People often ask me how I find the time to have a regular practice of going outdoors and playing in my nature journal. It’s as if I need to justify taking some ‘me time’ in this busy and over-stimulating world.

So, listed below are just a few of the benefits reaped from sketching and journaling in the outdoors.

Nature Sketching’s Many Benefits :

• Benefits our mental health, allowing time for quiet contemplation, meditation, and mindfulness of your surroundings, and improves our ability for sustained concentration.

• Benefits our physical health, giving us a great excuse to spend time exploring the outdoors, whether it’s a stroll in a local city park or a hike on a favorite wilderness trail.

• Provides a much-needed break from our technology-filled, often stressful life.
• Deepens one’s observational skills, balancing out the use of all five senses.

• Provides a valuable record of your experiences in your sketchbook; more personal and cherished than simply a smartphone full of photos.

• Results in pride of accomplishment since one is creating instead of consuming content.
• Strengthens hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills which are especially beneficial for children.

• Uses more parts of the brain, balancing our ‘left’ and ‘right’ sides of the brain regions.

• Can be a pleasurable shared activity, enjoyed by all ages and abilities that serve to strengthen and enrich family and friendship bonds.

• Teaches one about the subject as you observe it, regardless of the results on the paper.

• Provides a great reason to sketch with the children or students in your life, especially those that are studying outdoor subjects like biology, • geology, or meteorology.


Recommended Resources

I highly recommend this excellent article in Scientific American magazine, Rediscovering the forgotten benefits of drawing.

This TEDx presentation by my colleague, Kelly Lambert, reminds us of the benefits of both exercise and active hobbies in reducing stress and depression in our lives. And of course, a regular practice of getting out in nature with your sketchbook does both!