Even though I’m an artist, I don’t create many pictures to hang on a wall. For some reason I’m always drawn back to books. Perhaps it’s something about their intimacy, the way you need to hold a book in your hands and support its weight. The smell and texture of the pages. And then the excitement of finding something new with each turn of a page. I love creating books, big and small. So when I saw this mini-book, I got wildly excited and couldn’t wait to make one (Thanks to Lucia Leyfield for the idea https://www.wildink.co.uk/).

To assemble the book all you need is some scraps of paper – different textures and colours add interest – a rubber band and some scissors. See images below:

Then it’s up to you what you do with it. You can draw and write directly on the pages. Or you can create drawings and writing on other sheets of paper, then cut them out and stick them to the pages. I chose the latter because I like the freedom of experimenting with lots of different drawings and art materials, and then choosing an assortment that seem to suit the book. In this way, if a drawing is not quite what you want, you can just draw another one. No pressure, just playfulness and open-ended creating. Bliss!

Also, the elements of collage add even more 3-dimensionality to the book, and the option of doing other fun things (like a hidden picture under a flap – see later). (Lucia also adds little envelopes to hers, so you can stash away other secret treasures to be discovered by the reader. See: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cr71Y7fuJax/).

It was a beautiful sunny day last Saturday, with a light dusting of raindrops now and then. I went out into my garden for inspiration to fill my little book, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Clockwise from top: Zinnias always bring joy in the summertime; Prudence the Frizzle bantam; Nardoo (Marsilea sp.) growing in the pond; The sculptural forms of Swamp Banksia (Banksia robur) leaves and cones are fun to sketch.

After a few pleasant hours of creative frenzy, making use of different types of paper, watercolours, ink and watercolour pencils, I went back inside to cut out my selections and paste them in the mini-book. What fun!

When I had added the pictures, I sat down at my computer and wrote some words to go with them. I printed these out and cut them up and stuck them in the book too. I could have written directly into the book, but I liked the effect of the printed words as part of the collage.

Here’s the finished book:

Note those little ‘stars’ in the green background (above) were from raindrops hitting the wet paint!

This mini-book was a lot of fun to make, and the small size means that it’s a project that doesn’t need a vast amount of time to complete. Although I used nature as my inspiration, you could make a mini book about anything. But as you can see, it’s another great way to nature journal. I’m looking forward to teaching this to kids and adults as another way to record their reponses to nature.

Prudence the Frizzle bantam and Luna the blue Australorp.