Archive for the 'Palaeoart' Category



Nasutoceratops art

Well the new ceratopsian Nasutoceratops has been named and the paper is out. If you want to read a bit about it, I have a post up over on the Guardian here. Since that’s already written, I wanted to do something a bit different here and thanks to Mark Loewen, I’ve been supplied with a series of nice images and art of the beastie and it’d be a shame not to use them here.

Nasutoceratops skeletal drawing by Lukas Panzarin
Here’s Lukas Panzarin’s skeletal of the animal (note that most of the skull is known).

Nasutoceratops stipples by Sammantha Zimmerman
Here’s Samantha Zimmerman’s lovely scientific illustration of the skull in two views which really shows off the shape and pattern of the horns well.

Nasutoceratops titusi on black by Lukas Panzarin
Lukas Panzarin is back again with this life reconstruction of the head.

Nasutoceratops titusi by Raul Martin 300 dpi
Next we have a Raul Martin piece of the whole animal, making its way through a swamp.

Nasutoceratops titusi by Andrey Atuchin
And finally Andrey Atuchin’s effort, another life reconstruction, this time with a nice tyrannosaur half hidden in the background.

All in all some beautiful stuff, but I had no room for it on the Lost Worlds, so I’m pleased to get it up somewhere. Thanks to the team for sharing and great stuff from all the artists.

Knight statues

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I’ve found a bit of time to get back to the planned Berlin posts and thought I’d kick off with these. Anyone with an interest in reconstructions of dinosaurs will know the name of Charles R. Knight and his work in books and murals. These however are rather obviously statues, but ones that are apparently identical in all but the number of dimensions to his most famous pieces. I’ve seen things like these before in storage in Munich as was told these were produced alongside his murals, though whether by him or not I don’t know. Still, they are really rather nice and quite literally add another dimension to how these are normally seen.

If you know a bit more about this series (I’ve seen a Stegosaurus too, but unpainted) please let me know. I’m intrigued as to what they are. Did Knight create them as models to work from? Were they sculpted by him or another artist? My suspicion is that they were produced after the murals and then cast and sold onto museums, but I really don’t know.

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My very own Zhuchengtyrannus

As I have noted on here before, the Japanese really do love their toy dinosaurs and produce really high quality models on a regular basis and of all kinds of obscure and wonderful critters. So when a couple of weeks back I got a cryptic e-mail from Matt Lammana of the Carnegie about having a gift for me from China connected with one of ‘my’ dinosaurs, I did have to wonder if, just possibly, there might be a Zhuchengtyrannus out there. Last night I found out that indeed there was. It had arrived through the post while I was away at SVPCA (more to come there) and well, how can I not be more chuffed. There’s a real toy Zhuchengtyrannus!!

It’s tiny (just 10 cm or so) but obviously well modeled and the paint job ain’t too bad either. Rather obviously taking the lead from Yutyrannus, it’s on the fuzzy side of feathering too. Now obviously the holotype is incomplete to say the least, and so we’re left with a rather typical tyrannosaurine for a model really. Still, I *know* it’s a Zhuchengtyrannus as, if you look closely, you can see it’s written on the base.

My thanks of course to Matt for this wonderful little present, made my day to say the least. On a not entirely unrelated note, there’s a palaeoart event going on at the NHM next week in conjunction with the Dino Art book launch. See here for more details. I hope to be in attendance but Luis Rey, Bob Nicholls, John Sibbick and others will be there.

Interview with Julius Csotonyi

The first single-fingered dinosaur, Linhenykus, commissioned to publicize the discovery (2010).

Today I’m delighted to bring you an art interview with Julius Csotonyi. I first came across his art relatively recently after he ended up doing a lovely life reconstruction of Linhenykus and this sent me to discovering his work. I recently got in touch to ask to borrow a bit of that piece for my new blog banner and casually suggested he might like to join the ever-growing list of artists on here and he was most keen. So keen in fact I’m rather buried in his artworks, so enjoy! As usual this art is Julius’ and should not be reproduced etc. without his permission as he retains the copyright. Continue reading ‘Interview with Julius Csotonyi’

Dinosaur Art book review

I’m sure a good number of readers will be well aware that there is a new book on it’s way to the shelves for mid September on palaeoart and more specifically, dinosaur art. I’ve been lucky enough to get an advanced copy in exchange for doing a review, but I’d have been happy to do so anyway. First things first though, I know almost every artist featured (and am friends with several) and even the editor Steve White and indeed have interviewed them myself on the Musings. Obviously I’ll try to be a neutral as possible, but while this review is gushingly positive, it’d be unfair not to point out my obvious connections to many of those involved.

Doug Henderson asteroid piece

Anyway, onto the book. Quite simply it’s superb, and really doubles as covering two very different things in a single volume. Most naturally it’s a book crammed with high quality artworks from a great number of superb artists and features numerous images that will delight. Even with my familiarity with a great deal of palaeoart and having had the chance to browse the collections of my friends, there were plenty of images here I’d not seen before.

A Sinornithosaurus by Todd Marshall

The paper quality and print quality is superb (which is important) and there are even a few fold-outs to give maximum exposure which is significant given that already it’s quite a large format book. This is a seriously nice piece and I can image there will be a good number of sales to people with no great interest or love of dinosaurs because it just looks fantastic. It’s a real coffee table book in that sense (and I mean that as a compliment).

Julius Csotonyi Cretaceous scene.

However, aside from just looking gorgeous, this book also provides some real commentary on pretty much every aspect of palaeoart. Each series of images (grouped by artist) is accompanied by a dialogue / interview between the editor and artist. This covers the artists origins in palaeoart and obvious little questions about their interests and favourite species, but also delves into the creation process, the style and techniques of the artist and the state of play with modern developments and especially the rise of digital media. As part of this we do see drafts and sketches for pieces showing how the artist changed aspects of the work or developed pieces which is truly fascinating. Each section also has a featured taxon with a series of images by that artist on the relevant species and some accompanying text about the animal in particular, giving a bit more depth and study to each of these compared to a lot of the bigger works which are presented largely without comment.

John Sibbick Scleidosaurus sketch and completed work.

If there are any quibbles it’s that I would have liked to have seen more text. What is said is really interesting and while I’m sure the hefty tome wasn’t cheap to produce with all those pages of full colour artworks, I can’t see that a half dozen extra pages of just text would have made much of a difference. My other minor issue would be that there’s really quite a lot of non-dinosaur stuff in here. Now that’s not me being against non-dinosaur palaeoart in any way shape or form, but the book *is* called Dinosaur Art and at least a few readers might be disappointed that there are a few places where a good number of pages can be turned before finding a dinosaur. While the dinos do dominate, it does just seem a little between-two-stools – it’s not 99% dinosaurs (or even Mesozoic reptiles) as one might expect from the title, but then nor is it mix of all kinds of palaeoart (even if that would likely feature more reptiles than anything else). As I say, both very minor things and ones that I doubt will put off anyone who really likes their art, and indeed nor should it.

Mauricio Anton South American mammal assemblage

Overall then this is a real must-have. I can’t recall another book like it either in terms of the volume of art, the production values or the interviews / sketches that add a new level of detail. While I rarely do go out and get volumes like this (and of course was lucky enough to get mine gratis) this is something I’d have gone out of my way to get my hands on and you should too.

Raul Martin Citipati

Oh and finally I should add that all the images here were provided by the publishers who allowed me to use them to promote the work. They and / or the artists retain the copyright on these images.

John Conway’s Tarbosaurus chasing Gallimimus.

A very Brazilian pterosaur

Back in 2010, the Pterosaur.net boys and girls descended on Beijing for the Flugsaurier meeting. A good time was had by all (well, as far as I could tell) and while pterosaur researchers generally get together to argue, one of the things that was sorted out was that the next meeting would be in Brazil in 2013.

The conference fieldtrip in China included many a long drive in a minibus to get between the various localities and museum in Liaoning. On one of these journeys I had (what I thought) was a great idea for Brazil and John Conway was unfortunate enough to be sat next to me and feel the full force of Dave explaining his new concept. However, fortunately for me, John loved it and went with it. We pitched it as a possible logo for the conference and while they have picked their own (which is lovely) they have included our effort (I say ‘our’, John did the whole thing) on their pages, so it seemed an appropriate time to post this to a wider audience.

In my head I had the idea of pterosaur heads being bold and colourful, and that’s very true of the Brazilian flag. Add to that the huge size of some of their crests and at least one Brazilian genus, Tupanadactylys, that was big enough that it could pass for a flag at the right angle and with a bit of imagination. So here it is, a truly Brazilian pterosaur.

Darwinopterus redux

So after the comments both on here and over at Luis’ new blog, Luis has sorted out the trimmed branches problem with a new tree trunk. The result is above.

As a ‘bonus’ here’s my original sketch of the critter that I sent to Luis. I’m no artist and it was done quickly, but hopefully conveyed the essence of what I had in my mind. The psychedelic colours were not a guide for Luis, but to try and make it clear which parts of which wing membranes went where – if just black and white, it was rather a mess and things were a bit confused.

My very own Darwinopterus

As readers will remember, a couple of weeks back I dropped in on Luis Rey to talk over dinosaurs, pterosaurs, classic rock albums and help him get a blog up and running for his new artwork. Inevitably the conversation at one point turned to thinks Luis hadn’t yet done and things I was interested in seeing. I noted that for all the raft of pterosaurs Luis had thrown out in recent year, neither Darwinopterus or any of it’s close relatives had made it into his collection and given the novelty and importance of these taxa, it should surely be high on the priority list.

Luis simply suggested I sketch what I had in mind and he’d have a go. The turn around was rapid and the result was beautiful and here it is already:

I sent Luis some images of the wonderful Darwinopterus robustodens specimen as a source for proportions and general anatomy and produced a sketch of the posture I wanted. I can’t remember ever having seen a picture of a pterosaur about to land on a tree and that’s what I went for. I’ve seen plenty of them in trees, flying between trees and even taking off, but not in the act of landing. I’m also a big fan of unusual image shapes for art and love things that eschew the normal A4-type proportions, so I specifically asked for something very tall and thin to emphasise the height of the tree and the wingstroke. Anything other than that is shackling the artist (especially when it’s Luis) and something I don’t like to do if I can avoid it, so I said nothing about colours, patterns, background etc.

Anyway, here it is (and here it is on Luis’ pages). My massive thanks to him for his work and for crediting me with far too much. Head over there and tell him how awesome it is for me.

Interview with David Krentz

Today we turn to David Krentz and a real shift from the more traditional palaeoart which has mostly been covered here. Until recently, David was best known for his dinosaur sculptures – hardly a rare medium, but one that’s barely made it into the pages of the Musings, but his work with moving pictures means he’s also been heavily involved in documentaries and even movies, not least being the director of the recent Dinotasia. I’m grateful to David for his time and the load of his art. As ever, the copyright stays with him and these images should not be reproduced or used without his permission.

How long have you been producing palaeoart?

If you mean how long have I been drawing prehistoric life, than I’d say from around 2 or 3 years old.  I have kept some old books that I drew in the margins of, and they are dated to the early 70s.  By Kindergarten I was in full force already.  I saw the Marx playset and all I wanted to do was make clay dinosaurs.  The teacher realized I was hopeless and did something very innovative.  She took me aside and said “David, for one week you can make a giant display of dinosaurs with clay, and at the end of the week you tell the whole class about it”.  When the week was over and I did my presentation I had found ‘my voice’ and also the power of sharing your knowledge and passions with others.  Of course dinosaurs waxed and waned during my school years, but they were always my first love.  I did know from around third or fourth grade that I wanted to make dinosaur movies though, and that never went away.


What first got you interested in dinosaurs and art?

For a lot of people its the first museum visit.  Growing up in Winnipeg Canada we didn’t have any great skeletons in the museum, I didn’t see a T.rex skeleton until I went to college in California!  For me it was books, movies and toys.  I don’t know about an interest in art, it was never deliberate.  I just wanted to get the images in my head down on paper or in clay (later with super-8 movies) in the best way possible.  It was all self taught and never labored, just executed till it look good.


 
What is your favourite piece of palaeo art that you have produced?

I’m my own worst critic.  A lot of my stuff I can’t stand to look at.  I’d say that my Gorgosaurus sculpture called “Judith” is my favourite (above).  I created it when I was taking many liberties designing characters for the Disney Dinosaur movie.  The piece was therapy.  I’d come home after putting lips on Iguanodons and try my redeem myself with Judith.  It was my first real attempt at a studied and serious sculpture.  I tried to put all of my knowledge of motion and animation in it, because I felt that is one thing I could bring to the world of Paleoart.  I’m also pretty happy with some of the digital models I did for Dinosaur Revolution and feature film Dinotasia (below).

Who is your favourite palaeoartist or piece of palaeoart?

Oh man…I hate this question.  Sin of Omission and all that.  I’d say the most influential would be Bill Stout…his book from the 80’s blew me away.  I was hooked on Doug Henderson‘s work the second I saw it..he is no doubt my favourite artist.  For sculptures I’d have to say Tony McVey.  For all of these artists its hard to name a favourite.
Since I’m also in Dinosaur Movie guy I should name some of the most influential movies as well.  King Kong would be seminal to my imagination. Star Wars ( I know..but there were dinosaurish creatures) for making me yearn to do THAT for a living.  Phil Tippets Prehistoric Beast ( see…he worked on Star Wars!)  completely set me on fire when I seriously considering learning film making.  When Jurassic Park came out I was already a jaded-snob, and I’d still hold Prehistoric Beast against it.  Don’t get me wrong, JP was a game changer, but I was just too critical in my early 20s to really let it move me.

What is your favourite dinosaur / archosaur?

Gorgosaurus, and I also love centrosaurs in general.  Gorgosaurus/Albertosaurus is just plain sexy.  Greg Paul is to blame for that.  He made it look so appealing and athletic to me.

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

Like a lot of PaleoArtists I’d have to say the answer changes daily.  Some days I realize just how amazing a Deinotherium is and then the next a prosauropod takes my fancy.

What do you think is the most important part of good palaeoart?

Getting a personal relationship with the subject matter.  If its a Hendersonian landscape I have a feeling that I’m in the scene hiding under a log an holding my breath.  If its an isolated dinosaur against a white background or a sculpture than I’d say gesture (pose) and character.  Its really important to get a sense of motion and weight and even more so to be drawn to the animals eyes.  I don’t want to know what the animal is as much as I do WHO it is.  I don’t care about the type specimen, I want character.  I understand that maybe is not the most desired answer for a scientific subject yet that my point of view.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – to quote Saint-Exupery – ” If the sculptor has nothing but science his hands will have no art”.

Interview with Steve White

Typical isn’t it, you wait six months for a new palaeoart interview and then two come along at once. Today’s entry is Steve White. Steve may not have the profile of some of his colleagues but has produced some beautiful artworks. Most importantly perhaps, he is the editor of a soon-to-be-released book on the palaeoart of dinosaurs and featuring new works and words from an absolute hatful of artists, many of whom have featured here over the years and will no doubt be of great interest. Anyway, back to Steve and his art and as per usual please do not take or reuse these without permission and my thanks to Steve for his generous loan of his work:

Continue reading ‘Interview with Steve White’

Interview with Wayne Barlowe

It’s been a good while since we’ve had a new art interview, but I’m pleased to report that Wayne Barlowe has kindly pitched in. While Wanye has not been especially productive in this line of art, he has made some major contributions and his work has turned up in plenty of dinosaur books over the years. As per usual all images are on loan here and should not be reproduced without his permission etc.

 

How long have you been an artist?
I’ve been working professionally since 1977. Spent two years at Cooper Union and began to get called to do science fiction illustration for magazines and paperbacks. In the mid ’90’s I embarked upon a pleasant, albeit short-lived sojourn into the world of paleo art.

How long have you been producing palaeoart?
Well, the truth is, I haven’t actually done any paleo art in some time. When I was doing nothing but, I probably spent a total of 4 – 5 years immersed in that world. During that time, along with doing a few paintings for myself, I rendered the color paintings for THE HORNED DINOSAURS and AN ALPHABET OF DINOSAURS both authored by Dr. Peter Dodson – somewhere in the neighborhood of forty or so paintings.

What first got you interested in dinosaurs and art?
I had a deep and abiding interest in paleo art and paleontology, in general, since I was a child. My parents, both nature artists, had the full set of Augusta/Burian volumes and those acted as perfect catalysts for my young imagination. They actually served as something of an inspiration for my SF nature book, EXPEDITION.

What is your favourite piece of palaeo art that you have produced?
I am generally hyper-critical of my own work. With that said, a few of the paleo pieces still work for me. I’d probably point to JURASSIC SIESTA – a pair of satiated ceratosaurs – as my favorite.

Who is your favourite palaeoartist or piece of palaeoart?
While I happily admire many of the pieces I see being produced today, I’d have to say that Zdenek Burian’s approach has never really been beaten. He was a painter first and a paleo man second. For me, his dinosaur and early mammal paintings are Art. The brushwork, the atmosphere, the composition all bespeak an Old World tradition and sensibility. There is much to learn and admire in those works, despite the advances in understanding of the Mesozoic world. For nostalgia reasons, his classic T-rex and hadrosaur painting has to be my favorite.

What is your favourite dinosaur / archosaur?
I’ll always have a soft spot for ceratosaurs. So baroque and interesting.

Is there any animal you would like to paint but have not?
Given my short tenure in the paleo art world, the list is way too long. Apart from some the newly found feathered dinosaurs, I love flying reptiles – the whole idea is really too fantastic – and would eventually like to do a serious painting of one of them. I’m a big WW1 airplane buff, so these two interests might dovetail and find some expression in a pterosaur painting.

What do you think is the most important part of good palaeoart?
Integrity. Integrity towards the composition, towards the world being depicted, towards the spirit of the creature being shown.

More from the studio of Luis Rey

I spent yesterday with Luis Rey, catching up after far too long and helping him out as he wanted to start a blog. We had some computer problems, but eventually got things working and stuck up a bunch of posts. Luis has produced or modified a lot of pictures over the last couple of years that no-one has seen but now they’re starting to come online. If you want to check it, out, drop into his blog here.

The last time I visited, Luis let me take a bunch of photos of his studio and that led to the first of the palaeoart interview series. It’s packed with casts, models, sculptures and paintings and includes a good number of commercial pieces that Luis has retouched or repainted. Once again he was kind enough to let me snap away so enjoy some more of his bits and pieces.


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