The idea of having a Perpetual Nature Journal which is different to a normal nature journal is that rather than starting at the front and working towards the back, depending on where I went and what I saw, I will be focusing on one or two nature features each month.
Then I can revisit the month next year at the same time.
You can start a Perpetual Nature Journal at any time of the year.
I’m starting mine in May 2022 and therefore my first entries will be in the May spread.
I won’t be filling the whole page I’ll just add one or two items in this month’s spread and then move on to June, July and August.
Later, when May comes around next year, I can come back to the May spreads and add something else.
I decided to create a Perpetual nature journal which is one that goes on and on year after year.
I happened to have this sketchbook on my shelf which I had not used.
It is Fabriano with forty-eight pages which gives us twenty-four spreads well actually twenty-three whole spreads and two half spreads, with one half spread at the front, and one at the end.
I decided to give each month of the year, from January to November two spreads and December has one and a half spreads.
A spread is an open two pages.
I counted through and put little tabs out where each new month begins.
I chose to work this way for two reasons.
The first is because I watched the artist Minnie Small where she says in her sketchbooks she doesn’t start at the beginning and work to the end, instead she opens the journal at a random page and does a sketch in it there and then.
In this way when you do flip through the actual sketchbook there’s not this concentrated development of your style.
Instead, each drawing is randomly nestled in amongst everything else you’ve ever done.
In this way it’s a more a cohesive look at the type of work you’re creating as an artist.
Secondly, I took inspiration from Alex Boon of The Daily Nature Journal who has a beautiful nature journal, sourcing content from his local area, which I wanted to try for myself.
After I divided the journal the way I wanted it, with spreads for each month, I then turned my attention to the inside cover page.
Cover Page Design
I spent many days working out:
- Whether I wanted to try nature journaling in the first place, and if so, how was I going to set up a journal?
- Did I need to get another journal or not?
- I didn’t want to buy anymore art supplies, so I dug around and found a Fabriano sketchbook which had not been used.
Naming the Journal
I thought that I wanted to call it “Nature Journal” (with the vanishing point on the word nature.)
To start with I did a sketch on my iPad with Procreate to lay out what I was thinking of as many ideas were percolating in my head.
I created this quick design just using a pencil brush in Procreate.
This is what I’m going to use as the guide for my Perpetual nature journal inside cover page.
In my nature journal I drew some guidelines and wrote out the words “Nature” and “Journal” first lightly with a 2H pencil.
Then I went over with an ink pen which I think is the Faber Castell Artist Pitt pen 0.5mm, but you can use what you have at hand.
I use Faber Castell Polychromas colored pencils.
I chose to color the two greens, because it’s nature.
The word “Nature” is a green called Olive Green Yellowish, and the word “Journal” is Juniper Green.
I did think afterwards I could have used markers, which would have made it a more vibrant cover page, and I may develop it into richer colors later.
Then I turned to the border and decided to draw a 10mm, or half an inch, border around the page.
I just did this freehand and then I colored that in as well in the darker green.
It’s at this point I realized I hadn’t got the word “Perpetual” in, so I drew a couple of light guidelines and wrote the word “Perpetual” at the top.
Now it reads “Perpetual Nature Journal.”
On a side note, I lined up the word “Perpetual” to start in line with the left of the word “Nature” and its top to the “e” at the end of “Nature.”
In this way I believe it’s balanced within the page and aesthetically appealing.
I then went over the word “Perpetual” with a pen as well and finally erased all the pencil lines.
This is where my cover page is now.
I do envisage adding bits and pieces as I draw more stuff during the month.
I will add more to the front page, but at this point I just wanted to get it sorted out, so I could begin to use my Perpetual Nature Journal.
I’ve never had a nature journal before and I think it’s going to be interesting book to work on.
It’s another sketchbook in my growing shelf of sketchbooks, as I’ve come to realize that one sketchbook is not the answer, because you do benefit from having multiple sketchbooks, and I’ll be doing a video about that soon.
I love the idea of the Perpetual-ness of this type of sketch book.
Let me know, in the comments below, if you have a Perpetual Nature Journal and how you lay it out or even whether you keep a Perpetual Journal or a Nature Journal or a Perpetual Anything journal.
I’d love to hear.
Aspiring Artist Activity – Create Your Perpetual Nature Journal 🌱
Create your own Perpetual Nature Journal which in time, will become a treasured family keepsake that you can share with your children and grandchildren.
- Find a blank sketchbook with at least 12 spreads (one for each month of the year.)
- Label each month lightly in pencil or with a Post-it note.
- Create some inner cover art with the words, “Perpetual Nature Journal.”
- Find the current month and draw something found from nature in your garden or local area. This could be flowers, leaves, berries, birds or insects.
- Continue each month to add a small sketch or painting to your Perpetual Nature Journal.