photo credit: The Muir Project
I am so happy to let you know that today we have a special guest on Raising Little Shoots! It is my very great honour to introduce Kolby Kirk: Nature Journaler and hiking enthusiast from Oregon USA. Kolby creates the most amazing nature journals; visually stunning and jam-packed with information of the hikes he takes, Kolby’s journals really are a treat for the nature lover.
~ Hello Kolby, I am delighted to have you here on Raising Little Shoots! Please could you tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you, Lynn. I’m happy to be here. If there’s anything to know about me, it’s that I am curious about so many things. I am a life-long learner where most of my inspiration comes from nature & science. Most people know me as an illustrator, a hiker, and a journaler. I worked on the documentary Mile…Mile & A Half as the title card artist. I’m madly in love with nature and the outdoors, which had lead me down thousands of miles of trails in the last few years. While I’m out there, I like to jot down notes and sketches in a journal. I’m currently working on a book about the journals I kept during my 1,700-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, which will be published by Heyday Books.
~ When did you first begin to keep your nature/hiking journals, and what got you started?
My first serious dive into a journal was in 2001 when I spent 11 weeks solo backpacking through Europe. I returned home after 77 days with a few journals filled with writing and sketches of a profound journey that changed me forever. Ever since then, I’ve kept a journal on most major trips or outdoor-related projects. I haven’t hiked without a journal in seven years and would feel naked without it. Just having a journal in my pocket has me thinking about what to write in it, which helps me try to translate what I’m seeing and doing on the trail into words.
~ Have your journals evolved from when you fist began to keep them?
Certain aspects have slowly changed over time, either intentionally or otherwise. For instance, when I try a new journal with different dimensions than my previous book, I experiment with columns, sketch/copy placement, and other layout ideas. Some days I like putting thought into the design of a page just as I would on what I want to write/draw on the page. Other times, I’ll just write or draw without thinking much about page placement. Experimentation and freedom are reasons why I enjoy journaling so much. The sky’s the limit!
~ Please could you share with us your favourite journaling supplies?
My kit is usually pretty simple. It consists of a journal, a ball-point pen, mechanical pencil, a General’s Tri-Tip eraser (or a piece of one), a small brush or two and some watercolor paints. To save on weight and space, I’ve had a lot of fun designing a small watercolor palette that fits in the palm of my hand.
~ What would you say you have been the greatest benefits to keeping your journals?
The act of keeping a journal has helped me learn so much about how little I know about the natural world. The more I spend outside, the more I see, and the more I see, the more I realize I know very little about it. It’s fascinating to witness nature from the tallest redwoods to the smallest fungus, and fun to write or draw whatever it might be to try to identify. When I get home, I use my sketches and a library of guidebooks to identify it. The next time I see it on a hike, I have a better understanding of what it is and what role it plays in the environment.
If you wish to follow Kolby and his journals, you can find him here:
You can find out more about Kolby’s upcoming book on his website.