Monday, October 11, 2010

80's Paleoart: the dinosaur photographs of Jane Burton

First off, I hope everyone had a wonderful Binary Day yesterday, and that everyone is having a great (enter sarcastic/satirical name for Columbus Day here) Day!.

When I was little, I got a dinosaur-themed calendar for Christmas one year. And I still remember it vividly, because it contained images like this:


_The New Dinosaur Library_ P.25

After a recent trip to the library, I have learned that this is the work of Jane Burton, an animal photographer who collaborated with our old friend Dougal Dixon on the New Dinosaur Library series, published in America by Gareth Stevens Publishing in 1987.
Now, this is one of those posts I am hoping to get a lot of responses to. It's been difficult to find more information about Burton and her work online (for example, I apologize tremendously if it turns out that this isn't the same Jane Burton as the late wildlife photographer). Specifically, there is very little information about her dinosaur photographs, which you'd think would be more popular.
Anyway, how did she create these images? One of the Dinosaur Library books gives us a very brief idea:

_The New Dinosaur Library_ P. 23

This helps explain why some of the images look more like straightforward paintings (the styracosaur model looks more like a cardboard cutout, but it might be the odd angle), and others look like photographs of elaborate miniatures.
Now, I'm on record as criticizing dinosaur art that makes it very hard to see what said dinosaurs looked like. Jane Burton liked to use dramatic back-lighting a lot, and unfortunately, this makes it a little difficult to get a good look at the animals. Still... her work is very very cool, even in this post-"Jurassic Park" / "Walking With Dinosaurs" world. Here are some highlights:

_The New Dinosaur Library_ P.14

_The New Dinosaur Library_ P.21

_The New Dinosaur Library_ P.17

I'm kind of in love with this one:
_The New Dinosaur Library_ P.22

_The New Dinosaur Library_ P. 9

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Fellow bird artists, here's something to add to our bookmarks: Brendan Body's massive tutorial on animating and drawing birds in flight. There's a lot of information, but most of it is backed up by lots and lots of video clips (warning: Quicktime).
Speaking of birds...

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Big Sit Results! Went up to the lake and saw fourteen species. Not bad.

1. Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
2. Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
3. Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
4. Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
5. American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
6. Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
7. Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
8. Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)
9. Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
10. White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
11. Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
12. Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
13. American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
14. Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)


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Art of the day! I cleaned out my camera and found a photo of the Pop Culture ACEOs before I painted them!

Pop Culture ACEO inks

Which reminds me, I should get these up on ebay soon.

2 comments:

Albertonykus said...

Those look really cool! Wow!

JerkyD said...

I 1st saw these pics in 1 of my old Ranger Rick magazines. I especially liked the Ornitholestes & Archaeopteryx pics for their realism. There's also a pic w/2 Tyrannsaurs & a Triceratops. Have you seen it? Anyway, thanks for the reminder.