Mapping: top views and cross sections

Learn how to make a map in your nature journal to help you observe and remember patterns in nature.

Making a map will help you notice and remember patterns in vegetation and the landscape that you otherwise might not see. These simple diagrams can show the arrangement of vegetation and other elements more clearly than a landscape drawing and help get you out of the pressure to make pretty pictures and into deep observation. You can add them to any journal page as a thumbnail or make them more elaborate as an information rich project on your page.

 

Create simple maps and cross sections to help you focus on patterns of vegetation. Make up your own key to identify the different kinds plants you find. Note the scale and north arrow to orient the map.
Create simple maps and cross sections to help you focus on patterns of vegetation. Make up your own key to identify the different kinds plants you find. Note the scale and north arrow to orient the map.

 

A cross-section view can be created along with a map or independently. Note how I have indicated my discoveries such as a bird in the tree or old stream channels. It also helps to show the scale. Draw yourself into the pictures to give a sense of scale.
A cross-section view can be created along with a map or independently. Note how I have indicated my discoveries such as a bird in the tree or old stream channels. It also helps to show the scale. You can draw yourself into the pictures to show relative size.

3 thoughts on “Mapping: top views and cross sections

  1. Thanks John! A great idea and very nice addition to my sketching routine. I added a color key also for those times when I don’t have my paints or pencils with me. I hope that will help me to observe more carefully.

    Incidentally, my husband and I were introduced to your field guide several years ago while on a nature walk here in Calaveras County, CA (beginning of the foothills). We have enjoyed using it so thank you. I also use your blog to get drawing/sketching tips. It’s been very helpful:)

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