I tend to do most of my journaling in the spring and summer because I get so busy in the fall with portrait commissions and holiday ornaments. In the winter I'm hiding indoors, but a lucky glance out the window may reveal owls or foxes or even deer. Someday I’ll challenge myself to journal at least once a week for the whole year!
For this first post, I’ll tell you about the materials I use. It doesn’t really take much to create a nature journal. A stack of copy paper folded into a book and a #2 pencil can work in a pinch, but here are my favorite materials.
I usually use 5.5x8" Strathmore Visual Journals with 140# watercolor paper. I love the hard cover and spiral binding which lays flat when working. I like the texture and weight of this paper, too. A big plus for me is that it is cruelty free. Not all artists supplies are, so I'm careful to choose the cruelty free options. You can, of course use any brand or size of book, just be sure it is filled with watercolor paper. You can use 90#, but I find the #140 is much sturdier and doesn't buckle at all when I add washes.
When it comes to the watercolors themselves, once again I go for the cruelty free option. My favorites are Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors in tubes which I squeeze out into a palette with a cover. I also have a set of Kuretake pan watercolors that I love for the bright colors - great for cardinals and flowers!
Although I have about 10,000 watercolor brushes (lol, you really can never have enough art supplies!) I tend to use a #6 and a #8 synthetic round brush. I can easily do just what I need using just those two sizes. There are lots of other options and sizes, so use what is best for you.
There are a few other materials I keep on hand when I'm journaling. Paper towels for blotting brushes and cleaning brushes and your palette. I use a plain white plate as a palette to mix colors. I buy them in dinner and dessert sizes at the Dollar Store. They work great! I also have a roll of drywall tape. I use it for adding text. You'll see how in another post.