Gurney Journey | category: Dinotopia | (page 3 of 23)


Gurney Journey

This daily weblog by Dinotopia creator James Gurney is for illustrators, plein-air painters, sketchers, comic artists, animators, art students, and writers. You'll find practical studio tips, insights into the making of the Dinotopia books, and first-hand reports from art schools and museums.

New expanded edition of Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Dover Publications has just released a new expanded edition of Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara in their premier Calla line of illustrated books. (Link to book trailer video on YouTube)

This beautiful hardcover edition includes an exclusive peek behind the scenes, with 30 pages of sketches, storyboards, maquettes, photos of models, character designs, and models posing.

If you live in the USA (or can provide a domestic US shipping address), you can order a signed copy from my website store and it's also available from Amazon

Planning Stages

Here are three stages in planning Dinosaur Boulevard for Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time

The first one is a grisaille study in oil, about 3 x 6 inches. I wanted to organize the values of the scene— a very light sky, a pale row of buildings, and then deep darks unifying the foreground elements.

The purpose of the second study is to work out the perspective and overlapping.

For any scene this complex, it's a big help to break down the planning stages into several discrete stages, with the goal of solving a different problem with each sketch.

The original painting is on its way to Athens, where it will be on exhibit as part of the big science fiction exhibit that was most recently in London (link to video overview).
The painting appears in the book Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time
Signed from my website store and Also available from Amazon

Marker Sketch of Fritz

Marker Sketch of Fritz

Fritz is an autonomous, sentient drone called a "hoverhead" based on the design of a ceratopsian, from Dinotopia: First Flight (1999). Note that his trim is dented and he's missing the chrome ring around his right eye.

For those of you who like to paint old, dented things, the "Dead Vehicle Challenge" is going strong with lots of great entries already. Deadline is the end of the month. Check it out on the Facebook event page.
Get a copy of the expanded edition Dinotopia: First Flight  which has a behind-the-scenes supplement for no extra charge.

Painting BG Details from Life

Even if I'm painting an imaginary scene with dinosaurs set in another world, I like to take the painting outside when I can. 

Painting BG Details from Life

That way I can paint the scenic or background details with more energy and conviction, such as this bank of tulips in a friend's garden.

Painting BG Details from Life

"Small Wonder" from Dinotopia: The World Beneath, which you can get signed from my website or from Amazon.

Science fiction exhibit opens in London

Today, The Barbican Centre in London opens its massive exhibition called "Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction."

Science fiction exhibit opens in London
Photo: Engadget
The show spans science fiction's evolution from Jules Verne to Interstellar with over 800 rare objects, including Darth Vader's helmet, H.R. Giger's designs for Alien, and busts of Godzilla.

Science fiction moved from the fringes of geek fandom to the center of modern entertainment culture. 

Science fiction exhibit opens in London
Tristan Fewings / Getty Images
Swiss curator Patrick Gyger says: "The big coup is doing this exhibition at the Barbican. It's a major cultural institution, which is quite mainstream, and I think it's the biggest cultural centre in Europe."

Science fiction exhibit opens in London
Photo: Engadget
The goal of the show is not to present science fiction merely as a mirror of contemporary politics or as an exercise in predicting futures. It is all that, but that curatorial approach has been done before. Rather, the emphasis is to confront the themes and images of science fiction directly, taking the viewer on a journey of the imagination.

Science fiction exhibit opens in London

The show also includes six original paintings from Dinotopia (above right in this photo), including Dinosaur Parade, Dinosaur Boulevard, and Waterfall City.

After its stint in London, the exhibition will travel to Greece and Denmark.

Read more:
Design Week: the Barbican exhibition exploring the storytelling power of sci-fi
Den of Geek: Interview with curator Patrick Gyger

Tennessee man builds Dinotopia in miniature

Tennessee man builds Dinotopia in miniature
Photos by Jack Vance of the Johnson City Times
Bill Lankford, 78, of Johnson City, Tennessee, built this amazing miniature of Dinotopia.

He worked on the 12-foot-long creation for over a year. It includes stairways, bridges, canals inspired by scenes from Waterfall City, Pooktook, and Sauropolis. 

Tennessee man builds Dinotopia in miniature

His wife Linda helped him by sculpting over 100 humans and dinosaurs using epoxy sculpting compound

Tennessee man builds Dinotopia in miniature.
The miniature world has been packed up and shipped to Taipei to be exhibited in the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan.

Feature article about Lankford's Dinotopia miniature.

Dinotopia's Oil Wash Technique

Dinotopia's Oil Wash Technique

A lot of people are surprised to hear that the illustrations in Dinotopia were painted in oil rather than watercolor. This one of Tok Timbu is typical. I sealed my pencil drawing on illustration board with workable fixatif and after that a thin layer of acrylic matte medium. When that was dry, I used bristle and synthetic brushes to apply the paint, mostly transparently. When I needed to thin the paint, I could use either mineral spirits or alkyd painting medium. At any time I could scratch through to recover the drawing or just to get light lines, like the hairs on the beard.
You can get a signed copy of the 20th anniversary edition of Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time from me at my website.

Bix Puppet Prototype

Here is a one-of-a-kind prototype of a Bix puppet. It was made by Hasbro for a proposed line of Dinotopia toys that was stalled when the Hollywood film went into turnaround in 1997.

Bix Puppet Prototype

The front half of Bix emerges through a piece of black cloth behind an arched door. Her skin is molded in flexible latex or silicon over a skeletal framework.

Bix Puppet Prototype
The operator is able to control the movement of her mouth, the tilt of her head, and the movement of the eye ridges by means of a set of levers in the back.

You can watch a brief video of the prototype's movement on my Public Facebook or my Instagram page.

In previous blog posts you can see other prototypes from the Hasbro presentation, including action figures, a skybax toy, a Sylvia doll, and a strutter model.
New expanded edition of Dinotopia: Journey to ChandaraPlanning StagesInterview with the BarbicanMarker Sketch of Fritz Painting BG Details from LifeScience fiction exhibit opens in LondonTennessee man builds Dinotopia in miniatureDinotopia Theme Park ConceptsDinotopia's Oil Wash TechniqueBix Puppet Prototype

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