With new discoveries regularly in the news at the moment, this is nothing if not timely. We’ve all seen artists’ impressions of what these prehistoric creatures may have looked like, but I for one hadn’t realised the extent to which paleoart is a recognised discipline (there is, in fact, another book on the same subject coming from another publisher at about the same time).
These are not, therefore, flights of fancy, but rather serious pieces of science based on the surprising amount of detail we have about creatures no human has ever seen. Those working in the field do so in conjunction with specialists and their pieces are based on thoroughgoing research which, of course, develops all the time.
I’m honestly not sure who this book is aimed at. Well, that’s slightly unfair, but there are, as well as some superb and informative illustrations, exercises and demonstrations. These will show you how to paint a variety of species from basic outline shapes to a realistic outline as well as, if you want, scales, colours and feathers. Quite how many amateur artists want to study this field I’m really not sure and I assume that those who are serious will already be working in universities. Children, you will say. Yes, they are fascinated by dinosaurs, always have been, but this is far too advanced (mostly) for them, unless they have considerable artistic ability and are old enough to have maintained their interest into their teens.
For anyone old enough to at least retain curiosity, this is a fascinating study of where we are now in the field. It contains plenty of information about the dinosaurs themselves as well as images that show them in likely habitats and performing likely behaviours. For that alone, it’s worthwhile. The stand-out? For me, it’s a small ink drawing of a Velociraptor. We know that birds are the survivors of what was a mass extinction, and that’s a Magpie if ever I saw one.
Click the picture to view on Amazon