Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Let's Look at Models and Draw Fifty Dinosaurs! (And other, weirder stuff.)

Attic Treasures - Three Decades of Dinosaur Reconstructions in Two Feet

So, did everyone have a fun World Penguin Day yesterday?

One overlooked area of old Paleoart is the world of dinosaur models. (Never "dinosaur figurines" or, Heaven forbid, "dinosaur toys"?) A few years ago, I found much of my childhood collection intact and took a few pictures (all the images in this post are on Flickr, so click to see bigger versions).

Attic Treasures - Three Decades of Dinosaur Reconstructions in Two Feet

From left to right, we have models from roughly the sixties, the eighties, and the nineties. The first row probably date from around the same time as a book we're about to explore.

The middle section is mostly made up of
Invicta models. I got these in the 1980's when they were still a museum gift shop staple, but it turns out they were produced beginning in the 70's. That helps explain why all the tails are staunchly dragging along the ground. Finally, the three fellows in back are as far as I got in my attempt to collect the lovely Carnegie Collection. (And yes, there is a Dino-Riders Deinonychus lurking in the background; sometimes thrift stores are the best Thing.) Note the differences between the models from different years that depict the same (or similar) animals.

Attic Treasures - 60's Tyrannosaurus

Here's a detailed look at that very strange 70's Tyrannosaurus. I know they hadn't found 'Sue' yet, but it's really hard not to make fun of those little flipper-hands, the dragon feet, the giant crotch, and the shark face.

Lee J. Ames pp. 13 and 22

Which brings us to these illustrations from Lee J. Ames' Draw 50 Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals, published in 1977 by Doubleday and company.

The Lee J. Ames drawings (I am only including the final finished pieces here) are an excellent time capsule of how many prehistoric animals were thought to look *right on the cusp* of the "Dinosaur Renaissance". Here's a rather goofy looking Tyrannosaurus and an Emo Ornithomimid. As you can see, they are of a piece with the models above.

Lee J. Ames pp. 18, 19, and 24

Iguanodon and Styracosaurus with very strange mouths, and a Hadrosaurus who appears to be suffering emotional problems.

Lee J. Ames pp. 36 and 56

And while they are a not-quite-mammal-but-close and a mammal, I couldn't ignore this buck-naked Cynodont and amazingly spry Indricothere.

The Crocodiles Still Wait

Our next book in this grab bag is The Crocodiles Still Wait, written by Carol Carrick and illustrated by Donald Carrick. An oddly moving story of a mother crocodile raising her brood in the late Cretaceous period. The crocodiles themselves still look terrific and the dinosaurs...

The Crocodiles Still Wait

They have not aged well. Heck, look at this... Troodontid? Ornithomimid? Your guess is as good as mine (I'm going to call him Derpy Claws):

The Crocodiles Still Wait

Next up is The Largest Dinosaurs, written by the great nonfiction children's book author Seymour Simon and illustrated by Pamela Carroll.

The Largest Dinosaurs P.25

An overview of Sauropods and their lives. The ink-wash illustrations can get a little strange. You may recognize the above illustration from my review of "Dinosaur Rock". This is basically the image of sauropods I had when I was very young: not big, dopey swamp-dwellers but still kind of goofy and rubber-necked.

The Largest Dinosaurs P.14

As silly as this Brachiosaur is (those feet!), I love the dramatic perspective here:

The Largest Dinosaurs P.29

Finally, and certainly the most unusual book we're going to see today, here are the dinosaur-centric scenes from Life Story, written and illustrated by the wonderful Virginia Lee Burton.

Life Story P.28

The book is no less than a dramatization of the history of life on Earth, starting with the formation of the seas and going on and on through to modern times and Burton's little house in the Massachusetts countryside.

Life Story P.32

Obviously, the animals are very stylized throughout, but I love the sheer scope of the book, and I adore Burton's playful folk art.

Life Story P.30
Next up, the most frustrating book of all...


Sketch of the Day! Eh, just some random stuff:

4.11.11 Sketchbook Page


Albertonykus said...

In hindsight all of those look so very surreal. I have the Carnegie Parasaurolophus and Euoplocephalus, too (in a box somewhere- wait, it's under my desk)!

Zachary said...

I spy a Dino-Rider Deinonychus among those models!!!

JerkyD said...


Why not "proto-mammal"?

"They have not aged well. Heck, look at this... Troodontid? Ornithomimid? Your guess is as good as mine (I'm going to call him Derpy Claws):"

I'm gonna guess some kind of mutant swan w/atrophied wings & a bad case of mange.

ScottE said...

Draw 50 Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals! I had that book as a kid (along with a few others)!