Following inspiration: Nasturtiums

On this particular day, I wandered around looking for something to capture my attention. The nasturtium flowers were in full bloom and I have been wanting to study them.

Here is a series of photos showing the process of how I nature journaled this page.

Pencil sketch

First, I started with a pencil and sketched the outline of the flowers. I noticed the interesting shape of the back petal so I decided to show a side view as well as a front-facing view. I used my small ruler to measure various aspects of the flower.

Adding pen outlines

After I was happy with the sketches, I outlined with a pen with waterproof ink. I added a few more sketches after I noticed the neat view in the throat of this flower. I pulled off a petal, and after I drew it, I rubbed it onto the page to see if the color would come off.

I added notations on what I was seeing in the flower, and things that I wondered.


Now for color. I like to use watercolor with black pen drawings. First I use Shadow Violet to the areas with darkest value (shadow and shaded areas). Then I add washes of color over the gray.

I keep adding more questions as they come up and write them where there is room. A title and metadata get added at the top of the page.

I don’t always use a pencil– sometimes I just dive in and use a pen. This takes less time, and because I give myself permission to not get it perfect, I feel freer to sketch in a loose way. Sometimes, I don’t even add color.

I follow my curiosity and what I’m inspired to do. There are times while I’m journaling that I get another subject or topic in mind from either the questions I’m asking or something else catches my eye. I give myself permission to move on when inspired to do so.

I like to sketch from life in a loose manner, and focus on observing, wondering, and making connections, then recording this experience with words, pictures, and numbers. Nature Journaling is about this process, and not about the final product of the page.

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