Monday, May 19, 2008

Ian Ballantine

“There is no problem in the world that a book can’t solve,” said Ian Ballantine (1916-1995).

He was the founder of Ballantine Books, and he published the first authorized paperback editions of Lord of the Rings. He was a tireless promoter of science fiction and fantasy books and visually-oriented books for adults.


In his retirement, he was a mentor to me during the early development of Dinotopia. After I had completed the paintings “Waterfall City,” (1988) and “Dinosaur Parade” (1989), I proposed to him the idea of a picture book about a lost island of humans and dinosaurs. He encouraged me to write the book as well as illustrate it. His wife Betty served as editor for Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, which was published by Turner Publishing in 1992.

To commemmorate his faith in books, I asked him to pose as the model for Nallab (complete with resplendant eyebrows), the third assistant librarian of Waterfall City. The head librarian is a Deinonychus named Enit, seen in the upper right of this illustration from Dinotopia: The World Beneath, 1995.

“Enit” and “Nallab” spelled backwards is “Ballantine.”

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Wikipedia entry on Ian Ballantine, link.
"Nallab" on the Dinotopia Wiki, link.
Gallery of art from A Land Apart from Time, link.
Dinotopia books available from the Dinotopia Store, link.

3 comments:

Matthew Barbot said...

Wow...as founder of the Dinotopia Wiki I'm actually immensely proud that you linked it!

Geez, I really have to go make that thing pretty, now...

Jen Z said...

When I flip through your books I often wonder who plays the main roles and bit parts in your books. I often had people telling me in school that they wanted to appear in my first book. I'm sure that your family and friends are honoured to be seen amongst the pages of Dinotopia. Kind of like a photo album, but with dinosaurs, of course. :}

Eric Orchard said...

I didn't know that that was Ian Ballantine in the world Beneath!Ballantine books have always been so,incredibly important to me. Betty Ballantine has done some amazing things for fantastic art.
It's heartening to hear that you needed people to help and guide you leading up to Dinotopia.