Sunday, June 14, 2015

Draw it Again....and Again!

I just discovered a forgotten file folder with all these preliminary drawings for my painting of Giganotosaurus.

These are all separate attempts to work out the pose and the lighting. I drew the same scene again and again until my head hurt. 

In the lower right, I photocopied one of the drawings, glued the copy down on board with matte medium, and then painted a color sketch over it in oil.  Some of the drawings have notes on them because I intended them to help the art director to plan the exact layout. I sent others to paleontologists to solicit their expert input. 

With scientific illustration, you can't just dive in and paint; it's necessary to get sign-offs at various stages. By the time I transferred the drawing to the board and started painting, I had solved all the basic problems, and I was ready to think about colors and textures. 

The painting was commissioned by National Geographic magazine for a 1997 article on Argentinian dinosaurs, and it recently appeared on the cover of a Scientific American special issue on dinosaurs.
For more on painting dinosaurs, check out my three dino DVDs, which you can get directly from the manufacturer Kunaki at this link:
They're also available on Amazon:
Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art
How I Paint Dinosaurs
Australia's Age of Dinosaurs: The Art of the Postage Stamps
or, if you prefer downloads, get the latest video, "Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art" as an HD download.


Vladimir Venkov said...

Thanks for the explanations James. The painting is fabulous especially the lighting on the big guy.
On a side note I took some photos today you may like James. I live in London,UK and while I was changing at Waterloo station I spotted the Raptors. After that I went to see the "Jurassic World". I liked it. Did you see it and what do you think about it?

Ник said...

Amazing! The process of creating the picture is really hard until you've done it all. Happy Birthday, by the way.

Jim Hartlage said...

I hope you don't mind an unrelated question. I was finally able to buy some quality watercolors and empty pans. Do I fill them to the top and let them dry, or do I fill them in thirds allowing them to dry before adding the next layer? Thanks.

James Gurney said...

Vladimir, no, I haven't seen it yet. It usually takes me a while to get around to seeing new movies.

Thanks for the BD wishes, HNK!

Jim, either way works. If you fill them up and let them dry, some might crack, but you can always top them off to fill the cracks.

Glenn said...

I fill my pans and half pans with the paint angled from the bottom of the pan up to a top edge. Once the paint is squeezed into the pan use a square tip palette knife or piece of cardboard cut to size to help form the paint to a ramp shape. Depending on the pigment it helps to tip the pan up on an angle while the paint is drying.

This does a few things, it enables you to apply the paint to the brush easier, with less wear on the brush and gives you space at the bottom of the pan to create a wash of that colour if so desired. This also avoids the holes that gets drilled into square filled pans when wicking up colour.

Picked this up from Jane Blundell's blog.

LGM5320 said...

This is one piece of paleoart that I find myself looking at over and over again. One of my favourites for sure. You can get a real sense of the immense size of the animal with the angles you've chosen.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful work James.

Tom Hart said...

Belated Happy Birthday James! (The unexpected things you learn on Gurney Journey!)

Can you give us an idea of the sizes of those drawings and the size of the finish?


Limey said...

Hey we almost share a birthday. Mine is today! Happy Birthday!
I wanted to ask how you came to choose such an unusual perspective on the Giganotosaurus painting. The tilt of the earth with the fleeing smaller dinosaurs while the Giganotosaurus is pursuing in an upright position is quite effective.