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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.

gurneyjourney.blogspot.com

Your Roving Arts Reporter

Your Roving Arts Reporter
We're on our way to Colorado and Wyoming, ready to cover events as they unfold. Our little car is packed full of gouache, casein, watercolor, fountain pens, coffee, and peanut-butter-flavored granola bars.

Hitting the road next week

Hitting the road next week
Here is the cover of the sketchbook I'm currently traveling through. I called it "Rest Stop," following my custom to title the sketchbook with words that appear on the first page. The sketch on the first page is captioned the 'Heavenly Rest Stop Café.'

I'm dreaming about the road, because Jeanette and I will be leaving next week on a car trip from New York to Wyoming and Colorado. As much as possible, we'll be taking the old highways through small town America, sketching as we go.

Hitting the road next week
I'll be one of the guests at the SKB Workshop in Dubois, Wyoming, September 14-19. There will be a lot of plein-air, landscape, and wildlife painters there in an informal setting.

Hitting the road next week
Also, I'll be traveling out to California in November as a guest of the CTN Animation Expo. I've visited once before, and it's a very interesting gathering of animation artists.

If you can't make it to either of those events, I'll be reporting along the way from the blog.

Exhibitions and Events

I'd like to announce some upcoming exhibitions and events that I'll be participating in.
Exhibitions and Events

An exhibition of 25 paintings called "Dinotopia: The Fantastical Art of James Gurney" will be on view next month at the New Hampshire Institute of Art . The exhibition will include Dinosaur Parade, Garden of Hope, Dinosaur Boulevard and many other classic images. It will be up for just three weeks, from Wednesday, February 20 through Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The opening at 5:00 on February 20 is free and everyone is invited. I'll be presenting an illustrated lecture about the making of Dinotopia at 6:30 pm that evening. The cost to attend the lecture is $20, and there will be a book signing afterward. More at New Hampshire Institute of Art
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      Exhibitions and Events

      From April 10-14 I'll be one of the featured guests at the 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention and Expo in Monterey, California. I'll be doing a talk on composition, as well as painting in oil outdoors in the picturesque environs, alongside the rest of the faculty and participants. It's a great opportunity for shop talk while practicing in the field.
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    Exhibitions and Events
      Later in April, over the weekend of the 25th, I will be one of the guests at the Art of the Portrait Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This event brings together many of the top portrait artists from around the world, painting side by side from live models and explaining their process. My lecture will will be about drawing portraits "in the wild" from candid models, and I'll be on a panel talking about blogging. (Photo Charles Walls) 
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    Exhibitions and Events
    In June I will be one of the guests for a couple of days at Illustration Master Class in Amherst Massachusetts. The spaces are filled for this year, but there is a wait list.
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Exhibitions and Events
And finally, don't miss the museum exhibit currently on view through February 2 at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Connecticut. It's called "Dinotopia: Art, Science, and Imagination," with over 100 pieces of original Dinotopia art, maquettes, and fossils. It's completely different from the "Fantastical Art" show, so if you see one show, the other will have entirely different surprises.


Part 5 / Pteranodon Hatchling Finish

(Continuing the Pteranodon series) Here's the final painting of the young Pteranodon, incorporating Dr. Bennett's corrections. 
Part 5 / Pteranodon Hatchling Finish
The pterosaur has just hatched from a soft-shelled egg, and is resting on a bed of crushed ferns. The painting is in oil, using the paint thinly and mostly transparently. The oil stayed wet enough to allow a shallow-focus treatment of the distance, something that often appears in wildlife photos. 

Since Ranger Rick is mainly a photo magazine, I deliberately used photographic effects (even though I had no photo to look at for reference) because I wanted the art to blend with the rest of the magazine.

Part 5 / Pteranodon Hatchling Finish
When we passed through the Washington, DC area a few weeks ago, we stopped by the National Wildlife Federation headquarters to pick up the painting and to show the editors "Pterry" the Pteranodon maquette that I used for reference.

Part 5 / Pteranodon Hatchling Finish
We shared the painting and the maquette at some of the art schools we visited on our recent southeast tour, including SCAD Atlanta, (photo by Rick Lovell). 

I'll be doing reports from the various art schools in future blog posts.
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Part 4: Pteranodons / Hatchling Sketches


Illustration Master Class 2011

Illustration Master Class was in full swing in Amherst, Massachusetts, when we arrived yesterday.

Illustration Master Class 2011
Here's student Mark Helwig with his dragon reference maquette, made of Super Sculpey. He told me that it's his first time using Sculpey. There are about 100 students from all over the world, some using digital, some traditional, and some combining the two.

The workshop lasts a week, and at this stage the students have already gotten their sketch approved, gathered reference, and transferred the drawings onto the painting surface. Many of the students are professionals themselves, but everyone is trying something new, sharing techniques with each other, and staying up late hours.

Illustration Master Class 2011
IMC is team-taught by a faculty of guests and regulars, so students get plenty of opinions (not always agreeing opinions) about their sketches. I'm here for a day and a half as a guest speaker.

Back row: me, Greg Manchess, Dan Dos Santos, Irene Gallo, Scott Allie, Jeff Mack, Donato Giancola. Front Row: Adam Rex, Scott Fischer, Iain McCaig, Rebecca Guay, Julie Bell, and Boris Vallejo (Peter d.S. was away on a phone call).

 Illustration Master Class 2011
Here's a sketch of Mo Willems, who did a slide show, explaining the anatomy of a children's picture book.

Illustration Master Class 2011

Peter de Sève did a wonderful presentation about his life in caricature and character design. Later on, Rebecca (left) treated us to a faculty supper at a Chinese restaurant, where Peter and Mo showed us other ways to think about those take-out containers.

Piccoli Ritratti

Here are some little portraits of some of the amazing people we had supper with in Lucca:
Piccoli Ritratti
1. The incomparable comic artist Massimiliano Frezzato, creator of I Custodi del Maser, 2. Terry Brooks, author of Sword of Shannara, 3. Emanuele Vietina, vice-director of Lucca Comics and Games, and 4. Steve Perrin, game designer for Dungeons and Dragons and RuneQuest.

Piccoli Ritratti
Also: 1. Skippy, 2. Mandy, 3. Athos, and 4. Andrea. These sketches were all made with water-soluble colored pencils, and all were drawn around the supper table (except the one of Skippy, which was a workshop demo).

Lucca Comics and Games

Finishing Lucca Demo

I painted for another two hours on the charity auction demo, here at the festival of comics and games in Lucca, Italy.
Finishing Lucca Demo


The changes are mostly corrections in the drawing: fixing the windows, and tinkering with the placement of the dinosaur’s legs.

Finishing Lucca Demo
My reference was this colored pencil sketch, and I hope to do more of these tomorrow after the rain clears.

Finishing Lucca Demo
It was a great pleasure to meet and paint next to an artist I’ve admired for many, many years, Phil Hale. He painted a whole series of images based on rubbing out of black oil paint.

Lucca Comics and Games

Cafe Culture

Jeanette and I have been mooching Wi-Fi from coffee shops like everyone else does.
She did this sketch of a cafe patron using a Micron brush pen.

Cafe Culture
I guess we’re part of an alarming trend. In one Starbucks, we noticed 14 patrons. Eleven of them were busy with laptops, two were interested in hand-held devices, and one was a kid playing quietly with an empty coffee cup.

Nobody spoke, except to say, “Do you mind if I plug this in?”

Bob’s Big Boy

What better place for a double-deck hamburger than Bob’s Big Boy family restaurant in Burbank?

Bob’s Big Boy
And what better person to enjoy it with, than Mark Frauenfelder, the guy who launched BoingBoing and Make magazine.

Bob’s Big Boy
Built in 1949, this is the oldest Bob’s still standing. According to a bronze plaque out front, “it was designed by respected architect Wayne McAllister, incorporating the 1940s transitional design of streamline modern style while anticipating the freeform 50s coffee shop architecture.”
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More about Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing, Make Magazine. His new book is Made by Hand.
More about the history of Bob’s Big Boy. and on Wikipedia

Tomorrow we’ll return to sea monsters.
Your Roving Arts ReporterHitting the road next weekExhibitions and EventsPart 5 / Pteranodon Hatchling FinishIllustration Master Class 2011Piccoli RitrattiFinishing Lucca DemoCafe CultureBob’s Big BoyArrested by the Art Police

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