• Bethany
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. What inspired you to begin nature journaling? My main hobby right now is wildlife photography. Although I love photography, I miss sketching and painting (I used to do a lot growing up). I have just been a bit nervous to jump back into it. 2. Now that you’ve heard from several other journalers about their processes, and had a peek at their journals, which ideas or approaches do you want to try? I really like the concept of doing a daily drawing or a monthly page. It really would show not only what you have observed but also the progress of your skills in a neat format. I also like the addition of boxes or frames around the sketches. It really seemed to make the sketches pop. 3. Do you have a different journaling idea, not mentioned here, that you’d like to share? Not at the moment. I am just excited to learn!
    • 1.  What inspired me to begin Nature Journaling? I work at Cornell Lab and Bird Academy and am exposed to many of the Bartel's Illustrators here and their work that is all over the Cornell Lab. They all have different styles and I love viewing all their art.  I have always loved drawing as well as taking down behavioral observations of animals since I was about 9 years old. I also loved art and enjoyed drawing and painting through Jr. High. However my science goals forced me to take courses other than art. I haven't done much art at all as an adult.  Upon researching new topics for Bird Academy I found that nature journaling is popular at Birding Festivals. When we decided to do a course on it I was very gung ho to take it once it was finished. Meeting Liz Fuller has been inspiring and also seeing the journals of my coworkers.  I look forward to both the art aspect as well as recording animal behavior observations, field marks, and ecosystem interactions. 2. I have similar goals to Shayna so I will probably incorporate a lot of her methods like the zoom, date, time, weather, location, the boxes and taking notes and making comparisons.  I also enjoyed Holly's collages of water colored creatures. I've never been good at putting so many images on one page however. I'm not so good with making good use of space and usually need more "room" for each subject. It might be a challenge to scale down to a smaller level to fit more information on each page. 3. Do I have a different journaling style idea?  I think I will be focusing a lot on documenting behavior and scientific "stats". I did this a lot as a kid. I'd watch Ring-necked Ducks diving and use a stopwatch to time how long each duck spent underwater on dives. Then I found the averages. I was curious as to how long the average duck was under water and if there was a difference between the sexes.  For me there will be a lot of field notes and testing of hypotheses and gathering of data. So not only recording what I see but testing theories and gathering data for analysis.  However I am also getting into art that I can make to hang on my wall so I will also try the various art techniques to improve those skills to make things beautiful or realistic.
    • martha
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I liked the first and last journals.  Both different but similar in style, I might try to incorporate both of those in my journaling.  There is so much to think about and we are starting a huge restoration project at my workplace.  Many trees are being removed and huge equipment has been brought in for this project as part of Project Clear which will help make the water cleaner and less polluted in the future.  It will be interesting to see how my journaling style develops and I hope with this course to be able to document the changes and improvements of this large project.  I have never really attempted to journal so thanks for this opportunity.
    • Stephanie
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      For the past year and a half I have been taking a wildlife tracking course, and we do journaling as part of that. We incorporate small sketches into our records, but they are from photos or books, not generally from real life, and I think my observational skills would be much stronger if I had to do more sketching, including colour, from real life. The watercolour sketches in these examples are gorgeous, and although I am far from having those kinds of skills, I am excited at the prospect of practising and hopefully developing them, and having a much more exciting record of my observations and discoveries to look back at over time.
    • Student Birder
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      My learning style is by doing and I am hoping this course will help me better notice the outside world.
      • I love the bursting out of boxes, the calendar date mini drawings and the zoom be unique all of which I want to try ( remember: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery)
    • Brenda
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I like to draw so when I saw this course I thought I would enjoy it.  Sketching and journaling would provide memories of that particular time.  More ideas about how to do journaling was appealing.
    • Laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Hi, I live just northeast of New York City. INSPIRATION. Our backyard abuts a salt marsh and creek, and we are treated to visits from osprey, hawks, a multitude of birds (especially in winter at our feeder), water fowl and egrets. This, coupled with my desire to document the birds at the feeder besides just keeping a bird list, is what appeals to me about nature journaling. About 10 years ago I took a weeklong Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain workshop in the City (plus two follow up weekend workshops). From these experiences I (re)learned that I could draw, and thoroughly thrived on the process of making sketches and drawings. Because I know IT IS  POSSIBLE, my other inspiration for nature journaling is to get back to making art and taking the time to observe life around me. JOURNAL APPROACHES. I liked all of the journals that were highlighted in the video. Artistically the last one wowed the heck out of me with the stunning art. Organizationally the first one meshes with my way of thinking. Whenever my husband and I take a day trip or travel, I often combine photos of the day with writing, somewhat like a travel journal, and always done so we have a memory of the outing, plus it brightens my day to reread an entry during the dark days of winter. I appreciated the drawing tips of the gentleman who talked about seeing birds as compilations of shapes. For me this will make it easier to begin sketching, as I will not focus on the need to "get it right" but rather on the shapes I see. OTHER JOURNALING IDEAS. I read all the entries prior to sharing mine, and one idea that appealed was a suggestion to include bits and pieces of what might be found nearby, such as a feather or a twig. I intend to take my journal with me on day trips and travels and use it not just for nature journaling but also as an impetus to slow down, observe and journal whatever strikes my fancy. Lastly, this is a birthday present (at my request :-)) and part of what inspired me was the down-to-earth approach of Liz that came across so clearly in all the videos I watched prior to signing up! Cheers, Laurie
      • Christine N.
        Participant
        Chirps: 38
        I am also in NY just south of the Putnam boarder.....we have a plethora of forest to observe.
    • sherry
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      I liked several of the journalers presentations. I was impressed with D. J’s journal of the Mourning Dove and how he used geometric shapes to capture the shape of the bird’s head, body, and wings.  (Balls and triangles).  His vignettes of the spider  captured many different details that I thought were great. I also liked Holly’s journal .  She had individual items like the pine cone, the dead weed.  All of her drawings captured detail of one item along with background notes about each.  I liked that she experimented with pencil, black pen, and watercolor to see which one she liked the best.  I plan to do the same.    
    • Mariana
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      1. As a student of environmental science I am trying to learn continually about every organism I can, it´s physiognomy, taxonomy,  interconnectedness and ecosystem. I was inspired to take this course with the goal that being a keener observer might help me to familiarize myself and better differentiate species from each other; form and function. That applies to the rational naturalist in me, but I also believe, as Humboldt noted, that nature has to be absorbed by the heart and senses as well. Learning to draw, I figured, would be a great way to honor the beauty of the natural world. What catches the eye and goes straight to the soul and elevates the spirit. A celebration of the beauty of life we were to meant to live next to, to protect, and to safeguard for following generations. What better way to honor it than to study it closely and draw or paint it beautifully? 2. I was specially taken aback by two journalers, a gentleman who drew only (no paint or colors) but with a sharp eye for form. And a lady who painted the most beautiful watercolors of everything that crossed her path, seasonally. Both looked to be far above my potential skills (if there happen to be any!) but I appreciated seeing their process and results and hope a little bit of their influence might somehow manifest itself in my work. 3. No, as they are the samples already exceed all my ambitions.
    • Jean
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I love being in nature.  I studied biology and ecology years ago but never got to work in the field.  I am hoping that nature  journaling will get me out more and with a purpose.  I have also studied some art, and I plan to paint when I retire (in a few years), so I am also skill building.  I teach HS chemistry and my job has long days and is pretty stressful so I aIMG_0942[3121]lso want to get some relaxation and joy from journaling. I am not terrible at drawing from photos but I have never drawn animals in nature. That is an observational skill that I would like to bring to my drawing. I am not sure what style I plan to follow.  I think I will use some of all of them and that it will also depend on what -and why- I am sketching.
      • Lucy
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        What a beautiful picture of a butterfly. Did you see this or copy it from a picture? Watercolors? It is very beautiful and peaceful.
      • Jean
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Lucy Hi Lucy, I took a short video and then worked from a frozen frame I liked.  It is Prismacolor pencil.  I believe it is a black swallowtail.   Thanks!

      • Lucia
        Participant
        Chirps: 8
        That's an amazing drawing!!
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I have always been fascinated by the intersection of arts and science. I write science books for kids, and many of my friends are illustrators, so making art about science was a natural next step. The first journal in the examples shown appealed to me most because it had a nice balance of art and text. As a writer, my journals tend to be text-heavy, and I’d like to move towards incorporating more art, so doing the art first was a great suggestion for me. image
    • Denise
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      imageFirst attempt ever at watercolor. Bull elk, Catalooche NC
      • Deborah
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        I love how spontaneous this watercolor feels!
    • Rebecca
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. I have always been a person who likes to be outside at parks and enjoying each time of year.  Recently I started putting native plants in my garden and I take pictures but I love the idea of having a chronicle of what I see in the garden at different times of the year on paper.  I feel more of a connection to things that I write about or attempt to draw.  I have made attempts on my own to have a nature journal  but I really need some good tips on drawing and how to do quick sketches.  I also more recently have started a part-time job as a naturalist and am able to be outside a lot and would love to be able to have a record of what I see. 2.  I like the style of Shayna's journal.  I like the way she has a picture and kind of writes around it. It helps to seem like the space is more filled, used, and seems like  it flows really well.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I love being out in nature and I often take photos. My limited experience with art involves mainly drawing portraits. Since I enjoy gardening and my home is nestled in trees I would love to be able to journal what I see in my environment. I've learned from all of these journals, however, I found  that DJ McNeil's journal appealed to me because of his use of geometric shapes. I believe by using shapes it would help me learn to draw more quickly.  I also like what he said about drawing only what he sees. It would make my drawings more factual. Holly's watercolor art was amazing. I mainly use graphite in the work I've done and I would like to experiment with another medium. I plan to use the recommended moleskin journal, but I think a smaller Canson Mix Media spiral bound tablet, or something similar, would provide more space to draw and write notes. Lisa
    • Pat
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      BC152C5A-C808-4928-9A65-C58C1DECC340_1_201_a I have kept a written journal for years and I like to draw. I started keeping a nature journal for our yard this year and I would like to add drawings to the photos and weather info. I would like to get the kids, grandkids and  house guests to add their nature observations and sketches too! I love the attentiveness and space that spending time drawing something achieves - it feels respectful to the subject and a way to get to know it better. We do see a fair bit of wildlife in our region and even in the yard, like this skunk, and making a drawing seems to bring me back to the moment of the sighting in a deeper way than taking a photo. I am very interested in seeing other journals and approaches to journalling. I loved the example given of a series of sketches to capture a behaviour. That would have been great to do with my skunk, I hope I will get another opportunity! I liked the different approaches to setting up a page.  Using field sketches to capture essential identification characteristics is something I would love to do to help learn more and I liked the note that we can create our own field guides to build our local nature.
      • Coral
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Your skunk is so cute and accurate as well. I hope to someday get to the watercoloring  in my journal.
      • Pat
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Coral I think you just have to get those paints and dive in ... it is a lovely addition to the journal to add colour! And it is fun!

    • 1. I used to draw a lot. I was never really all that good, but I really enjoyed it. Life has a way of getting in the way of things, and before you know it years go by. I've been wanting to start drawing again for a long time. I've also been wanting to get outside more and just enjoy the world. When I saw this course I thought this might get me moving forward on actualizing both of those goals. 2. All of the journalers were inspiring in their own way. One takeaway I got from many of them is the concept of the importance of note taking. I'm definitely going to make an effort to take as many notes as possible in my sketch book.
    • Barry
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. When I was a boy I spent much of my time in tromping through fields, woods, and swamps. I guess I longed to take some of that nature back home with me. One lesson I learned as a boy is that by quietly sitting, I saw so much more. As a young adult I started carrying a notebook with me so I could write my thoughts and observations. During back country skiing and snowshoeing I began sketching animal tracks, eventually adding a leaf or small tree for scale and context. My sketching eventually evolved to become an integral part of my notebooks. I didn't use color, just a number 2 pencil. I was a free spirit in those days and eventually filled several notebooks. As my teaching and research career began taking up much more of my time, my notebooks began filling up with data – columns of numbers – without sketches, without commentaries. The notebooks seemed to have lost soul. My goal in this class is to open my notebook with a fresh mindset. 2. I've learned from all the journalers. I like the way Shayna let her sketches lead her thoughts and allowed her sketches to move out of the boxes. Jewel showed confidence in experimenting. William showed how shading can define a subject. Margaret showed drawing can lead to a more accurate understanding of a subject (her series of sketches reminded me of the Louis Agassiz quote "the best way to see is with a pencil"). BJ's shapes and impressions are good tools to help start a drawing. Holly's perseverance – drawing weekly – as well as her use of color impressed me. 3. No new journaling ideas. Although I've filled some notebooks, I'm still a beginner here. Thanks, Barry CadillacMt_Schoodic_Point
      • Coral
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Hey Barry, I love your journal! It's so full of details and other interesting information. I hope my journal will look like yours one day!
      • Barry
        Participant
        Chirps: 2

        @Coral Thanks so much Coral! The sketches were the result of of sitting for a couple of hours. I wasn't as distracted by other demands at the time.

      • Kim
        Participant
        Chirps: 12
        Barry, I enjoyed your journal!
      • Debra
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        I love your journal! Beautiful , even with no color.
    • Pam
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I was inspired to enroll in this course, as I’ve always wanted to take the time to create a collage-style nature journal. This course came up while I was “taking” a free mixed media art summit.  I enjoyed the couple of lessons I listened to, but I realized this course is a better fit for my interests.  I love being out in nature and don’t get out as often as I’d like to.  I take nature photographs, but I’d like to explore this medium as a way to slow down and take in the details of plants and birds that I love. I enjoyed Jewel’s journal as she allowed herself to experiment as she developed her journaling skills. I like the idea of combining drawings or watercolors with text describing the setting or just musing on thoughts while journaling. And Margaret’s pencil drawings of the hummingbird and noticing the details of its flight and wings looks like a process I would like to try. I’m excited to get started and am waiting for my new supplies to arrive Friday!  Happy journaling everyone!
    • Blinn
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I began nature journalling when I started teaching almost thirty years ago.  I wanted to record my experiences of the natural world, not only with words, but visually, because my words sprang from my observations of beauty and fascination in the natural world. Still at it...Still trying to improve. Never an artist, but want to be better, and have gotten better, but still far from producing a page that truly reflects my experience. Looking forward to seeing that happen. I love the idea of connecting observation, and the drawing, with the thought, which is the writing. That is the heart of the journal for me. Then the journal conveys the story of the soul's connection to place. The journal, for me, should become the story of that connection, and many of the journalists shared their stories, both about process, but also, they shared so much more.   I write inspiring quotes in my journal too, as well as my reflections on them...Again, it is a visual and written record of the story that is inside me as the inside connects with the outside.  
    • Dylan
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I was inspired to start this course because I am dog sitting right now and have lots of free time by myself. I thought that it might be a good way to keep busy in a positive, mindful way. I've also been interested in plants recently, specifically ones native to my area, and I thought that this would be a good way to connect and learn more about them. I was surprised by the amount of variety in style and purpose of all these journals. I liked Margaret an D.J.'s focus on figure for moving animals, just using pencil to take a quick snapshot of their shape. I liked Jewel, William, and Liz's more painterly approach for landscapes and still objects, capturing all the color and texture of the scene. Similarly, I liked Shayna's macro zooms for getting more detail. Overall, I like that all of these journals document not only the ecology outside, but create experiences for the journalers, and document their evolving art and thoughts. I want to use my journal to take time to be mindful, spend more time outside (I'm in Washington state and vitamin D is precious here), learn some more about my local environment, and improve my art skills.
    • Beverly
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. I was intrigued by this course because I often see beautiful bits of nature that I would like to remember and share with others. A camera just doesn't do the subject justice.  (How about an on-line course oin nature photography?) Using watercolors and sketching in the field -- actually sketching in general -- will be new skills. Maybe developing these new techniques will help capture the joy I find in these observations, and my excitement can be contagious. I wish everyone could slow down more often and grow their own sense of wonder (Rachel Carson had it right!)
    • I am incredibly inspired by everyone's stories!! I have never been a drawer/sketcher, and have wanted to try for many years, usually just watercolors during holidays with my children.  I love the idea of a record of nature when travelling, not just photo memories but things that take more time and effort.  Various groups in Michigan are working on bird habitat and the disappearance of species, and I really want to record our native species of flora and fauna before it is gone.
    • B
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I was inspired by students at Ambleside schools who begin keeping a nature journal in Kindergarten and continue with roughly once a week entries through the eighth grade.  They use a dry brush watercolor technique to record images of both flora and fauna and each entry includes date and weather data. It’s fascinating to see the progression of both observational, color mixing, and brush stroke skills developed over time. Not only are these entries artful but they also catalogue a growing wealth of knowledge about the natural world.  I want to grow in those same ways. I am also inspired by the journalers in the video and am looking forward to utilizing Shayna’s zoom feature as well as Margaret’s artful date style.
    • Katherine
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      What inspired me?  I have spent a number of years turning my large backyard into a park-like setting - trees, shrubs, some flowers, a vegetable garden, and a variety of seating areas from which to enjoy my work.  A variety of animals pass through my yard - birds, insects, fox, raccoon, skunk - even though I am in the middle of a large metropolitan area.  Now I have time to really explore what's there!  My partner is an artist and has inspired me to try drawing - something I have been afraid of doing.  I have put my fears aside and I'm ready to really explore what's in my own backyard. What do I want to try?  What I learned from everyone is that their nature journal is their resource - yes, they might share it with others, but really it is there for their own use.  For me that is very freeing - I am not going to worry about the quality of my drawings or my writing, my journal is a place for me to explore and learn, I can't make mistakes.  I want to try pencil, ink and watercolor drawings; quick gesture drawings and more refined ones; writing factual information as well as stories, thoughts, questions.  I want to follow-up my journal work, by looking up more information on the plants and animals that I see.
    • Christine
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I enjoy being outside and noticing what kind of day it will be every morning. I love the change of seasons as one blends into the next here in Pennsylvania. It's almost a relief to have new scenery. I love to write and observe nature. I am a very tentative artist and first have to overcome my fear of failure and lack of confidence that my drawings will not reflect what I observe. I am excited to have some new art supplies and a  journal to begin my learning. Thank you in advance, Liz, for taking us through this process step by step. Chris
      • Christine N.
        Participant
        Chirps: 38
        Tentative is a great word to describe how we begin.......