Simple and freeing 1-minute sketches

In nature journaling, there are a multitude of tools, strategies, and prompts to record our observations in our nature journal. They also help us to see more deeply, stimulate curiosity, and wonder.

Sometimes they can work to free your inner creative from the hold of the inner critic!

We can learn these tools from many sources, but if we don’t use them, we are not likely to remember them. It’s like buying new tools. If they are not in your tool belt for easy access, but locked away in the toolbox, you won’t use them.

This day I only had about 20 minutes, so I started with 4 squares. I looked around to see what four subjects caught my eye. Working quickly released me from the hold of the inner critic too.

The way we get them into our tool belt is to use them!

I’ve seen 1-minute sketches on the pages of other nature journalers in the past and have done a few myself. But recently, Kate Rutter reminded me. She showed us how to use 1-minute sketches in her class at the Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference.

So, I have been intentionally been using 1-minute thumbnail sketches on my journal pages more frequently and this is what I’ve discovered.

Thumbnail sketches in a column to show the vine tendril detail.

Warm-up: It’s a great way to warm up your eye-brain-hand coordination and get creative juices flowing.

Low commitment: I can do this when its a subject I’m still learning how to draw well, or is something complex and only want to show certain parts. And if you don’t like your drawing, just move onto the next square!

Quick: I can do this when I only have a few minutes.

Concise: You can show a variety of objects seen at a location in a short amount of time and space.

Sketching nature treasures

Counts as pencil miles: it gives me lots of practice -like this page. I’m still working on drawing alpacas well, so

Hones our observational skills! By drawing several thumbnail sketches of an object from different angles and perspectives, you discover things you had never seen before!

They are FUN!

I’m still working on drawing alpacas accurately, so doing these 1-minute sketches of different parts of their bodies was easy, and fun and counts as practice!

I draw boxes on my page freehand– but you can use a ruler. I like freehand better because it removes me from perfectionism.

When I’m in the field, I don’t use a timer because I kind of know now about how long 1 minute is now. And if I start putting in too much detail I know I’ve gone overtime.

So, try adding some 1-minute sketches to your page! Let me know how you are using them. Post your page on the Monterey Bay Nature Journal Club Share space!

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