Yesterday, blog reader Jeff Poindexter asked “What inspired you really to create Dinotopia?”
Well, Jeff, for the next 10 posts, I’ll answer your question.
Although the illustrated book Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time was published nearly 20 years ago, let me go back even further tell you about how I found my way to the idea of an island shared by humans and dinosaurs.
As a kid, I spent a lot of time sketching animals and building kites and gliders. I liked dinosaurs, but no more than any other kid did. My father was a mechanical engineer who told me that you can build anything you dream about, but you have to start by drawing it.
My daydreams revolved around adventure stories and ancient civilizations. Outside my bedroom door was a shelf of very old National Geographic magazines. When the rest of my family was sleeping, I tiptoed into the hallway, pulled a volume off the shelf, and read about biplane pilots flying over uncharted Inca ruins.
I dug pits in my suburban front yard in northern California, hoping to find a bone or a button. Parents in my neighborhood banned their kids from playing at my house because they always came home with their pockets full of dirt.
I always loved to draw, but got more serious about it when I took a class in graphic arts and illustration in junior high school. At the same time I discovered art instruction books. After reading Norman Rockwell, Illustrator, I did this pen and ink drawing from observation of a rocking chair when I was 13 years old.
"Origins of Dinotopia" series on GurneyJourney:
Part 1: Childhood Dreams
Part 2: College Obsessions
Part 3: Lost Empires
Part 4: Dinosaurs
Part 5: Treetown
Part 6: The Illustrated Book
Part 7: Utopias
Part 8: Building a World
Part 9: Words and Pictures
Part 10: Canyon Worlds
Part 11: Putting it Together
Part 12: Book Launch