Welcome back ‘Garden Explorers’! I hope you had lots of fun and adventures over the half-term break. I especially enjoyed camping in my back garden and looking for nature in the early evening. It’s much cooler at this time of day and there’s lots to see and hear. Maybe you noticed bats flittering around, scuttling stag beetles, heard nightjars churring from across the heathland or seabirds overhead and smelt the delicate smell of honeysuckle in the air? I was so excited about my discoveries I wanted to draw and share my memories.
Drawing outdoors teaches us how to be still, to be observant and care for living things. You’ll be amazed at how well you can draw when you stop and really look at nature.
Here are some tips to help you get creative:
- Firstly, you’ll need a sketch book or drawing paper attached to strong cardboard – the back page of a notebook is perfect. A sketching pencil, a small box of watercolours with a brush and pot of water. I like using watercolour pens and pencils – then you can decide whether to add water or not.
- Next, find a special place where you can sit alone surrounded by nature. Do you remember your special sit spot? You will need to be comfortable. Use a mat or blanket to sit quietly. Don’t forget a sunhat or sit in the shade so you don’t get too hot in the sun.
- Now look carefully around at your surroundings to find something from nature to draw. Let your curiosity help you – what does your eye get drawn to?
- It might be a beautiful flower – how many petals does it have, what shape and colours? I like to sketch the outline of the flower first before drawing the stem and leaves. Look carefully at the edge of the leaves. Are they smooth, jagged or hairy? Don’t forget to draw the leaf veins.
- Maybe you’ve spotted an ant or a small beetle on the ground or on a plant stem. Moving creatures are trickier to draw and can be collected carefully in a pot to draw. Use a magnifying lens to count how many legs it has, look at its eyes and antennae. Does it have wings? – look carefully they might be hidden under a hard wing case just like ladybirds and stag beetles. Remember to release them carefully back to where you found them.
- I like to write notes about my drawings and sketches such as the date seen, what was your creature doing and a list of other things you saw. This helps you practice your detective skills of carefully watching and learning about something that has sparked an interest. Use nature books and the Internet to find out more interesting facts. Why not create a nature journal as a wonderful way to record and share your own memories?
Remember drawings don’t need to be perfect. Trust your eyes and draw what you see. Relax and enjoy!