You don’t really need much to nature journal, but sometimes it’s fun to invest in a few supplies that can make the experience more memorable and enjoyable. Here is a list of some of my favorite nature journaling tools. There are so many benefits to getting out in nature. You can read about them here, here, here, and here!
Before we get started, I’d like to invite you to join us at Nature’s Art Club! It’s a club designed to get you and your family into art and nature through monthly watercolor projects, coloring pages, original poetry, and more. You can check it out here. or just click on the photo below.
Our Favorite Nature Journaling Art Supplies
Just click on the pictures below to go right to the product. 🙂
Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook, Large, Plain, Black, Hard Cover (5 x 8.25) – This is a great sketchbook if you plan to use watercolors. It is compact, holds watercolor paint without bleeding through and has a handy elastic to hold everything together. Make sure you get the Art Plus Sketchbook. The paper is a bit thicker.
I created this nature journal (both in printed and PDF form) with the newbie in mind. It gives you just enough guidance to get started but also lots of room for notes/art. I teach Nature Study at our little private school here and it has been great for all ages. It includes some great reference pages and even a section for your collections. You can see a video of all of the pages HERE.
Prismacolor Erasable Blue Colored Pencil. I learned about this idea when reading John Muir Laws’ book mentioned below. Can I just say it has been a game changer? I start out drawing with this and then once I have established my lines, come in with a black pen and watercolors. The blue just seems to disappear. Really one of my favorite tools.
Sharpie No Bleed Medium Tip Pen – I love these pens for nature journaling. I have some microns too but these are pretty inexpensive and work great for our needs.
Winsor and Newton Traveling Watercolor Set – Perfect size, perfect pigment. A great starter set that is pretty affordable. Even comes with an awesome mini brush. If you are new to color mixing, you may want to get make a watercolor chart to figure out all of the colors this one pallet can make. Or you can get this one which gives you a few more options. Or just get your own pallet like this and a set like this that will give you a lot more options.
Watercolor pencils are also a great option if you want a little more control in your lines and colors. They go on just like a colored pencil and then turn into a beautiful watercolor paint when you add water.
These Pentel brushes are game changers! I love that I don’t have to mess with water in a cup. These work so well and surprisingly hold a lot of water. Usually plenty for my needs. I have also been surprised at how much I like the brushes. Great sizes and they work very well. Make sure you get these or a brand that has a valve system this helps with water flow. I bought a cheaper brand and found that the water leaked out and I didn’t have as much control.
I just had to add this because I love it. Isn’t it beautiful? One of these days I’ll get one for me. 🙂
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Nature Study Tools
Easy-Macro Lens Band – This is such a fun tool! It magnifies and allows you to take photos or video of what you are seeing! It’s like a rubber band with a lens attached so it fits any phone.
Tasco Binoculars – Pocket-sized and great for bird or bug watching.
Carson BugView Quick-Release Bug Catching Tool and Magnifier – Such a fun tool and easy-to-use tool.
Carson MagniLoupe – A great little tool for when you want to use both hands but still need a magnifying glass.
Tweezers – Just handy to have if you find a small or delicate specimen that you’d like to study.
Small Rug – I like this one because it is thin enough to fold up and fits right in my bag. This helps the kids stay put and also provides a nice dirt/sticker free area on which I can plant my patootie. 🙂
Favorite Nature Guide Books
Law’s Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws – If you are going to buy just one book on nature study/journaling, this is the one to get. I had the privilege of going to a workshop with the author and not only learned a lot, I also came away with a deep respect for him as a human being. This is where I first discovered the blue pencil trick. Seriously LOVE this book! So many helpful tips and a really down-to-earth approach.
Sharing Nature by Joseph Cornell – I originally purchased the Kindle version of this book but finally caved in and bought the paperback. This book has been a great resource in helping get my kids excited about nature. Lots of fun games and activities!
Natural Science Through the Seasons – This charming reprint of an early 20th-century classic is an amazing resource for teaching others about nature. It includes 100 teaching units about every aspect of nature. A gem!
National Audubon Society – Field Guide Books. There are several. I look for the Western region because that’s where I am. They are nice to have on hand.
How Nature Works: 100 Ways Parents and Kids Can Share the Secrets of Nature – I was lucky enough to pick this up at my local thrift shop. This is a great book full of awesome pictures and fun experiments.
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children – Oh this book! I will forever have happy memories of reading this one to the kids. If you haven’t discovered James Herriot yet, you are missing out! This helped give my kids an appreciation for animals (they didn’t need much help) and their different needs and personalities.
How To Raise A Wild Child – The Art and Science of Falling in Love With Nature – by Dr. Scott from Dinosaur Train! 🙂 I’ve quoted this book in some of my posts. It is full of ideas on how to study nature and how to get the kids involved. This is where I learned about the concept of “sit-spots”. If you want to feel good about your choice to do Nature Study, this is a great book to read.
The Nature Principle – Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age – I have just started reading this one. I have a list of books by Richard Louv that I want to read. So far, so good. Lot’s of great principles that keep me motivated to get out with my kids.
Keeping A Nature Journal – This is one of the first books I purchased when I decided to get into nature study. I like it because it has lots of examples but also because it encourages nature study in the city. It’s more of a show and tell kind of approach which was pretty inspiring for me.
Artist’s Journal Workshop – This is a book about art journaling in general. It shows excerpts from 27 different artists’ journals. It is very comprehensive and inspiring. Cathy Johnson is very thorough in covering materials, page layouts etc. There is a whole section on nature journaling.
That’s what I have so far. I’d love to hear from you. Any suggestions?
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