Interview with Julia Molnar

Following on from the successful interview with Luis Rey, I’ve managed to get Julia Molnar to chime in with a few answers. Julia is rather new to the palaeoart scene but has been an illustrator for a number of years. She burst onto the scene with her Lazendorf award at the Bristol SVP for this outstanding illustration of pterosaur take-off with more in the works. Enjoy (and the art of course, which is incidentally, Julia’s intellectual property). Hopefully a few more of these interviews to to come:


- How long have you been an artist?
Depends on how you count. It’s been 10 years since I started my undergraduate degree in fine arts. I’ve never managed to support myself as an artist, although I have occasionally been paid for it. Since 2009 I’ve been a partner in Genus Studios, a freelance illustration business which I started with 3 colleagues from Johns Hopkins Art as Applied to Medicine.

- How long  have you been producing palaeoart?
My first piece of palaeoart was the Anhanguera forelimb musculature illustration I submitted for the Lazendorf in 2009. I was trained as a medical illustrator, so most of my portfolio is human stuff. However, since coming to work at RVC, I’ve started to work more on biological and paleontological subject matter – in fact, I’m currently working on the cover for the new edition of Dr. Jennifer Clack’s “Gaining Ground: The Origin and Evolution of Tetrapods”.

- What  first got you interested in dinosaurs and art?
I like the fact that there’s no “right” way to do it. If I’m illustrating a kidney, everyone has a very specific idea of what it’s supposed to look like and get really annoyed if it looks any different. Palaeoart leaves more room for imagination and experimentation because no one can say definitively what the animals looked like.

- What is your favourite piece of dinosaur art that you have  produced?
I’ve only produced a few, but the forelimb musculature drawing is my favourite. I spent a lot more time on the animation, but I generally find 2D work to be more satisfying.

- Who is your favourite palaeoartist or piece  of palaeoart?
Simply in terms of style, I especially enjoy Doug Henderson’s work. His paintings have atmosphere and mood, and you’d never confuse his work with someone else’s.



– What is your favourite dinosaur / archosaur?

Quetzalcoatlus. I want a pet one so I can ride on its back.

– Is there any animal you would  like to paint but have not?

Not really.

– Oh  yes, last question: What do you think is the most important  part  of  good palaeoart?

I think that the really good artists get the viewer emotionally involved in their paintings. Working in or studying palaeontology we sometimes take it for granted, but these fossils were once living, breathing creatures. The best palaeoart is so convincing, not just technically but stylistically, that you believe it in more than an intellectual way.

PS. Julia’s website is here. [Edit: site is down, but some of Julia's work is on here].

12 Responses to “Interview with Julia Molnar”


  1. 1 Glendon Mellow 21/08/2010 at 6:52 am

    Excellent interview! Julia’s last response was an important one.

  2. 2 mattvr 21/08/2010 at 8:08 am

    Great interview! Thanks Dave.

  3. 3 Steve O'C 21/08/2010 at 9:24 pm

    A truly amazing artist!!

    One thing that I have been wondering about for a while regarding the pterosaur take off sequence; could pterosaurs fully straighen their knees like that?

    It’s generally thought that most types of birds and dinosaurs can’t fully straighten their knees. Am I right in thinking that crocodiles can’t either?

    Pterosaurs are thought to possibly be related to those groups. Is there any evidence that pterosaurs could straighten them?

    • 4 David Hone 22/08/2010 at 6:23 pm

      “could pterosaurs fully straighen their knees like that? ”

      I’m not sure since I’ve not actually though about it and I’m not sure anyone has commented on it in detail (might have, I can think of a few candidates, but I’m separated from my papers right now). Pterosaurs do at least have very flexible joints in general and it would not surprise me if they could even if their relatives could not.

      Sorry for the incomplete answer, great question! Tricky to tell without good material and a functional morphologist next to me though.

  4. 5 Medical Interview Questions 23/08/2010 at 2:39 pm

    Dave,can’t just say thanks for this great article..the interview with Julia was awesome..being an artist i feel like meeting her some day..will be waiting for that day..she is one of the greatest artist on 20th century..hope i will be the next! thank a million for sharing!

  5. 6 Kilian Hekhuis 23/08/2010 at 5:00 pm

    “Julia’s website is here.” – unfortunately, that gives a 404, and Google doesn’t know it either.

  6. 8 Mike Habib 24/08/2010 at 4:48 am

    Not sure what the situation with Julia’s website is, either – it might be in migration at the moment. In the meantime, for those interested, here is the URL for Genus Studios (she is a partner there, see interview mention above):

    http://genus-studios.com/

  7. 9 Julia Molnar 24/08/2010 at 11:56 pm

    Hi everyone, sorry about the website – I let it expire because I haven’t been able to keep it up to date. All the same work is on Genus-studios.com, though.

    Thanks for all the kind comments! I’d have to refer you to Mike Habib for the pterosaur knee question – he told me they could fully straighten the knees, but I am not sure where his information comes from.

    • 10 Mike Habib 27/08/2010 at 11:11 am

      I’ve looked at a handful of good pterosaur knees and it seems that they could go quite straight. I have not done a rigorous analysis in which I attempt to reconstruct cartilage throughout the joint and such, so this is not a firm conclusion, but I was confident enough to have Julia model a straight knee for the Anhanguera launch model.


  1. 1 Interview with John Conway « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 20/09/2010 at 3:17 pm
  2. 2 Palaeoart roundup « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 06/10/2011 at 9:15 am

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