Practice Method #3 - How to Make a Nature Journal


Nature Journal 101

There are so many ways to practice what we are learning as we study to become botanical illustrators.  I would like to take time to share with you a more leisurely way.

A Friend Came To Visit From A Distant Land

I have mentioned to you before in a post that my dear friend from England came to visit me in America in the summer of 2016.

Our holiday together was absolutely wonderful in so many ways and as we spent time on different beaches watching our two youngest children play and swim, we were sketching and watercolor painting the scenes around us as well as the snail shells and lily pads our children found.  We made so many memories that we will never forget.

The Best Gift Ever!

One of the gifts that my friend brought me all the way from England was “The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady” by Edith Holden. It is a facsimile reproduction by Michael Joseph/Webb & Bower of Edith’s diary written during the entire year of 1906 in the British countryside.

I love this book and was so inspired when I read through it that I had the thought that my friend and I should do the same with the areas of the world we live in, as heirlooms for our children.

So this is my idea for Practice Method #3– to leisurely practice what we are learning during our journey of botanical illustration.  Here I am using my favorite Strathmore Softcover Mixed Media Sketchbook.

My diary is titled, “The Botanical Diary of An Olallian Lady”. I can’t wait to see what our nature journals will look like at the end of this year.  It will be a wonderful time of researching the areas that we live in, and jotting down Poetry and Scripture of our findings. They will include plants, birds and insects of all kinds, and maybe even small stories of our monthly family outings. Very fun and I highly recommend it for you as well!

First I included an introduction page which includes the area of my study…

As well as a Title page with Genesis 2:24-30.

For January I decided to include a graphite illustration of a botanical composition I have been working on to finish off my Botanical Illustration course.  Holly grows wild in my area and it is the perfect tree branch to include for a winter scene.

I have designated five pages for each month and I want to include some journaling for a few of the days – things that happened during the month of January & poetry, as well as a common bird and chipmunk that I see in our yard in January.  I plan to include some ivy leaves as they continue to grow through the winter as well.

I have been keeping short notes on my calendar to remind me of what the weather was like on different days and some special things our family has done through each month.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower
and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire,
and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
— Isaiah 55:10-11