Posts Tagged 'illustration'

Interview with Andrey Atuchin


Today’s palaeoart interview is with Andrey Atuchin. He has rather stormed onto the scene recently with a string of beautiful artworks, especially with some of the recent new discoveries coming out of Utah. As forever, the works here are his and used with permission so please to do not reuse them or take them without his express permission.


How long have you been an artist?

Frankly, I think that I have never been an artist at all. 
I drew from early childhood as far back I can remember. Maybe I had some artistic ability and my classmates often asked me to draw something, they thought that I was cool in drawing. Later I became interested in scientific illustration. The style of scientific illustration attracted me, with attention to details and scientific accuracy. I’m really fond of these books with illustrations, the encyclopedia, the catalogues of animals. I started drawing my own illustrations, just for fun. Being a teenager, I started collecting insects. Also, after reading an antique book of Professor Neumayr «Erdgeschichte» (translated Russian edition of 1903), I was interested in finding and collecting fossils. I painted beetles, which I collected and I loved to paint them as in an encyclopedia. One day I brought my drawings to the art-school and showed to teachers. I wanted them to teach me how to draw well. The teachers took me to art-school without an exam, so now I can boast a pair of years of study at an art school. I also took personal lessons in drawing.
How long have you been producing paleoart?
I was interested in dinosaurs as far I can remember from my early childhood, as well as in nature, animals, space, astronomy and science in general. Once, when I was 5 or 6 years old, my older sister brought me from Moscow a set of plastic toy dinosaurs and other ancient animals (made in Poland). I remember that moment, and these animals fascinated me. 
What first got you interested in dinosaurs and art?
 In the same years, I drew my first paleoart (if I can call it that). I drew a scene where paleontologists dig a dinosaur skeleton and then lifted by helicopter. I guess I saw it on the news on TV. After that, rare books and articles in popular science magazines fueled my interest in this theme. Articles about Soviet paleontological expeditions to Mongolia, novels: “Plutonia” by Obruchev and “Lost World” by Conan Doyle. 
As for the paleoart with fleshed-out dinosaurs that I remember, the first drawings I made in 1994-95 under the influence of the film “Jurassic Park”, I think it was the Tyrannosaurus that attacks the ornithomimids. 
Translated foreign books about dinosaurs began to pass in our country, probably on a wave of popularity of dinosaurs after the movie. As I said, I loved the encyclopedias but Russian books about dinosaurs were a rarity, especially in provincial regions and in my town, I did not even know that there is such a wonderful book with pictures of Zdenek Burian somewhere. One day in the book-store I saw an amazing and terrific book – an illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs by Dougal Dixon. I had never seen such book: many different dinosaurs with their Latin names, colorful images, description, and most importantly – the figures of a skeletons and skulls. This book has been read so much by me that it is falling apart. So you could understand my feelings when someday I have received the offer to illustrate Dougal Dixon’s new illustrated encyclopedia of dinosaurs in 2004 . I didn’t believe it … such amazing coincidence.
The lack of books with good illustrations also prompted me to start drawing illustrations by myself. I just wanted to read a good book about dinosaurs and started drawing dinosaurs how I wanted to see them in a book. I really liked the style and technique of illustrations by Denys Ovenden and I put this style as the basis of my own artworks.
What is your favorite piece of paleoart that you have produced?
 I do not really like my own artworks. My trouble is that I’m a perfectionist, I am always not happy with the result. I am very self-critical yet and I would never put on the wall most of my artworks. But occasionally I like something, for example Nasutoceratops or Lythronax
Who is your favorite paleoartist or piece of paleoart?
 I truly love many artists. Also, now there are many new young artists and sculptors who are very talented. I was also fortunate to have the pleasure of working with some of them on joint projects, such as with Julius Csotonyi, Alain Beneteau or talented 3d artist Vlad Konstantinov. Nevertheless, my most favorite paleoartist is Douglas Henderson. The Real Genius of Paleoart in my opinion. His great works are full with the spirit of ancient landscapes, very atmospheric and always breathtaking. Animals in his paintings are an integral part of the landscape, and the scenery is majestic. This is the windows in the extinct ancient worlds.
What is your favorite dinosaur / archosaur?
 In fact, I do not have a favorite dinosaur or another animal. Rather, I love the groups of dinosaurs. I love hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and abelisaurs and some others. I often and gladly draw dinosaurs from these groups for publishing.
Also, I think that my favorite dinosaur or archosaur is the one that I’m working on at the time, or one that has not been published yet and it needs to work with professional paleontologists to create the reconstruction together. This is what actually favorite for me. I make my favourite as all that I’m working on (or at least I try to). 
Is there any animal you would like to paint but have not?
 All of them, I think, or at least a huge amount. I now have tons of ideas in my head, but I have to admit that I’m just not able to implement them due to time constraints.
What do you think is the most important part of good paleoart?
First of all it needs to study the subject, and many sciences. I know some perfect wildlife artists or scientific natural history illustrators who are professional ornithologists, entomologists or just amateur naturalists. That is the best way to do professional artwork. My biological education helps me in my work as I know the animals, their anatomy, behavior, evolution, ecology, and more. Study science books and original publications about dinosaurs. Consult with paleontologists often, and collaborate and work together with them. Sometimes I study the real bones, take part in expeditions and excavations, and prepare fossils. In fact I was a scientific researcher at first, and I have learned as an artist in the second turn to qualitatively depict animals. 
Insofar as it is an art then also a good technique is important, knowledge of composition and other artistic skills. 
Paleoart shows pictures of the distant past that is available to us only in the form of scarce fossils, so one of the main problems for any paleoartist is to produce a naturalistic depiction of the animals so that they look lively and believable to the audience. Many extinct animals look unlike modern animals, very strange and unusual, but it is above all living organisms and is necessary to represent them appropriately. 
In general the paleoart is unity, interconnection of science, paleontology and art, projected through the paleoartist’s personality.

Interview with John Sibbick

My next palaeoart interview is with John Sibbick. John is one of a real cluster of Bristol-area palaeoartists in the UK with Jim Robbins (coming soon!), and Bob Nicholls. His work was some of the first I became really familiar with as a budding researcher as he illustrated Peter Wellnhofer’s classic encyclopedia of pterosaurs, and the companion dinosaur volume by David Norman as well as the classic undergrad handbook, “Vertebrate Palaeontology” by my PhD supervisor Mike Benton. Anyway, I’ll hand over to John who’s much more interesting talking about art than I am talking about him.

How long have you been an artist?

Artist?  That’s a tricky one.  I’ve been illustrating since 1973 but became freelance doing illustration for children’s books 35 years ago.

How long have you been producing palaeoart?

My first book of dinosaurs was in 1985 – a slim but illustration rich (around 40 images) project with David Norman.  I was very green and had a lot to learn.  I knew about deadlines but it was pretty scary getting through it.  But with a palaeontologist on board I must have been a paleoartist?

What first got you interested in dinosaurs and art?

I first got the bug for fossils looking in the old display cases in the Natural History Museum, London.  Life was pretty mono in the late fifties so I painted as a hobby which eventually became a possible career move as it was pretty obvious I didn’t want to do much else.  I just loved looking at illustrated books and postcards – Maurice Wilson and Neave Parker were my favourites.  I suppose I preferred the past to the present.

What is your favourite piece of palaeoart that you have produced?

So difficult ..favourite because I enjoyed the process or because the artwork turned out OK?
They are not always the same thing.  For me most of my paintings have a flaw in them and sometimes now I can see how to fix it.  But I never retouch or change a piece when it is ‘over’.  Favourite? – I can’t really answer that one easily – maybe an Estemenosuchus group in a glade of tree ferns (below).

Who is your favourite palaeoartist or piece of palaeoart?

I always love looking at Jay Matternes work…a true palaeoartist who knows his subject inside out.  If I find anything published of his I collect it.  Mauricio Anton does beautiful work – I still prefer his paintings and drawings to his digital work but his reconstructions are superb.  Peter Trusler is a master draughtsman who I greatly admire.  Doug Henderson has also brought prehistory to life and has become the biggest influence on how the Mesozoic landscape is portrayed.  His work is very underestimated in my opinion.  How can I choose a favourite example from these – you try!

What is your favourite dinosaur/archosaur?

Dinosaurs – I like the hadrosaurs – any of the crested types – maybe Parasaurolophus the best.  I am also very fond of Dimorphodon amongst the pterosaurs and phytosaurs are very elegant – crocs on tip-toe.

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

I feel that I haven’t made any impression yet..and probably I shouldn’t take on anything that I’ve done before.  I would like to work on the mammal-like reptiles and early amphibians and there are so many invertebrates still to look at, and I would also like to paint or draw my own lurcher whippet – he’s such a good model and sleeps most of the time! Which reminds me I would also like to look at the Eocene mammals…

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

If at the end of a project I haven’t learnt anything new about the process or subject then there is little point in doing it.  The collaboration is the key aspect.  I’ve worked with very generous experts who know that I have limited experience in their field, but have worked very closely to help me to the end result.  A key example was Dr Rachel Wood who had the patience to draw me in to the world of reef evolution.  I think the results are so improved working in that spirit.  The same applied to Dr Peter Wellnhofer -a draughtsman himself who made his pterosaur book a joy to work on. If the collaboration is a good one, then I think the results hopefully reflect this.

@Dave_Hone on Twitter


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 565 other followers