Jo Brown has been interested in nature for as long as she can remember. “It’s always fascinated me. Nature is my therapy,” she told Bored Panda. “It’s everywhere, it’s consistent, and it’s free.”
Working from her home studio in Teignmouth, England, Brown portrays the natural world around her, and her works really highlight the passion she has for Mother Earth. The intricate details, the vibrant colors; everything within her illustrations gives a sense that not only does the artist spend a great deal of time in front of the paper, but she also observes the subjects in their natural surroundings — Brown’s accuracy is on par with pictures in nature textbooks. And that’s not an exaggeration.
“Many of the entries in the nature journal I discovered in my own garden”
According to the artist, the nature in her journal is nature that anyone can find. If they look closely enough. “I like to illustrate [what] I find locally and [what] interests me,” Brown explained, adding that she can find something beautiful no matter how popular it is. “Some of the things I’ve found are listed as nationally scarce or very rare. Some things are common and widespread. There are lots of small discoveries in the journal that are often overlooked but fascinating to learn about.”
“Every page I do, I learn something new”
Brown began the journal back in April 2018. “I wanted to document my discoveries in the order I found them to better understand the natural flow of the seasons and the emergence of native wildlife,” she recalled. “I posted a little video flick-through of my progress on Twitter in April 2019 and it went viral. My followers jumped from 9k to 20k overnight and all of a sudden, I had publishers and agents getting in touch, wanting to sign me up.”
The artist said all of this sudden attention was quite overwhelming as she had never considered publishing her journal; it was just for her. However, she eventually got used to the idea of sharing it with a wider audience. “I came out the other side with a literary agent, Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson, and a publishing deal from Short Books.”
But even after all of that, Brown’s work is still about her relationship with nature. She believes that it deserves the utmost respect and understanding, as well as a permanent place in our memories.
Sharing her illustrations online even landed Brown a book deal. Secrets of a Devon Wood: A Nature Journal is coming out on October 8th and the artist is very excited about it
Image credits: Jo Brown