Best Terra Nova review yet!

This art by our own Trish pretty much summarizes my views and expectations of Terra Nova (and specifically the "talents" of long time TV writer/producer Brannon Braga) perfectly...

You'll excuse me for a moment, I think I just peed my pants (in fear or laughter though?!?)


Last weekend I gave a lecture at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge Massachusetts.  The following is an excerpt from what future generations shall call my NRM Manifesto (unless the NRM lawyers demand that I remove their name, which is quite possible): 
Anyone with the courage to take a fresh look at the role of art in the 20th century might reasonably conclude illustration has played a more significant role than "fine" art.

Yeah, you heard me-- more significant than Picasso, Matisse, Jackson Pollack and the great Jeff Koons combined.

Absurd?  Perhaps.  But let's explore the issue as soberly and conscientiously as we are able, and see where the facts take us.

We should start by agreeing there are many legitimate methods of measuring the importance of art.  For me, the least satisfying method seems to be the most popular: to blindly accept the conventions of our grandparents who instinctively assigned a lower social status to "commercial" illustration.

What might be a better test? I submit that four of the most relevant standards for measuring the significance of art are:
  • The size of its audience
  • Its economic impact
  • Its effect on society
  • Its impact on our individual lives
The first two tests are fairly easy to apply.  They are objectively quantifiable, and in my view there is little question that illustration has had the greater impact.

Size of the Audience: In a century when many towns did not have an art museum, a gallery, or even a public library, the average citizen has been surrounded by illustrations.  They invaded his field of vision from all sides.  The Saturday Evening Post, chock full of illustrations, was selling three million copies while its rival Colliers was selling nearly as many.  Illustrated magazines arrived in mailboxes all across America, along with illustrated brochures from car manufacturers and other advertisers.  Illustrations in storybooks, billboards, posters and animated movies found their way to every corner of the globe, driven by the mighty engine of commerce.  By comparison, attendance at museums and galleries, and the sale of fine art books and prints, was meager at best. If we judge by raw numbers, Norman Rockwell enjoyed far more viewers Picasso.

Economic Impact of the Art: A small number of fine artists such as Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons are paid huge sums for their work, far more than any illustrator has been paid.  Yet, the average illustrator probably earned more from his or her labors over the last century than the average gallery painter.  More importantly, because of the huge audience for illustration (above) it has had a far greater economic impact on the world than museum or gallery art.  The economics of the video game industry alone likely surpass the economics of the fine art market.  Illustrations have been used to sell cars, design feature films, and advertise countless products.  The economic impact of "fine" art simply cannot compare.

Impact on Society:  This is harder to gauge.  Certainly, contemporary gallery art-- from cubism to surrealism to abstract expressionism-- has had an important impact on the intellectual direction of society.  Yet, illustration has also played a major role in establishing the style, visual paradigms and iconic images of our society.  A quick trip through the annals of illustration demonstrates the impact illustrators have had in shaping the aesthetics of society.  Here is a tiny sample:

The Gibson Girl set a popular standard for beauty
The Arrow Collar Man

John Held established the flapper as an institution

Peter Max's psychedelic style became emblematic of his era

 Impact on Our Individual Lives:  The first three tests are revealing, but in my view this last test is more important than all the others combined.  In previous posts I have applauded scholar Lionello Venturi, author of the definitive treatise on the history of art criticism, who proposed what I believe to be  a very sensible standard for measuring the value of art:
What ultimately matters in art is not the canvas, the hue of oil or tempera, the anatomical structure and all the other measurable items, but its contribution to our life, its suggestions to our sensations, feeling and imagination.
If we consider the "contributions to our life" from both illustration and gallery art, we may discover some interesting facts.  It goes without saying that we have all (myself included) been thrilled by the beauty and power of fine art.  But let's keep exploring and see if we we can identify more specific litmus tests of the way art affects our "sensations, feeling and imagination."

It would be hard to find a more powerful statement of outrage against the atrocities of war than Picasso's famous Guernica:

Yet, if you want to inspire people to put their lives on the line, to enlist and fight against those atrocities, illustration has historically proven more persuasive than Guernica or any other fine art:

James Montgomery Flagg

Henry Raleigh

Similarly, if you want to motivate people to give up their money and buy war bonds to help fight the atrocities, Guernica could never achieve the results of Norman Rockwell's famous Four Freedoms:

Putting aside the emotions of hate and fear, and looking instead to emotions of love and lust, romantic illustrations in women's magazines played a huge role in shaping women's concepts of what love was and how it worked.

John Gannam detail: should we have sex before marriage?

Pictures such as these in Redbook, Cosmopolitan, McCall's, Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping had blood racing and nostrils flaring all across the country.  (Meanwhile, husbands were developing their own concept of romance from the pinup illustrations of George Petty and Gil Elvgren.)

Romantic illustrations that shaped expectations and fleshed out our vocabulary weren't limited to fiction magazines.  The language of love was spoken in John Gannam's ads for bedsheets as well:

"My precious babykins..."

Now take a look at the kinds of statements famous fine artists have made recently regarding the subject of love:

Damien Hirst, All You Need is Love

Robert Indiana, Love

Tells you something, doesn't it?

There are plenty of other emotions besides love and hate where it might be useful to compare illustration and fine art, but a blog post is not the best place to attempt it.  But applying Venturi's test to the representative examples above, it seems clear to me that illustration has had greater significance.  

The four standards I have suggested are not the only ways to measure significance, and I would welcome any counter suggestions from readers.  In addition, I have not tried to assert which art form has the highest inherent "quality."   I have my personal views on that subject (as does everybody else) but it is far harder to devise standards for measuring quality than for measuring significance.  

In order to play this game, my only restriction is that you have to be willing to abide by Isaac Newton's famous admonition for honest scientific results: 
I frame no hypotheses; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called a hypothesis, and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.
By looking at the phenomena, I deduce that illustration seems to have been a more significant form of visual art over the past century than "fine" or "gallery" art.  But if you have other phenomena for us to consider, or other standards to apply, I'd be interested.

The Cylce of Palaeo-art Mythology

So I'm not quite done with Andrea Cau's 10 Commandments for Palaeo-art.

While I disagreed with many of Mr. Cau's ideas for palaeo-art guideline I left one of his points untouched. It is something we palaeo-artists (and really all palaeontology enthusiasts in general) need to consider when thinking about accuracy in palaeo-art...

This issue being palaeo-art "myths" as Mr. Cau calls them. Alternatively palaeo-art memes as Darren Naish calls them (here, here, and here), or palaeo-art "type specimens" as I called them way back when.

Palaeo-art memes or myths are the artistic phenomenon in which one original artist creates their own version of something prehistoric. Other subsequent artists, due to a lack of other references (or just outright laziness) copy concepts or components of the first piece as though it was a direct source. Suddenly the prehistoric subject is always recreated just like that first artwork. Whether that first artist was (or still is) correct or not.

In his commandments Mr. Cau outlined:

7. Thou shall not create mythology

So there is no confusion on his intended meaning, I provide you with Mr. Cau's definition of "mythology" directly from a comment he made on Stu Pond's post about the commandments.

"When I say "mythology" I mean: unsupported image/idea that the profane can assume uncritically as a scientific knowledge... Since a false/wrong/obsolete/mythological idea in a paleoart image can spread more rapidly than the correct scientific concepts in a (boring) paper, paleart-mediated mythology is very dangerous for scientific progress."

I think there are certainly some very valid points here, and I completely agree with the spirit of what Mr. Cau is saying, so long as the emphasis is placed on the "spread" of an incorrect idea rather than the creation of one!

To me the problem is not the initial idea presented by the first artist in a meme chain. They are not "spreading" a "false/wrong/obsolete" idea, as their first work was original and highly creative. I think the presentation of ideas, whether they right or wrong, is critical in all avenues of life (science and art included). The problem is when people don't check an idea, and as Mr. Cau astutely puts it "uncritically" "assumes" it to be true. This is how we get the "spread" of inaccurate memes, subsequent artists who don't bother to do their own research and rip off the ideas of others.

I'm sure the first artist could explain their rational for their choices. Whether you agree with their logic or not is irrelevant frankly. The point is they made a legitimate creative decision for a reason, and that to me is all that counts. It is the copy cats who when asked why they recreated subject X the way they did can only respond "that's what the other guy(s) did" who we should take to task.

That having been said we should be cautious in our attacks and witch hunting. What is accurate now won't necessarily be tomorrow. Suddenly all our current art could be seen by future artists as some "false/wrong/obsolete" meme. Further more if people through legitimate research arrive at a similar reconstruction, that is totally acceptable.

So where does that leave us when creating new works?

Should we shy away from creating palaeo-art that contain "unsupported" ideas or concepts? Hell no!!! So long as it is a brand new idea, and not something you saw someone else doing. If you are going off someone else's artwork you should also do you're homework.

In a discussion I had with Dr. David Eberth on palaeo-art and reconstructing deep time, he sagely summarized my whole view on the topic (in this approximate "quote" I'm pulling together from my memory...) "Palaeontology is a story based science. We certainly collect and study data, but at the end of that we need to tell a story for it to really make sense. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. No matter what story we try and tell, due to missing variables or information, we will be unable to ever tell the whole story."

This should be the true view on accuracy in palaeo-art. It can only ever be partial accuracy, no matter what!

The worry I have with focusing on preventing "false/wrong/obsolete" reconstructions and memes, is that we could end up creating even more dangerous myths. Those that are based on supposed facts!

I present a few case studies for your consideration:

My first example is this tutorial piece by Tomozaurus that is aimed at getting artists to feather Dromaeosaurid (raptor) dinosaurs "correctly". I do like his intended take home message, but sadly he frames this completely wrong.

Tomazaurus does fantastic work, check out the rest of his great artwork here, so don't misunderstand the rant I'm about to launch into. I merely take issue with the format of this poster and false impression it creates. While he may of used quotation marks around the word "real" to alert us to the conjecture he engages in about reconstructing a Velociraptor, I feel Tomazaurus (inadvertently) is creating a myth about what we do and don't know about this animal.

The problem are the magic red X's and friendly green check marks. These symbols automatically imply black and white right and wrongs. Yet those do not exist within our scientific knowledge of Velociraptor. I'm sure Tomozaurus meant the X's and check marks ironically or in fun, but speaking as a teacher, these two symbols can carry powerful assertions about absolute correctness (60% of my incidents with parents were caused by disagreements over marking! "X"s in particular can become quite contentious in subjective areas). They should not be used lightly, especially when discussing science!

My issue is there are not many actual scientific facts about how to reconstruct a Velociraptor. The level of detail and commentary we see presented here (especially about soft tissue) is NOT possible! I don't care how much secondary (and soft) supporting evidence there is for his assertions. The point is he is basically making up his Velociraptor as much as anyone else.

Using totally different animals (Microraptor mostly) is not proof of anything about Velociraptor (Microraptor is not even close to being a direct relative of Velociraptor within the Dromaeosaurs)!. All we legitimately know about Velociraptor is it had some sort of large feathers on their arms. That is it! Not even the whole feather, just the quill base stem they've actually found in the fossil record! Yes it makes for a crappy picture, the underside of the arms, but with this format that is all you'd be allowed to show!

Frankly there is absolutely NO science to say the "half-arsed" Velociraptor is incorrect (beyond the point about the hand). The Greyhound/lizard can be said to fair analysis, but this is mostly due to the outright terrible anatomy that doesn't even match the skeleton.

Whether he was aware of it or not, Tomazaurus was essentially attempting to start a myth here. The intentions were noble, but because it was based on half truths (we know Velociraptors had quill knobs on their arms, but not what the feathers actually looked like that alone how far up the body they did or did not extend) and misused science (other feathered therapods) this had the potential to become a super-myth of sorts. Something so plausible sounding (and maybe found to be correct in the future... but don't count your fossils before they are found) that we could start to believe it to be true (without fossils!?!)... Which is just as bad as totally incorrect information becoming a wide spread myth!

My other case involves the dismissal of the unfounded palaeo-art myth/meme of ceratopsian defensive circles (seen above as created by Peter Barnett). However through the case presented in debunking this meme, a new (and not true) myth started to take form...

Ironically this was by Mr. Cau himself, and really illustrates the dangers of trying to directly confront mythology. The issue of defensive circles was raised in the same quote I used earlier from Stu Pond's blog (backlink here)

"When I say "mythology" I mean: unsupported image/idea that the profane can assume uncritically as a scientific knowledge (for example, ceratopsids forming a ring around their youngs when attacked by predators).Since a false/wrong/obsolete/mythological idea in a paleoart image can spread more rapidly than the correct scientific concepts in a (boring) paper, paleart-mediated mythology is very dangerous for scientific progress."

Mr. Cau starts to (accidentally) create a myth in this different comment further down the discussion:
"We know a lot of adult ceratopsians in bone beds, but few juveniles (if none at all) are recovered in these bonebeds. We also know that most of the known dinosaurs had a social system with juvenile and reproductive adults that lived in distinct associations: these facts support the hypothesis that juvenile and adult ceratopsid did not live together... so, the evidence actually reject the defensive ring hypothesis."

In advance I'm certain Mr. Cau was speaking from the best of his knowledge. This is not meant to belittle him, or question his knowledge. Far from it, on subject of Theropods he is one of the best in the business! However theropods and ceratopsians are not the same, and I suspect he can only afford the time to casually read the ceratopsian literature.

As a fan of both Centrosaurine dinosaurs and Taphonomy (the study of how fossils end up being fossils) I am well read up on both topics. I can say with some certainty, that while what Mr. Cau says is empirically true (in the sense of the number of juvie specimens found), the reality of the conclusions he draws are incredibly incorrect! The reason being he has only (accidentally) presented a portion of the data and findings important to Ceratopsian bonebeds. Simply counting the bones isn't enough. You have to take into account how they got there...

If you are to read any of the many papers or articles in the Dinosaur Provincal Park volume on the Centrosaur bonebeds in Alberta by Michael Ryan, Donald Brinkman, and/or David Eberth you would discover that through taphonomic analysis we have found some pretty serious preservational biases in many of these bonebeds that favour larger bone material. Meaning, yes, we get mostly bigger bones from adult animals. Yet despite this bias we still find the remains of juveniles at these sites, which means there had to be juveniles there too. More to the point there had to a lot of them to begin with for the bias being unable to wipe them all the record!

The juveniles material we have found from (Albertan Centrosaurine) sites is so good we've pieced together very complete and comprehensive osteologic series for many Centrosaurine genus solely from material recovered from these bonebeds, as we had animals of all ages to reference. Why would we have animals of all ages together unless they were living in proximity? (though this is not necessarily supporting family groups admittedly, but it is not countering family behaviour either! It does disprove Mr. Cau's statement "juvenile and adult ceratopsid did not live together." Whether it was a family group or something less social, the point is they were living close enough together to end up dead together!)

What does this evidence actually mean? You (and the experts) can (and have) drawn (pun intended :P) all sorts of things from this (I can discuss the literature in comments if people are interested). I think it emphasises how much we have yet to learn on this (or any other) topic, and that artists have an amazing amount of flexibility for palaeo-art that still falls within the factually "limits".

It also emphasises the problems with sorting myths and the truth. Mr. Cau was speaking from what he knew to be true. Yet that truth was missing some key relevant information, which actually meant it was another myth... I hope you see the very real potential for a vicious circle we could find ourselves in worrying about myths.

So I caution us from going after the myths themselves.

Not because the myths or memes themselves shouldn't be snoofed out! Far from it... There is NO reason, despite the evidence that they travelled with their young, that we should depict Ceratopsians defending their young by forming a circle! Our evidence doesn't support it in any way (especially given the herds in question are thought to have been hundreds to thousands of animals large, not something that could or would need to make a circle for defense!)... It is really time for new visual thought experiments on Ceratopsian family behaviour if anything!

I just worry in militant efforts to eradicate myths, we'll create new strains of super-myth based on partial science/fact that will cause even more entrenched damage to palaeo-art than blatantly wrong ideas.

I think rather than target ideas, we target artists and entice them to create new and different ideas. If we all do that, there will be no "spread" of any one idea (wrong or right) as we'll all be generating new ideas and expanding the current state of palaeontology.

That should be the take home message and goal... No more memes or myths, because we're all being original (or well researched) art! (I say well researched as people can come to very similar conclusions with more limited subject matter)

Your thoughts?

(By Craig Dylke)

Evan Boucher's Tupandactylus imperator: A Shameless Self Promotion

Hello fellow paleo-folk! I thought you would be interested in my newest creation. I finished my Tupandactylus imperator restoration/animation I was working on. I would suggest hopping over to vimeo to view in HD:

Instead of just posting the same info here, feel free to read more on my blog.

I hope you enjoy it! I had some good times making it. Also, in case you're curious about the process, I edited together this handy behind-the-scenes video:


 Evan B.


For those who live near the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the Museum was kind enough to invite me to come present my views on illustration.

The museum is one of the premier resources for promoting "the rich visual legacy of American illustration art," so you can imagine how surprised I was to receive the invitation.

My talk is scheduled for next weekend, on September 24th, from 1:30 to 2:30.  Later in the same day, illustrator David Macaulay (the Museum's 2011 Artist Laureate) will speak about his work.

google image search to credit unknown artists

I wrote up usage of the google image search function at my site.

Andrea Cau's Palaeo-art Commandments

So I'm way behind on things I wanted to say in our recent discussion on accuracy in palaeo-art(funny how a move to Hong Kong with less than 4 days notice can really disrupted everything in your life... this is why I've been pretty quiet as of late if you were wondering by the way!).

I wanted to touch on a tangent of palaeo-art discussion from earlier this year that didn't really take off (which is due to the tremendous year it has been in meta palaeo-art topics!). These are the commandments of palaeo-art...

In his essay, Taylor Reints touched on the "ten commandments of palaeo-art" drafted by Italian blogger extrodinare Andrea Cau. This list of directives is intended for us artists, and they have sat somewhat untouched or discussed within the palaeo-art community beyond David Maas and Stu Pond.

I thought why not throw the spot light on the commandments right now. Do artists need such a code for palaeo-art? More to the point is this code the one we should be using?

In case you don't know the commandments here they are as translated as I could collect. The fact these were originally written in Italian is probably why they were missed or skipped by most. The original set that hit the net in English was very babblefishy, and many of the commandments were unreadable. Hopefully I haven't botched them too bad, and if any of our Italian readership could correct me on mistakes or misinterpretations in the comments that'd be appreciated!

  1. Science is the source of paleoart

  2. Thou shalt have no other reference than the living creatures, because they represent the only available animals; before representing those extinct you must be able to represent the existing

  3. Thou shall not make an idol, model or inspiration out of any paleoart, and you will only be inspired by living creatures

  4. Thou shall not call a work “paleoart” in vain

  5. Thou shall honor anatomy and ecology

  6. Thou shall not plagiarize

  7. Thou shall not create mythology

  8. Thou shall not create false reconstruction

  9. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s techniques

  10. Thou shall not desire to impress others

So there they are again. Soak them in and please do let us know your thoughts in the comment section or your own post (send us an email at with your essay on the topic if you're not a member of the blog). Are these the rules we palaeo-artists should all be following?

For what their worth here is my two cents... I don't think these are particularly helpful. They read to me as a desired rule set imposed by an outsider. While I can understand the motivation behind them, as the one who actually has to follow them I just don't like them at all!

I also really dislike the connection to the 10 commandments. Sure it is a cute literary reference, but I have problems with trying to connect palaeo with something so overtly religious. I'm also not a big fan of dogmatic rule sets. In my opinion THE palaeo-art rule guide should approach the artist like their a descent human being, and talk to them not at them.

Much like David Maas I had problems with 9 and 10 as an artist. Every artist I've ever encountered seeks praise and recognition for and through their work. Otherwise we'd hide it from the world and you won't know we were an artist! I can't see this ever flying in face of artists being some of the greatest attention seekers out there!

Number 9 might suffer from translation issues, but to me the not coveting what other people are doing or how they're doing it doesn't work. I'm going to be using the same techniques recreate prehistoric critters (painting, CGing, sculpting etc). Not being able to copy style is equally meaningless. How different do the pieces have to be? How do you judge? Why does it matter anyways? To me the issue is if I'm copying someone to the point where we're indistinguishable. In that case I'm plagiarizing, and that is a real problem!

Speaking of plagiarism, rule #6 is a pretty no brainer for any creative field (whether it be art or science or whatever), and I don't think we need to codify it. Those who are violating this rule are beyond a simple 10 step set of guidelines in their moral conduct in the first place, and we probably need to engage them a bit more aggressive manner.

Number 4 not calling something Palaeo-art in vain... means what exactly? This verges on scientific snobbery in my opinion. Being palaeo-art does NOT mean something has to be a scientific reconstruction...

Number 2 while I understand an infusion of living analogues is a good thing, misses the point. Fossils should be the number one reference, and the living animals should merely be additional inspiration. Looking through many of the palaeo-art memes that people complain about it is funny how most are due to the artist referencing ONLY a modern animal (here for an example)!Number 3 is okay, but again very preachy. While you shouldn't outright stick to someone else's reconstruction, taking some direction or inspiration from them is fine.

Numbers 7 and 8 I will tackle in my next post. I really am skeptical of this attempted paradigm for palaeo-art (as I'm sure you've noticed over the years!), and I think a proactive approach (rather than retroactive name calling/criticisms) is needed. This I will be getting to in my next post.

I do really like number 1, and it can stay (however I consider any picture or a Dinosaur, no matter how bad based on science if I can tell what it is supposed to be... it is funny how much even terrible pictures still get right)! Number 5 is also a reasonable request (though I don't know if I'd want to REQUIRE it of non-scientific illustrations... and people this can not be over emphasised, there are scientific illustration pieces of palaeo-art, but not all palaeo-art is a scientific illustration!)

These are just my thoughts, and totally feel free to disagree...

Vector Logos

Great logos are key to success in all marketing, communication and propaganda fields. Eye-catching logo graphics are the first important step to businesses’ branding, recognition, differentiation and identification. Logos are often the first contact customers have with products and companies, so it’s a big challenge for graphic designers, typography artists and illustrators to create unique logos the customers can engage with.

Vector Logos

Logos are used by companies all over the world for advertising, marketing and communication purposes, since logo graphics tell us a lot about the brand identity through the present symbols and words. But logos have to be changed or adapted frequently depending on the introduction or change in new products or services provided by the company. Editing logos is not an easy job, but if these logos are prepared using vector art the editing process becomes much easier and favorable. Since vector art allows you to make colorful and attractive logo graphics of any shape and dimension, a lot of companies are opting for vector conversion. Companies ask for attractive and crisp logos which can be read at a single glance. Apart from making the logo attractive, vector programs are also the perfect tools of choice to add special effects to the text.

Vector Logos 2.

Earlier it took days and even weeks to create original logos, but with the introduction of design software as Adobe Illustrator, FreeHand and CorelDraw vector artworks can be delivered within a day. The work is fast and efficient, suiting the needs of the present design generation. Several mathematical commands have to be given to achieve the desired vector artwork.

Vector Logos 3.

Everything starts of course with a clear briefing. Before designers or illustrators can develop a logo or brand identity, they need to receive an articulate briefing about the project with clear answers to the following questions:

- What is the full name of your company?

- What is your business about? Describe your brand and product(s).

- What are the keywords that best describe your product or brand?

- Who is your target audience?

- Do you use a slogan or tagline?

- Do you have any preferred colors, typefaces and icons?

Vector Logos 4.

Vector art is much more than just a mechanical technique or software work. The creation of vector logos involves a lot of creativity, imagination and hard work, and the artists have to use their skills and abilities to make the artworks attractive and lively. The conversion from sketch to vector format requires a lot of technique and skill, and is not that easy as it may seem. While converting an existing art or logo the artist should keep in mind that only the technical format has to be changed, but not the overall look or theme. We can safely say that vector art is a modern way of creating art based on the human brain powered by the speed and accuracy of computers.

Vector Logos 5.

If you are looking for inspiration or if you need brand logos in Illustrator EPS or AI format, make sure to visit and The vector site offers thousands of brand logos, icons, signs, symbols, clip art and dingbats for your branding and visual identity projects.


It is easy to become dazzled by Chris Payne's technique but you should resist the temptation.

Payne's tight, crisp images are certainly eye-catching, and his technical skill stands out among contemporary illustrators.

However, if you get too distracted by the skill you'll miss the larger artistry of these pictures (which is the most important part).

There are plenty of illustrators who do highly detailed, photorealistic work.  Artists such as Rowena, Boris and Elaine Duillo are meticulous technicians, but for me their results are usually leaden and uninspiring (unless you count the inspiration that comes from watching honest manual labor).  Adobe Illustrator is helping a younger generation of obsessive illustrators take pointless detail to a whole other level.

But Payne brings something more to his pictures.  His skill is exercised in the service of a larger artistic vision, which is why his pictures positively glow in comparison.

Note for example his dramatic compositions for these excellent portraits:

Or look at the following portrait of Yogi Berra.  Payne must have labored over the details of that car, and the expressions on those faces, and making those figures interact, and creating the jaunty angle with the car hovering mid-bounce, yet all of these complex elements come together like a snap of the fingers.

 The picture has a cohesion and liveliness that makes the hard work look easy. 

To understand what distinguishes Payne's work, it might help to focus on a few details from this picture of a man floating away (a la Renee Magritte) :

At first it appears he is wearing a conventional gray flannel suit, but a closer look reveals that Payne used a purple(!) watercolor wash, with flowing striations deliberately left exposed:

A less confident artist would have painted the suit gray, and painstakingly drawn in the pin stripes.

Those trees and bushes in the background may look realistic but up close we see they are painted very free and abstract.  Rather than make everything in the picture uniformly detailed, Payne understands how to prioritize a picture.  He understands design:

As realistic as Payne's figures may sometimes seem, he frequently elongates and distorts them for the sake of the picture. Heads are stretched and extruded (see below) and ears are pulled out asymmetrically  (see portrait of Vladmir Putin, above):

It takes a strong center of gravity to work like this.  It's a far tougher job than merely capturing a likeness, and it's one of the reasons why Payne's work is so admired.

Pete Von Sholly Speaks out about Dino Revo

Dinosaur Revolution artist Pete Von Sholly has opened up about the trials and successes of working on the show here.  Be sure to check it out for Pete's first-hand insight into Dino Revo's making!

In my own opinion (Bond), I have never seen dinosaurs that look as good as those on Dinosaur Revolution.  They stand alone in the amount of extraordinary skin detail and intricate colour patterns, as well as the glorious feathers on the smaller theropods.   They truly look like real animals!   For me, the standouts are the Trexes, Troodons, and the feathered microraptor-like critter from the third episode (what's his name?). 

This STUNNING look to the dinosaurs and other creatures shown in Dinosaur Revolutions is all due to the amazing efforts of the artists involved, including Pete, Angie Rodrigues, Ricardo Delgado, David Krentz, and many others!  Thanks for all your hard work!

Niroot Puttapipat's New Blog: Himmapaanensis

AE just had to let the world know that illustrator Niroot Puttapipat has just started his new dinosaur art blog called Himmapaanensis!  

Tarbosaurus Head Studies by Niroot Puttapipat

Marc over at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs has written a brief outline of Niroot's recent work including his illustration of Unlikely Dinosaur Battles.  Check it out, but be sure to add Himmapaanensis to your blogroll!

(Niroot also has started another blog, Himmapaan, which focuses on his non-dinosaurian fantastical illustration!)

You also may remember Niroot's submission to our Pink Dinosaur Event!  Stunning!

Pink Velociraptor by Niroot Puttapipat

Dinosaur Skeletal Tutorial at SV-POW

Possibly due to a certain post that went up here on ART Evolved last week (though I venture only possibly :P), Mike Taylor has put up on Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week two excellent tutorials on identifying every bone in a Dinosaur's skeleton.

You can check out both the first and the second with these links!

A great start to the new wave of technical tutorials we here at ART Evolved are hoping will sweep the internet! Keep your eyes on AE the next couple weeks as we have some big announcements coming down the pipe!

If you see anyone else putting together great artist friendly break downs of the technical literature please give us at heads up at

The Turtle Gallery

Welcome to the wonderful world of shelled reptiles - ART Evolved's Turtle Gallery!

What can one say about turtles?  They are reptiles who evolved to have a bony or cartilaginous shell from their ribs.  This form of protection proved effective, allowing turtles to have existed for over 200 million years!  A detailed account of their early history is difficult to piece together, but wikipedia provides a good overview.  Suffice it to say that Turtles have been around since the Triassic, evolving a wide diversity - from the huge Archelon and Letherback, to the Box, Galapagos, Snapping, and Sea Turtle!  Come and see some of this diversity below at the Turtle Gallery!

If you want to participate in any of our Galleries, send your artwork to and we will post it alongside the wonderful pieces here within!

Turtle Power! WIP by Patricia Arnold

The Turtle 
a sonnet by Albertonykus

A place as harsh as any one could find,

In spite of shining lakes and autumn trees;

The winter could bite you in your behind

Once the ginkgoes dispense with all their leaves.

At night the ‘raptors wake and stalk the wood

In the dark they seek prey to dismember;

To a tyrannosauroid you’d taste good;

Their presence you would want to remember.

Mammals here can be bigger than a cat,

Big enough to kill some defenseless prey,

And lest you scorn those the size of a rat,

Their venomous foot spurs will make you pay.

But inside my hard, sturdy carapace,

I can survive all the dangers I face.

Italian Family by Santino Mazzei

An illustration dedicated to Tethyshadros insularis, the dwarf Italian hadrosaur.  In the picture we can see a little turtle walking behind the dinosaurs.  A prehistoric version of the "Turtle and Hare" fable: probably Tethyshadros was a fast animal.

Angry Tank by Louis Shackleton

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

 Ugly Stage 3D Turtle WIP by Craig Dylke

 Archelon Above by Peter Bond

 Prehistoric Mutant Ninja Turtles! by Peter Bond

Proganochelys quenstedti - Late Triassic (210 myo)
Germany and Thailand - first full shell - 1m long

Odontochelys semitestacea - Late Triassic (220 myo)
Guizhou, China - oldest turtle (incomplete shell) - 40cm long

Placochelys placodonta - Late Triassic (200 myo)
Germany - paddle-like limbs - 90cm long

Archelon ischyros - Late Cretaceous (75-65 myo)
South Dakota and Wyoming, USA - HUGE - >4m long!

Cowabunga, dude!  Pizza Party!!!

And that brings us to the end of this gallery-in-a-half-shell!  Hope you have enjoyed this little gallery of turtles as you head back to school!

The next gallery is Forests and all the amazing critters that live within them!  The Forest Gallery opens here at ART Evolved on November 1st - so grab those paints and pixels, paint a modern or prehistoric forest, and send it in to

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