Painting An Apple & A Strawberry Leaf In My Nature Journal

 

This week I have two videos for you!

The supplies I used:

Moleskine diary

Fountain Pen with waterproof ink

Da Vinci 1503 size 8 watercolour brush

Watercolours:

  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Raw Sienna
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Ultra Marine (green shade)
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Cadmium Red

These are just just a short videos to share how I work. I would love to hear how you create.

I have recently created a private FaceBook group for home educating families to encourage one another in our journaling pursuits. It would be lovely to see you there.

The Charlotte Mason Nature Journaling FaceBook Group

 

Painting Ripening Tomatoes In My Nature Journal

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Hello everyone! I have a new video up on YouTube:

The supplies I used:

Moleskine diary

Fountain Pen with waterproof ink

Da Vinci 1503 size 8 watercolour brush

Watercolours:

  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Raw Sienna
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Ultra Marine (green shade)
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Cadmium Red
  • Winsor Orange

This is just a short video to share how I work. I would love to hear how you create.

I have recently created a private FaceBook group for home educating families to encourage one another in our journaling pursuits. It would be lovely to see you there.

The Charlotte Mason Nature Journaling FaceBook Group

The 20% discount for Exploring Nature With Children expires on August 20th, so please use code EXPLORE before it is gone!

 

 

Painting In My Nature Journal

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I recently shared my Calendar of Firsts on the Ambleside Online Facebook Group.

Some of the ladies there asked if I would make a video of how I use my watercolours, so, drum roll please, here it is!

The original sketch I shared is above, and here is the copy I did for the video

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The supplies I used:

Moleskine diary for the original sketch

Leuchtturm 1917 sketchbook for the copy

Fountain Pen with waterproof ink

Da Vinci 1503 size 8 watercolour brush

Watercolours:

  • Buff Titanium
  • Moonglow
  • Indigo
  • Ultramarine (G)
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Shadow Violet
  • Permanent Rose
  • Naphthamide Maroon
  • Piemontite Genuine
  • Potter’s Pink
  • Cadmium Yellow Light

White Gel Pen for highlights

This is just a short video to share how I work. I would love to hear how you create.

 

Rearranging My Watercolour Palette

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I have been having fun adding some new colours to my watercolour palette. I am not sure they are all keepers, but I intend to enjoy finding out!

New colours include the rather excitingly named ‘Bright Violet’ by Holbein, which was introduced to me last weekend, by my lovely friend Vicky.  I immediately placed an order for my very own tube! It is as gorgeous as expected, and this will be a smashing colour for dropping in wet areas for a little pop of colour.

Also new is Shadow Violet by Daniel Smith This is a definite keeper! a beautiful, moody, deep, grainy violet. Perfect for whipping out shadows when painting en plein air.

New-ish is the Cobalt Turquoise Light; a bit of a quirky colour, definitely not an essential, but fun to use, again for dropping into other wet colours, I enjoy this colour very much!

Naphthamide Maroon and Piemonte Genuine I have had a while, but not really used, so I have made space in the palette, to see how I like them. Naphthamide Maroon is a deep, gorgeous wine, Piemontite Genuine a luscious, granular, violet-brown.

My colour card, from the top:

Left column

  • Buff Titanium
  • Raw Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Neutral Tint
  • Bright Violet
  • Permanent Mauve
  • Winsor Violet
  • Shadow Violet
  • Moonglow
  • Indigo
  • Ultramarine (G)
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Cobalt Turquoise Light

Right Coloumn

  • Cadmium Red
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Permanent Rose
  • Quin Magenta
  • Naphthamide Maroon
  • Piemontite Genuine
  • Potter’s Pink
  • Pyrrole Orange
  • Winsor Orange
  • Quin Gold
  • Naples Yellow
  • Cadmium Yellow Light
  • Sap Green

What are your favourite nature journaling tools?

An Interview With Kolby Kirk

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. 

~ Would you share some of your favourite pages with us, and let us know what you like about them?

2001 Europe Journal 2 [9/12]

I had an epiphany when making this page: In 2001, while I sketched the Temple of Apollo in Pompeii, Italy, I heard groups of guided tourists shuffle in and out of the temple. Each group spent just long enough for their guide to share a little about the temple before shuffling off to the next area.  This happened 3-4 times.  You can learn a lot about tours in a short amount of time, but will these groups remember the finer details of the place? I discovered when making this page that taking time to concentrate on my senses (sight, smell, sound, etc.) and write/sketch them helps tremendously in moving the moment into my long-term memory.  Even today, I can feel that warm Italian sun when I look at this page. 

Europe 2001 - Journal #3 - Iasi, Romania

I love to draw maps and floorplans of rooms/houses I’m staying on my travels. It not only helps me study my surroundings, either the geography of the area or the details of the room/building I’m in, but it also reminds me of my literal, geographical location on Earth.  My fascination of maps lead to exploring the planet, so for me, drawing a map connects my travels with a point on a map and a place on the planet.

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I filled over 650 pages of journals while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011. It sounds like a lot, but it only covered a fraction of the 5-month journey, so when I returned home, I began a new journal to fill with the remembrances of the journey that were not written down.  On these pages, I recall my nightly campsites along the trail. 

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Here is one of my most recent pages from a sketchbook I carry around on all of my adventures this year. (Hand Book Artist Journal – 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″)  This page was created on a weekend trip to the redwoods of Northern California with my fiancee. It’s a spiritual experience visiting the redwoods and I tried to take time to document it. I added notes to the map that evening from my tent and I sketched, inked, then painted the tree while sitting in our campsite, cooking dinner on our camp stoves.


~ 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. 

~ What advice would you give to fellow nature journalers?
Don’t let the fear of a blank page stop you from being creative.  Practice writing or drawing something – anything – in your journal every hour while on a nature outing.  Because taking the time to write is a muscle you can strengthen over time until the act becomes a natural part of your outdoor lifestyle.
What great advice Kolby; thank you so very much for taking the time to share your journals with us. They are so very inspiring and are works of art in their own right.

If you wish to follow Kolby and his journals, you can find him here:

Website: thehikeguy.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KolbyJKirk

Instagram: @thehikeguy

You can find out more about Kolby’s upcoming book on his website.

Nature Journaling Supplies ~ Revisited!

I recently shared with you my updated nature journaling supplies.

Already I have fussed around and changed them! It was more the method of organisation than the supplies themselves, but seeing as I love to look at how others organise their supplies, I thought it would be fun to share mine.

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First off here is my new daypack; the other was very old and tatty. This is a child’s pack, so not too big, which is great as it is always tempting to pack more stuff.

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Water for painting with

A tiny atomiser filled with clean water for spraying over my paints to get them nice & juicy before I begin to paint.

A genius, foldable pouch for pouring your water into (I stand the bottle in the pouch, to avoid the water blowing away on windy days!)

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First Aid kit

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It contains:

Antiseptic spray

Sun cream

Bite / sting lotion

Antibacterial gel

Bug repellant (I made this myself, it is just a blend of essential oils in a coconut oil base)

Plasters

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Small sandwich box (to collect small nature treasures)

Hand wipes

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A large pencil case stores the following:

Watercolours

Tissues for blotting

Paperclips to hold open my journal

Tin of supplies:

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Prismacolor pencils in white & black grape (useful for sketching and asking highlights / shadows)

4B pencil 

2B pencil 

Platinum carbon ink pen My favourite pen! Oh, how I love this one! Reliable, waterproof, deep black ink. Never lets me down.

Derwent watercolour pencil in blue grey I have added a nice new one to my kit. Smashing for sketching, then painting over with watercolour. Gives a lovely effect

White gel pen Perfect for adding small highlights to finished watercolours.

Cross mechanical pencil (not quite the same as mine, but similar) Fantastic, as it never needs sharpening!

Versatil round pointed brush Great for tree branches & fine details. A smashing, well-priced, synthetic brush.

Da Vinci 1503 size 8 watercolour brush A beautiful brush, with an exquisite point. Pretty much the only brush I use in my journal.

An old brush. Used for splatters & scrubbing out colour. It is also sharpened at the other end, so I can use it to scrape out colour when dried, or scrape in twigs etc.

Ruler. Useful for measuring specimens out in the field.

Birthday candle. Perfect for keeping white highlights in your watercolour, due to its resist properties.

Penknife For cutting wee plant specimens.

Kneadable Eraser. These are smashing! You can shape them to the smallest point to erase tiny details, or add highlights to a pencil sketch. Knead after use to avoid build up of colour from the pencil.

Cut up credit / key card. Again, useful for scraping in twigs and so forth.

Tiny chunk of sea sponge Useful for creating texture in foliage, rocks etc.

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Water colour palette. Mine is a Schmincke, to which I have added Winsor Newton & Daniel Smith paints. My current colours:

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NB. I have removed the Napthamide Maroon & replaced it with my much needed Raw Sienna.

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Field Guide This is a smashing guide that we have used on and off for years.

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A journal – this one is My newest journal, a Stillman & Birn Alpha Sketchbook which I am using to practice new techniques and such. A smashing journal, the paper is wonderful; it takes a wet wash beautifully & has a nice tooth, but still works well when writing in ink.

I also use:

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My regular nature journal.  I am currently using the Leuchtturm 1917 sketchbook in medium (A5). The paper is a decent weight, and very smooth, however the paper is really too thin for watercolour, so I have found that once I have completed my painting & it is dry, I miss a page, & glue them together, so I get a double weight of paper.But I like the journal a lot, and am enjoying using it.

UPDATE: I actually really love this journal, and having finished this one, I have moved on to another, but this time I am not glueing the pages together. It isn’t perfect; if I use a particularly juicy wash, it bleeds through the page, but I love the crisp white of the paper & it holds up to most of my pen & ink and watercolour washes.

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My Calendar of Firsts. A Moleskine diary, the paper is, as always with the Moleskines (except the specialist water colour book) not great for watercolour, but I am used to how the paper takes the wetness of the media & this book is doing exactly what I need it to do; record what is happening in nature in simple sketches. The fact that it is such a ‘casual’ book makes it easier for me to sketch in hasty sketches; I don’t feel bad about messing up!

I hope that is of some interest! Please do share your own supplies & packing tips in the comments!

Happy exploring

Lynn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature Journaling Supplies

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I have recently reorganised my nature journaling supplies; I changed a couple of things, and replaced a couple of battered items. I thought it would be fun to share with you my current set up.

I have moved everything into this handy travel bag by Winsor & Newton, as the bag I was using previously was no longer working for me.

The travel bag comes with some supplies I don’t use, such as a Cotman palette, watercolour pad, and two brushes. This is a great set for someone new to nature journaling.

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Here is the bag when opened out. It also has another couple of storage sections on the reverse side. I love all the pockets! So useful.

In the left hand side mesh pocket, I keep the following items:

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An old muslin cloth from when the girls were babies. Very useful for wiping my brushes on!

A colour wheel. Something I always intend to use, but never end up doing! Helpful for colour mixing, or perhaps planning colour schemes for watercolour paintings.

Ruler. Useful for measuring specimens out in the field.

Birthday candle. Perfect for keeping white highlights in your watercolour, due to its resist properties.

Clips. Fantastic for keeping journal pages open on a windy day.

Penknife For cutting wee plant specimens.

Water brushes Great for painting on the go; the barrels are filled with water, which you squeeze to gradually release a supply of water into your paint, so no need to carry an additional water supply.

Kneadable Eraser. These are smashing! You can shape them to the smallest point to erase tiny details, or add highlights to a pencil sketch. Knead after use to avoid build up of colour from the pencil.

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The other side of the travel bag includes a water bottle and a genius, foldable pouch for pouring your water into (add a small, clean rock to the bottom when painting in the field, to avoid your water blowing away on windy days!)

Spray bottle I use an old, travel sized facial mist bottle, refilled with water to spray my watercolour paints to get them nice and juicy before I begin to paint.

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My current pens and pencils:

2B pencil that came with the travel case.

4B pencil 

Micron permanent ink pen

Pentel brush pen I have to say that I never actually use this. One day!

Platinum carbon ink pen My favourite pen! Oh, how I love this one! Reliable, waterproof, deep black in. Never lets me down.

White gel pen Perfect for adding small highlights to finished watercolours.

Derwent watercolour pencil in blue grey I have added a nice new one to my kit. Smashing for sketching, then painting over with watercolour. Gives a lovely effect.

Cross mechanical pencil (not quite the same as mine, but similar) Fantastic, as it never needs sharpening!

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Water colour palette. Mine is a Schmincke, to which I have added Winsor Newton & Daniel Smith paints. Look at the entry in my journal below for my current colours.

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Da Vinci 1503 size 8 watercolour brush A beautiful brush, with an exquisite point. Pretty much the only brush I use in my journal.

Versatil round pointed brush I rarely use it, but it does come in handy sometimes for fine details. A smashing, well-priced, synthetic brush.

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Field guide I am carrying this New Holland pond guide at the moment, as our two favourite places for nature study have ponds. Great little guide book.

Month -by-month Stargazing 2016 A concise guide to the northern-hemisphere night sky.

Nature Journal I currently have three journals on the go, so choose whichever is appropriate, and tuck it into my travel case as I head out of the door.

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My newest journal, a Stallman & Birn Alpha Sketchbook which I am using to practice new techniques and such. A smashing journal, the paper is wonderful; it takes a wet wash beautifully & has a nice tooth, but still works well when writing in ink. You can see here my current palette set up.

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My regular nature journal.  I am currently using the Leuchtturm 1917 sketchbook in medium (A5). The paper is a decent weight, and very smooth, however the paper is really too thin for watercolour, so I have found that once I have completed my painting & it is dry, I miss a page, & glue them together, so I get a double weight of paper.But I like the journal a lot, and am enjoying using it.

cal3

My Calendar of Firsts. A Moleskine diary, the paper is, as always with the Moleskines (except the specialist water colour book) not great for watercolour, but I am used to how the paper takes the wetness of the media & this book is doing exactly what I need it to do; record what is happening in nature in simple sketches. The fact that it is such a ‘casual’ book makes it easier for me to sketch in hasty sketches; I don’t feel bad about messing up!

Please share what is working for you, either in the comments below, or on the Exploring Nature With Children FaceBook page.

Happy exploring!

 

 

Creating A Watercolour Nature Journal Page ~ A Tutorial

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As promised in my last post, here is a tutorial to help you to create your own watercolour nature journal entry.

A lovely reader recently asked what a nature journal is for me. My reply was that it is very easy to become discouraged when looking at journal keeping as ‘art’. If a nature journal is looked at as a means of scientific observation & a way to record that information (rather than trying to create pretty pictures) then it is a much more satisfying experience.

Also as parents, nature journals are a wonderful record of happy times with our children, to bring out often & look back upon.

Here is Rose (now ten years old) working in her journal when she was five years old.

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For me personally, as well as the points above, I have learned so much about the world around me from observing nature in my journal. It forces me to slow down and enjoy this beautiful world. I think if everyone kept a nature journal, the world would be a happier and more peaceful place!

So onto the tutorial. I warn you this post has many photos 🙂

I must preface this tutorial by stating that my style will not be for everyone! I used to create my journal entries in the dry brush style that Charlotte Mason favoured. However, it took me such a long time to complete, that I found I was creating less and less pages. This caused me to create pages in my own, much looser style, using a wet on wet technique.

I hope this tutorial will give you the basics to create your own page, to which you can add your own creative stamp.

UPDATE –

I would strongly suggest just ‘playing ‘ with the watercolour first, (especially if you are doing this with children) Experiment to see how much water / pigment works well and  play at mixing colours…what happens if red and yellow play, or red and blue? What if red, yellow and blue go to a party?
You will learn much more than you expect, I promise 🙂

I really must do a blog post about colour mixing…

Now that is out of the way, let’s get started!

Materials:

  • Nature journal or piece of watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • A medium sized watercolour paint brush with a good ‘point’, or a selection of brushes (I just use one)
  • A small spritz bottle of water (not essential)
  • A glass of water for brush cleaning
  • A tissue, or old cloth for wiping your brush

You may also find this old post useful: Supplies For Nature Journaling

I begin by planning out in my head how I want my page to look. Here I have sketched out on the blackboard roughly how I expect this page to work. I like it to include important information, and also to look pleasing to the eye.

Here I have included:

  • A title
  • A small box in which to show a pictorial representation of the weather at the time of our nature study.
  • A sketch of the fungus
  • Name & Latin name
  • A poem I wanted to include

You will notice that I used this just as a guide, & changed the layout slightly in my finished piece.

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Here is a quick shot of my nature study bag, in which I keep my supplies.

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I started off by drawing very basic shapes for the three things I wanted to sketch (sorry for the very faint lines!) plus a box at top left for my ‘weather sketch’. You can just make out the vein pattern of a leaf (top left) basic fungus shape (bottom centre) cherry leaf (bottom right).

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Here you can see the leaves I am sketching

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I worked from this photo for the fungus:

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Here is a shot with my trusty carbon pen. Perfect for sketching, as it is permanent ink.

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I then added the title, date, weather box, & poem title in ink.

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I added a simple outline for my leaf. I added the serrated edges, paying attention to how the leaf edge bent, so I could see less of the little ‘teeth’. I noted the way the veins appeared (opposite one another) & did my best to represent that, looking carefully at how they shaped the leaf.

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Here I have marked in the main veins of the maple leaf.

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Next I added the outer leaf edge, looking closely at the leaf as I sketched, rather than the paper.

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The maple leaf is done, and is far from perfect, but it gives me an adequate visual of a wee nature treasure that I had collected, and simply sketching it caused me to closely regard the leaf in question.

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Onto the fungus. It is a case of looking very closely and drawing what you see, not what you expect to see…

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I added some written information:

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Then added the poem I wanted to include. I thought it would be interesting to add the text over an illustration.

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Next I sprayed my watercolour palette with water, which makes the colours lovely & ‘juicy’, and easy to use.

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Here are some of my watercolour brushes. I only ever use the one that is out 🙂

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Here are my paints, along with a wee colour chart I made that shows what the colours look like on paper. They look very different than in the tin!

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On to the painting!

For the cherry leaf shown, I began by splashing on some quin gold. Be sure to have your paints nice & wet.

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Into the wet quit gold, I dropped some winsor orange

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Then I took Sap green, and dropped some on around the edges. Can you see how the colours run into one another slightly?

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Here I am dropping Cadmium red into the still wet orange.

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I have taken a mix of orange & red around the edge of the leaf. See how it is nice & ‘splashy’? No painting inside the lines here 🙂

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I added touches of red round the edged & into the stalk, and I dropped a tiny spot of green into the stalk, too.

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For the Maple leaf, I took some quin gold & splashed it on. See how it pools in some areas? This will make creating light & shade easier later 🙂

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I dropped in some cadmium red

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Flicked on some sap green (I just tap the end of my paint brush – you could also use a toothbrush to spray on colour)

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For the fly agaric stalk, I applied a very light mix of quin gold & neutral tint

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here I added more where the mushroom was darker

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I took Winsor yellow, a lovely warm yellow & just touched it into the wet quin gold/neutral tint wash.

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I added cadmium red

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some touches of ultra marine to make darker patches

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some permanent rose to brighten

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A light wash of neutral tint was applied to the wether box to show mist 🙂

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Then, as I am want to do, I had fun flicking on splashes of happy colour. This step is optional 🙂

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I added a few wee touches of white gouache on the stalk of the fly agaric as a highlight.

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All done!

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Please feel free to ask any questions, and do share your own journal entries. I am far from an expert, but I have found a way to create entries that works for me & I very much enjoy our nature study time.

I am looking into the possibility of running a live class online, to help you create your own watercolour journal entry, were we paint along together. Would this be of interest at all? Please let me know in the comments if this is something you think you may want to do.

Happy exploring!

Supplies For Nature Journaling

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This post is part of a series, on getting started with nature study:

Supplies For Nature Study

Setting Up Your Nature Journal

Studying Nature With All Ages

Since releasing my new book Exploring Nature With Children: A complete, year-long curriculum, I have had several questions about the best supplies to use. We have used different journals and art materials over the years, but here is what is working for us now.

Journals

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This is a very personal choice. You need to find a journal in a size you find comfortable, and you may also want to consider whether you wish to use a bound book, or a spiral bound book. Spiral bound books lie completely flat when opened and they cope better with items being glued into the books, such as feathers and photographs. You may find a bound book will struggle if you add in a lot of items that add to the thickness of the book.

The weight and texture of paper is important; choose paper that suits the media you use. Generally speaking, if you use a lot of coloured pencil, a smooth texture is best, whereas if you tend toward water colour, a ‘toothy’, rougher texture will cope better with all that lovely, juicy paint.

We are currently using the Leuchtturm 1917 sketchbooks in medium (A5). The paper is a decent weight, and very smooth, however the paper is really too thin for watercolour, so I have found that once I have completed my painting & it is dry, I miss a page, & glue them together, so I get a double weight of paper.But I like the journals a lot, and we enjoy using them.

In the past we have used much cheaper journals with great success, so if possible, choose your journal in person; you will have the opportunity to touch the paper and feel the weight of the book in your hands.

I really recommend popping your nature journal in a strong ziplock bag. Accidents happen!

Water Colour Paints

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We tend to prefer watercolour in our journals. The girls use Winsor & Newton paints, I use a selection of Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith paints. Winsome & Newton offer a smashing little travel set.

Above, you can see my paint tin along with a little swatch card that I made to help me remember my colours, as they look so very different in the palette.

Brushes

When nature journaling, I really recommend water brushes. Such a clever invention, you simply unscrew the brush part, fill up the barrel with clean water, screw the brush back on nice and tightly, and you are all set! You squeeze the barrel lightly and this releases a little water into the bristles. No need to take jars of water out with you for nature study! When you wish to clean the brush, simply squeeze to release a little water, and wipe the bristles on a clean tissue. Genius!

Coloured Pencils

Stay away from hard, brittle pencils and choose ones with soft, creamy leads instead. This way you will get glorious colour and coverage. Experiment by layering your colours to get the rich hues that are found in nature.

I use Prismacolor pencils, they are beautiful, but, must be used with caution as they are so soft and creamy, they are extremely fragile. They are also very expensive. Mine were bought for me several years ago as a gift and they are still going stong. For my girls, I bought the Staedtler Ergosoft pencils. Still a lovely colour ‘pay-off’ but much stronger lead, and so much cheaper too.

A Mechanical Pencil

These can be picked up very cheaply; they negate the need for a pencil sharpener and usually have an eraser on the end too.

A Good Non-Smudge Sketching Pen

I love my carbon pen and use it all the time for quick, watercolour sketches, but I wouldn’t recommend this for a child.

A Jeweller’s Loope

A smashing tool for nature study; small and light-weight, a loope will allow you get really close up to your specimen and to engage with it on a whole new level.

A Bug Box

We have used well-rinsed yoghurt pots in the past, but a special bug box with a magnifying glass in the lid is extra-special 🙂

Paper bags

For collecting other specimens, such as a feather, a fungus, or a few leaves.

A good, local field guide

I am in England, and I use this one a lot.

Handsanitiser

Sunscreen

A Penknife

Handy for cutting off small sample branches and such

A Torch

I know…sounds OTT? Let me tell you about the afternoon we went for a winter woodland walk, became completely absorbed, and suddenly realised it was dark! That torch was very useful!

A Water-bottle And Snacks

To keep up the energy of your wee naturalists!

A Mini First Aid-Kit

A few plasters, antiseptic spray, and something to treat bites and stings.

Something To Carry It All In

I carry my own stuff in a backpack. For the girls, I have found those insulated lunch bags really useful. Something like this.

These are the basic items we take out on most nature walks. Please share with me in the comments below what you consider to be your nature study essentials.