Nature Drawing and Journaling

(8 customer reviews)


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More than 98,000 copies sold!

NEW! We now offer a Spanish translation of this book. Click here for details. 

The ultimate guide to nature drawing and journaling, this is the 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. This book 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.

  • Ways to use your journal to enhance curiosity, creativity, and sharpen your naturalist’s eye.
  • Simple techniques to improve your visual memory and help you draw what you see.
  • Lessons on how to use graphite, pen, watercolor and gouache for fast field sketches.
  • Lessons on how to draw wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, landscapes, seascapes, and skies.
  • Paperback8.5 x 11, 368 pages, with full-color and black-and-white illustrations throughout.
  • Read reviews



Additional information

Weight44 oz
Dimensions11 × 8.5 × 1 in

8 reviews for Nature Drawing and Journaling

  1. Michael Oxley

    This is more than just an art book, it’s a guide to enjoying and remembering the world around you. Nature Journaling is for everyone, not just artists, and John Muir Laws wants you to first enjoy and love nature, then focus on improving your art skills. The book is arranged in this manner. First part focuses on nature journaling itself and how to do it. It’s important to go do nature journaling when you’ve finished reading the first part. Then go back and read the second part about artistic tips and how to improve your journal.

    This is a book you will go back to again and again. I count it among my most prized art books (along with Hatt’s ‘The Colorist’, Gurney’s ‘Color and Light’ and all of Andrew Loomis’ books). You don’t need to be an artist to keep a nature journal, but happily you will become an artist by journaling nature!

    A side note: Thanks, John, for the personalized signature in my copy. It was a Father’s day gift to me from my wife and daughter and I couldn’t love it more.

  2. Jenna McGuire

    This book is a tremendous reservoir of knowledge, shared in an accessible and enjoyable way. It is a pleasure simply to read it let alone follow along with the wonderful exercises. I would recommend it as essential to any field sketcher or journal writer but it would stand up as a main textbook for a formal art or science illustration class as well!

  3. Sarah Juniper Rabkin

    I’m thrilled to have a hot-off-the-press copy of _The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling_, which will share a shelf in my study with other treasured books on the subject, including Hannah Hinchman’s _A Life in Hand_ and _A Trail Through Leaves_ and Clare Walker Leslie’s _Nature Drawing: A Tool for Learning_. Like those inspired and inspiring volumes, though, Jack’s will be spending a great deal of time off the bookshelf and in my hands.

    As other reviewers have noted, this book is an inviting guide to field sketching in the larger-than-human world—rife with helpful suggestions and well-chosen examples, yet not so densely packed with information as to be overwhelming. It has something for nature observers at all levels: newcomers, longtime practitioners, perpetual beginners.

    In tone and content, the book radiates the wisdom, generosity, and experience that the author and his equally brilliant collaborator, Emilie Lygren, bring to their work as teachers and naturalists. And the effectiveness of its pedagogy extends beyond lessons in drawing and observation. At heart, The Laws Guide is a gentle manifesto for honing our powers of inquiry and cultivating a life of curiosity, humility, collegiality, discovery, delight, and meaningful engagement with the world.

  4. Brian King

    Nature journaling and drawing in the field has been a daily core routine of our k-12 school and teen camps from their inception. This activity is the vehicles for the students to learn zoology, botany, physics, art, and writing. This past fall our students were introduced to John Muir Laws’ Facebook page The Nature Journaling Club; we started posting their work and they were inspired by the works of others. A new vigor occurred in their journaling and the bar is reset daily as they continued to strive to make their best better. As soon as Jack’s book Law’s Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling was being shipped one of our students purchased it and it has been as popular as the play yard water fountain on a hot August day. The book seems to always be in motion cradled is one teen or another’s arms. Our students find it a consent source of reference and is quoted freely not only from his How to Draw sections, “You draw the rocks not the river.” But also his use of awareness and divergent thinking, “Come up with as many explanations for a phenomenon, and begin each one with ‘Could it be…’ “

    Law’s Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling with over 300 packed pages is a detailed and comprehensive work. It’s a great tool no matter where you are on your artist journey, you will find inspiration and techniques to aide from novice to professional. If you are a student, teacher, or professional this book should be on your shelf.

    Brian King
    Director of Education
    Wilderness Skills Institute

  5. Eric Bowman

    This new book is AMAZING! The first thing I noticed was the large size: it is 300 pages! Every page is full of Jack’s inspiring and detailed instruction. I cannot recommend this book more highly.

  6. Clare Walker Leslie

    Jack’s newest book The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is a mammoth accomplishment. It is a carefully laid out and colorfully illustrated guide to most everything you might want to learn better about when drawing the natural world. Jack writes as he teaches and works himself- with enthusiasm, clarity, and breadth of interests. My book, Nature Drawing: A Tool for Learning, came out in l980 and was limited to black and white. Jack’s is an excellent advance way beyond what I was able to do. I recommend it as a solid (if weighty!) companion to The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds.

  7. Cathy Johnson

    The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws is a don’t-miss-it book for your studio. I am so delighted to have had the chance to preview this book–thick as a city phone book (312 pages!), covering every nature-drawing subject you can imagine in John Muir Laws’ inimitable clear, encouraging, and inspiring fashion, this one will stay in my collection of essential art books forever.

    John covers using pencil, colored pencil, watercolor, gouache and more, and the variety of subject matter is a nature-artist’s delight.

    But it’s not simply a book on technique. It includes chapters on Observation and Intentional Curiosity, Projects that Focus Awareness, Methods of Deepening Inquiry, Visual Thinking and Displaying Information, as well as materials and supplies, notes, and exhaustive references. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have seen John’s previous book, The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds, you KNOW how good this one is. It covers birds and much, much more.

  8. Kathy M. (verified owner)

    Just received my copy! This is an awesome and inspiring book. I am blown away. I knew it would be good but never thought it would be this incredible both the poignant writing, the jaw dropping illustrations and the wonderful instruction on how we mere mortals can achieve finesse in our own journals. A real tour-d-force. Thank you.

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