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Nature Journal Boot Camp

June 23, 2014 @ 10:00 am - June 27, 2014 @ 4:00 pm PDT

$350 – $450

Have you always wanted to keep a nature or travel journal or need support to make journaling a regular part of your life? You can do it. Learn to draw and keep a nature journal in this five-day intensive nature journaling boot camp.

swallow tree nestAstute, focused observation and curiosity are skills, not static traits. You can develop your ability to see and wonder using simple techniques that focus and sustain your attention and help transfer your experiences to long-term memory. Nature journaling is the single most powerful tool to develop these essential naturalist skills. Learn the science, methodology, and techniques to jump-start your own nature journal. No drawing skill is required to start. You will learn to draw through the techniques in this class and the process of journaling.

Discover observation techniques you can apply anywhere that focus and enhance the way you observe and remember. Learn basic and advanced drawing tricks to help you quickly transfer what you see to the page. Discover methods to get down the basic shapes of static and moving subjects from flowers to birds and how to draw a five-minute landscape. Explore ways of arranging observations on a page that make them easier to scan to retrieve information and make a great composition. Integrate sketches, written details, personal musings and poetry to make a rich, accurate, and personally meaningful record of your experience. This workshop will emphasize skills with a graphite pencil and watercolor. Expect a dynamic week of sketching, painting, writing, and observing supported by mini technique demonstrations, lots of examples and field activities that hone your naturalist eye.

Click here to register.


MondayNature Journal Basics, setting up your journal field kit, essential drawing skills-simplification, line and the five step system. Observing and drawing plants and flowers. San Francisco Botanical Garden (entrance fee), meet in the stone courtyard, to the left of the main gate entrance kiosk. You can park around Stow Lake with unlimited time, otherwise it is 4 hour parking near the gardens.

Tuesday: Essential drawing skills-showing form with shadows and value. Integrating observations, drawing, writing, and poetry in your journal.   San Bruno Mountain State and County Park, meet in the parking area just past the entrance kiosk (entrance fee).

Wednesday:  Introduction to watercolor, color mixing and application. Landscape drawing and painting. Rodeo Beach, meet in front of the bathrooms at the Rodeo Beach parking lot.

ThursdayExploring animals and things that move. Essential drawing skills-learn observation and drawing strategies for mammals on the go. Observing structure vs. observing shapes. San Francisco Zoo (entrance fee), meet in front of the education building (just past the ticket booth, to the east of the entrance).

Friday: The Big Picture, drawing landscapes and nature exploration through journaling. Observation reloaded (nature study meets brain science). Develop the habits that keep you journaling and thinking like a naturalist. Garin/Dye Creek Pioneer Regional Parks (entrance fee), meet in front of the red barn visitor’s center.


  • Your journal kit (lightweight shoulder bag to hold journal supplies*, journal, 0.7 and 0.5 mm mechanical pencil with 2B lead, white plastic eraser (I like the click-erase model), kneaded eraser, paper blending stomp or trillion*, “col-erase” non-photo blue pencil*, portable watercolor palette**, Large size Pentel Aquash waterbrush*, Niji Flat Waterbrush, a small set of sharpened colored pencils (perhaps 24 or so).
  • A backpack/daypack
  • A reusable water bottle
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • A bag lunch, we will be eating in the field
  • Sun screen, hat
  • Binoculars

* indicates items that will also be for sale on the first day of the program.

**See my blog for insturctions to create a good low cost palette. I also sell my custom palette. If you would like me to bring one for you, please contact me ahead of the class and I will bring one for you.


June 23, 2014 @ 10:00 am PDT
June 27, 2014 @ 4:00 pm PDT
$350 – $450
Event Categories:


San Francisco Bay Area Locations
CA United States


John Muir Laws

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