\ Visualizing Evolution: Paleoartist of the Month

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Paleoartist of the Month

It's the first of June, which means it's time for Paleoartist of the Month! Each month I'll feature a favorite paleoartist based on some merits that I haven't decided yet. Right now, it's pretty random. Please feel free to submit ideas for July!

June's Paleoartist is James Gurney, who we all know as the artist behind Dinotopia:
The reason I chose Gurney for this month is because I just learned through Pharyngula that he has a blog which he updates almost daily. (Hey, he uses blogspot, too!) It's full of such useful information about illustration, color, light, form, style, that I've linked it on my own sidebar and will be checking it daily from now on. He even has a series of entries on Dino Art Tips!
I wish I would have discovered this site months ago. Reading it has been a delight, and he shares his ideas and methods on a number of techniques. It always makes me happy to see people with amazing talent openly sharing what they do and how they do it. It's going to take me weeks to read through all the back entries!
What I particularly love about Gurney's work is how genuinely animal-like his dinosaurs appear. Even when they stand along side humans in the utopian cities of his Dinotopia books, their behavior and mannerisms are believable as fellow creatures who really did once live on this earth, and not monsters dreamed up in some fantasy.
And of course, to bring it all home, good paleoart (even when it's not strictly scientific) allows our imagination to flourish, and to feel the existence of these long-gone beings who once inhabited this very planet, losing out to natural selection in the long run but definitely leaving their mark.

1 comment:

Harrison said...


My parents bought me that book when I was probably 10 (why god-fearing baptists like them always bought me books about dinosaurs will always confuse me).

It took me awhile before I worked my way up to actually reading the book. I usually just liked to look at all the pretty pictures.

The artwork was definitely my favorite part. I used to just gaze at them for hours imagining all the detail put into it. There was a time when I wondered if maybe he got everyone to pose for a picture or if maybe there really was a far away land called Dinotopia. :)