The Ten Minute start to keeping a Nature Journal

The most important thing is -  to start!

A clear ten minutes is all it takes to get going.

Keep it simple and straightforward.


Start Simply

Get your sketchbook and pen/pencil

Go outside if you can

Take a few deep breaths and relax

Slow down, and look at the details first…..


Use Prompts

Just be present in the moment, and really notice what’s happening in the world around you. Here are some prompts to get you thinking:

What’s the weather like?

Can you feel cold air, a breeze, or heat on your skin?

Do you notice any trees or shrubs?  Look at the different leaf colours and shapes (or tree shapes if it’s winter!)

Are there any plants flowering?   Do they have a scent

Do you see any birds or insects around? What are they doing?

Can you hear any noise?

How do you feel about what you’re seeing?


Write First!

 If you’re really nervous about drawing on that white sheet of paper - begin by writing the date on the page! After you make just one mark on that pristine surface it becomes so much easier to make more.

Write where you are, what time it is, and what the weather is like. Make a list of the things you notice – and  any details that seem important to you, or that you want to remember.




Small Steps to Sketching

Choose something from your list - and draw it.

Start with something which has a straightforward shape – like the buddleia leaf I’ve chosen.

Look really closely at your subject.  Observation is the key to drawing, and nature lovers have a big advantage - we spend a lot of our time looking at things other people miss!

  • So first, say hello, and get to know your subject!

  • Take your time.

  • Don't forget to breathe - and relax! This is supposed to be fun!

  • Look really closely at the shape and texture.

  • Notice all the little details, like any marks and blotches.

  • Think about it.

  • Slowly, trace around the shape in the air with your pen/pencil.

  • Do that a couple of times......

 Go for it!

Now, put your pencil to paper and draw, following the outline of the shape.

Take your time.

Stop if you need to, but try to look more at the subject than at your paper.

Once you've drawn the outline - maybe try drawing it again in a different position?  Include some details - like the central vein or some nibble holes! Just go for it!


Give your first page style!

If you’re desperate for colour, but you don’t feel confident about it - try adding it to your writing as I’ve done in the photo. Maybe draw a little icon to indicate the weather, like the sun, or a cloud.

Congratulations! You’ve begun connecting with nature; and recording the wonder!


Try this for a week. Just 10 minutes a day.  See how you feel at the end. Are you ready to be stretched a little more?