– Hey y’all, I’m Liz Clayton Fuller. I’d like to invite you to join me for my course on nature journaling and field sketching.
– [Shayna] I noticed this dragonfly that was sitting on the ground.
– [Margaret] And I stared at the hummingbirds for an hour and a half.
– [D.J.] I just happened to notice a spider actually capture an insect in its web.
– [Holly] It stopped, and I looked a little bit closer. It was a mink with a fish as large as itself in its mouth.
– [Shayna] Nature journaling is
– [D.J.] documenting things that you’re experiencing in nature.
– [Holly] It’s a really good way to understand the natural world a little more.
– [Jewel] It’s really taught me how to observe nature.
– [Shayna] It’s drawing. It’s annotating. It’s writing down observations.
– [Margaret] It’s a thought process ’cause you’re studying when you’re looking. And you’re going back and forth.
– [Jewel] It’s very easy to go into like, a time warp. And then, all of a sudden, you just spent four hours on drawing a starfish.
– [D.J.] Sketching is a really nice way to just reflect and relax.
– [William] It’s a lotta fun, like looking at something and being able to reproduce it on paper.
– [Jewel] Do you have to be good at drawing? No.
– [William] It’s about the progress and not really about how good you are coming in.
– [Jewel] It’s the memory that comes out of it that’s most important.
– [Shayna] I just feel like a kid again, just discovering the wonders of nature.
– [Holly] I feel creative when I’m nature journaling.
– [Margaret] It’s for you.
– [Shayna] You just starting putting your thoughts on paper and see where it goes.
– [Liz] I hope you’ll join me for this course. I can’t wait to share it with you.End of transcript
Nature Journaling and Field Sketching
"Are you in touch with the birds in your area? The wildflowers in bloom? The mushrooms emerging? Nature is all around us, but we often pass it by too quickly to take notice. When you take the time to pause and observe, you open yourself up to countless discoveries. I created this course to share with you the joy and intimacy of recording your observations in nature and to build your confidence in capturing them on paper."
Creatively Explore Your World
Whether you’re looking for a creative spark for your artistic expression, a way to develop your observational skills, or an immersive and mindful journey through nature, this course will guide you with friendly art instruction and engaging practice sessions that will help you make the most out of your journaling.
- Develop the art skills to take your nature journaling practice to the next level
- Improve your observational skills to create accurate drawings and get more out of your journaling experiences
- Use creative prompts and guided practice to engage your senses and connect more deeply with nature
– Hey, y’all, I’m Liz Clayton Fuller. I’d like to invite you to join me for my course on nature journaling and field sketching. As a scientific illustrator, my relationship with nature is important and I love strengthening that bond through nature journaling.
A nature journal is a tangible record of your personal experience in nature. A journal can be used to track the growth of your garden, document the birds at your feeder, record the sites you see when you travel, or anything else that inspires you.
In this course, I’ll guide you through the fundamentals of drawing and painting to get you comfortable recording all the amazing things you’ll see. I’ve packed the course with exercises that you can use to build your practice, get creative and have some fun.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. This all sounds great but, Liz, I can’t draw. But, you can.
I’ve taught many total beginners and I promise, together we’ll make it through the terror of the blank page and you’ll be filling your sketchbook in no time.
I hope you’ll join me for this course. I can’t wait to share it with you.End of transcript
Scientific illustrator Liz Clayton Fuller leads you through more than 4.5 hours of video instruction and guided practice designed to build your confidence in filling journal pages. You can choose to join the discussion forum to share your thoughts and images. Observation techniques include—sit spot, squint test, and proportional measuring. Art techniques include—mark-making, chiaroscuro, blind contour and gesture drawing, negative space, watercolor mixing, wet on wet, wet on dry, dry brush, wash, glazing, and blending.
Take a Free Peek Inside the Course
Preview four examples from the course's 30 in-depth video lessons.Watch Now
Meet the Course Instructor
Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Liz is an accomplished scientific illustrator and fine artist. She holds a BFA in illustration with a minor in art history from Savannah College of Art and Design and a certificate in natural science illustration from the University of Washington. She has created and taught field sketching courses for Cornell University undergraduates as well as for their adult university program. She has also illustrated field guides, created educational outreach materials, and painted visuals for scientific papers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Get inspired to make your journal unique by exploring the work of others and setting your own goals.
Making Your Mark
Get started by focusing on how to vary your pencil marks to capture silhouettes, create dimension, and add texture—key skills that will help you sketch with precision and style.
Unlocking Your Observation Skills
Embark on outdoor exercises that hone your observation skills and connect you with natural systems, then put it all into practice using the power of comparison.
Drawing Skills for Nature Journaling
Dive in to a series of exciting tutorials that train your eye, brain, and hand to accurately draw what you see—and capture fleeting behaviors too.
Adding Color to Your Journal
Learn how to mix watercolors and confidently apply them to paper, then practice techniques designed to help you use watercolors in the field with ease.
Making the Most of Your Journaling
Unleash your creativity with dozens of inspiring prompts designed to encourage mindfulness and inquiry in your process. Finally, repeat your beginning exercise and enjoy how far your drawing skills have evolved!
Suggested Materials (not included)
The following items are well suited for sketching out in the field and are the tools your instructor uses throughout the course. Feel free to use what you have on hand or explore similar items and brands.
- Canson XL Mix Media Paper Pad, for wet and dry media, 7″ x 10″ (your journal for the course)
- Pentel Twist Erase III Mechanical Pencil, 0.5 mm
- Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush (Medium)
- Sakura Koi Watercolor Pocket Field Sketch Box, 24 colors
- Sakura Pigma Micron 05 Ink Pen, Black
- Moleskine Art Watercolor Album, Hard Cover, Large (5″ x 8.25″)
This Course is Entirely Online
There’s nothing to be shipped, and no additional material is necessary. Bird Academy courses are online, self-paced, and there is no deadline to complete them. You can return to them for reference or practice as often as you want. All course material, practice tools, instructional videos, and discussion forums are available through your web browser. Learn anytime, anywhere*. Gain the skills and understanding you’re looking for.
*Requires an internet connection and a modern web browser.
Hear What Students Have to Say
I would like to thank Liz for the miracle that she made happen by teaching me how to draw. Prior to the class I only drew terrible stick figures! She gave me a life long skill! Thanks, Liz."Liz's former student
Liz brings to the table a very refined and expert set of skills and knowledge which offers students a fantastic resource to grow more confident in their abilities. She knows very well her field and offers straightforward and effective explanations for all her techniques."Liz's former student
This course significantly improved all of my art skills. I became better at drawing, painting, and observing. With this class from my first drawing to my last, I noticed that I was putting a lot more detail into my drawings."Liz's former student
Liz was not only a good teacher but inspired me to work on my drawings on a daily basis. Her confidence in me encouraged me to do better in my drawings and be patient with the process. My transformation in this course is due to Liz's passion in art and investment in her students."Liz's former student
Liz is one of the most supportive and encouraging teachers I've ever had. 100% encouragement and support with every class."William Nnuro, Liz's former student
Learning from Liz is just so serene and peaceful. She just brings so much joy. "Jewel Alston, Liz's former student
Course Instructor: Liz Clayton Fuller
Course Developers: Mya Thompson, Elissa Johnson, Susan Lyons
Video Producer and Editor: Shayna Muller
Videographer: Karen Rodriguez
Assistant Editor: Domenick Zerilli
Web Designer: Jeff Szuc
Copy Editor: Kevin McGowan and Noah Warnke
Nature Journaling Team:
(in order of appearance in video)
William Nnuro Jr.