Continuing the story of how the illustrated book, Dinotopia, came to be....
Gnomes and Noah's Ark.
Producing that much artwork would mean that I would have to cut myself off from all my freelance illustration clients. My wife, our two little boys, and I would have to survive on the sale of art prints and originals until the book was published.
I had about a hundred and fifty paintings to complete in about two years. A few of the paintings could serve double duty, both as book illustrations and as art print subjects. Those keynote images had to be larger and more finished, and they also had to stand alone outside of the narrative.
The longer form gave me plenty of scope to develop the fantasy. It was five times the length of a typical thirty-two page children’s picture book. It wasn’t like a graphic novel, because each page had only one or two images, and it didn’t require dialog and word bubbles to tell the story.
Storyboard: Will learns to Write
The running text could be a mix of narration, description, and dialog. The text didn’t have to match the pictures exactly. The pictures could provide side excursions into details of the world.
I felt that the illustrated book medium, since it allowed the reader to skip around or pause on a single image, lent itself to a mode of conjuring that could be found in no other medium.
Storyboard: Code of Dinotopia
I wanted to depart from the good-versus-evil dramatic formula that motivated most fantasy universes in literature and film. I knew there must be other ways to set up an imaginary world.
I read more deeply in Irish and Italian folktales, which are full of whimsy and tricksters. I reread other fantasies that I had loved as a child, such as Gulliver’s Travels, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland. Those stories inspired me with their fantastic invention and episodic plot lines.
Read More at these Links:
The new official Dinotopia website
Purchase a signed 20th Anniversary Edition of Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time
Gnomes by Poortvliet and Huygens
Noah's Ark by Poortvliet
"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