Friday, October 19, 2012

Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Illustrated Dinosaur Encyclopedia - Part 2.2

Yesterday, I mentioned that the sauropods in this book aren't especially good, drawing particular attention to the somewhat half-finished looking Saltasaurus. Actually, they're quite typical of the time - rather anachronistic, unwieldy, bloated, irrelevant and ugly, not unlike the British Royal Family. While other dinosaurs were receiving a facelift, sauropods tended to get left behind a little - although they were hauled out of the swamps, they still tended to drag their tails around everywhere like outsized thunder lizards. The artistic execution remains pretty good here, though, and I am particularly fond of the glassy, cold black eyes. Like a doll's eyes.


Of course, there's also that brachiosaur in the background which appears to be, well, tiny, due to an unfortunate perspective quirk caused by the ferns in the background. I dunno, maybe it's a baby.

Meanwhile, this Diplodocus looks rather like the Invicta toy, which in turn strongly resembles palaeoart by Burian, among others. Fortunately, that also means it is possessed of a more convincingly organic, fluid quality than the brachiosaur, and is definitely one of the better sauropods in the book (even if they still insist on the tail-dragging). I'm also fond of the rearing individual in the background (although I have the feeling that it's been cribbed from somewhere) - if nothing else, it instantly livens up the composition of the scene.

Euoplocephalus, being cool. I like this one - the pose provides a decent overview of the animal, but the twisty head and braced forelimbs add a little interest and liveliness beyond that of a boring Diagnostic Lateral View (DLV). It's also very nicely and evocatively lit in a way that hints at the animal's sheer bulk and presence, even if the hips haven't been made wide enough. Unfortunately, someone placed a rather distracting little detail in the background.

Many artists have attempted to illustrate an ankylosaur smacking a tyrannosaur with its tail club, and virtually none of them have done it well. This is no exception to the rule, with both parties looking rather limp and inert; this is especially true of the tyrannosaur, whose arms seem to have been broken in a number of places (presumably through the SHEER FORCE OF THE IMPACT).

This has to be one of the more unusual 'post-tripod' illustrations of Iguanodon that I've ever seen. Even when taking the perspective into consideration, that is one seriously pin-headed beastie. To make matters worse, this massive, pillar-limbed creature is supposed to be "Iguanodon mantelli" (aka Dollodon seelyi, or possibly Mantellisaurus atherfieldensis), which was actually a rather slender and short-armed creature, much smaller than the more famous Iguanodon bernissartensis. Having said all that, I once again have the feeling that this is a rip-off of a piece by a more established palaeoartist, but can't quite put my finger on which one. As they might say in The Beano, "Help me, readers!"

And finally: you've got to wonder what they're looking at. Maybe an anachronistic mutant Tyrannosaurus has come tramping over the hill nearby a la the Rite of Spring segment in Fantasia. The keen-eyed will spot the Sibbick riffs here - in fact, the theropod looks rather like his 1980s Dilophosaurus with the crests removed.

That's all for now! If I've missed any of your favourites, then please do alert me in the comments and I'll compile a farewell post containing them all...

7 comments:

  1. How many new things have you coined in recent times now, and in just these two posts alone? 'Dixie Doug', 'DLV'... And there was 'Convenient Lateral View' elsewhere too.

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    1. I come up with different terms for the lateral view all the time...mostly because I can't remember what I said previously, and am too lazy to look it up.

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  2. That iguanodon looks like John Gurche's Tenontosaurus/Iguanodon hybrid, only without the marauding Deinonychus. Right down to the sun-dappled skin. http://cowlesscowboy.tumblr.com/post/17502634103/deinonychus-vs-tenontosaurus-by-john-gurche

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    1. It does rather. I love the Deinonychus in that image, by the way. "Wheeee!"

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  3. For some reason this book is rather fond of rearing quadrupeds in the backgrounds. Though probably the most bizzare imho is the Stegosaurus standing almost upright (although it at least has the decency to lean against a tree while doing so).

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  4. The rearing Diplodocus is probably taken from Bakker's 1986 "Dinosaur Heresies". Check page 192.

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  5. "Many artists have attempted to illustrate an ankylosaur smacking a tyrannosaur with its tail club, and virtually none of them have done it well. This is no exception to the rule, with both parties looking rather limp and inert;"

    Which ones do you consider to be the exceptions to that rule?

    "Having said all that, I once again have the feeling that this is a rip-off of a piece by a more established palaeoartist, but can't quite put my finger on which one. As they might say in The Beano, "Help me, readers!""

    I know I've seen a drawing just like that in a Dinosaurs! magazine issue. More specifically, it was somewhere in btwn the T.rex & Baryonyx issues. Even more specifically, it was in the multiple-choice quiz part of the issue. Keep in mind, though, that it wasn't necessarily Iguanodon (although it was definitely a large ornithopod).

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