I had some wonderful sketchbooks for Christmas, and a clutch pencil with sepia leads which is a joy to use. My mum also posted me her copy of Sketching Wild Birds by Trevor Smith.
My aim this year is to improve and prioritise my sketching. When I did my foundation course I was drawing every day although I didn’t enjoy it as there it was just something I had to do, whereas now I have a purpose which makes it so much easier to allocate the time. This time last year I started on some nature journalling and I am resurrecting this project for 2022 to give myself a sketching focus. I will be deciding on my topic at the end of one week and producing the finished notebook entry the following Friday, and I would love for people to join me – just follow the blog for updates.
I wanted to try the long landscape Stillman & Birn mixed media sketchbook I got with some paints and pencil, to see how it was. After lunch on Christmas Day I had gone out with the dog and we had stopped for some tennis ball action in one of the top fields. I heard Long-tailed Tits to my right and realised a small flock of them were making their way up the hedge in characteristic branch-hopping fashion. There must have been a dozen or more and they flitted up in a relay, passing by a few feet away from me. It was magical to see, and I thought it would make a good trial Nature Notebook entry.
The gouache went on nicely – the paper is so so smooth! – but it did pucker a little bit. The 2H pencil worked well, as did the XS fineliner that I used for the text. I think the bird is a little long in the body and looks a bit disapproving but I like the page.
Next week I will outline the main ideas for the Nature Notebook if you want to get started with me, and I will be using the hashtag my_nature_notebook if you want to follow along on social media.