Putting in the Pencil Miles: Introduction to nature journaling and field sketching

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm Tate B85
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Barbra Sobhani, University of Colorado at Boulder

From capturing quick sketches of the environment, to producing a detailed field drawing of an outcrop, illustration can be used in many ways across disciplines. Nature journaling has become a popular pastime during the pandemic and it is a great way to build confidence and comfort with the process of drawing in the field. There are many ways to incorporate scientific content and observations into a nature journal. Drawing can be an intimidating topic, but this workshop will practice some strategies that help get students (and teachers!) more comfortable with putting pencil to paper. No art background required, we will dive into drawing tips and techniques.

If you have a nature journal already, please bring it to work in or share!


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Develop a method for observing and recording the natural world.
  • Practice activities and put pencil to paper!
  • Develop strategies for incorporating journaling and field sketching as a reflective tool.
  • Become part of a network of educators interested in nature journaling.


1:30 Welcome and introductions

1:45 Introduction to Nature Journaling and Field sketching as an interdisciplinary reflective tool

2:15 Small-group sketching exercises

2:45 Whole-group discussion of common challenges and strategies for addressing them

3:00 Participants work on sample nature journal page

3:45 Wrap-up, share-a-thon and workshop evaluation

4:00 Adjourn


Nature Journaling and Field Notetaking.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 6.5MB Jul15 22)

Free Nature Journaling Curriculum: https://johnmuirlaws.com/product/nature-journaling-curriculum-2-0/

Free online lessons and workshop recordings https://johnmuirlaws.com/blog-archives/

pHet simulations https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations