I just finished up my Laws Sketchbook for Nature Journaling and thought I’d post a review. (Find it HERE in Jack’s shop.)
For those who haven’t heard of him, John Muir “Jack” Laws is one of my heroes — I think of him as the father of the nature journaling movement and he’s an all-around amazing human. He has many excellent tutorials on his site and the nature journaling community is an inspiring group.
I used his sketchbook to take notes and do sketches during the 2021 and 2022 Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conferences — it just seemed appropriate! This year’s conference wrapped up on September 18th, but video access of the recordings will be available for purchase around October 1. I can’t recommend these conferences enough — I’ve learned so much, and it’s a great way to hang out with fellow nature journalers!
About the Sketchbook
From the shop description:
- 64 pages of 148g white paper, 16 pages of 200g light brown toned paper–excellent for sketching in pen, pencil, and light watercolor washes. This paper is Acid-free.
- 16 pages of reference material on journaling, observation, and sketching including scientific measurement and estimation tools, the Beaufort Wind Scale, and table of contents (you fill it in as you go to help you reference your notes).
- convenient 7″ x 9″ size with an elastic band.
Here’s a super quick flip-thru of my sketchbook:
And since that goes by so fast, here’s a few of my favorite pages — click on an image to see it larger:
I really put this sketchbook to the test! Here are the results:
- The paper has a pretty smooth surface without much tooth. I really like how it has both tan and white paper. The tan paper is very smooth which surprised me as most toned papers that I’ve used have more texture. I’d describe the texture as being like printer paper.
- The white pages are a little thin so you can see through to the other side but it really didn’t bother me.
- This makes it great for pen and ink — I love how a pen just glides over the surface.
- It handles gouache fabulously — see the woodpecker sketches above.
- It can handle very light watercolor washes without too much warping as in the Ruby Crowned Kinglet sketch. Tip: use a waterbrush so that you don’t get too carried away with water.
- Watercolor and colored pencils also work great!
- I took the sketchbook on a few adventures and it’s a nice size to hold while sketching standing up and wasn’t too heavy to haul around in my pack.
- There are several pages of reference materials in the back that are chock-full of good info!
Bottom line: This was a really fun sketchbook to use! However, I don’t think I’ll be buying another as I like to use heavier washes of watercolor. It was great for taking notes during the conference!
Hope that helps someone out there and let me know if you have any questions!