N John Schmitt’s artwork

Ornithologist and artist N John Schmitt knows how to create detailed scientific illustrations. But he also produces simpler sketches that convey a remarkable sense of life. These sketches are full of the activity, energy, and intelligence of birds.

This post presents examples of both forms of Schmitt’s California condor art.

The caption for this 1st illustration reads “Usual changes in color and pattern of ventral and dorsal wing surfaces of California Condors with age …”:

01a Snyder & Schmitt 2002 - a

While most of Schmitt’s California condors are in black & white, here is a work in color:

01b Snyder & Schmitt 2002 - b

The caption for the above is “Usual changes in coloring and feathering of California Condor heads with age…” Both the above images are from the 2002 California condor issue of Birds of North America. Schmitt coauthored this issue with Noel Snyder.

Next is a suite of illustrations that show what it is to be a living California condor:

02 Snyder & Snyder 2005

The caption for the above is “… a late-stage Condor nestling preening, sunning, exercising, playing, and interacting with a parent”. These sketches are from Noel and Helen Snyder’s 2006 Introduction to the California Condor (University of California Press).

N John Schmitt is profiled in the Los Angeles Times article “Bird-watchers Find Their Paradise” by Pete Thomas (28 December 2007).

For more of Schmitt’s illustrations of the California condor, see these previous posts:

Cover art from Cooper Ornithological Club/Society publications
Interest from Africa: 1979-1990
More cover birds: 1927-2010
Scientific sketches: 1875-1983