If you like nature, drawing and writing, then nature journaling is ideal for you! With our 10 step guide, you will be able to set up your own nature journal in no time!
Note to parents:
Benefits of Nature Journaling; a valuable multi-dimensional approach!
Nature journaling brings together many different skills, to name a few; creative writing, language, art, science, numeracy, observation, mindfulness, concentration, creativity and curiosity. Through nature journaling, children gain and apply critical thinking while connecting with nature, raising awareness of their surroundings. Children develop problem solving skills, while witnessing daily miracles of nature right before their eyes.
1. Make or find a nature journal
You can easily make your own nature journal at home using some A4 printing paper and a piece of sturdy card. Fold the paper and card in half to create an A5 booklet. Get a piece of string/ ribbon/ wool or a large rubber band or elastic cord and put it around the middle of your journal’s spine while the journal is in the open position. Decorate the covers or leave your journal cover plain.
You can also use a notebook, sketchbook or a diary you may already have at home. It is important that the journal is sturdy enough to work in. Blank paper is best if you are planning to draw a lot. The main thing is that your journal is easy to use.
2. Materials you will need
· Colour pencils
· Watercolours/ watercolour pencils
· Small ruler (for drawing lines, boxes or for underlining titles)
· Stencils (optional)
Tip! It is recommended that you keep a small backpack with all of your nature journaling supplies inside it, so the supplies are easily accessible and all in one place when you need to grab it and go at short notice.
3. Nature Journaling from home
In order to Nature Journal, one would normally go on a nature walk and write /draw about what one sees while out and about. However, you don’t have to leave your house in order to nature journal. On a rainy day, you can write and draw at home or in your garden under the porch.
You can also collect cones, leaves and flowers on a walk, bring them home in order to draw and write about them when you have some spare time in the evening.
If you are unable to go out, you can journal about things which interest you- look for photos in books or on the internet, do some research and note down your findings.
One can journal about:
· rocks and stones
· animal footprints
· fruit and berries
The list of things to journal about is endless.
One can draw and journal about anything from as small as moss to as vast as a mountain or a landscape.
Nature is all around us, even in big cities. From houseplants on the window cell, to the clouds in the sky- the possibilities are endless. You can write about the shape of clouds or the weed that is growing in the cracks of the pavement.
Different habitats you can visit with your family and friends in order to nature journal. To name a few:
· meadow (your local park)
4. Drawing and writing
It is nice to combine drawings with your written text. If you are not confident at drawing, you can cut out pictures from an old magazine (ask an adult for permission first) and glue it into your journal.
However, in order to practice your drawing skills, it is best to start with simple sketches to build up confidence.
You may want to draw an image on a loose piece of paper, then cut it out neatly and glue it into your nature journal. This will ensure your drawing is how you want it to be. If the first one turns out not quite how you like it, you can draw another one until you are happy.
5. A nature journal entry
It is recommended to start with a date, location and perhaps a small reference about the weather situation- to set the tone for the reader.
“4th of August, 2021, Elan Valley, Claerwen Dam. It is a bright and sunny afternoon, not one cloud in the sky. It is hot and very still.
The first thing I notice, is that there is Rosebay Willow growing everywhere, creating bright flashes of colour, where clumps of pink flowers grow in masses. I see this flower everywhere during the summer, but didn't know what it is called until I looked it up on Google!”
Try to keep your handwriting as neat as you can. Explore different handwriting styles. Combine different “fonts” for titles and headings. Try using a different direction and make a feature of dates and numbers. Use stencils, if you have them, to create unusual page layouts. Use a different colour pen to make the headings stand out.
7. Page layout
A double page layout gives you space to draw and journal, creating a stylish layout. If you are using colour in your drawings, use the same colours on both pages, to stay with the same theme.
8. Different styles
It is worth experimenting with different materials and styles. If you would like to explore layouts which are unusual or would like to combine paper collage in your nature journal, you can add magazine cut outs of pictures/ articles or maps. Your nature journal is a good place to try new styles, techniques and layouts.
Would you like your journal to be bursting with colour? Or do you prefer the black and white look? Are you a fan of a vintage/ antique look?
Try different styles and decide on your favourite. There are no rules and one doesn’t have to stick to one style.
Practice makes perfect. Don’t despair if you make mistakes. We all make mistakes and this is how we learn. For bigger mishaps, cut out a piece of paper (big enough to cover the mistake) and glue it neatly on top of your mistake in order to hide it. This isn’t ideal, but it's better than having lots of crossed out words and lines. If you are unhappy with the whole page, paste a plain piece of paper on top of the page and start again.
10. Secret Compartment
At the back of your travel journal, paste in an envelope on the inside of the journal cover. In this envelope you can keep useful things such as a small stencil, stickers, stamps, scraps of pretty paper and anything you might want to keep safe. If one envelope isn’t enough, paste another one on the front inside cover.
Summer holidays are the best time to start a new hobby. Let summer of 2021 be the year you start your very own nature journal.
Start writing in it today and share your work with friends and family.
If you need some more tips and ideas, please feel free to email us and we will gladly help you!