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

How to Choose a Sketchbook for Nature Journaling

How do I choose a sketchbook for nature journaling? Which paper is best? What size should I choose?

Don’t worry, don’t waste money, and don’t blindly get the same journal as someone else. In this video I show you how to pick the sketchbook that is best for you!

It’s easy to spend more time shopping for a sketchbook than actually nature journaling. And it’s also easy to end up with a sketchbook that is not right for you. In fact, it’s even possible to think you are not good at drawing or not motivated to nature journal when in fact you have a sketchbook that doesn’t fit your needs. Instead of dogmatically telling you which is the universally best sketchbook I’m going to give you the criteria that you need to understand. With an understanding of these criteria you will be able to make your own decision.

Sketchbook for Nature Journaling Criteria:

  1. Size Matters. The size of your paper has a big impact on your nature journaling. If you have too small of a journal it can cramp your style. Making small drawings is often more difficult especially for beginners. A small sketchbook can also be hard to hold while you draw. Too big might be awkward to carry, inconvenient in the field, and too heavy.
  2. Binding. The next criteria to consider is binding. Spiral bound is good for folding back your pages and giving a flat surface to draw. It is also good for durability. However, a sewn binding is preferred by many people. Sewn binding gives you the appearance of a regular book and the spine looks good. You can also write or draw on the spine. The other advantage of sewn binding is you can draw across a 2 page spread which can be really cool. Sewn binding is usually harder to lay flat and they can be hard to hold if you are drawing standing up. Sometimes they are not durable.
  3. Orientation. The two main orientations for journals are “landscape” and “portrait”. Either one comes in a variety of ratios of height to length. I really like a portrait paper with 9″X 12″. And remember even if you like landscape format drawings you can divide a portrait style page up into smaller frames of any shape you want. How to Choose a Sketchbook For Nature Journaling Image 1 showing how orientation of page does not mean you cannot do a landscape on a page with a portrait layout.
Criteria for choosing a sketchbook continued:
  1. Paper type. You could spend your whole life trying to understand different paper types. However, let’s keep it simple. Paper can be understood by it’s ingredients, it’s weight, and it’s surface. Instead of worrying about these too much I recommend just choosing a “mixed media paper” for nature journaling. A mixed media paper will allow you to do some watercolor while still being able to write notes and draw with pen or pencil. I really like the Stillman and Birn Alpha Series Paper.
  2. Cover material. Although it is not the most important criteria the type of cover does have an impact. A stiff cover is easier to hold in the field and protects you paper better. An attractive cover that does not attract dirt and is not easily stained will also help you. This cover has a big impact on the appearance of your journal. If it is too pretty you might be afraid to use it. If it is too ugly or has big logos or stickers on it you might not feel drawn to it.
  3. Paper color. Lately, some people have been using toned paper to great advantage for nature journaling. Toned paper comes in black, gray, and tans. It is good for gouache, colored pencils, and pale subjects. White paper also comes in different “shades.” For more on how to use toned paper see this post by John Muir Laws.

If you are just getting started nature journaling now you know how to choose a sketchbook. But what if you still need some pointers on how to nature journal? This video can help you get started.

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

Best Watercolor Palette

A good watercolor palette is one of the best art investments you can make so I am going to show you my favorite palette and four reasons why it is the best!

When you are nature journaling or even urban sketching you can produce more compelling sketches faster if you have watercolor. As it turns out there are tons of watercolor and palette options out there. However, finding a good portable palette and choosing watercolors that work well is a daunting task. You could spend all your time looking for the right supplies and not have any time left over for making art! Therefore, I’m gonna help you avoid that problem by showing you the best watercolor palette I have found. Let’s get into it. Cue the drum roll!

The best watercolor palette for nature sketching and journaling is the customized palette by John Muir Laws!

You can buy one of these palettes on his website here. But be warned, these palettes are hand made and often run out of stuck so be sure to get yours first. Or you can even make your own from John Muir Laws’ instructions because he is such an amazing and generous guys (more details on how to make your own palette below).

Using the JML watercolor palette in the field
Me using the John Muir Laws watercolor palette for nature journaling.

4 Reasons it is the Best Watercolor Palette

  1. You are going to save so much money! Because this one art tool can eliminate the need for hundreds and hundreds of dollars of other art supplies. You can make so many combinations with the 32 watercolors included in this palette. Also, watercolors are so concentrated they will last a long time.
  2. Excellent Color Choices! Because a professional illustrator and naturalist has carefully chosen all 32 colors you can avoid the guesswork. Therefore you can focus on making the art and learning how to use the colors in your paintings. Most of the colors come from Daniel Smith Fine Watercolors, a small company based in the US that still cares about quality art supplies.
  3. So Organized and Compact! From the arrangement of the colors to the clear labeling on the outside this watercolor kit is dialed in! There are also mixing areas in all the right places. You don’t have to experiment over and over again to find a system because John Muir Laws has done it for you. The kit is also compact enough to fit in your purse or back pocket. That’s a lot of art power in your pocket!
  4.  Field-Tested and Child Approved! Finally, this watercolor palette has been tested by many artists in some of the most challenging field painting conditions! John Muir Laws and myself have both used this palette in places such as British Columbia, the Amazon Jungle, the Serengeti, Rwanda, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the Ecuadorean Cloud Forest. This palette is tough and has stood the test of time.

Ok, One More Reason To get this Watercolor Kit

Last but certainly not least. This watercolor palette is the best because John Muir Laws shares the entire process of how to make it for FREE on his website! Just follow this link. That proves that he believes in this palette so much he would rather share how to make it than just try to make money. What a great guy!

Look at all the colors you can make with this kit! Here is a chart that I made showing all the combinations.

What about a watercolor palette for the studio?

If you want to get some more ideas about what would work good for the studio check out this video

But what paper should I use?

Now that you know the best palette for nature journaling you might want help choosing the best sketchbook. Check out this post where I share all the criteria you need to know to choose the best sketchbook for you!

The Nature Journal Show!

Those of you that follow my youtube channel have seen that I started a weekly nature journaling show! I am really excited about it and have been putting a lot of creative energy into it because I want to help all of you get more our of your nature journaling experience. Let me know if there are any topics you are particularly interested in for future episodes.

Nature Journaling Supplies: What You Need and What You Do Not

People always ask me what nature journaling supplies they should have in their nature journaling kit. Right now, I show you the most important and least important things that I carry into the field. These tools have been with me to the Amazon, the Serengeti, Ecuadorean Cloud Forests, through every rapid in the Grand Canyon and many more adventures.

I will give you a list of the supplies that I use and why I like them. However, even more importantly I will give you a rationale for choosing the supplies that work best for you.

The Main Principle Behind Choosing Your Kit

First and foremost. I believe in an underlying criteria behind everything in your nature journal kit. I subject everything to this test. Ask this simple question:

Does this help me nature journal more?

If the answer to this question is “no” then throw it away. If the answer is “yes” then keep it. For example. Let’s say you buy a new sketchbook on amazon and it has really nice thick watercolor paper. After a month of using this as your main nature journal you notice that you have only filled a few tentative pages. Since the paper is so nice you feel an obligation to do more detailed watercolor paintings. Meanwhile, you look at your old sketchbook, the one with the really cheap paper and see more filled pages. Way more pages.  That watercolor sketchbook might be good for someone’s nature journal kit but not you, not right now at least. It doesn’t matter who recommended it or how much you like it because it failed the principal test.

Sticking to this simple criteria will help you when you have to make the difficult decisions of what to bring in your kit. If you stick to this criteria I promise you will find more joy in your nature journaling and your pages will get better and you will learn more. You will spend less time shopping for art supplies, less time worrying about which paintbrush to take with you, and less time in analysis paralysis. You will also spend less money buying unnecessary art supplies.

My Top 6 Nature Journaling Supplies

  1. Nature Journal Shoulder Bag. I use a Patagonia Mini Mass messenger bag. This is no longer being made but I do a review of the essential aspects in this video: I also describe another shoulder bag that I have tested in this video: The Quest for the Ultimate Nature Journaling Bag Continues!
  2. Sketchbook. This is the most essential part of your kit and has a big impact on how successful you are. I love the Stillman and Birn Alpha series hardcover, wire bound, 9X12 inches. For help choosing the best journal for you check out: How to Choose a Sketchbook for Nature Journaling
  3. Pencil. After your sketchbook a pencil can be the most dependable and basic nature journaling tool. I like mechanical pencils and my favorite one is the Pentel Twist-Erase Click Mechanical Pencil.
  4. Pens. Recently, I switched from pencils to pens in an effort to get finished images more quickly in the field and develop a “fault tolerant” style. I am in love with this Pilot Futayaku Gray and Black Brush pen. It is my favorite drawing tool now.

5. Watercolor Palette. Shortly after I bought a good watercolor palette I gave away all my colored pencils and markers. I believe that watercolor is the best, fastest, easiest way to get color in your nature journal. I review the John Muir Laws palette I use in this post. It was worth every penny.

6. Waterbrushes. I am a firm believer in waterbrushes over traditional watercolor brushes. They make it possible for me to paint in the field with out carrying a water container and are much more convenient for nature journaling. Now, I use mine for most of my studio painting as well. I only use the Pentel Aquash brand in the large size.

 More Nature Journaling Tools

  1.  Binoculars: I have tried a variety of binoculars and by far the best all around binos for nature journaling are the Pentax Papilio Close Focus Binoculars. These are lightweight, inexpensive, good for birds in the distance, and good for flowers and bugs closeup! Since I got mine I never use my more expensive pair for nature journaling. It takes a while to learn how to draw while looking through them and many people struggle with this therefore I made a video showing you how to draw with binoculars.
  2. Opaque Drawing Tools. Despite being the best color option for nature journaling watercolor does have a weakness. Specifically its weakness is its transparency. Basically, if you have to draw highlights on top of a dark color you are screwed. There are a few options that you can use in nature journaling. None are ideal. However, after testing many and throwing many of them away I have chosen two that work. For fine work (water and reflections in animal eyes for example) I use the Uni-ball Signo White Gel Pen. For broader work (such as pale tree trunks and ocean foam) I use the Presto Jumbo Correction Pen.
  3. Binder Clips. Despite their small size these clips are essential for my nature journaling. They keep my paper flat when using watercolor and prevent the wind from flapping the pages all over the place. Medium Binder Clips Box of 12: https://amzn.to/2RrKDVn

Other Tools to Consider

  1. Earplugs. I always have earplugs in my kit. When traveling and when nature journaling at zoos and natural history museums they help me focus.
  2. Paper towel, sock or rag. When you are using watercolor you need to have something to clean your brush on. Many nature journalers use an old white cotton sock and cut a strip off of it so they can wear it on their wrist. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work with how I hold my sketchbook so I just bring a bit of paper towel.
  3. Measuring tools. In order to add quantification to your nature journal page it helps to have measuring tools. I have a goniometer for measuring angles and a slim measuring tape that is meant for sewing. You can find these at John Muir Law’s website store.
  4. Ink Brush. Do you like bold silhouettes and borders? If so you might like the Pentel Pigment Brush Pen. I don’t recommend this one if you will be flying or nature journaling at high altitudes because it can leak in those conditions.

If you are brand new to nature journaling and need help getting started check out How to Nature Journal in 10 Steps