also much more motivating.
  6. Plan for the sun. Be sure to wear a hat and sun protection.
  7. Deal with drift. It is hard to stay still while you are nature journaling from a kayak. Some options: use an anchor, do quick sketches only, wedge yourself in plants or mud, use a tandem kayak, or plan for the drift and set yourself up accordingly.
  8. Take care of your basic needs. Warmth, food, hydration, comfort are essential. If you don’t take care of these don’t expect great nature journaling.
  9. Use the kayak for access. In addition to nature journaling in the kayak you can use the kayak to access islands and other areas you normally couldn’t. Then just hop out and do some land-lubber nature journaling.
  10. Lastly, find the right balance between accessibility and protection of your supplies. Inside a ziplock at the bottom of a cinched-down dry bag strapped into the back of your kayak you might be a safe place for your journal but you will never take it out. It will stay dry and safe but it will also be unused. If you leave your journal in your lap while you paddle it might get wet.
Want to learn about watercolor and watch another nature journal adventure? Check out this post.
If you want to learn more about kayaking check out this article at REI.
Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

How to Use a Viewfinder for Drawing Landscapes

Did you know that you can improve a drawing 75% before you even start drawing? Knowing how to use a viewfinder for drawing landscapes is the first step. Whether you are a nature journaler or a plein air painter this video and blog post will help you.

Why Your Eyes Betray You

Your visual system is not setup for making great art. Your visual system is setup for keeping your butt alive. What does that even mean? Our eyes and the visual centers of our brain are good at paying attention to our surroundings. We are good at scanning large areas and paying attention to the big picture. However, there is a lot more information coming through your eyes than what you can fit on your paper or your canvas. This is especially dangerous for drawing landscapes. A lot of times we are attracted to the expansiveness in a landscape. If we aren’t careful we bite off too much. We try too big of a drawing. We get frustrated, we get lost in the details, and we lose touch with the basic artistic priorities.

Your most important job as an artist is to make intentional decisions about what visual information to include and what to ignore.

If you don’t know how to make good decisions or even worse if you don’t realize you have to make decisions then your drawing will suffer. Using a viewfinder helps you be more intentional and disciplined. Your field of view with both eyes is between 200 and 220 degrees! That is far more than you can fit on paper.

How to Use a Viewfinder for Drawing Landscapes

How to make a viewfinder
  1. Save the plastic container that salad mix comes in or get a sheet of cardstock or other heavy paper.
  2. Decide what shape you are going to make your viewfinder. Put some thought into how this shape will fit on your pages. For more about composition and layout of journal pages see this video.
  3. Trace your shape and carefully cut it with an X-acto knife or scissors.
  4. You can add grid lines to help you with proportions.
  5. Go out and use it right away!

Pro tip: Make multiple viewfinders of different shapes and sizes for your kit.

I really started using a viewfinder before my second trip to Tanzania and it really made my nature journal pages much better.How to Use a Viewfinder for Drawing Landscapes

Once you know how to use a viewfinder for drawing landscapes you will thank me!

How to Use a Viewfinder for Drawing Landscapes

If you want a step-by-step guide to landscape drawing in your nature journal check out this post.

Just getting started with nature journaling?

Need more tips? If so, check out this post. It will walk you through how to nature journal in 10 steps.

Need help choosing nature journaling supplies? Check out Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not