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Monday, February 6, 2012

James Gurney and the Art of Dinosaurs

I never read Dinotopia as a kid: I only came to it in high school and college.  But, the experience has stayed with me in a very profound way.  I suppose lots of boys like dinosaurs, and especially drawing them, but that love of the fantastical and the well-drawn never left me.  As I flipped through the pages of James Gurney's amazing story, I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Gurney not only drew some of the best illustrations of dinosaurs I have ever seen.  He also took the time to create a written dinosaur language, in which footprints are the basis of an alphabet.  He envisioned innovative ways in which dinosaurs and humans might live together, and drew those collaborations in convincing, realistic detail.  To me, he was like Norman Rockwell, but instead of drawing a family gathered at a Thanksgiving table, he drew mosasaurs pulling rudimentary submarines.

Now, some of his work in on view in the Woodson Art Museum, in Wausau, Wisconsin.  Anyone who has a chance to see this show absolutely should.  I wish I could go.

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