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Monday, May 21, 2012

Nature Study on Monday: Watercolor for the faint of heart

Today is Monday.

How convenient then that this guy scurried into our lives today... on Nature Study Monday. Woohoo!
See below for a helpful tip on how to incorporate watercolor in the nature journals a non-intimidating way.

Helpful Tips:

Has the following ever happened to you?
After spending time carefully looking at some amazing piece of Creation and after what seemed hours of painstaking concentration and sketching then erasing then sketching again, you've got a product that you're really quite satisfied with. No, you have a sketch that you love... and then you try to paint it... uh, well, let's just say, unfortunately you quickly fall out of love with your now warped, run-on colored, very wet sketch that is in your BOOK (the non-ripped out pages are slowly dwindling).

Has this ever happened to you? Well, it has happened in our house. More than once.
So, here's what I did today...

  • Scan a copy of the pencil sketch from the nature journal. 
  • Use a photo editing program to darken the lines by adjusting the contrast (picasa is free!). 
  • Print a copy or two to practice using watercolors on, so as not to "wreck" the sketch! :) 
  • Paste the printed off colored version into the nature journal, or use simply use it as a practice, getting your feet brush wet, before watercoloring in the original. :)
Though everyone does their own sketches in their own journals, afterwards, I let my littles choose if they'd like a practice in watercoloring one of my scanned sketches (they normally use a mix of pencils, colored pencils and dry brush in their own journals depending on the subject). I offered to scan/print copies of the older boys' sketches if they were a little nervous about altering theirs as well.

Attention to detail, trying to replicate the color/size EXACTLY is a super great exercise that comes from nature journaling. The littles may not have patience to dry brush their own sketches (and subsequently destroy them). After they've finished coloring their own sketches in their nature journals with colored pencil, or if they'd rather use water color and not mess up their books, I feel it's a valid exercise for them to occasionally "watercolor" a copy. I imagine that one could potentially use the Dover coloring books in this same way. :)

Would you like to join me? I'd love it if you did! Just grab the image above, post it in your post and then link up here in the comments. :)

Also linking up here:


Sunny Mama said...

This is a great tip and I will definitely try this with Sunnyboy in our nature journal. I'm sure he would love to draw/paint that fabulous little guy too but unlikely one will be turning up where we are! Thank you so much for sharing with the All Year Round Blog Carnival. :) I've featured your post in a round up of summer nature projects here:

Catherine said...

Great idea! I hope to join you in the weeks when I'm a bit more organised!

Tammy Glaser said...

You must find some cool things to put in your nature notebooks. We are very fortunate to have reasonably priced watercolor classes in our area. Pamela (and I because I watch) is learning so much about watercolors. Layering is big. Knowing the spacing: only doing adjacent areas one after the other if you want them to bleed. If you don't, doing one and waiting for it to dry before doing the other. Masking fluid to make sure white stays white. Using blue to mix with a color for shadows and shading. Using paper towels to sop up some paint when making clouds in the sky. When you do wet brush. When you do dry brush.

Eddie @ The Usual Mayhem said...

Wow, your kids are talented artists!

We wrapped up our study of fungi this week:

Sherry said...

I really like this idea and I think my son would, too--thanks! 

Here's our latest nature observations:

Bethany said...

What a terrific study. I love when things just show up to study!

Our nature study this week was here: and here:

I'm loving all your posts recently!

All Things Beautiful said...

Great idea and great subject!

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