Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs! The 1987 Childcraft Annual - Part 2

May the 1980s bonanza continue (please do check out part 1 for background, amusing spinosaurs etc.) Having exclusively featured theropods in the first post, let's turn now to their fellow saurischian dinosaurs - you know, the often staggeringly huge ones with the long necks, long tails, and tendency to appear far more loveable than a reptilian behemoth the size of a house probably should. But we haven't just got sauropods - we've got Gregory S Paul™ sauropods!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs! The 1987 Childcraft Annual - Part 1

Back in July, JT Covenant used a comment on my review of Ladybird's The Lost World to point me to a book that they thought I'd enjoy. I can happily say that they were right on the money. In fact, finally receiving this hefty old thing through the post (it came from the US) sent me quite giddy with glee. Not only is it illustrated by a panoply of artists, all with wildly varying styles, all of whom are credited (including Greg Paul!), but it's virtually a comprehensive encyclopedia of '80s palaeoart memes. Some are tiresomely familiar, but there are also some very weird ideas in here that have long since been rendered obsolete. To cap it all, it's from the very year I was born. It's Dinosaurs! The 1987 Childcraft Annual.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Triassic Weirdo and a Reading Raptor

As part of the Mammoth is Mopey crowdfunding campaign, I offered custom illustration commissions as some of the higher perks, and now I've fulfilled them. Two of the backers, Emily Willoughby and Michael Fleischmann, asked for prehistoric subjects, so I figured I'd toss them up here. To check out all four pieces, head to my recent post at the Mammoth is Mopey blog.

First, Emily wanted me to create a new character in the style of Mammoth is Mopey. She wanted a Deinonychus that represented her love of learning. Remembering that I'd once shared a photo of an Eastern Towhee and remarked that it reminded me of one of her beautiful dromaeosaurs, she suggested I try that songbird's coloration.

Deinonychus is Diligent, © 2015 David Orr; commissioned by Emily Willoughby.

Michael asked that I stretch out a bit from the Mammoth is Mopey style and only prompted me with the taxon he wanted: the Triassic oddball Longisquama. I loved digging into the paleoecology of the Madygen Formation. Learning that Longisquama lived alongside the enormous titanopteran insect Gigatitan, I had no choice but to include it in some way. Once I sorted that out, having a considerably smaller cupedoid beetle attracting the foreground Longisquama's attention seemed like a good choice.

Longisquama Sunset, © 2015 David Orr; commissioned by Michael Fleischmann.

I'll have another piece of Mesozoic art to share soon, along with some musings about paleoart I've been kicking around in my noggin lately.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Welcome... To Waterloo Station

The dust of Jurassic World may have settled too long to warrant sharing these pictures now, but I was in the throes of moving house, followed by a lengthy period without home internet, and lacked the opportunity previously. Still, I felt I couldn’t have these pictures on my hands without posting them on the blog. 

During the first week of Jurassic World’s release, London’s Waterloo Station took part in what can only be described as a promotional extravaganza with a display featuring models of the film’s ‘raptors’. Visitors were encouraged to take their own JW selfie with the beasties and to share them on Twitter. Yes, folks, it had its own hashtag. I had hoped to drag Marc along for this privilege. Sadly, the display only lasted a week and there wasn’t enough time.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals

Given that the last book I reviewed was so very bland and predictable (complete with the obligatory post-Normanpedia Sibbickisms), I was very happy to come upon this wonderful, ageing collection of barely held-together cloth boards on eBay. This international edition of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals dates from 1972, but in its original form it would appear to go all the way back to 1959. What with its glorious collection of Zallingerian swamp beasts and Knightian lizard-headed tyrannosaurs (all painted by R F Peterson), it's an absolute treat for fans of truly vintage dinosauriana...even if some of the artwork isn't terribly accomplished.