Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let's Continue Reading _The Humongous Book of Dinosaurs_!



As we saw in the last post, the Humongous Book of Dinosaurs consists largely of illustrations that are... at best mediocre. This is, admittedly, something one must expect when we're discussing a book that is, in fact, over one-hundred issues of a magazine merged together. If there's one theme to be found in the book it's that all the animals in it appear to be facing one common and ubiquitous natural enemy:



Perspective.

Foreshortening wasn't one of the strong suits of the huge group of illustrators working on this project. It lends a surreal air to the "Triceratopses circle their young to fend off tyrannosaurs" meme. That poor Trike on the far left looks like his skull is pointing in two different directions! Not to mention the very derpy tyrannosaurs. (Take a shot.)

A few more animals being attacked by the illusion of depth:



Jeez, at least his forefeet are semi-correct.



This Stegoceras almost looks like he's trying to escape being sucked into a vortex.



That face...



Fish look weird from the front anyway, but this...



How can Carnotaurus run like that on a leg that's broken in three places?




And then you've got these non-Euclidean 80's Dilophosaurs, one of whom seems to be both standing behind his fellow and on top of him at the same time.

I haven't talked much about the "History in Pictures" feature since I'm only focusing on the art in HBoD. Still, there are some great little moments:



Here Eberhard Farrs (sic) is apparently ready for the Gathering of Juggalos. Freakin' Brachiosaurs, how the hell do they work?



And this (Hell Creekers may recognize it as my current avatar; I wish it wasn't so close to the "gutter" though) might be the greatest-ever portrait of Bob Bakker.

Next week: We witness senseless gore and violence!

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Sketch of the Day!

A little pen-and-ink landscape.

7.15.11 - View Inland from Long Lake

12 comments:

Kazanlak said...

While not a direct ripoff the Dilophosaurus illustration appears to be based on a (much better) painting by Mark Hallet depicting two Dilophosaurs tugging on either end of an unlucky Scutellosaurus. The illustrator did slightly tweak the Dilo's poses and also make them far stupider looking though.

Fishy said...

I am trying very hard and failing to comprehend that ceratopsian's skull. Are the eyes set into the frill or something? I do not understand.

raptor_044 said...

"While not a direct ripoff the Dilophosaurus illustration appears to be based on a (much better) painting by Mark Hallet depicting two Dilophosaurs tugging on either end of an unlucky Scutellosaurus."

You beat me to it. Oh well, here's the pic anyway: http://biostamps.narod.ru/worldlist/stp/stp_1993_pre/dilophosaurus.jpg

raptor_044 said...

"Perspective."

Please forgive my art-related ignorance, but are you saying that those dinos basically look like they are cut outs pasted onto a given environment? if not, then what many thanks in advance.

"It lends a surreal air to the "Triceratopses circle their young to fend off tyrannosaurs" meme."

I always knew something looked off about that pic's Triceratops (which was my favorite dino at the time).

"How can Carnotaurus run like that on a leg that's broken in three places?"

Which places are those? I only see 2 & they're each on a different leg (The right foot looks like it's bent wrong & the left thigh looks like it's dislocated at the hip).

"And this (Hell Creekers may recognize it as my current avatar; I wish it wasn't so close to the "gutter" though) might be the greatest-ever portrait of Bob Bakker."

I'm partial to Rey's portrait of Bakker, but I see what you mean about this 1.

"Next week: We witness senseless gore and violence!"

Can't wait!

Trish said...

Quick introduction to perspective: http://www.draw23.com/perspective

And we're somehow able to see the top *and* bottom of that Carnotaurus' right foot...

Warren JB said...

I used to think most of the illustrations were rubbish, even way back as a 10-11 year old kid. But all of a sudden I feel fairly defensive of them. :P

I'll defend the coelacanth, anyway. It's directly referenced from a photo:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/231/coelacanthh.jpg/

Some of the names from this magazine stick in my head. John Sibbick, Graham Rosewarne, James Robins, Una Fricker = good. Neil Lloyd, Tony Gibbons, Deborah Mansfield = awful. Though some of the good has aged a bit, and sometimes Neil Lloyd (the Carnotaurus artist here) could pose or light a scene that wasn't too bad.

And if you though Neil Lloyd was bad, and if the book has everything in order, look at page 859! Cribbing Carnotaurus from Neil Lloyd, who cribbed from an old Carnotaurus sculpture (which I can't find online right now, but is also featured in one of the issues). Typical regurgitation of kids' dinosaur book illustrations, and turned out as well as you might expect.

Also, I contacted you a short while back about the feathery-Syntarsus art meme, as well as other feathered dinosaurs in the magazine. I didn't get round to scanning the images, but I guess you've seen them by now. :)

Trish said...

First off, no offense is meant if you happen to like these magazines; especially if you grew up with them as a child.

Secondly, and more important, I am saving the feathered dinosaur issue for the finale. You'll have to wait a while but no, I didn't miss our old friend, Mohawk!Syntarsus.

Anonymous said...

Heh heh, that Bakker portrait is epic. Too bad we don't get one of Jack Horner with the caption "Look at this - I think Tyrannosaurus rex was unable to do its own hunting and had to scavenge to survive!" or Tom Holtz saying "Look at this - I think that Tyrannosaurus rex wasn't a carnosaur, but a giant coelurosaur!".

On a related note, it's spelled "Fraas", not "Farrs".

How long until the next post? I can't wait!

Trish said...

^^ Throughout the summer, posts go up every Tuesday and Thursday. I do promise that, unless anything comes up, there will be at least two new posts up until the end of the year. Thanks for reading!

raptor_044 said...

"or Tom Holtz saying "Look at this - I think that Tyrannosaurus rex wasn't a carnosaur, but a giant coelurosaur!"."

To be fair, others were saying more-or-less the same thing b-4 Holtz (E.g. Bakker: http://discovermagazine.com/1992/mar/insidetheheadofa8 ).

Warren JB said...

I've just read the next entry and have to apologize for my 'defensive' comment. I'm a bit nostalgic about the series, and it was a big influence on my interest in Dinosaurs.* But like I say, most of the illutrations are pretty bad, and I was bemused at my own reaction. I take no offence if you rightfully skewer them. :)

*Another was a book I borrowed from a library as a young kid, returned, and never saw and couldn't find again - until I did some blog-spelunking and saw your copy of 'The Great Book of Dinosaurs'. So thank you for a name to type into Amazon. ;)

Also, I've got a thought or two about 'palaeontography', mostly agreeing with Traumador, but that's a bit OT for here.

Trish said...

^^ No problem. Arguments, as long as they are on-topic, keep things interesting. And thanks for reading!

On a totally different note: what's so bad about being the biggest, most awesome coelurosaur?