Abby McBride at the WildWonder Nature Journaling Conference 2019

Abby McBride is a self-described sketch biologist, meaning she explores the world with a sketchbook to look for insight into the past, present, and future of landscapes and living things. She writes and illustrates multimedia stories about biology, ecology, and conservation. At the 2019 Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference, she shared how she used sketching to tell

Gull Identification Guide (free download)

Gull identification has always given me trouble. Not only are the species similar but the plumage changes dramatically over the first few years of life. Some species, such as the large Western Gull take four years to develop. In its first year, the gull has mottled brown feathers (think of play clothes). As the bird

Theaomai

Theaomai; from thaomai (n.f.), to wonder. To behold, view attentively; to contemplate. It is regard for something marked by a sense of wonderment; a contemplative and ponderous gaze which carefully and deliberately observes an object in order to perceive it correctly and in detail. Theaomai involves more than merely seeing, it is noticing, recognizing, and

Deep Observation and Nature Journaling (video workshop)

Keeping a journal is the single most powerful way to enhance your nature observation, memory, curiosity and appreciation of nature. Do not worry about drawing pretty pictures. The goal is to come more deeply alive through attending to the beauty and wonder of the world. In this workshop I describe an approach to journaling that can

Mapping: block diagrams

Learn how to make a block diagram to explore and visualize patterns in nature. Creating a block diagram combines information from an overhead map (plan view) and a cross-section (side or elevation view). Try creating one of these views for your sit spot or one of your favorite areas to explore. Making the block diagram

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. [M]aking 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

Book Review: Looking at Birds

Looking at Birds: An Antidote to Field Guides is an outstanding guide to observing the world and bringing greater joy and curiosity to the study of birds. The author is John Busby, master bird artist whose fast bird sketches capture the aliveness and energy of a bird like no one I have ever seen. His

Paying Attention

“I see no more than you, but I have trained myself to notice what I see.” —Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier David Sibley has been looking at Juncos. He has observed millions of Juncos in his day. He knows them very well. But instead of saying “Yep, more juncos on the feeder”

Why We Watch Birds

Here is a clip from a presentation at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary at the opening event for my new book, The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds.

Three prompts for deeper nature observation

Imagine you are seeing a bird for the first time. The novelty of the experience helps us concentrate and focus more carefully than the familiar House Sparrows that are always in your garden. Now imagine how hard you might look if you knew you were seeing something for the last time. How can you bring