Friday, September 9, 2011

A used bookshop on a rainy night...

Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara opens with the discovery of the lost Chandara journal of Arthur Denison.


To make the used bookstore look magical and mysterious, I wanted it to be a rainy twilight. I shot location reference in Tivoli, New York.

Then it was just a matter of turning the pizza shop into a bookstore, widening the sidewalk, and generally putting the smell of coffee into it.
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You can order Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara from me and I’ll sign it for you.
Or you can pick it up from Amazon.
Or maybe you can find it in a used bookstore on a rainy night...

16 comments:

Tristan Elwell said...

"Just a matter of..."
Yeah, riiiight! You crack me up sometimes, Jim!

Terry said...

No, no, I think he was serious. He put coffee into his paint. Right, Jim?

Super Villain said...

a bit off topic, but somthing i think you will like
walking kinetic sculptures!

Celia said...

Great lighting in the window, very inviting.

Everett Patterson said...

I like that you gave the "James Gurney" character a somewhat exaggerated posture, for that funny Norman Rockwell-ish silhouette.

Tom Hart said...

Everett Patterson's right: that pose is great.

This is a really delightful painting, and a wonderful lesson in changing a reference to fit the needs of the final piece. The conversion of the scene from bright to rainy, the additions - including the nice overhang on the building a couple doors up from the bookshop, etc, etc.

R.K. Foster said...

I just happened across your post by serendipity this evening. This bookstore window image has always been one of my favorite pictures from the Dinotopia books because it evokes so many things that I find important in my own life. I had always thought of asking this, and now seems as good a time as any, is it possible to get a print of it someplace? I do have the book of course but a poster or a mug or a whatever something with the image on it would be nice also.

Thanks for all of the great artwork over the years,
Bob.

Carol said...

Yes, I looked at that picture in your book many times and each time, it made dream and dream. The rain, the light and that bookshop with its magical books.

william said...

My favorite thing about that painting, is that it doesn't show any rain. By that I mean you create the atmosphere, and effects of a rainy day without having to try to paint in the actual rain, which some people I guess think is necessary in their art (and it usually ends up looking bad). All you really need is the right lighting and color, add the right effects (ex. the reflective, wet look on the sidewalk) and everyone can tell it's raining :)

Tom Hart said...

William makes a good point.

James, what's the medium? I had assumed (thought I don't know why) that all the illustrations in Dinotopia were oil, but the "water" effects here, seem to cry out "watercolor" - though I realize that's not necessarily so.

I love looking returning to compare the reference to the painting. I just noticed how you borrowed the overhang on the right hand building from the building farther up on the left.

william said...

Tom, It might be an oil wash. You can get a pretty good watercolor effect with thinned down oil paints. You probably already knew that, but just thought I'd chime in, Ive actually lifted highlights out of an oil wash before, same as watercolors, just use turpentine instead of water.

James Gurney said...

William is right, Tom, it's an oil wash technique, where the color is thinned out with Gamsol and Liquin.

James Gurney said...

R.K. Sorry, no prints of this at the moment, except in the book.

Terry, I've used coffee literally as a tonal wash in watercolor (it has to be espresso to get a good wash), but not on this one. I meant it more metaphorically.

Tai said...

god you're good!

josh said...

I'm a bit late to this party, but I thought I'd let you know: I went up to the Dinotopia exhibit at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie this afternoon, and enjoyed it very much. My girlfriend went to Vassar, and enjoyed the library painting from the first book. I was blown away when I saw this one. I grew up in Tivoli, and would recognize that street corner anywhere! Thanks for that, it made my day!

James Gurney said...

Hi, Josh,
Yes, a lot of scenes in Dinotopia are based on local inspiration. That's amazing that you recognized the Tivoli scene. Of course the real bookstore is across the street. Is it still in operation?