Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Great 2014 Dinosaur Gift Guide: Volume 1!

Though any time of year is the right time to bestow a saurian gift upon a friend or loved one, this time of year seems to put special focus on gift-giving. I'm not sure why.

In the interest of helping people find unique and inspiring dinosaur gifts, I've put together this guide. It's certainly not meant to be comprehensive, but rather is an attempt help you choose gifts that both delight their recipient and support the forward progress of paleontology. One easy and meaningful way to do that is to support artists who care about how distant chapters of life's story are presented, and work hard to research their subjects and depict them in novel ways. Also deserving of support are the publishers who commission said artists and dedicated shops who specialize in dinosaurs, such as Everything Dinosaur and Dan's Dinosaurs. What I especially love about the Dan's Dinosaurs is that they work directly with artists, so there are a number of links below that lead to their site - if you're looking to wow someone with original artworks or excellent sculptures, it's a great place to start.

Andy Farke at the Integrative Paleontologists had a similar post idea, and beat me to the punch. Be sure to read his gift guide over there. Since this was already mostly written up, and there are a few differences, I figured I'd go ahead and post mine, as well. It's so packed with sweet goodies, I'll be splitting it in two, with the second half queued up for Monday.

Stenopterygius Palaeoplushie by Rebecca Groom, available at Etsy.

Rebecca Groom's work has been steadily growing in popularity, and for good reason. She crafts some of the finest plush prehistoric critters I've seen (and you don't have to rely on my opinion - her Velociraptor Kickstarter was a resounding success). Her Palaeoplushies are available in limited supply at her Etsy shop, with a larger range at Dan's Dinosaurs. Rebecca also designed a heraldic Microraptor that would be welcome in any enthusiast's wardrobe.

Velociraptor portrait by Angela Connor, available at her Redbubble shop.

Angela Connor has popped up here before when I included her Paleo Portraits series in a Mesozoic Miscellany post. I love the simplicity and charm of the project, putting special focus on the "soul" of the animals, if I may be so woo-woo.

Stegoceras validum by Matt Martyniuk, available as a print from his DeviantArt store.

Matt Martyniuk is no stranger to readers of this blog, as a whip-smart researcher and terrific illustrator. His book projects would be especially inspiring to the paleontology prodigies in your life. His A Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs came out in 2012, and this year he released his first Beasts of Antiquity title. Matt also sells prints at his DeviantArt page, my favorites of which reimagine classic natural history illustration styles of the 18th and 19th century with modern knowledge of dinosaurs: as if an Audubon stepped into the Mesozoic.

Tempest Tricera by Sharon Wegner-Larson, available from her Redbubble shop or Etsy.

Sharon Wegner-Larson's Synapsid Sunrise was one of the delights of our All Yesterdays Contest back in 2013. Her paleo-themed fabric designs such are wonderful (see the full set here), as are her watercolors of sea life and Mesozoic megafauna such as the incredible Triceratops shared above. Her Redbubble shop has two of her pieces, and you can currently purchase pillows, paintings, and prints in her Etsy Store.

Chubbie Anzu by David Krentz, from his Shapeways store.

David Krentz is also a fixture in the online paleo community, a jack-of-all trades who nonetheless seems to be a master of all. He has a Shapeways shop where you can purchase his sculptures (ranging from realistic to the fanciful like the Anzu shared above), and Dan's Dinosaurs sells his work as well. For the budding paleoartists in your life, the Krentz Presentz: Drawing Tyrannosaurus Rex DVD available from Dan's Dinosaurs would be an ideal choice. As if that wasn't enough, David has some really fun designs available on tees in his Redbubble shop.

Oviraptorid tee shirt by Jaime Headden, available from Redbubble.

Jaime Headden's illustrates intricately stippled skulls and life restorations, and would be perfect for those who admire the simple elegance of skeletal anatomy.

Prairie Moon Corythosaurus (original painting) by Angie Rodrigues, available from Dan's Dinosaurs.

Angie Rodrigues hasn't been very active lately, but is one of my perennial favorites. Her originals are featured at Dan's Dinosaurs, and for those who can't quite spend that much, she's got prints available at her own Redbubble shop and DeviantArt, including Triceratops: Autumn Refuge and Fly Away, featuring Iguanodon and Iberomesornis.

Ornithomimosaurs in autumn, available from Chris Masnaghetti's Society 6 page.

Christian Masnaghetti's work has impressed me for a while, and he keeps pushing himself stylistically and technically (I love his recent "Spino-potamus"). Purchase his prints at Society 6 and Redbubble. I also interviewed him a couple years ago, so check out more of his stuff there.

Stay tuned for the second half on Monday, which includes much more artwork as well as a number of books to stock the shelves of the dinosaur enthusiasts in your life (surely you know dozens).

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