• Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      1. Used to draw frequently and got away from it, but always did nature photos, birding and bird counts through Feederwatch, native plant gardening and fungi. 2. Really liked the monthly approach, since it would encompass changes of season and migrations. Will note info of time, date, weather and location, questions to research. 3. Started my first journal page and it was a deconstruction of a large blue Salvia that has been a magnet for five kinds of butterflies, four kinds of bees and Rubythroated  hummingbirds, before they migrated. There are so many ways to approach it I may do a number of trial pages and see what appeals to me for the future and before the snow flies. Could easily be overwhelmed if not focusing on individual aspects, so will start with flowers and leaves since I know what it is, and research the butterfly and bee types.
    • Sue
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      When I saw the course advertised, I was suddenly taken back to my childhood, way back in the 60's. Sitting at the kitchen table drawing, tracing, painting. I remembered how much I enjoyed it, and that often, my pictures were pretty decent. I thought to myself, could I actually become a fairly competent artist, if I received instruction? Money is tight in our household, but you can't put a price on learning, and so I took the plunge. Lesson one proved to be quite exciting. I was that little girl again, copying from a picture and doing a 'pretty decent' job. Once I saw the very last journalist in the video, I KNEW that was the one for me. I'm a little OCD, and this fits the bill perfectly.  I have set a goal to draw at least twice a week each month.
    • gretchen
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      My 87year old mother in law has kept travel journals for years, now that she is unable to travel she loves looking at then and remembering her past. I wish to do he same, better late then never. I love the idea of using boxes to organize space, I think I might try that. Date ,time ,place and weather , oddly is not something I had thought of. Thanks great first lesson.
    • Tania
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. I started taking nature photos about 20 years ago and my photos are all on my computer & I very rarely look at them because there are too many to sort through.  Nature journaling sounds like a great way to have a more present experience while creating something meaningful to look back on.  I've done some nature journaling here & there but haven't stuck to it on a regular basis. 2. I love the idea about drawing birds as shapes first.  That seems to make it less intimidating for me as I seem to want to draw all the details which is very challenging for me.  I also like the monthly nature journal.
    • Rachel
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I am so excited to take this course! I’m really looking forward to learning more about water color techniques, enhancing my life drawing skills, and honing my observational skills. I’ve always thought that if I had (or have) it to do all over again, I’d be a field biologist. Counting some organism all day and making note of their behaviors and surrounding habitat... that sounds like so much fun to me... I’m also looking forward to making this a regular practice that I can do with my daughters; I can’t wait to go out with them with our sketchbooks and kits and sale what they observe in their world. I want them to have the skills and capacity to appreciate the natural world around them in a deep and purposeful way. They will inevitably think this is ridiculous and want to go build a fort and a zipline with their father, I’m sure. I really like the journals with written observations, date and location; the bio major in me totally geeks out on stuff like that, and I want my journaling process to be about learning about what’s around here in the Pacific Northwest, since it’s not where I grew up and there’s a lot here I’m only moderately familiar with! I also like the idea mentioned in someone’s post about taking a physical sample of the environment and inserting it into the sketchbook later; the only journal I’ve ever kept up with successfully has been a travel journal when I was in college and traveled around Tasmania, with random things glued in from the places I visited and quick sketches of something that might have caught my eye.
    • James
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. I kayak year round and walk the watershed for fitness and realized I am observing the changes in nature and felt drawn to document them for myself especially after observing and counting backyard birds for Cornell School of Ornithology a few years ago. An engineer I know and a fine arts student I know also inspired me with their amazing ability to draw, without any art experience in the case of the engineer and with an impressionistic style of natural things in the case of the fine art student. 2. Having been involved in publishing (not drawing) mechanical technical illustration and documentation awhile back, am drawn to the "callouts" and "exploded views", organization and free flow of a page in a journal but also  impressionistic takes on a subject given how motion and light change on a subject especially when viewed from the water. 3. Hmmm, perhaps to log with a drawing and detail in a journal a morning water close up photo of a very specific natural occurrence like a fallen leaf, the wings of a cow nose ray or a green heron? Framed
      • Dan
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        I like that picture James.  Thanks for your comments and sketch suggestions.  I also like to kayak and be out on the water (I live in San Diego).  There's a great blue heron nest near my house so I will probably be doing some assignments for this class on the bay with the pine trees and the herons.  all the best, Dan
      • Holly
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Dan Great idea. We live in the Ventura area and there is a great Heron nesting area that we like to go to. Perfect!

    • Susana
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      This course was offered to me by my girlfriend at a time where I hit a low point. I am a wildlife veterinarian and have always enjoyed and pursued biology and art,having dabbled in scientific nature illustration and journaling. With my workload becoming excessive and my personal life becoming heavier, I drifted from the things that brought me peace and fun, such as drawing and journaling. Beginning this course has given me something to look forward to and made me excited about drawing and going outside in nature again. I am hoping to build a healthy habit after this course is finished and that it will keep me grounded in myself instead of allowing myself to be lost in my work. Thank you!
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        I love this entry.  You are articulate expressing your goal. Best wishes this is exciting!
      • Dan
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Great to hear that you are doing this course for peace and fun. That's excellent.  I hope the nature journaling in this course brings you moments of happiness and joy.  :)  Best wishes, Dan
    • Paige
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I wanted to start a nature journal when we bought property in the Sierra Nevada foothills in 2006. I bought a couple of books and some supplies, but never seemed to be able to make time. We since sold the property (didn't have time for all the work needed there either!). Now I am recently retired and have a new property, not far from the old one, and I live here full time. Part of my goal for the nature journal is to immerse myself in nature and learn more about the flora, fauna, and geography here. My idea is to have a two page spread for each week, and to spend some time documenting things that week. By next fall, I think it will be cool to have a visual and written record of how things changed throughout the seasons, and I hope to be a lot more familiar with our place in the world.
      • Dan
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        I'm looking forward to seeing your sketches from the Sierra Foothills Paige.  I first got into nature journaling through a field drawing class I took near Downieville (up rt.49).  I live in San Diego now, but my heart is still in the forests of the Sierra.  Best of luck to you in documenting the fall season in your journal.  -Dan
      • Diane
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        Hi Paige. I also live in the foothills near Placerville. Are you nearby?
      • Paige
        Participant
        Chirps: 11

        @Diane Hi Diane--I'm outside of Grass Valley at about 2500 feet. I get up to your area pretty regularly as I am a member of the Boeger Winery "Barberians." We've also been getting our Christmas tree every year in Pollock Pines (Incense Cedar), although we may have to come up with a new plan for that. Sorry for the late reply--I had company for a week and just got back to the class!

    • susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I've done nature journaling off and on for a long time, but not in an organized manner. We had a cabin in Virginia where I would take my watercolors and paint what I would see around the cabin sometimes writing in the margins comments about the color or questions about what I saw. These were buried among my paintings in my painting notebooks. I've always admired and enjoyed looking at a whole nature journal wished I could do one. This class is the best way for me to be consistent in nature journaling and just focus on this one area. Spending time outdoors is  important  and a delight for me.
    • LM
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I was inspired to take this course for many reasons.  I wanted to paint again.  I love nature.  I enjoy looking at paintings of nature and field guides and they are inspiring to say the very least.  I studied the sciences and we were taught to keep field journals.  After watching the videos, I love the idea of having a visual, personal account of visits to nature that can be looked at again and again by myself or others.  I like hearing how the artists built the relationships with the subjects and  how it stimulates the mind when one looks back. One take away I received rom "the journal style" was that it will evolve over time, so I will start with the time and date and go from there.  I liked the idea of a page/period of time ….to inspire one to keep journaling throughout the year whether or not on a trip or adventure.  I look forward to learning and keeping a nature journal.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      1. I have always been intimidated by art of any kind.   Last year I took a year long birding class where I was required to submit field sketches in my homework.   My initial sketches were poorly constructed stick figures that didn't resemble what I was seeing in any way.    With the threat of future humiliation looming, I went online to find how to draw bird videos and came across classes by John Muir Laws.    After working with a single video, my drawing improved enough that my results at least resembled a bird.  I played a bit with learning bird identification through drawing and have found myself actually enjoying the art.   Between the birding class and the art classes,  I learned that, despite loving learning, the outdoors, and nature, I have simply not been curious enough.    I'd like to expand my skills to landscapes, plants, and animals as a way to deepen my connection to and understanding of the natural world. 2.   I liked several of the journaling approaches.    Sketching the outlines of birds and bird postures would finally take me outside to expand on my limited skills in a way that wouldn't be so intimidating.     The use of the journal to solidify something I'm studying really fits with my ultimate goals.   I've been trying to learn the differences between my local trees, and this type of journaling would solidify what I'm learning.    The monthly journal page and beautiful watercolor memories of Liz's journal pages are more of a long term dream goal for me. 3  Ha ha that would be a very long term dream.   Being confident enough in what I'm doing to begin to see my own creativity emerge has always felt like an impossibility.
    • Christina
      Participant
      Chirps: 19
      1. I grew up in southern West Virginia surrounded by the forests of Appalachia, and that's where I spent most of my free time - soaking it all in. Now I live just north of Manhattan (after graduating from Cornell - ILR '84!) and I became a Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension. I love the outdoors. I think plants and birds and insects have stories to tell us, if we just observe... I tried starting a nature journal on a trip to South Africa - I was so disappointed with my childish drawings that I stopped and spent the rest of the trip with my camera by my side. I love making images, and I particularly live the dynamism and sense of life and movement that a drawing gives you. And to tell the truth, I'm dying to learn how to use watercolors, too! 2. The journals in the video are incredible! It's stunning to see how the artists' styles develop over time, and how the image-making and notes created an indelible memory, organizing one's thinking about a plant or a bird or about the clouds on a given day... I like the use of "boxes" or frames around some elements of a drawing or text to make them "pop", and like the quick, gestural drawings of birds to capture the movement of them - almost like a video in pencil or watercolor! Very cool to record the time and date and weather... I think I want to do that, too. 3. I am working through how I want my journal to look - all of the journals in the video had wonderful ideas to incorporate. I like to write as much as I enjoy drawing so I can imagine a lot of notes in my journal. As a garden designer professionally, I'm probably going to focus on color combinations I find in nature as a source of inspiration, so will probably include little palettes of color as notes... IMG_6169IMG_6170 Here are a couple of doodles I made after I signed up for the course - had to try out the new materials!
      • Tu
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        I really like your doodles! The drawings are lovely as are the colors in the watercolors.
      • Vicki
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        Christina, Your doodles are awesome!  Doodle away I'd say.
    • Muriel
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      1. What inspired you to begin nature journaling? I've hiked and traveled all my life taking photos and putting them away, or iPhone photos I seldom look at, and when I do, there are so many observations that I know are lost.  I turn 69 next month and want to begin methodically recording what I actually observe and hope to do it for as long as I keep hiking and traveling. Great memory enhancers. 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? Shayna and Liz have a holistic approach pairing what they saw with what they felt objectively and subjectively. I think I will endeavor to adopt a combination of these.  I also know I will try to capture the scientific structure of animal, vegetable and mineral of what I see, because these comprise the total experience. 3. Do you have a different journaling idea, not mentioned here, that you’d like to share? I hope to slow my pace down to enjoy nature more, and record more detail each day.
    • Kyong
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1.  I really love and enjoy nature. I've never thought of nature journaling, so I wanted to try it out. Plus, it would be nice to slow down and take in nature. This may be something that I try with my students in my classes. 2.  I like the idea of using it as a study tool to learn more about different aspects of organisms and behavior. I do like the idea of doing sketches first and then making notes. It's nice seeing how individualistic and open nature journaling is. 3. As of now, I do not. It's still new to me.
    • Beth
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1. I started keeping a "words only" nature journal one year ago to document the environment of the ocean front inlet and salt marsh where I kayak.  I wanted to know what birds and animals were there at what time of year, what they were doing, etc. etc.  I was brand new to this environment and wanted to eventually know it well enough that I could look forward to migrating animals returning and know the time of year to expect certain changes.  In this year I have tagged Monarchs for a scientific study, assisted with Loggerhead nests and volunteered as an Audubon shorebird steward but mainly I spend hours in my kayak in the ocean inlet observing.  I often refer back to my journal to see if a particular bird was present at this time last year. 2. My drawing skills are limited but I want to overcome being self- conscious of them.  I want to incorporate a lot of facts on my journal page as well as observations and begin to feel comfortable adding the drawings.  The first journal in the video had lots of facts with excellent drawings which appeals to me.
    • Holly
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I have been inspired to start nature journaling because I am a landscape photographer and am looking for different ways to express the beauty that I see in nature. I like the vignettes of the different locations and animals. I am always trying to capture the "grand landscape", so focusing on detail is new to me. I like using the combination of watercolor and fine black markers to add detail.
    • Prudence
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I recently participated in “Birdfest” and took several courses in birdwatching. It is really overwhelming to learn all of the small details you must know in order to identify different birds. The instructor recommended starting a nature journal and training yourself to notice these details by drawing what you see. I am not an artist, but I do hope to find a way to learn some of the techniques that artists use in drawing and painting.
    • Lisa
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I spend as much time outdoors as I can and have always been a collector and observer of the small details that appear.  Since I have dabbled in drawing and painting for a long time as a hobbyist, I have kept a few garden logs with small drawings as a record of planning but never a nature journal!  This is a habit I would like to develop since now I fill my phone with random pictures of interesting things I see when in nature but they do not form the kind of record I would enjoy looking back on.  I appreciated seeing the others' approached and especially like the habit of the last journalist who made a plan to record her observations each day and then each month.  The monthly approach seems like a goal I could manage and enjoy too.  I also liked the idea of using a journal to sort out confusing similarities in nature as one of the journalist describes.  The ferns are a great example since I look at and have photographed many ferns here in Pennsylvania but would love to know them by their names.
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      fullsizeoutput_794This is why I'm taking this course! I saw this unusual  bird on the beach and came home and drew it from memory. I sent the pic to a friend who has her MA in Ornithology with these notes: bird's body was compact & football shaped, dirty rusty colored breast , legs were hidden by the sand bank, very alert and purposeful in gaze and movements. Solitary. She responded," I have no clue what bird it is."  Looking forward to learning a lot!
      • Karen
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        Thanks for sharing that image.   It looks very similar to my attempts to document birds in the field.   Can't wait to see where we go from here
      • Deborah
        Participant
        Chirps: 21

        @Karen Thanks for your encouragement Karen!

      • Alicia
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Could it have been a Red Knot?  I like your drawing though - the little bird has attitude.
      • Deborah
        Participant
        Chirps: 21

        @Alicia Guess what Alicia you are right! Red Knot- first one I have ever seen on the shore of Lavalllette, NJ. I went to Island Beach State Park in NJ and spoke to the naturalist in their Nature Center. They had a taxidermy carcass of a red knot, pictures and a mural with a red knot on the wall. Bingo!

      • Maidie
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        What a great story! Really, I laughed at first at the drawing, but really looking at it, that bird does have attitude. I think you did a remarkable job!
      • Deborah
        Participant
        Chirps: 21

        @Maidie Thanks Maidie for appreciating the humor and story behind my sighting and drawing.  In defense of my knowledgeable friend they gave me suggestions to help in the future bird sleuthing/ drawing. Their words: "I'm clueless as to the bird species.. Golden- or Black-bellied Plover? What did the beak look like? Legs? Color of breast and back? Any wing or tail patterns? On NJ shore, you can get lots of oddities.We get NW species and an occasional European ones."   That red knot had lots of attitude! It made me go on a search to identify it. The good news is the population is hopefully increasing and I'm determined to see another Red Knot. Hoping to see one during spring migration when the birds land at the horseshoe egg laying season in Delaware Bay.

      • Karen
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        I love the honesty in your drawing.  I have recently been attending art auctions in my area and have seen some very simple paintings attract attention and not just from those in the "my second grader draws just like that" school of art criticism..     TDSC00224hank you for sharing...
      • Deborah
        Participant
        Chirps: 21

        @Karen Karen thank you so much for your much appreciated comment. I hope I can encourage others to post their work too.

    • Sharla
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      1) I am a volunteer Master Naturalist (Texas Master Naturalists, Good Water Chapter) in Texas and I also do nature photography as a hobby.  I mostly focus on birds, but I would like to learn more about plants and insects. I think it might be a bit easier to sit and focus on a plant or on an insect as it moves about a flower and observe its habits using a journaling technique rather than just snapping a picture.  Journaling may help me learn behaviors that in photography get overlooked. 2) I really liked the first journal presented in the video.  The page was full of information, observation, questions as well as pictures.  I like that.  Noting the date, time, weather, location is an important part that I might not have thought to do, so that was very helpful. 3) I have recently tried doing some journaling in the "Erin Condren" style using stickers and borders, etc.  I might incorporate some of that into the nature journal...maybe!
    • IRENE
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      1.  I was inspired to begin nature journaling because I am now semi-retired and stopped drawing and painting when I left high school 35 + years ago.  I always loved birds and hiking since I was 5 years old.  I bought some watercolor pens I never used until this summer and got inspired to paint this hummingbird (in my profile).  I realized I really miss painting and drawing so I happen to be invited to register and here I am. 2.  I like the watercolor journaling idea.   I take daily walks and wish I could illustrate what I see but I don't take the time.   I have three bird feeding stations in my backyard so I want to be able to capture the feeding birds and birds during my walk in my journal.  I look forward to learning more about and taking the time to observe, draw and watercolor.
      • Montecito
        Participant
        Chirps: 22
        Hello Irene, It is a lovely drawing, Hummingbirds are amazing animals and not so easy to draw.  If you travel to Colombia you can see so many species of hummingbirds.  Keep illustrating them and many other.
    • Heather
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I have sketched for field notes out of necessity as a botanist. (You can’t pluck a plant if you’re concerned it’s rare.) I’ve always admired the old style British nature journals that I have seen published and I aspire to that - trying to capture the essence of a place with sketches and details and notes. This course is a gift for my birthday and it’s such a great one! I’m trying to meet the guild of natural science illustrators Inktober challenge on Instagram (@hpeatster) so together with this course I’ll be making lots of progress. I hope. 🤓 I liked some of the use of boxes on the page. I think I could make use of that to help my pages look less chaotic and to highlight a whole plant sketch or the like, while letting the image fall out of the box as well.  I also like the bird sketches from various angles. I’m working on birds but they move so it’s a transition from plants! All very inspiring. I’m also headed into snowy winter so not my normal field season notes and a new challenge of seeing winter details One thing I sometimes do in my book is to include a little physical snippet of the plant or tiny feather that I can sketch later or glue into my book.
      • Maidie
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Heather, this is my birthday present as well, my 69th birthday. I'm looking forward to learning something about watercolors. I love them, but mine don't look anything like these examples!
      • Laurie
        Participant
        Chirps: 15

        @Maidie Hi Heather and Maidie, Happy Birthday to you both! This course is also a gift for my birthday :-) After receiving the emails over several days I finally made the decision and let my husband know it would be the perfect gift. So delighted to be "here" and to jump in! Cheers, Laurie

    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      I’m scrolling through these entries, and I have to say dear classmates, I’m so encouraged and inspired. Thank you for sharing. This is going to be such a rewarding experience. Enjoy the class!
    • Dana
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      1.  When I go to the field for first time (for natural observations) I discovered my "easy falling in love" with nature details, much like: feathers, scales, leaves, eyes... Oh course I like "macro" things too. So I wanted to make a journal for store that beuties with a lot of questions behind it. Also, to teach my eyes some discipline. :) 2. I like the ones who have questions right behind the draw and even the anwers written right there!
    • Heather
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      I teach Ecology and Evolution, and feel like I always stress the importance of observation, but don't always "walk the walk". I think that connecting with nature is important for all people, and my students especially, and I'm hoping this course will help me deepen my own connections with nature, which I can then model for my students. Similar to what others have mentioned, I've done a lot of nature photography, but I often don't take the time to process my photos and reflect on them. I'm hoping that becoming more confident with drawing will help me make nature journaling and observing a regular part of my life as opposed to something I attempt a couple of times a year and then give up when I don't like my first drawing.