Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Meet the artist: Jed Taylor

As if you need any further reasons to attend TetZooCon, here's one more. A couple of years ago I ran into a fellow in the post-TZC-pub with a folder full of his own dinosaur drawings. Natee and I had a look, and were suitably impressed; there was room for improvement, but it was a very solid foundation.

Two years later, and the same bloke - Jed Taylor - approached me again in the pub. And this time, I was blown away. His dromaeosaurs are among the best I've ever seen, but it doesn't stop there; he's illustrated a plethora of dinosaurs in a gorgeous, naturalistic style that's very much in the post-Paulian (sorry again), Floof Revolution mould. Even Andrea Cau's heaped praise on his work, and he's very hard to please. I asked Jed if he could write about his work for the blog, and he supplied the following very many lovely words, which it felt quite criminal to edit down. It may be a little 'TL;DR' for some, but it wasn't for me. Enjoy.

Jed's gorgeous Acheroraptor portrait. All art © Jed Taylor, used with permission.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The 2017 Dinosaur Gift Guide

It's time again for our yearly dinosaur gift guide, a fine tradition in its fourth year. As usual, I encourage you to check out all of the past editions (2014, 2015 and 2016) as well, since most listings are still active and we've featured so many cool products, most from independent artists and small companies. It is always difficult to keep this post concise, and this year we have had so many cool and creative things put out in the world by the paleo-enthusiast community. Let's jump in!


Books

Dinosaur Art II

Titan Books' Dinosaur Art II repeats the winning formula of the original Dinosaur Art, but focuses on some of today's finest paleoartists. The title received a glowing review from Marc in this space, so if you need to be convinced, read that, and then order a copy here!

Dinosaur Empire

I heaped praise upon Abby Howard's wonderful Dinosaur Empire in August. This is an essential part of any dinosaur book collection, but if you're specifically looking for something for a dinosaur enthusiast in elementary school, this is absolutely perfect. It's available from Abrams books.

A to Zuul by Stephen Darteville

Victoria Arbour chimed in with this adorable book when I asked the LITC team for suggestions. Darteville has a really fun, engaging style that's full of personality. Each copy comes with a set of stickers, too! Pick your copy up from Gumroad.

Animals of a Bygone Era: An Illustrated Compendium

Another good title for a young prehistory fan is this one by Maja Säfström. Don't let the wonderfully fanciful illustrations fool you: this book digs deep and introduces readers to some seriously obscure critters. We also reviewed this one this year. Pick it up from Penguin Random House.


Toys

Beasts of the Mesozoic figures

After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, the Beasts of the Mesozoic series of poseable raptor figures are almost here. My personal favorite is the Dromaeosaurus, pictured above. You can pick them up via Backerkit!

The 2017 Wild Safari Dinosaur Collection

I asked Marc Vincent for a recommendation for dinosaur figures to include and he immediately suggested anything in Wild Safari's 2017 collection. When I saw them I was pretty stunned. They're wonderful all around, and although I'm no collector, there are a few here I'd love to acquire - especially that Deinocheirus, Velociraptor, and Diplodocus. You can purchase them from Safari LTD, but unfortunately the 2017 models aren't all collected on one page. I'd suggest browsing the set at the Dinosaur Toy Blog and then searching the Safari site for the one you want.


Art

Ankylosaurus by Fabrizio De Rossi

The launch of Studio 252 MYA about a year ago filled a huge on-line need for enthusiasts of prehistory: an easy-to-use, well-designed shop to pick up all manner of paleoart merch, from tees to prints to mugs. I could probably just fill this entire post with products from their roster of artists. Instead, I'll feature Fabrizio De Rossi's beautiful Ankylosaurus print and suggest you spend some time browsing the entire site.

Colorful prints by Mary Sanche

Mary Sanche, who runs the Redbubble shop Thoughts up North, has created a series of prints featuring themed groupings of mesozoic fauna, each in their own color tint. They'd look fantastic as a set!. Check out her Theropods, Pterosaurs, Ceratopsians, and Marine Reptiles, pictured above.

Zhenyuanlong by Emily Willoughby

Emily Willoughby has no shortage of beautiful artwork to choose from, but I wanted to feature one of my all-time favorites in this guide: her Zhenyuanlong . Pick it up in a variety of formats at Zazzle.

Strutting Stegosaurus by Levi Hastings

Levi Hastings has a way of distilling prehistoric beasts down to their most essential forms and playing with rhythmic elements of anatomy that is really satisfying to me. Add in a knack for finding unique color palettes and you've got paleoart that looks beautiful hanging just about anywhere. Find his Strutting Stegosaurus on Society 6 (incidentally, I really love the paper Society 6 uses for their art prints - you'd swear it was an original watercolor).

Risographs by Greer Stothers

Greer Stothers' ceratopsian enamel pins are awesome, so you should definitely buy a set of those, but I also wanted to feature her risograph prints, which feature really cool color palettes and lovely, minimalist compositions. I love the Saurornitholestes above, but there are more awesome ones to choose from in her shop.


Wearables

I'm a fan of heraldic designs featuring prehistoric animals, so Rebecca Groom's tees make me giddy. Her Yi qi is pictured above, and she's also got a Velociraptor design.

Globidens tee by Jaime Headden

The black tee with a white design is a staple of my wardrobe, but now that my cherished short-faced bear tee from the Field Museum looks like it was used for target practice, I need another for the mix. Jaime Headden's terrific Globidens skull tee fits the bill perfectly, so on my list it goes!

World Dinosaur Federation by Seven Hundred

This is just a great idea, executed well. Available on tees and hoodies from TeeFury.

Paleopins

Angela Radick creates super cute prehistoric enamel pins, and has funded a couple sets with successful crowdfunding campaigns. To browse her current selection, head to the PaleoPins Etsy shop. I'm especially fond of the chompy Carnotaurus above.


That's a wrap for this year's guide! Of course, this is just a small selection of what's out there. So feel free to share your favorite gift ideas in the comments, too.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Terrible Lizards - a bestiary

Believe it or not, I'm not familiar at all with Dungeons & Dragons. Of course I know what it is, and that there's a Dungeon Master overseeing things and lots of high fantasy and dice and such, but not much more than that. It's just not something that I've really been exposed to (if you'll forgive the use of a word that makes it sound slightly unseemly). So, I was intrigued when we were contacted by Ralph Stickley, who's produced a bestiary entitled Terrible Lizards, with the laudable aim of bringing up-to-date dinosaurs to the game.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Recent Paleoillustration from David

I try not to use LITC as a way to just share a ton of my work, but I'm in the mood to at the moment, so you'll just have to bear with me. This spring I did a couple of feathered theropods, and looking back at them I'm still rather pleased with the style. I find that I'm finally to the point where I generally like things I create more than I dislike them. That feels like some sort of milestone.

Falcarius by David Orr
Utahraptor by David Orr

So I decided to draw a stegosaur, because I don't often (ever) do that. But I couldn't just pick Stegosaurus because that's a little obvious. So I went with good ol' Kentrosaurus instead.

Kentrosaurus by David Orr

Anyhow, I won't keep you too long. If you're fond of these and would like to support some independent art on this fine day, feel free to check these out in my Redbubble shop's Paleoillustration section. Even though it's a mouthful, I like "paleoillustration" as a term for this kind of thing - less baggage than "paleoart." Feels like it affords more wiggle room for whimsy.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Dinosaur Art II - Marc's review

You may find it difficult to believe (or just unsettling to contemplate), but it's been five years since the publication of the original Dinosaur Art, that gorgeous-looking coffee table compendium of "The World's Greatest Palaeoart". Five years is a long time in the world of scientifically-informed life reconstructions of prehistoric animals, and so now editor Steve White and Titan Books are back with Dinosaur Art II: The Cutting Edge of Palaeoart. Is it just more of the same? Well, not quite; there aren't too many surprises, and the format remains largely unchanged, but there is a little more stylistic variation than before, including a breakout into the world of model sculpting. What's perhaps most telling is how DA2 brings the series into the post-Paulian age.

Dodgy photo from my sofa.