the origins of Dinotopia
December 20, 2011 3:33 PM   Subscribe

James Gurney answers "What inspired you really to create Dinotopia?".
"Myths and stories ARE real, I tried to tell her. And they're enduring. They're the one thing that lives on through the years as the physical monuments of old civilizations crumble into dust... The key to inventing Dinotopia was believing that it already existed beyond the confines of my own mind. Even if I couldn’t tell the the latitude and longitude, I believed it was out there somewhere beyond the reach of my senses. To engage readers with that reality I had to pay attention to the spaces between the paintings, the moments poised across the page turn, which each reader conjures anew."

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

(Previously on MeFi.)
posted by flex (11 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. Growing up digging in the back yard in the south bay, reading National Geographic ... he's me!? Neat webmoir.
posted by zomg at 4:19 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Whatever you think of Dinotopia the book, Gurney's site is massively useful for anyone who wants to learn to draw or paint, or who already can and wants to get better. Also, pretty much any site he links to is worth checking out for the same reason.
posted by jfuller at 4:30 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

He's a huge talent. His little tossed of water color sketch of a puddle behind his mechanic's garage made me want to burn all my art supplies. Hopefully Santa is bringing one of his instructional books this week.
posted by Scoo at 4:43 PM on December 20, 2011

Seconding jfuller. I started following Gurney's blog about a year ago, when I got seriously interested in making art, and I've built up a folder of blogs and sites based on his recs that have been valuable and illuminating. His Color and Light and Imaginative Realism, much of the content for which came from his blog, are outstanding.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:48 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I follow his blog, which is updated daily. He gets into detail on issues of vision, color mixing, technique, and other art-making minutia that I've seen nowhere else.
posted by fatbird at 5:06 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dinotopia changed my life. Great post. Thank you.
posted by pts at 5:57 PM on December 20, 2011

I loved this book as a child. Thank you for posting this :)
posted by rebent at 7:23 PM on December 20, 2011

I love Dinotopia! I got the calendars for my kids. There was a TV series of Dinotopia which was popular in syndication in Bosnia. A wonderful show.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:18 PM on December 20, 2011

That is a lot of good content about a really wonderful book. Dinotopia is one of the few books from my childhood that I never intend to part with. It will sit alongside my illustrated copy of The Hobbit and occasionally be read with great fondness.
posted by asnider at 9:51 PM on December 20, 2011

And, I now see that there are at least two sequels to the original book. Has anyone read them? Are they worth a look or will they only sully my memories of the first book?
posted by asnider at 9:54 PM on December 20, 2011

asnider: They get a little ... out there (they're not as focussed thematically as the first book) but I greatly enjoyed reading them.
posted by saveyoursanity at 2:41 AM on December 21, 2011

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