Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Release of "How I Paint Dinosaurs"

Today I'm proud to announce the release of my first art instruction video. Here's a trailer to tell you about it. (Direct link to YouTube trailer)

How This Video Came to Be
Over the last few years, three different art video companies have asked to film my working methods, but I turned them all down because I wanted to learn how to do it myself. That way, I felt I could deliver a better result to you.

That's why it took a while to produce this and bring it to market. I had to learn a lot first. I wanted to shoot detailed video coverage of the entire process, not just one or two days of it, and I knew that an outside team couldn't do that if they just dropped into the studio for a short period of time. 

What's in the Video
The video follows the making of these two paintings from start to finish over a two month period from assignment to delivery. It covers the research, thumbnails, maquettes, line drawing, color planning, priming, and the final oil painting. 

I know not everyone is into dinosaurs, but if you paint any kind of imaginative realism, I think you'll find the method helpful. I have more videos in the pipeline about plein-air painting in watercolor and casein, which I'll tell you more about later.  

"How I Paint Dinosaurs" runs about 53 minutes, short enough to watch multiple times, but long enough to cover everything. I tried to apply everything I learned from your 81 comments to my post asking you what you like (and don't like) in an art video.

“Any artist who has been treated to James Gurney’s previous books will be delighted with his newest offering, How I Paint Dinosaurs, an over-the-shoulder look at how this remarkable dinosaur artist achieves not only realism but a true sense of drama in portraying these animals for National Geographic Magazine and others. Gurney not only knows dinosaurs but is a master painter of light and shadow, and he shares his techniques in an easily understandable and informal way. I learned much from watching this.”
---Mark Hallett, paleoartist

“What do Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles R. Knight, and Jim Gurney have in common? True art, texture, and no photo manipulation software. Who needs a time machine to see life in the Mesozoic? Just let Jim paint it for you. Here is how True Magic is done. Now it is your turn to learn to make magic.”
Michael K. Brett-Surman, PhD., co-editor of The Complete Dinosaur (Life of the Past)

How to Order
The DVD is currently available at Kunaki.com, where you can order directly and have it shipped to you. (International customers, please remember, it's region-encoded NTSC for U.S.A and Canada.)

You can also preorder the DVD from Amazon.com. I just set up the page there, and they'll have copies soon.

At Gumroad where you can download a video file right now. (Edit: I would like to sincerely thank all of you who have added a little extra to your Gumroad payment. I really appreciate it!)

Paypal customers can also get the digital download at Sellfy (link to product description page) by clicking on this button: buy


Dan dos Santos said...

Bad link for download.

Good link: https://gumroad.com/products/zLtj

Unknown said...

Great! But too bad that I cannot purchase it. I was hoping for a paypal payment in the download version but there's only credit card (which most Germans don't have). :( Shipment would cost around 40$.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Dan. Hopefully the link should work now, and you can also use the alternate link: https://gumroad.com/l/dinos

Thanks for letting me know, Dus Nes. I recall Gumroad saying something about Paypal being difficult to work with from their end, but I'll check into whether that can be enabled.

Carol Scown-Raynal said...

Dear James,
Can we read the DVD in France (Europe) ? I'd prefer to order the DVD. If on Amazon.fr it would be great... otherwise, I'd like to pay via paypal.Thanks for the video we were waiting for !

Dan dos Santos said...

Ok! That was fantastic. I stayed up stupidly late to watch it, but it was worth it.

James, I'm really impressed with how much info you crammed into less than an hour. It didn't feel rushed, either.

I think I may change some of my work methods as a result of watching this.

Unknown said...

Big thanks for making a digital download, it's always a problem to get a physical thing delivered here in Russia. Now if could also make a Kindle version of your book, that would be really awesome.

Chris Menice said...

Hi James, I think you really need to find a way to allow people to pay with Paypal. It's about the most secure way for people to pay for goods on the internet. I'm weary of entering my debit/credit card numbers period. I really want to purchase the download, but need to use Paypal.

James Gurney said...

Carol, Like all DVDs released here, it's a Region 1 Encoded NTSC format, which means it will only play in US, Canada, Bermuda, and U.S. territories, unless you have special equipment for playing Region 1 DVDs. Maybe someone else from another country can explain it better.

Dan, wow, thank you. That means so much coming from you.

Anatoly, I wanted to release the DVD and download together so that people have a real choice.

Thanks, Chris, I use Paypal a lot, too. I'll try to figure out how to offer the Paypal option. Anyone have any ideas?

Chris Menice said...

Well, I've seen a lot of folks use shopify.com, but they charge a monthly rate vs. gumroad which is a higher % on every transaction. Depending on how many videos you sell using a service with a monthly fee could be cheaper. It's just one example. You could also get on the folks at gumroad to get their paypal act together :)

jeff jordan said...

Waiting for amazon and really looking forward to it!

grobles63 said...

Tried to download this morning but I see by the top reply here that it was a bad link. Looking forward to download and watch latter.

Unknown said...

James, you could have a look at Marc Carders selling method. He offers a paypal payment.

Brett W. McCoy said...

I got my download copy last night. Only got to watch a little bit of it this morning (stupid day job!) but can't wait to watch the rest tonight!

Jeff Miracola said...

Brilliant, James. I look forward to purchasing it and making sure others know about this great video.

Murat Kayi said...

Congrats on the release! Looks really great.

As for paypal and german customers. I remember paypal not working either for my premium dropbox account for some reason noone could really clarify. But they said, it's a problem only connected to german accounts which was really strange. So, better ask before...

Also, is there any chance to have the DVDs released coded for europe as well, when offering it via amazon or something?

Rob Kulas said...

Purchased the download version.
Great video. Love all the behind the scenes in studio footage. Enjoyed watching your thoughts and design process to creating the paintings.Very pleased with with overall quality and content. James always makes it fun and entertaining while learning from a master.
I will definitely recommend this and I am already looking forward to your future video releases.
Rob K.

Anonymous said...

'"I learned much from watching this" -Mark Hallett'


Keith Parker said...

Definitely, at the top of my wish list now!

atanguay said...

Thanks for the digital option! Grabbed it immediately.

Added the cover art from Amazon, now it's ready to go on my AppleTV. Lovely!

RobNonStop said...

I live in Germany and have a credit card, anyone who doesn’t have a credit card can hit me up and I can buy it for you.
robnonstop [at] ymail.com

RobNonStop said...

If you’re not forced to release the DVD in code 1, you can simply make it code 0 and it runs everywhere.

Macs generally play all DVDs with VLC. You simply have to ignore the message about the region code and open the DVD from VLC instead of the native player.

Erik Bongers said...

I have a question regarding the comment that you do not use photo manipulation software.

I assume that, technically, this is will be false. I'm sure you have Photoshop, allowing you to resize, crop and brighten a photograph of your painting.

But to what extend do you allow yourself to manipulate a raw photograph of your paintings?

Will you increase color saturation?
Change overall color 'temperature'?
Darken the sky a little bit?
Even remove a figure in the background to simplify a composition?
Add some extra digital paint here or there to touch-up some area's?

The fact that you like your book's paintings to travel as an exhibition suggests that little is altered in the digital 'dark room'.

But where do you draw the line (pun alert!), if any?

Anonymous said...

Are there any plans to sell the DVD through your site so we can get it signed?

James Gurney said...

ROTM81: Not sure on that one, just because we don't have staff here, and it gets time consuming. I will sell DVDs at public appearances and signing events.

RobNonStop, thanks for explaining that. I'll try to learn how to make both the DVDs and the download payments more accessible to European customers. Thank you for offering to help people pay without using a credit card!

Thanks Dus Nes, I'll look into that.

Erik, fair question. The quote you refer to was from the paleontologist, and I think he was referring to the common practice of doing dinosaur art by digitally combining photo sources and 3D sources and such. My method is rather old school by comparison, but I personally have nothing against any tools, as long as they get good results.

To answer the core of your question, yes, I do use Photoshop for resizing, cropping, and color correction, with the intent of getting the image to look as much like the original when it appears in print or on a screen. And I must add that I still have a lot to learn in this category.

As a general thing, I don't use Photoshop or any other software to continue working on a piece, or change it appreciably from the original, partly because I want the public expression to always match the physical original.

Pavel Pinzhin said...

Congratulations on the launch and a huge thank you for making it!

Bought the digital download the first thing in the morning, will watch it after my workday (and many times after that, I'm sure). Also I'd like to join other Russian fans, who suffer from an extremely nasty national customs/postal service combination regarding physical purchases from abroad, with thanks for making a download available!

ccmint said...

Hey James I see that people are having problems and want to use paypal. So I looked it up and paypal offers a service to sell digital goods from your website. Here's the link. https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/digital-goods

You might want to check out a few youtube videos to get familiar with how to embed it on your website.

Good luck, John

James Gurney said...

Thanks for that link, CCMint. I'll check into that option.
Best, JG

RobNonStop said...

To anyone who wants to know more about using Photoshop to reproduce images in print correctly, I recommend Deke McClelland’s videos on Sharpening, a function which improves with almost every new version of Ps. I think he currently distributes his videos through Lynda.com.

Marco Piunti said...

I loved when you added underpaint textures in the second painting. Thank you James, your first art instruction video is absolutely informative and very fun to watch. Thumbs up!

Retta said...

I agree with Marco. I was delighted to find out how you got such wonderful texture. I love texture, but haven't been totally happy with my method. I'm def doing to give this way a try.

Thank you, your DVD is packed with so much information. I know I'll be watching it over and over. How generous of you to share so much. Thank you!

Brian McElligott said...

This was so great to watch before trying to finish up a few paintings today.Thank you James! I started using my palette knife again today and will be trying some of the other tips and methods. The 2 paintings you featured are just amazing. I'm looking forward to future installments!

Paul Cooke said...

Bought the digital download today. It's an excellent companion piece to your books, and its fascinating seeing you laying down the paint.
Can you make the next one longer, tho? ;)

Carole Pivarnik said...

Been a fan for a long time and bought the digital version today. What a delightful "over the shoulder" peek into your studio and your process for developing a painting. I love the warm, personal tone, the pacing, the info, and...well, everything...not to mention the fantastic art that you produce. It was neat seeing how you make your own tools and welcome your client in the studio.

Also, Mr. Kooks is adorable! His cameos were so charming. How do you keep him from pooping all over or chewing up everything? I have been wanting a bird companion in my studio for some time now but those issues concern me.

Anyway, thanks so much for this excellent instructional vid--even as someone who works exclusively in watercolor, I learned a lot and will no doubt watch it over and over!

Alex Rooth said...

Hi James

I thought the digital download was great too and very much enjoyed seeing you at work in your studio. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience in this way.

If you are taking requests or feedback for future videos, one thing I would like to see would be an area of the painting completed in real time from beginning to finish. It could be a small area, such as a dinosaur's head. I think this would be very useful as bringing a painting to a finish is imo one of the more difficult aspects of the process.

Thank you again.

Marc Tellier said...

Great videos!

Thanks for taking the time to produce them.
I particularly enjoyed the maquette aspects. Seeing all your teachings articulated was very instructing.

I saw that you used Alazarin Crimson in the underpainting of the second video. I've heard that it's not very lightfast, or has this change in newer tubes? I'm asking because I have a tube for a reduced palette and I'm hesitating to use it.

Concerning fixative, have you tried spectrafix? It's a casein/alcool fixative that does not produces bad fumes.


James Gurney said...

For those that requested the Paypal option, we have the digital download now also at Sellfy: https://sellfy.com/p/nNyt/

Thanks, everyone for your kind comments. Marc, thanks, I'll look for that fixative. About alizarin, it depends on the pigment used. There are some paints called "alizarin" that use lightfast pigments.

Phil Moss said...

Really top class video James, very thorough and concise - just what I want out of a tutorial vid :) so many 'ofcourse!' moments while watching it, thankyou for covering every step - can't wait to watch again... and again...

Tom Hart said...

Great video James! Congratulations on your first (?) major video release. It's a great success. I bought the download just yesterday.

A note to anyone considering the purchase: If you're not particularly a "dinosaur person" don't be put off. Virtually all of the information translates to all subject matter. Even for those of you who have painted for years, there's much to be learned by looking over James' shoulder. You won't regret the purchase!

Unknown said...

Couldn't wait for the DVD to watch it so I bought the digital download. Now I can relax while Amazon delivers my DVD copy.

Diego GarcĂ­a Yanieri said...

Exellent video! Very concise.Also the structure of the tutorial and the narrative flow was spot on.As someone have said in some comments above it really invite to re watch.
Thanks a lot for adding the Paypal option James.

Glass said...

Thanks for the Paypal option, I snatched a copy. Great watch, I really appreciated seeing all the research that goes into a painting. I'm almost always too lazy for setting up maquettes and I'm sure my fantasy paintings suffer for it. You're definitely an inspiration, Mr. Gurney.

Monika Baum said...

I received the DVD today (during my 1 week holiday, perfect timing!) and enjoy watching it to bits :-D Thank you!

Jason said...

2 quick questions, how long is the brush tutorial that is included with the DVD and is there the possibility of getting the included print signed?


James Gurney said...

Hi, Jason,
The brush tutorial is fairly short--3 minutes--but a lot packed in it.
If you send me the print with a stamped self-addressed envelope, I'd be happy to sign it and send it back to you. My address is on the bottom left of the blog.

Jason said...

Thanks so much for the information and super-quick reply, I just placed my order and very much look forward to receiving it. Have a great day!