Part of the requirements of my Maine Master Naturalist class--and one of my favorite parts--has been to keep a nature journal. I've kept nature journals off and on for many years, but with the class, my journals have taken on new focus and have become more of a tool for learning than those I've kept in the past.
Last month's subject of study was winter weeds, which we had to collect, identify, and sketch. Although I am a bright color person in general, I've always loved using brown or sepia for my journals, and was excited by the idea of making monochromatic brown sketches. I decided to try out several different drawing media to see how I like each one.
For the first two sketches, I used conte crayon, which was absolutely gorgeous--It flowed so smooth and beautifully and practically drew the pictures without any help from me. I has the drawback, however, of being very smudgy and so not a great choice for journaling (I imagine you could use fixative, but I can't bring myself to buy a can of the stuff...I imagine it's pretty nasty).
Next (below, left), I used color sticks, which are like squared-off pieces of the stuff inside colored pencils. I have a limited selection of colors, and stuck pretty much to straight brown. Once the corners get worn down, it's hard to get a sharp enough point for small details, which I kind of needed for the meadowsweet, which has tiny follicles, but this also kept me from getting caught u in detail.
Next (below, right) I used a set of woodless colored pencils which C bought me for Mother's Day a few years ago. You can't really tell in this picture, but I had fun incorporating a lot of other colors--green, purple, blue, red, into the brown while still maintaining an overall brown effect (this drawing is of a mystery weed, which I finally concluded is some kind of gall, since I couldn't find any fruiting bodies or seeds in that fluffy tuft).
Next (below, left) I tried out some watercolor pencils that I bought recently. I pretty much suck at using these (as I do with regular water colors). I think I don't have enough patience to let each color dry, and it all gets mixed together and muddy.
Finally (below, right), I used my trusty set of colored pencils, again playing a bit with mixing in other colors with the brown.
For the text and the magnified images of the fruiting bodies and/or seeds, I used a brown felt-tipped pen.
It was fun trying out different kinds of media, and drawing similar things in a similar format gave me a chance to compare both how they went on and how they look (as well as how well they stay on the paper after I put them down). Oh, yeah, and it helped me learn about winter weeds and fruiting structures.