Nature Journal Diagrams: How to Draw Movement


my first nature journal diagram
my first nature journal diagram

Nature journal diagrams  help to make science and natural history visible. Namely, actions of plants and animals are hard to describe with words.

A new technique called ‘Doodling diagrams” makes it easier. It is a method to capture movements of animals, plants or objects in nature journal sketches. In this video, Amy Schleser teaches you her methods of sketching movement. It is entitled, ‘Doodling Diagrams’.

This is another great video from the John Muir Laws’ Nature Journaling Club.  I watched this video over a couple of days. It is over an hour long. But I found it worth it for the new techniques I learned.

Some of what I learned included using a wide variety of diagram techniques, when to use them, and how to make a page look good.

Nature Journal Diagram Techniques

Amy teaches various methods such as:

  • Arrow path diagrams
  • Color pie charts
  • Map diagrams
  • Speed dials to show speed
  • Shape comparisons
  • Behavior movements

The nature journal diagram techniques can be used for subjects such as:

  • insects habits, moving, and flying
  • flowers opening and closing
  • waterways and water movement
  • butterfly  flight patterns
  • slithering of snakes, worms, and slugs
  • swirling autumn leaves

In addition, other tips in the video include adding titles and text to diagrams, adding questions or writing down surprises.

Amy tells her students to allow themselves to doodle. By using doodling, you won’t need advanced drawing skills. In the video she shows many examples and pauses to give students a chance to try out a new skill.

Nature Journal Diagram Prompts

Some of the nature journal diagrams I thought of are:

  • a diagram of the flight patterns of birds
a map of squirrel foraging routes
  • wind direction at different times if the day
how water moves along a watercourse such as a creek, stream, or river
  • feather patterns on birds
the red patterns on various woodpecker species
how birds line up and feed at feeders
an individual animal’s markings


 Watch the Video to Learn How to Doodle Diagram

The video is 1 ½ hours long. I watched it in several spurts.


I found these exercise challenging. I have learned to look at movement in different ways. I am already using what I learned. I practice mentally diagramming movement of trees branches moving in the wind, cat stalking, and Turkey vultures circling in the sky.

Finally, I hope you find this information useful. If you have ideas for nature journal diagram prompts or have a comments, tell me in the comments below.

Amy’s website is

The Nature Journal

The Nature Journal Layout

Nature Journal Themes

Observation Checklist to Sharpen Your Skills

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