Monday, July 21, 2008

My Friend, the The Cave Man

Neanderthal humans may have been capable of modern speech, according to archaeologist Baruch Arensberg from Tel Aviv, who discovered the small hyoid bone (in circle), which anchors the tongue muscles.

When National Geographic asked me to paint a small illustration of a Neanderthal father telling a story to his son, the art director emphasized that he should look recognizable, “like a guy who stepped off the subway.” Only the heavy brow ridge should give him away.

Where to find a model? I racked my brain for who would fit the part. One guy I knew named Jim would be ideal. But how should I ask him to pose? “Hey, Jim, would you mind posing for a Neanderthal picture I’m doing?” I was afraid he might be insulted.

I managed to ask him, and he cooperated. Later I asked him if he minded being a cave man. “Not at all,” he replied with a smile. “My girlfriend says it gives me more sex appeal.”


Doug said...

Maybe he can pick up some extra work in GEICO commercials... :0)

Erik Bongers said...

Did you use colored lamps like you sometimes do with your plasters to do light studies ?

Erik Bongers said...

And of course, most artists would use Photoshop or Illustrator to do that X-ray circle.
I know only ONE artist who would actually try to get a perfect circle painted in oil paint!

Super Villain said...

looking like a caveman will improve my sex appeal to women? dang, i'm on my way to the unibrow and jaw implant store right now!!!

haha, cool image by the way. did you ever do any comic work for MAD magazine or Cracked magazine?

the way the image looks kind of reminds me of those images in those comics. while being silly and fun magazines the artists that appeared in them were no joke. some serious talent there!

Super Villain said...

also do you plan to show some of your work / images from the fire and ice movie?

i also heard that not only did frank frazetta, you, thomas kinkade worked on the animated film, but also peter chung from mtv's "aeon flux" fame worked on the film?!? is this true!?!

that film proably had more artistic talent working on it then any other animated film ever....

James Gurney said...

Super Wu--It's all true as you say about Fire and Ice. I can do some future posts about it if you like.

I am a huge fan of the MAD artists--not only the original gang like Mort Drucker and Jack Davis, but also the new generation, who are just as good. I haven't done anything for them yet.

Erik, you're right on both counts: I used a colored lamp, and I am a cave man when it comes to tediously painting things like circles that could be done far easier digitally. Now back to painting those cave walls.

Super Villain said...

definatly would love to see some images from fire and ice, and hear some insight to that experiance, would love it!! got to do it man!

i dont think many people know about that film, i came so close to buying the new special dvd edition yesterday, haha, maybe next payday.

but i'm really blown away by the talent on that film, two of my favorite artists of all time james gurney, and frank frazetta, the painter of light himself thomas kinkade, and i just found out peter chung was part of the film to as a layout and animation artist, his animated series aeon flux was brilliant in every aspect...and barely anyone knows about this film....amazing!

cant wait to see future posts on this film...also do we have any contests coming up, haha, got to get some more dinotopia stuff!!!!!

Stephen James. said...

Hah, there's a relationship self-help book joke in here somewhere. Something about "evoking a cave man" I'm sure.

Stephen James. said...

Oh yes, and if it's true what his girlfriend said we may soon have an answer to that old question about whether Neanderthals and modern humans ever...well you know.

Kate said...

Um, James... was that his son that posed for the boy? Lovely painting, lovely animated looks on their faces.

EL GRANDE said...


Joe y Elio

Honey P. Amplegood said...

The expression on that Neanderthal kid's face is priceless. Must be a good story he's hearing! (Like about the time Dad met this modern-day chick when he got off the subway...)

Paul Moyse said...

Being a caricaturist, I seem to have lost the fear of pointing out peoples outstanding features. They are already aware of it, and talking about or drawing it breaks down a barrier. Did you feel more connected to Jim after you asked him?

Unknown said...

My intro to drawing prof looked at my drawings and said that the noses looked like they came from Mad magazine. I had learned to draw by copying Mort Drucker. I considered it a compliment!

A big influence on my cartoony stuff is Sergio Aragones. Another great is John Severin who drew tons of awesome stuff in Cracked. Both of these guys are still working today.

I'd say it's high time Alfred E. Neuman made a trip to Dinotopia!

Check out his visit to Narnia -- even good king Aslan wanted to devour him!