Guest post: How to Draw Trees with John Muir Laws

  • May 13, 2014 · 10:00 AM

John Muir (Jack) Laws is doing free sketching demonstrations at 5 different locations. This hour-and-a-half class will be repeated five times over two days throughout the Bay Area. See locations and times below. These events are free, but I strongly encourage you to put some money into Jack's donation bucket to support this work.

Tuesday May 13

Marin: Richardson Bay Audubon Sanctuary 10:00-11:20 AM

San Francisco: LOCATION CHANGE! This even is now at

Building 1216 at Fort Scott in the Presidio  12:30-2:00 PM

San Mateo County Edgewood Park Education Center, 3:30-5:00 PM

Wednesday May 14

Alameda CountyOakland Museum of California, 12:00-1:30 PM

Santa Clara County McClellan Ranch: Santa Clara Valley Audubon 3:00-4:30 PM

Here's the event description on Jack's website:

Learn a variety of approaches to drawing coniferous and broadleaf trees. Learn how to make fast sketches to get the gestalt of a tree in moments with pencil or watercolor. Explore methods to capture the branching patterns and texture of foliage in more careful drawings. Make close-ups of the details of a tree by learning ways of drawing and painting leaves needles, and a great trick to block in the symmetry of a pine cone.

More information

See John Muir Laws' events page 
or the Nature Journal Club facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/banjc/

Note that this is a Guest Post: not an official SF Sketchers meetup, but a sketching-related event that might be interesting to some people in the group.

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  • Janet G.

    I remembered last week that John Laws suggested we draw 16 trees and post our results. Is it too late to put them up? And if yes, should I try posting them on SFsketchers?

    June 12, 2014

    • Laurie W.

      I'd be delighted to see them on SF Sketchers, but it probably makes more sense to post to the NJC facebook page.

      June 12, 2014

  • Laurie W.

    May 16, 2014

  • Laurie W.

    Instructions, handouts and video from this event is now posted on Jack's website: http://www.johnmuirlaws.com/art-and-drawing/draw-a-tree-oak

    May 16, 2014

    • Shiela

      super, thanks so much for doing that.

      May 16, 2014

  • Cheryl H.

    Fantastic as usual. We are so fortunate to have such gifted teacher, not only willing to share his experience, but also incredibly enthusiastic about sharing it. Many thanks again Jack.

    1 · May 14, 2014

  • Sharon S.

    It was fabulous—I feel like it should be called "understanding how trees move in space so you can draw them"… oh but maybe "How to draw trees" is easier. :)

    May 13, 2014

  • Laurie W.

    Here is Jack's channel on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JohnMuirLaws
    Somebody is supposed to be taping the tree class tomorrow, and I imagine it will get posted in the next few weeks. Very much worth watching; there was a lot of great new material today.

    May 13, 2014

  • Laurie W.

    Apologies to anyone who turned up at Fort Scott in the Presidio and didn't get redirected to building 989. Not your fault: Jack had the wrong location listed on his website. But he promises that next month will be at Fort Scott.

    May 13, 2014

  • Shiela

    hi, thanks for the post, i would be interested, but the dates and times do not work, how often does he do this workshop, is there recording or website with the info of what is covered ?

    May 13, 2014

    • Laurie W.

      He will only be doing the trees workshop once, but there will be a different topic every month. (See the link above for his Events page to find out what's coming up.) He usually gets someone to record the class and post it on YouTube.

      May 13, 2014

    • Shiela

      Hi Laurie super , if you post it on youtube.com pl. let me know. Sorry I haven't been able to attend any events recently.

      May 13, 2014

  • Sheila R.

    What materials do I need to bring?

    May 12, 2014

    • Laurie W.

      Bring something to take notes with. I usually also bring my sketching kit so I can try out things as he talks, but mostly I don't need it. He often provides worksheets for you to draw on.

      May 13, 2014

  • Janet G.

    You can bring a light-colored pencil and paper if you want to try out overdrawing. On the other hand, I attended one of Jack Laws talks when I brought nothing, and I still got a lot out of it.

    May 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I hope to go to the Presidio on Tuesday or more likely the Oakland Museum on Wednesday

    May 12, 2014

  • Janet G.

    Hi, I'll be at the Oakland Museum on May 14. Richardson Bay is too far for me to take time off a work day.

    March 25, 2014

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