Book Review: Sketching in the Wild!

I am an avid reader of the blog Red and the Peanut. Back on May 10, blogger Kelly Riccetti had posted about packing up supplies for her workshop at the “Biggest Week in American Birding” in Toledo. She was leading a sketching in the wild workshop, and I noticed she had a workbook by that name.

Book cover of Sketching in the Wild by Kelly RiccettiI left a comment on her blog and, even though she was in the midst of packing for the week, she immediately replied and said her book, Sketching in the Wild! A Field Sketching Workbook for Beginners, had sold out its printing–but she had a second, expanded printing almost ready for the printers. She told me to email her my address and she would send me a proof copy!

I received the book in good time and immediately set to reading it.

Sketching in the Wild! is a sketch workbook, but more than that, it’s a natural history book. In the chapter on flowers, for example, Riccetti teaches you the parts of a flower’s anatomy. She emphasizes that you have to see the parts in order to draw them. She has chapters on landscape, flowers, leaves, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. Throughout the book, Riccetti reminds the reader to calm your mind, silence your inner critic, and really look at what you want to draw. Sit still and observe.

Riccetti takes you, step by step, through drawing different types of flowers. She has tips and tricks, and she uses geometry (sorry, anti-math people!) to help you see common shapes.

Over the years, I’ve purchased several books on how to sketch nature, but Kelly Riccetti’s Sketching in the Wild! has struck a chord and made me believe that maybe, just maybe, I can draw that illustrated nature journal I’ve always wanted to do.

I’m very grateful for Kelly’s generosity for sending this book to me. I can’t wait for the new edition to be available–I’ll be happy to encourage others to get this book when it is.

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