Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Peter Trusler and the Dead Wombat

The "Australia's Age of Dinosaurs" stamp issue was not the first scenic dinosaur minisheet that Australia Post produced.

Artist Peter Trusler created this landmark stamp scene in 1993, called "Australia's Dinosaur Era." This was one of the ancestors of the current stamp issue, as well as the inspiration for the "World of Dinosaurs" stamps, which I created for the USA in 1996.

I had the distinct honor of not only meeting, but hanging out, with Peter during the research visit. He's a brilliant guy, a great artist, and a lot of fun.

He led me and paleontologist Tom Rich on an expedition into the bush near Melbourne. We were looking for plants that were analogous to Cretaceous flora, but we were also were hoping to get a glimpse of the elusive lyrebird.

During the lyrebird's mating season when we were there, it does its incredible calls that mimic other birds and noises. In the new making-of video, our cameras and microphones actually captured a brief glimpse of the lyrebird.

On the way back into town, we spotted a wombat carcass on the side of the road. One thing about paleontologists: they love roadkills. So we couldn't resist stopping to check it out. It was bloated with gas and buzzing with flies. Peter bent down near its rear end and showed me its vestigial limb-grasping toe.

I gave it a couple of gentle kicks. "You might not want to do that," Peter reminded me. "They've been known to explode in this condition."

Everyone who loves dinosaur artwork should know about Peter's work. His painting of a dead Leaellynasaura is one of the masterpieces of modern paleoart.

The wombat episode is just one adventure in my new video, "Australia's Age of Dinosaurs: The Art of the Postage Stamps." To learn more about the digital download of the art instruction documentary, have a look at the trailer on YouTube or check out the button below:
Also, stamp collectors anywhere in the world can order the new stamps, including first day of issue cancellations while supplies last, at this link to Australia Post.


Jacob A Stevens said...

Will there be a DVD release for Australia's age of dinosaurs?


David Glenn said...

Have you worked with Peter on any other projects?

James Gurney said...

Jacob, yes, I just finished doing the DVD master, and it should be available in about a week. It will have about 37 minutes of extra features: interview material, slide show, and a documentary about Dinotopia, plus a free print. Stay tuned to the blog in a week or so.

David, I just met Peter this time, though we've corresponded a bit.

Robin Cave said...

Oh Man, I can't believe you were in Melbourne last year.
Did you do any talks or presentations? I didn't hear of any. I have just seen the stamps at the post office and they look awesome.

Now I just need a reason to write a letter to someone so I can use them!

James Gurney said...

Robin: Strictly a top secret mission....couldn't mix with the natives. I'll fly the banner next time.