Thursday, September 24, 2015

Favorite Books for Nature Journaling

It's Thursday again, and I'm so glad you could join me.  I'm cracking open the door to my library today.  I'm an Amazon Affiliate, so buying through these links helps support Thursday's Brush.  Be sure to check out the second hand sellers for a bargain, and remember that most of the authors provide a wealth of free information on their websites so you can preview their style.

Art Technique Books

Newbie?  Claudia Nice's original book on keeping a sketchbook journal is out of print, but nearly new copies are available for under $5.  Covers beginning drawing, pen and ink, pencil, watercolor, and loads of technique.  An inspiration reference if you've kept a journal for a couple of years.

 If you're familiar with drawing, inking, and watercolor basics, choose this book instead.  Hundreds of textures explained and illustrated step-by-step.  When I grow up, I want to art like Mrs. Nice!

Two of Gordon McKenzie's reference books in one cover.  Hands down the most valuable watercolor book I own.  Geared to fine art, most of his work is multiple washes on huge sheets of paper.  Don't let that scare you off -- all of the techniques can be adapted for journal work.  No pen and ink work is included, but several chapters on composition are included.

Field Guides

I prefer a field guide that's biome based instead of carrying a separate book for flowers, trees, insects, etc.

Colorful, simple fandex guides are a fun tool if you're working with elementary aged children or if you're new to nature yourself.  They make great stocking stuffers, too.

Nature Journaling

If you purchase only one book for nature journaling, make it this one.  The gold standard.  Although based on creating a scientific, informational journal, the art lessons are some of the best anywhere.

This lovely book is out of print and available at a wide variety of price points.  Hannah Hinchman books are my ideal of what I want my own nature journals to be.  Widely available through interlibrary loan.

Illustrating nature was written for classroom use.  Primarily designed to teach informational (scientific) illustration.  Samples from the book as well as other workshop workbooks focusing on art technique are available on her website,

A definitive resource for informational nature journaling, and a favorite of most nature journalers.  As an investigative nature journaler, I was glad it was available at my local library.

Give us a peek inside your own library!  What are your favorite books and field guides?

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