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About John Muir Laws
John Muir Laws is a naturalist, educator, and artist. He has degrees in conservation and resource studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, Missoula, as well as certification in scientific illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is an Audubon TogetherGreen fellow and a research associate with the California Academy of Sciences. He is the author of "The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds." "The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada" and "Sierra Birds: A Hiker's Guide." Visit his website at www.johnmuirlaws.com.
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Gold Medal, 2016 Foreword INDIES Book Award. A potent combination of art, science, and boundless enthusiasm, the latest art instruction book from John Muir Laws is a how-to guide for becoming a better artist and a more attentive naturalist. In straightforward text complemented by step-by-step illustrations, dozens of exercises lead the hand and mind through creating accurate reproductions of plants and animals as well as landscapes, skies, and more. Laws provides clear, practical advice for every step of the process for artists at every level, from the basics of choosing supplies to advanced techniques. While the book's advice will improve the skills of already accomplished artists, the emphasis on seeing, learning, and feeling will make this book valuable even revelatory to anyone interested in the natural world, no matter how rudimentary their artistic abilities.
As a naturalist managing the field studies program at the California Academy of Sciences, John Muir Laws noticed that novice birders often distinguish birds by color and size rather than species. This inspired him to create Sierra Birds: A Hiker’s Guide, a unique book that assumes no prior birding knowledge on the part of the reader. Color-coded keys eliminate the time-consuming frustration of thumbing randomly through a guide, and a cross-index is also included for more advanced birders. All this in a format that is simply organized and perfect to read on a smartphone or tablet. A first-rate naturalist, Laws is also an accomplished artist. His illustrations are lively, colorful, and accurate, and drawn to represent species in the manner in which one generally sees them in the field.
Praise for John Muir Laws
“For those of us who live in California, there are few resources that top the books by John Muir Laws. His Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada and his Pocket Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area combine beautiful illustrations with exacting biological information on birds, beasts, and plants.” —Sierra Magazine
Easy-to-use features include:
- Intuitive organization, color tabs, and simple keys;
- Similar-looking species side by side;
- Over 2,800 full-color illustrations;
- Range maps of species that are otherwise difficult to distinguish;
- Index of common and scientific names;
- Lightweight and compact—ideal for backpacking.
Impressively detailed and comprehensive, the guide includes:
- More than 1,700 species;
- Descriptions of behavior, adaptations, and interactions between species;
- Species and topics not found in most guides, including aquatic life, spiders and webs, plankton, plant galls, bark beetle galleries, animal tracks and evidence, seasonal star charts, weather patterns, and cloud formations.