I am often asked about getting started with nature drawing for both parent and child.
The best advice I can give for both parent & child is to simply draw.
Charlotte Mason knew what she was doing; observing nature closely, and drawing what you see (not what you think you see) is essential to building drawing skills. And vice versa; drawing will build observation skills.
“It is only what we have truly seen that we can truly reproduce; hence, observation is enormously trained by art-teaching.” Charlotte Mason
My firm belief is that everyone can draw. Of course, some will be more talented, or pick it up quicker, but there are rules we can learn, which when followed, produce authentic results.
Would we tell someone who cannot read that they do not have talent? We would show them step by step the keys to reading. I believe it is the same with art.
I wrote a guest post a couple of years ago for the Expanding Wisdom blog, that you may find helpful, all about learning the dry brush technique, which Miss Mason favoured.
I also have a tutorial on my own blog which is more my current, splashy, loose style, and takes you step by step to create your own journal entry.
You may also find these other posts to be of help:
Supplies For Nature Journaling
Setting Up Your Nature Journal
Not on sketching, but has useful ideas on nature study with children:
How To Study Nature With Children Of All Ages
I would also really recommend the following books by Claire Walker Leslie:
Nature Drawing. A Tool For Learning
I would also strongly recommend studying great works of art as part of a child’s education.
“We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture”
Charlotte Mason Vol. 1, p. 309
So again, as well as surrounding the child with beauty, it is the idea of the “power of seeing”, and “only what we have truly seen” that makes a difference.
Here is an excellent article on how to get started with studying art with your child.
Exploring Nature With Children is a smashing resource for making picture study happen regularly in your own home. It has the name and details of a famous work of art that relates to the nature topic being studied each week. The works of art are easily looked up online, or found in art books available from your local library.
There is one picture for each of the forty-eight weeks of nature study; four weeks for each month of the year, organised by season.
In conclusion, to learn to sketch, you have to sketch. We can read all the books, buy all the supplies, but in the end we have to get down to the task, and learn by doing, learn by our mistakes. Which can be pretty humbling! But I think it is great for our children, to see us struggle to learn something new. It is a great reminder to us of how our children feel when they are working to master a new skill. Also be sure to surround yourself and your child with beauty, both in nature and in art.
Small steps, small steps.
8 thoughts on “Getting Started With Nature Drawing For Both Parent And Child.”
This is a beautiful post very helpful. Definitely a go to post for anyone new to journalling.
My inspiration for beginning a nature journal was the country diary of an Edwardian lady too, such a beautiful book. It was given to me my a dear friend who has always been very supportive of our adventures in nature, she is from an older generation and did nature study at the small village school she attended and still has the fondest memories from that time.
We were hoping to go for a nature walk with friends this morning but it appears to be raining hard at the moment..,……. Ho hum. :-\
Thank you Jennifer for your kind words.
I agree with you about The Country Diary, it is such an inspirational book. What a great friend to give you such a treasure.
Good luck with the walk, I do hope the rain eases off.
My pleasure, you reminded me to get me thoughts on paper 🙂
Ooooh love this, beautiful! I love drawing & botany. Thank you!
Thank you! Glad it is useful. Drawing and botany go hand in hand rather beautifully.