Australia’s Age of Dinosaurs
James Gurney offers a brief but nevertheless rewarding look into a demanding natural history project.
Publisher Gurney Studio Price $32 (DVD), $15 (download) Web www.jamesgurney.com/site/videos
Hard on the heels of James Gurney’s superb How I Paint Dinosaurs (reviewed in issue 102) comes this look at how the master illustrator researched, planned and painted a beautiful set of stamps for Australia Post. The video’s quite a brief watch at 38 minutes, but it covers a lot of ground in that time.
You’ll see, for example, the work James puts into research, making sure his versions of these long-extinct creatures adhere to the latest scientific thinking of how they looked and behaved. The video also shows every stage of creating the artwork, including building reference maquettes and trying out colour schemes, as well as offering an insight into planning a composite image, where each stamp works as a self-contained piece of art, while also fitting together to form a larger, whole scene.
James calls the approach of Australia’s Age of Dinosaurs art instruction rather than training and what you’ll get from this video is an overview of the process, rather than the full-on details on how to execute it yourself. But his process is so meticulous that getting into the artist’s mind through this video can’t help but encourage you to invest more in your own work.
The earlier How I Paint Dinosaurs release is arguably better value, showing two full projects in 53 minutes rather than the one project here. But it’s hard to quibble with a film that charms and entertains as much as it informs, with high-quality editing and presentation throughout.
The download version is a sumptuous 1080p presentation, although its 1.6GB could take you a little while to download. The DVD version is nearly double the length of the download, with a selection of extras that includes an excellent look at the evolution of James’ famous Dinotopia franchise.
James Gurney was asked to paint dinosaur art for Australian postage stamps. James’ dinosaurs are a composite painting: cleverly the stamps work as a collective image but also as stand-alone images.