• 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.
    • Allison
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      1.  I've been nature journaling off and on since graduate school. I am a marine biologist, college biology professor, and general naturalist. I have the observation skills, but have never really been satisfied by my attempts to draw/sketch what I see. I'm much better with words. I hope that the lessons in this class give me some ideas for how to more accurately depict what I observe in nature, and give me courage to spend more time with my nature journal without having to worry about making things pretty. 2.  I like the idea of using boxes to organize both text and drawings on a page. My pages tend to be boring, and I'm going to try using boxes to add interest and keep things nicely organized. I also find the idea of a monthly journal inspiring--I might start that in 2020! 3.  I guess my most active nature journaling is my natural history blog. I post photos there and write about natural phenomena. In the past few years I've become very interested in nature photography and would like to find a way to incorporate that skill in my nature journal. Maybe the best thing is to keep the blog going, with photos and occasional drawings, for public consumption and keep my journal just for me.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        I'd like to learn about your blog. I also am a retired 'miscellaneous' biologist/ecologist. Linda
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      I am inspired by each journal shown. Excited to get started in my new journal. I have been watercolor painting for several years so plan to focus on that medium for this journal. I plan to make my own journal using good watercolor paper which makes it easier for me to control my painting. my goal is to graphicly record a year on my farm in Oregon. question: the supplies list includes two journals. Please explain when and why  you use each. Thank you.
      • Maidie
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Laura, where is your farm in Oregon? I had one in Hillsboro, that now my daughter owns, and I live on the Deschutes River way up by Wickiup Dam. Maidie
    • Alicia
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Hi everyone, 1. I was thrilled when I found out about this course - I've always loved art and drawing, animals and nature.  I grew up in the US, but now I'm living in Brussels, Belgium, so I also liked the connection with the beautiful birds and wildlife  I remember growing up with.  I'm especially looking forward to seeing everyone else's drawings - please share them on the discussions! I'm attaching a drawing of a fox I saw just a few days ago - the first time I ever had such a good view of a wild fox! 2,3. The nature journals in the video were all appealing and interesting because of the personal take they represented from each observer.  I particularly liked the light watercolor washes in some of the drawings.  I was thinking of focusing in my journal more on the art side of the experience of drawing nature - trying different styles and techniques for each subject, thinking about how others have portrayed the same subjects, etc. Nature Journal - Fox
      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Beautiful!
      • Tu
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        These are expressive foxes! They seem very alive and alert.
      • Charlotte
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        I really like your fox drawing.
      • Maidie
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        What a treasure! To see the fox and to be able to draw it wonderfully.
      • Adrienne
        Participant
        Chirps: 14
        I love this! Great work, very expressive!
    • Barbara T.
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      I've dabbled in drawing from time to time.  For a while I was doing Zentangle.  Hubby asked me to make a logo for his garage, as he is a big car buff.  I drew a flying wrench, and we had it embroidered on vests for family Christmas gifts! Once I drew a picture of a horse for a drawing class I was taking at a local community college.  I remember feeling fascinated at the complexity of a horse.  I told the instructor, "I never really looked at a horse before!"  That feeling was echoed in the videos I saw today. I'm just going to pick up the last sketch pad I had been using and get started.  I may want to use pencils for color, when I get there.  I'm not interested in oil or acrylic painting, as I can't add that much more "stuff" to my house!  Pencils, pen and perhaps watercolor seems to be right for me.  I'll make sure I put the date, of course, and the place if not at home.
    • Patricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      20161031-DSC_0607A life-long love of nature and appreciation of realistic art has often nudged me toward drawing from the natural world outdoors.  However, I have relied on copying from my photography much more than sitting outdoors to copy from living nature.  It feels like the right time, now that I am over 70 and have more leisure freedom, to begin this effort in earnest. I love the idea of including a little box of information about time, place and conditions, and the style of making boxes that are not confining of the artwork, but rather an embellishment. The idea of capturing only as much as I see of a bird in motion and doing that many times seems like a worthwhile process. Also, knowing next to nothing about water color painting, I want to try adding color and blending colors as they appear in the outdoor environment.  The little swatches of 'all the colors seen' seems like a good idea, too, as does the bird feeder study. Leaving a little space for scientific identification and including notes about each observation are more things I want to try. There is a lot new here, I think, available in this course, so I simply want to gather insight and practice the skills presented here.  
      • Barbara T.
        Participant
        Chirps: 16
        That's a beautiful drawing!  I love hawks, especially Big Red and all the families at Cornell.
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Barbara T. Thank you, Barbara!

      • Christina
        Participant
        Chirps: 19

        @Barbara T. I loved spending time with Ezra and Big Red and watching the "nest-orations"! Stunning drawing! Thanks for sharing!

      • Coral
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        Oh that's excellent! Well done!
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6

        @Coral Thank you, Coral!

      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Wow! Stunning! Great job!
      • IRENE
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        Beautiful drawing.   I'm taking a drawing class right now too and I was informed by the teacher if I want to get better at painting realistic pictures I have to learn how to draw more realistic first.  The color tones come more naturally when I become better at black and white tones.  You seem to already have drawing down in many ways so you are there and ready for the painting phase.  Great work.
    • Jane
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      My relationship with my husband began at the University of Wisconsin -Stevens Point. Through his forestry major at the college of natural resources, he helped connect me with nature. From laying on the forest floor to watching  the return of the Woodcock we had just seen take off to observing the pre-dawn  mating of the prairie chicken at the Buena Vista Marsh, he immersed me in God’s creation. Taking this course brings me back to our roots  and I remember him while creating something new. I’m excited to improve my drawing skills, focusing less on technology and my phone, and observing and listening to the quiet.
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        How lovely your experience!  Drawing closer to Creation by making creations is a wonderful way to connect to the Divine, and the quiet is where we really hear it.
    • Marie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. I am interested in learning about the various birds that I see in my yard and when I go for a hike. Each week I pick a different type of bird and try to learn interesting facts about it. I then do a quick drawing of it using pencil and markers. This nature journaling  course seems like a wonderful way to inspire me to continue learning about birds and animals and nature itself. 2. I want to make sure that I include the date, the location and the weather on each entry that I make. I would like to be able to draw what I see and include various observations. I would like to be able to include details of plants and birds, etc. when possible. I like the "box" idea of helping to establish where and how large to draw, but having it a flexible box sounds like a fun way to draw.
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        Neat! You sound very organized, and determined to learn more about birds.  That's great!
    • Olwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Olwen @ Island Beach State Park 2019
    • Olwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      I am excited by the this course. I simply want to learn the skills needed to draw and also use watercolor paints.I did a "big sit" with 2 friends both of who drew and wrote as we all sat in silence..they could draw....I felt very limited in my drawing  skills!! I am very comfortable with writing. So far I have appreciated the use of geometric shapes to get an outline for a bird. I like the box idea. Holly Faulkner's journal was amazing..did she do many quick little sketches before the beautifully painted pages? What is the purpose of a large and a small moleskin journal?
    • Natalie
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      1. I have an interest in improving my sketching skills as well as improving skills to help identify birds. My journaling and sketching focus will be on bird identifying features and characteristics as well as their behavior. 2. I love hearing about the details and individuals focusing in on their memories.  
    • ellen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I'm very excited to be starting to journal again. I have done some writing in the past, but adding drawings and paintings will be much more interesting and fun! I learned to draw using "Drawing on the Right-Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards, but I stopped doing it on a regular basis. One of the appeals of this course is to start me up and keep me going with new ideas. I am doing this with a friend which is an added inspiration. I retired this year and this is a gift to myself.
      • Karen
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        I had forgotten about Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  I have lost sight of my copy and the desire to draw..until now.
    • Steve
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I’ve tried many times to log my observations and to slow down. Keeping a journal is a good way to do that, to really see in every way and savour. All of the examples have something to offer and have made me think of options. I’m  at the stage of exploring, clarity and simplicity are most important to me.
    • Anita
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I was so excited to hear about this course. I love watching nature around me. Two weeks ago I had the gift of watching 5 Monarch butterflies hatch from their chrysalises! I photographed & wrote but it would have been awesome to capture the event in art form. I have recently started making art quilts which led me into fabric "painting" with ink & thread & peaked my interest in watercolor. So put all that together & what could be better than a course in nature journaling!20190922_093124
      • Patricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        How exciting!  There is a certain joy in photography, but I agree that another art form beside simply drawing, might be awesome . Good luck with the fabric art!
      • Anita
        Participant
        Chirps: 4

        @Patricia I think drawing will almost feel like you're  participating with whatever you're watching.

      • Nancy
        Participant
        Chirps: 23
        Thank you for sharing this beautiful photo! 😊
    • Chris
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Greetings fellow "classmates". Thanks Liz for making the class available. As a lifelong amateur naturalist, I have have always relied on written descriptions of what I've observed either in the field or in my study.With the advent of hi-resolution phone cameras, I've been able to get some great photos, but there is a lack of personalization of the feelings I have when I observe something that words and photographs don't capture.  Like others in the class have shared, I too have NEVER been very good at drawing, which has always been the barrier to me trying to consistently draw what I see. I was inspired by your introduction for the class and this first segment was helpful in that it showed a variety of artisitc skills and styles of journaling that seemed very approachable.
    • 1.a. I am not good at drawing.  Never have been.  So I've not done a lot of it.  (Like most people, I have concentrated my limited time resources on pursuits that I am good at.)  Watercolour painting I have not done at all (unless one counts making messy splotches on cheap paper as a small child with absolutely zero skill whatsoever).  I would like to change this.  I would like to develop some skills in the visual arts.  As I love spending time in nature, this course is the perfect opportunity for me to work on this goal. 1.b. I am good at writing.  So I've done a lot of that.  I have kept a written journal for over 30 years now and at this point have a large tote full of old journals that I will never have the time to go back and read.  Also: now that my eyes have gotten older, I need reading glasses to go back and read anything in any of my old journals.  Ugh!  I would like to start incorporating drawing and painting in my journals to expand the repertoire of my creative skill set--to learn to capture ideas, observations, and memories in a form other than the written word.  Through this practice I hope to create a book of memories which I will be able to enjoy without the need for reading glasses, one which will capture moments-in-time of beauty and interest which I will be able to re-live at a glance--taking in the whole picture at once instead of parsing through an experience word-by-word as one does in reading a written account.  (I am not giving up writing by any means.  I just want to add pictures as a new dimension to my work.) 1.c. I have been doing a lot of nature photography in recent years.  I will take hundreds of photographs on a typical day's hike and end up uploading 50-100 (and sometimes even more) observations to iNaturalist after a longer hike.  I have learned a lot through this process.  But it has its drawbacks.  A large part of the enjoyment of getting out in nature for me is the opportunity to get away from the technology which rules so much of our modern lives.  When I have a camera up to my face, I am bringing technology into the very realm I use to escape from technology!  I experience the camera as a barrier to immersion.  And I often end up spending even more time sorting through, editing, and uploading my photographs after a hike than I spent enjoying my time in the field!  Also: a camera has limitations in what it will reproduce.  In some respects it is better than my naked eyes.  But in others, the interplay between my retinas and brain produces superior results.  I'm not going to give up photography or iNaturalist--but I do want it to take a back seat, at least some of the time, to full immersion in nature without any kind of barrier between my eyes and the natural world. 1.d. There is no way I can create hundreds of drawings in a single day.  The process of sketching and painting my observations will be for me a means of  slowing down and making my observation experience more meditative.  It will be an opportunity to eschew volume in favour of a greater focus on detail, and through this to develop a more intimate connection with the subjects of my observation.  I hope through this practice to develop my observational skills and thereby enhance my learning in the field. 2.  As a means to building a habit and developing my skills, I am going to commit to journalling every day.   I know it is not realistic for me to attempt to complete a painting or even a sketch every day for a year.  So my commitment is to complete a sketch every day for 60 days, for the period from October 22-December 20, and to add colour in some form to at least 50% of these sketches.  Once I have achieved this goal I will re-assess and determine a new commitment for how frequently I will continue my nature journalling practice going forward. 3.a. I live in Canada.  Painting en plein air here year-round is not possible.  I definitely want to get out into the field to sketch and paint whenever possible.  But I'm taking this course heading into the winter.  There are going to be days when being outside entails being bundled up like the Michelin Man.  So I'm going to make a study of my backyard feeder birds over the winter. 3.b. Even as I try to loosen my iron grasp on reliance on the written word, the writer in me cannot resist a good old-fashioned linear narrative.  So I plan to try at least some of my journal pages in a storyboard format (e.g. depicting the same bird in multiple poses to demonstrate sequentially the movements of a specific behaviour).  Maybe this is a crutch for someone with my background?  Maybe it is a workable style I will stick with long term?  I don't know.  But I think it will help me to get started.
      • Hello Laura Rainbow Dragon, I was out of the office for the first two days of the class and overwhelmed and thrilled at the number of posts everyone is doing. I had to laugh at your Michelin Man description. Several folks that are nearing winter have mentioned this. Here at Cornell Lab of Ornithology we have a pretty long and cold winter in Upstate New York. Some of us have for the last couple years committed however to going on trail walks during every single lunch break year round, even if the temperature is below zero Fahrenheit. What I have learned for this is that it being out in nature is possible even when super cold if you invest in the right apparel.  I bought a super awesome warm jacket that goes down to my knees and has a nice hood. It is very thick and heavy with fiber fill. I cannot feel any cold air through it. I don't quite look like Michelin Man (maybe close) but it isn't for the fashion runway so I'm good with that. Then I bought some Arctic Ice Muck Boots that are rated for -40F and it keeps my feet toasty warm even when -15 F. I get so hot on our winter walks in that outfit that I have to leave the hood down to cool off. As far as your hands the best thing I can suggest is some kind of battery operated hand warmer to keep in your pocket. You might want to take walks in the winter when bundled up and do your journals from memory as soon as you get inside.  Otherwise you might be able to find a Nature Center or other public building that has nice views of wildlife from indoors like bird feeders or lakes or ponds, or ocean, trees etc that can be viewed from indoors. We have people in this class from around the world so I am excited to see what people in the warmer climates are going to post while we are in the frozen time of year. Looking forward to posts from Australia, India, Africa, and Central America. I will say there are tons of things to witness even in the dead of winter so you will be surprised what is going on year round.  In December we had one day that warmed up enough that a frog came out. A Blue Jay got ahold of it and was eating it.  It was caching the frog leg in the crook of the tree for eating later. There is always something interesting going on out there and winter is great time to journal signs of nature such as tracks in the snow and scat. Birds are out there no matter what the weather.  Thanks Laura and everyone else for all these amazing posts.
      • @Lee Ann van Leer Hi Lee Ann,   I think we are almost at the same latitude.  I live very close to Rondeau Provincial Park in Ontario, which you may know is a globally significant IBA.  ( https://www.ibacanada.com/site.jsp?siteID=ON007 )  So yes, we have lots of interesting birding in the area year round.  My backyard is not as exciting for birding as Rondeau, but I have recorded 69 species in my yard since I started keeping track 11 months ago.  So no shortage of subjects here!   The Visitor Centre at Rondeau Park does have a large window that looks out onto their bird garden.  But their feeder birds are mostly the same as my feeder birds.  So I like to spend my time in the park out on the trails or on the waterfront, where I can see species of birds and other wildlife that we don't get in town.  I do hike in Rondeau year-round.  So I will take your suggestion of journalling from memory as a goal to work towards, once I have developed more confidence in sketching in general.   I too am excited to see what course participants in other parts of the world will be posting.   Our planet is such an amazing place!