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Field guide from Dugald Stermer: An indelible take on nature

December 24, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • A meticulous illustration of a spiny lobster by artist Dugald Stermer that appeared in the L.A. Times.
A meticulous illustration of a spiny lobster by artist Dugald Stermer that… (Dugald Stermer / For the…)

Artist Dugald Stermer, who died Dec. 2 at age 74, was known for his work on Ramparts magazine and most famously for his update of the Olympic medals for the 1984 Games.

But as a onetime member of the Los Angeles Times' Outdoors section, I will always cherish the stunning and detailed color illustrations of animals and flowers that he created starting in 2003 for the section, a former part of the newspaper. Each illustration ran weekly and was accompanied by a field guide entry written by naturalist David Lukas.

Times staff writer Valerie J. Nelson explains his style of wildlife drawing in this obituary: "In the 1970s, he made his first wildlife drawings when he failed to find illustrations of seabirds to run in Oceans magazine. His illustrations were exactingly rendered in pencil with a watercolor wash."

The illustrator's daughter Megan Dugald said his "new style" had "kind of hit a chord." It was "classic wildlife painting," she said, but with a bit of a contemporary twist.

His books include "Vanishing Creatures" (1980) and "Vanishing Flora" (1995).

Here's a photo gallery of some of the creatures and flora that came to life under Stermer's careful hand -- and places to visit to see them in real life.

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