Nature Blog Networking: Sketch Pad

I’m not much of an artist.  Sure I can sketch a bit, and having a bit of ability to make a field drawing of a potential rare bird is a skill every birder should aspire to have, but the drawings I’ve made are hardly anything you’d want to frame and put on a wall.   But like many of us, I have a real appreciation for the pen or pencil or paint to paper abilities of others, and there’s just something about a really nice illustration that says something a photo doesn’t.  That’s not to say the skill set necessary in taking a fine photo isn’t impressive but it’s more subtle and sometimes feels more accessible to the amateur photog.  In comparison, we’re all aware of the time needed to make a top-notch illustration, the care, the skill, the complete internalization of the subject.  It seems more distant, and therefore, more impressive.

But what do I know?  I take terrible photos, too…

Bird in Flight, by Leonardo daVinci

The NBN has a host of nature artists plying their trade and willing to share it with us.  They’re all worth your time to check out.


- Val Littlewood hails from Orlando by way of Europe (or is that Europe by way of Orlando?) and shares her observations and inspirations from nature Pencil and Leaf.

- Vickie Henderson is an Tennessee based artist and photographer and regularly blogs about both.  On a recent series on a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks she breaks her drawing down to the nitty-gritty.  Some really cool stuff.

- Artist and sculptor David G Derrick blogs about his work in both two and three dimensions.  There’s a series on Cassowaries in there, definitely a species whose blog presence is far below it’s cool factor.

- A nature drawing superblog, Sketching in Nature is a network of artists from all over the world.  they’re all inspired by, and focused on nature in all its forms.

- Ken Januski from art, birds, nature writes about well, art, birds, and nature in Philadelphia.  Another good blog who shows the process of drawing well.

- Birdspot would probably be a bird blog with art rather than an art blog with birds, but her simple pen and ink drawings are really cool, in my opinion…

- Rigor Vitae would easily take the prize in a “Most Impressive Blog Header” contest.  Carel Brest Van Kempen’s drawings are its equal and just as a side, his I and the Bird is the stuff of legends.

- I’m not sure what more can be said about Drawing the Motmot that wasn’t when it was featured in Wren’s weekly series.  But it probably can’t be said enough that you should be reading it.

- A superstar of NBN, NPR, and probably any number of other acronyms, writer and artist Julie Zickefoose is consistently among the top blogs in the network. and rightly so cause it’s great.  But if you’re in the NBN, you probably know that already.


So go enjoy the artistic side of the NBN with these excellent blogs!


  1. April 22, 2009 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps they’re not in the NBN . . . but they should be! but Toni Kelly of a Spattering is also a fab nature artist ( and then also Bird by Bird ( does a daily sketch of birds she sees. They are both wonderful!

  2. April 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    Thankyou so much for the mention! I am honoured to be up there in the company of such excellent artists(especially Leonardo)and what a very nice observation you make about illustrations in general and the different eye they bring to a subject. Thanks again Val

  3. April 23, 2009 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    @Liza – As far as i know neither of those blogs are in the NBN. But they’re both excellent and should be. I particularly like Bird by Bird.

    @Val – My pleasure. Thanks to you for sharing your stuff with all of us!

  4. April 23, 2009 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for my mention as well. And for that previously unknown (to me) Leonardo bird sketch.

    I hesitate to mention that my name is misspelled (Januski not Jahuski) because I’m sure anyone who follows the link will see the correct spelling.

    Thanks again for the mention and for paying attention to all of us nature artists. I just noticed Julie Zickefoose complimenting Debby Kaspari on sketching lesser prairie chickens and not immediately reaching for the video camera. Sometimes it is difficult to try to capture nature, and especially nature in motion, through sketching so it’s nice to see that appreciated!

  5. April 23, 2009 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    @Ken – Oops sorry about the misspelling. Will fix.

  6. April 30, 2009 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for the mention!