Wow! I can’t believe we are almost one month into our nature journaling journey! We have explored how to take in our surroundings on both the small and large scales, as well as how to keep our eyes peeled for the little bits of nature that are all around us. Nature journaling is an opportunity for continuous growth and each time we sit down to contemplate our surroundings and look a little closer, we learn something new and hone in our skills. The more we get outside to journal, the better our entries will be and the more improvement we will be able to see overtime as both artists and observers.
Last week, we were challenged to take in our surroundings through landscapes! I was so delighted to see the different examples of landscapes that were brought to the attention of the NRT. Below, we have two amazing entries of two very different scenes. The top entry is a local canal, and the one below is the night sky!
As we journal more and more, it can sometimes be helpful to follow unique prompts to keep us on our toes and engaging with our surroundings in new ways. Even as we become avid nature journalers, it can be easy to overlook some aspects of the natural world. Now that we've got the basics down, and you are all exploring different mediums and tools that work best for you, I think we can start making some more specific observations.
Drawing birds may seem daunting at first, but there are a few helpful hints from our favorite nature journaling guru Clare Walker Leslie that I would like to share. The first being that it becomes much easier to draw a bird when you explore their basic anatomy. What is even going on underneath all those feathers!? Below is a wonderful depiction from Keeping a Nature Journal that shows the internal bone structure of a bird and how it relates to what we are able to see! Figuring out the internal anatomy of a bird is as easy as a google search, and although birds come in many shapes and sizes, their general bone structure stays pretty consistent. If you are really interested in learning what's underneath all those feathers, you can also look up bird muscle structure and investigate what makes them such strong fliers!
A great way to begin exploring the method of sketching that works best for you is to start with a photograph! This will allow you to spend time observing the different characteristics of the bird and the relative size of certain attributes before it is fluttering about in front of you. Things to take note of on birds are beak shape and length, eye size and color, any distinct markings or coloration, and leg length and color. I challenge you to identify three local birds in your area, and draw a sketch of each of them. These sketches can be from and image, or from a bird you are seeing in the wild! Have a great time, and as always, if you would like to share your work with the NRT and the community, feel free to send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week!
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