Nature journaling reptiles is one of my favorite things! Let’s sketch and learn about these animals together with Rachael from Doodlebugs animal adventures. Rachael will share Russian tortoises, weird frogs, as well as a legless lizard! In addition, I will share some other reptile nature journal pages below.
Rachael Wallman is a biologist, mom, and animal lover. She runs Doodlebugs Animal Adventures an animal education business. There are a lot of cool animals living in her house. However, for today’s show we are just going to focus on the reptiles and amphibians.
Nature Journaling Reptiles when they keep moving?!
By this point you might be asking: “How can I draw moving animals?” While Rachael holds up her animals and shares info about them I do my best to capture quick sketches and notes. Here are several tricks I use in this situation:
First, start as soon as possible. The longer you wait to start sketching and nature journaling the harder it will be to start.
Next, think of your drawings as diagrams instead of as definitive works of art. Diagrams can be drawn quickly and capture lots of info.
Draw fast. Draw a lot. Similarly to the last point this takes pressure off your drawing. In reality, if you just keep your pencil moving and you keep looking at your subject then you are succeeding. You are learning. That is what nature journaling is all about.
Fourth, don’t get obsessed with details. Many amphibians and especially reptiles are covered in complex patterns and textures. Trying to capture these details from a moving animal will drive you crazy. Instead, try to capture gesture drawings of the basic shapes and essence of the animal.
Break your subject up and focus on small parts at a time. For example try just drawing the eye over and over again.
The Reptiles we nature journaled in this episode
The Russian Tortoise was the first reptile we nature journaled in this episode.
Rachael took out her big adult gopher snake next! This one was moving slightly less than the tortoise but presented other challenges.
We looked at her Crested Gecko next! This animal was super fun and kept licking its eyeball and jumping onto the camera!
Then it was finally time for an amphibian with a “Dumpy Frog.”
Last but not least we nature journaled a legless lizard!
Here are some more example pages of nature journaling reptiles in other situations
The Polychrus, Uranascodon, and Amazonian Puffing snake were all nature journaled in the reptile room of my friend Roy. You can check out his herpetoculture practice and species in his care on instagram here. If you are interested in nature journaling reptiles it is a good option to find people who raise reptiles and ask to visit their reptile room. Another option is to go to reptile shows or herpetology clubs.
You might remember your math teacher telling you that the answer was important but “showing your work” was also part of the points on a test. As it turns out, your math teacher was right. This principle still applies today, especially for creative professionals such as visual artists. Social media takes sharing your work to a whole ‘nother level.
This concept was driven home to me by Austin Kleon in his aptly named book Show Your Work . I found out about Austin Kleon thanks to Chase Jarvis.
An image from Kleon’s book.
I am an avid learner of new things and my goal right now is to keep my sharing/teaching as up to date with my current passions and studies as possible. It is easy to want to wait until I am an expert about something before posting videos on youtube about it. However, Austin Kleon has convinced me that it is better to learn from a passionate student than a cynical and jaded old expert.
Right now, I am most passionate about learning as much as I can about herpetoculture, snakes, bioactive vivaria, and the scaping of functional and aesthetic miniature ecosystems.
Here is a recent youtube video I made about this exciting learning process that I knew nothing about 6 months ago:
What are you passionate about right now? Are you avidly learning about it? Could you be sharing your process more?
For more of the benefits of showing your work check out this short video about the book:
On October 22nd I will be geeking out with my nature journal at the reptile expo in Santa Rosa at the fairgrounds!! It will be a great opportunity to see a diversity of willing models from around the world. As you might know I am passionate about sketching snakes and really look forward to drawing some of the endlessly fascinating color patterns on their skins.
Look for parking at the Veterans hall across the street. 1351 Maple Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. There will be paid parking available also closer to the entrance to the fairgrounds. To get into the expo costs 10$. Journalers and sketchers will meet inside the Hall of Flowers. Just come inside and look for people with sketchbooks. Bring your small nature journaling shoulder bags if you have them. I will bring my kit that I use when I sketch at zoos and museums. Also bring snacks for yourself and a potluck item to share. We will probably have a chance to return to our cars for the potluck at 12:30.