Benefits of a sketching / journaling practice

I’d like you to think about all of the benefits you could reap from developing a routine nature sketching practice. This exercise will hopefully inspire you to pick up your pencil & journal and get outside more often.

Here are just a few of the benefits to nature sketching and journaling that my students and I have enjoyed over the years:

Benefits of a journaling practice

  • 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 , over-stimulated world.
  • 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 is 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 serves to strengthen and enrich family and friendship bonds.
  •  Teaches one about the subject as you observe it, regardless of the results on the paper. This is 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 Reading

I highly recommend this excellent article in Scientific American magazine, Rediscovering the forgotten benefits of drawing. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/symbiartic/rediscovering-the-forgotten-benefits-of-drawing/


Homework:

Brainstorm your own list of the benefits you see to a nature sketching practice in your own life, including any of the above that you feel applies to you, as well as new ones you think of. You might like to keep this list in the front of your sketchbook or post it somewhere prominent in your house to remind and inspire you to pick up your pencil and sketchbook more often!



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