My Sketchbook In March 2019

It’s time for reflecting another month of nature journaling. March is the time of the year around here where you can feel that nature is awakening slowly from its winter hibernation. The first few leaves and blossoms are coming out, and the birds are getting active with courtship, mating and nest building.

For me, March was a full month with filming a lot for my new class (How To Draw Birds), and for an upcoming workshop that I’m very excited about (more about that soon!). I also completed a sketchbook, and made a lot of bird and cloud drawings.

Here’s what happened in my nature journal:

Drawing schematics of a bird wing, a bird’s head and sketching different bird feet for my class on drawing birds, and testing out combinations for shading with yellow. Not the most beautiful page, but you can see a lot some the principles I use when drawing birds and the shapes that form the basic proportions of a bird.

There are a few starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) that are returning to the garden every day almost at the same time – they’re very punctual. The have this beautiful white-dotted plumage, and their feathers have a metallic shimmer in the sunlight. I tried to show this with an underpainting in green and light pink. Starlings also have perfect wings for studying feather groups, because each feather has a clear yellow border.

On the right page you can see a recent trip to a local hill called Wüstegarten (I would loosely translate this as wasteland..). But far from it, it was a botanically and geographically very interesting and beautiful area to hike through, basically a moor with huge quartzite stone blocks, and between them a lot of dried golden grass, blueberries, and birches. I even had time for a little sketch, and the weather was so bad that I almost didn’t need to add water to the page myself. Talk about long drying times!

More studies of blue tits (Parus caeruleus) in preparation for my workshop. I love these cheeky guys and their punky-looking crest.

I’ve returned to cloud paintings and tried to tackle them a bit more systematically this time. I still find it hard having the individual clouds stand out, but I like this page of cloud studies and I’m getting better telling them apart while watching them.

Pages from lessons of my new class, How To Draw Birds. In the class, I demonstrate different possibilities to paint birds with a step-by-step approach, and principles that work for any bird drawing.
I had a lot of fun showing my process for these garden birds and demonstrating how everyone can learn how to draw birds with a few simple techniques.


Extensive studies of the Great spotted woodpecker (Picoides major). I’m happy that I can watch these beautiful birds in a lot of parks in the city, not only on hiking trips.

I also have taken up painting small color charts into my sketchbook, sometimes taken from the landscape, sometimes from a subject like this siskin. I like these small palettes as they can give an impression of a certain season, mood or weather.

More bird studies of greenfinches.

A day outside documenting the blooming spring flowers. Squill (Scilla bifolia), lungwort (Pulmonaria officinale) and daphne (Daphne mezereum) are all showing their beautiful blossoms now, and I also saw a green woodpecker trying to impress a female, and a squirrel.

There is a pair of wood pigeons I see very often, large beautiful birds that look a bit different from the pigeons in the city.

And since I finished my sketchbook by the end of them month, here are my small weather sketches over a duration of three months. I add these small thumbnails in every sketchbook on the first page (and this time on the last page too).


I hope you liked this journey through my nature journal in March. What have you been up to in your sketchbook? Is there anything you would like to see more about?

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Paz

I enjoyed seeing everything in your nature journal. All your Skillshare classes have been very helpful in what to put in my nature journal. Latest helpful class is the one on how to draw the birds. i love the weather thumbnail sketches. 🙂

Julia

Thank you Paz, I’m happy to hear that you enjoy my sketchbook pages and also my classes! If you want to hear about a specific topic, let me know! 🙂

I just recently discovered you through Sketchbook Revival. I enjoyed your bird drawing session and now I’m diving into your blog. Your posts are so helpful and your art so beautiful. Thank you so much for this blog. I look forward to every newsletter and new posts.

Julia

Thank you so much Aneta, I hope you will find my posts helpful! I just looked at your Etsy shop, I love the sketchbooks you have! Getting watercolor sketchbook with great paper can be so hard, I know because I usually make mine from scratch – nowhere near as beautiful as the ones you sell!

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