Monday, June 2, 2014

A more detailed look at The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi

Sorry to anyone waiting for this more in depth review. I've had a really bad 1.5 weeks at work.

Without further delay, I give you my more elongated review of The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi.


A fantastic popular Palaeoart volume, that delivers huge amounts of top notch palaeoart.
 Fantastic for especially young up and coming palaeo nuts, as a huge amount of modern palaeo findings and thinking are communicated through pictures (with supplementary text if needed). 

Might be a let down for those seeking a super technical volume. Again this is a nice coffee table book full of prehistoric beast pictures. Does have some good science, but doesn't go into detail.

So let's start with the book itself. Simply put it is gorgeous. It is large, with amazing cover art, is well bound, and made from high quality paper. It is not a huge volume, at 156 pages, but it is tightly packed with art.

The art itself consists of a great deal of Mr. Csotonyi portfolio. I haven't counted the precise number of pieces, but it is close to 150 (given there is an average of at least 1 piece of art per page). What makes this a treat is many of these pieces are his museum commissions, that for the most part have not been published anywhere outside the institute they were created for. Further there were several pieces Mr. Csotonyi created specifically for this book, making them brand new!

The pictures are printed in high quality and for the most part translate into print incredibly well. However the odd print darkening does betray Mr. Csotonyi's digital painting matted on photographs technique once and a while, and causes the critters to really stand out from the background. I personally, working in pure digital myself, sympathize having had my own printing battles with darkening. However for a purist that might find this jarring, check it out before buying if you are more picky. I don't think it ruins these pieces, but it is slightly noticeable is why I mention it.  

The volume is divided by time period, organizing the organisms and environments very roughly by their era. Overall the book is overwhelmingly Mesozoic, and specifically Dinosaurs (though the sample pictures Titan Books sent when I requested some, do not reflect this ;p ).

It is not text heavy, but I think that is to the book's strength. When the book says it is THE palaeoart of an artist, I want the palaeoart ;). That said there is what I'd say is almost the perfect amount of writing to give the art context.

You get two introductions by doctors David Evans and Robert Bakker, an interview with Mr. Csotonyi about his art and science philosophy (including some interesting side tangents about his interest in Xenobiology), descriptive blurbs for each piece of art, the occasional testimonial of professional palaeontologist's about Mr. Csotonyi's art in general or a specific piece, and even a few making of's for some of the pieces of art.

For those of you who wanted a very technical volume on the research or making of the art, are probably going to be disappointed. It is a perfectly targeted popular book, and while none of the information inside will be a surprise to palaeo enthusiasts, it is nice to have all this current nearly cut edge art and science in one volume.

Here I come to my (what I think is) unique take home on this book. If I were to recommend it to anyone, I'd say this is a key book to give to any palaeo enthusiast kids you might know. Immediately this book is devoid of any palaeo-memes, and is all art based on current research. So younger "readers" will be exposed to something a lot more cutting edge then the standard kids Dino book. The text that is presented with the pictures is short, and simple enough kids can get more info from if they want it.

However let's face it, most kids love Dinosaur picture books. Not only does this book feature scientifically accurate work, but has way more material then your average Dinosaur kids book. I can't see how this would be a flop for the up and coming palaeontologist in your life.

I can't think of anything else that needs saying. If you like this website, I can't see how you'd dislike this book.

I hope we keep getting more of these volumes for different artists.

So head to your nearest bookstore and enjoy ;)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good, Semi-good, and Bad Dino Sources: Part 2

Hi everybody,

This post is the 2nd part in the "Good, Semi-good, and Bad Dino Sources" series. If you haven't read the 1st part ( ), I recommend reading it b/c it explains how said series works. If you have read the 1st part, I recommend re-reading it b/c I've since modified it to be more explanatory. 2 more things of note: 1) Some complained that some of the sources were miscategorized as semi-good/bad, so in addition to making the 1st part more explanatory, I reconsidered & recategorized 1 of its semi-good sources as good in this post (Many thanks to Mike Keesey for that); 2) Some also complained that too much attention was given to the semi-good/bad sources & not enough to the good sources, so I made sure to reverse that trend in this post.

Herman Diaz


To paraphrase Switek ( ), Bakker ("Robert T. Bakker Ph.D.": ) is not only "a working paleontologist" (He led/leads the Dinosaur Renaissance/HMNS paleontology field program, respectively), but also 1 of the most "effective popularizers of science": His older popular work "inspired many young paleontologists and spun off numerous artistic clones" ( ); His newer popular work includes some of the "best dinosaur books for kids" ( ); He also blogs ( ), lectures ( ), curates exhibitions ( ), & appears in documentaries ( ).

If Audubon had done digital artwork, I bet it would've looked something like that of either Martyniuk ("Matthew P. Martyniuk": ) or Willoughby ("Emily Willoughby Art": ), both of whom are paleoartists who 1) specialize in reconstructing feathered dinos, & 2) have a major internet presence: The "Raptor Attack" trope includes links to their websites ("For good examples of accurate deinonychosaur portrayals, see these websites": ); Naish's "Historical ornithology 101, a Tet Zoo Guide" features their artwork front & center ("Birds are dinosaurs, and 'birdiness'…evolved in theropod dinosaurs before the origin of birds": ); The latter is especially fitting b/c Martyniuk's "Anchiornis huxleyi" & Willoughby's "Mei long is Not Always Sleeping" remind me of Audubon's "Wild Turkey, male" (,%20male.htm ) & "Wild Turkey, female and young" (,%20female.htm ), respectively.

Like Cau, Mortimer ("The Theropod Database": ) is a consistently good source of phylogenetic info for the enthusiast (See "The Theropod Database Blog")/the specialist (See "Phylogeny of Theropoda" through "Evaluating Phylogenetic Analyses"). Unlike Cau, Mortimer doesn't consistently cover other biological info & thus doesn't have Cau's "hit-&-miss" problem (See "Semi-good" for what I mean: ).

Sampson ("Scott D. Sampson": ) & Switek ("Brian Switek": ) are both paleontologists (professional & amateur, respectively) & popularizers of science who specialize in putting dinos into an evolutionary & ecological context: As you may remember, I really like popular dino books that do that ( ); See "Item Mentality and Dinosaurs in Popular Science" ( ) & "Alternatives to the Item Mentality in Dinosaur Books and Art" ( ) for why it's important that popular dino books do that. You could say that 1) Sampson's the new Carl Sagan w/"Dinosaur Odyssey" basically being a dino-centric version of "Cosmos" (See the Orr quote), & 2) Switek's the new John Noble Wilford w/"My Beloved Brontosaurus" basically being an updated version of "The Riddle of the Dinosaur" (See the Wilford quote).

WitmerLab ("Witmer's Lab and Research": ) is the ultimate source of dino anatomy info. Liebendorfer's "Digital Dinosaurs: How do scientists reconstruct the anatomy of ancient beasts?" ( ) sums up why.


Benton ("Professor Mike Benton - Earth Sciences": ) & Brusatte ("Stephen Brusatte, Paleontology Research": ) are consistently good sources for the specialist (E.g. "Dinosaur Paleobiology": ). However, they're also consistently not-so-good sources for casual readers/the enthusiast (E.g. "Dinosaurs": ).*

You could say Don Lessem ("Dino Don Inc.": ) is the Don Bluth of dinos: Bluth's pre-1990 work is mostly good, while his post-1990 work is mostly not-so-good; The same goes for Lessem's pre- & post-2000 work, respectively. As you may remember, I reviewed the best of his pre-2000 work & the worst of his post-2000 work ( ). Compared to the former, the latter fails to cover many dino-related subjects & those that are covered are done so in an insufficient manner (I.e. Sometimes, the text simplifies things to the point of being meaningless; Other times, the text is just plain wrong).**


I hate to say it, but neither Blasing ("Dinosaur George Company") nor Dixon ("Welcome to Dougal Dixon's Website") can be taken seriously as "dinosaur experts": The problem w/Blasing "is that he is impersonating a professional in the field, and in the process, he is misleading the public when he talks so matter of factly about some of his subjects" ( ); Similarly, "Dixon has a superfi-cial understanding of dinosaur and pterosaur biology, and of their actual evolutionary patterns- i. e. he is not familiar with the technical literature, a necessity since the popular literature re-mains incomplete and sometimes obsolete...In addition, he wants to make archosaurs more mammalian than is appropriate" ( ). I say "I hate to say it" b/c, based on what I've read, both Blasing & Dixon are nice guys.*** I can't say the same about the other bad sources (E.g. Dr. Pterosaur/Doug Dobney & Gwawinapterus/Johnfaa are trolls &/or cyberbullies; See "Bad" for how: ).

*Naish's "All Yesterdays Book Launch Talk" ( ) sums up what I mean.

**E.g. Compare the definition of "amphibians" in "Dinosaur Worlds" ("vertebrate animals...that lay their eggs in water but usually spend their adult life on land") to that of "AMPHIBIAN" in "The Ultimate Dinopedia" ("animal that is able to live both on land and in water").

***Miller's "Interview with Dinosaur George Blasing" ( ) & Bonnan's "Now the circle is complete -or- a belated dinosaur Christmas gift" ( ), respectively, sum up what I mean.

Quoting Orr ( ): "Sampson is clearly aiming for a Sagan-like position as a popularizer of science, and his prose owes a definite debt to the revered astronomer There are stylistic debts, such as the phrase "in a very real sense," the very real meaning of which I don't know. More importantly, he seems to have been influenced by Sagan's efforts to help his fellow Earthlings understand their precarious place in this huge universe. There is no Dawkinsish acidity here, no baiting of anti-science pundits. The image presented is positive and accessible, tying in with his job as host of the PBS kids cartoon Dinosaur Train. One of the great revelations in my life was that what's happening under my feet is as interesting as what's happening around me. Dinosaur Odyssey, with its easily understood illustrations of the networks that make ecosystems work, has the potential to open plenty of eyes to that reality. This book should be in schools."

Quoting Wilford ( ): "Other books have dealt with new dinosaur research, but like museum exhibits on the subject, they quickly become outdated. This may be the one book for catching up on what has become of the dinosaurs you thought you knew from grade school. Mr. Switek and his brontosaur spiritual sidekick take you to dig sites, museums and laboratories to experience the rapid changes in dinosaur paleontology. His account is spiced with history of bone wars in the American West, odd facts and asides. For example, there is no such thing as an intercostal clavicle, the bone Cary Grant is frantically searching for in “Bringing Up Baby.”"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

No, THIS is the biggest dinosaur!

Stop the presses. There is literally a new record-breaker on the block. Bigger than Argentinosaurus. Possibly bigger than even Puertasaurus, Ruyangosaurus and Alamosaurus. Some of these new giants (yes, there's a whole herd of them found, in VERY good condition) have nearly 10-foot long femurs.

It's a titanosaur to be sure, from Argentina. I suspect based on the femur proportions that this species is a lognkosaur. That sharp lateral bulge very high on the femur gives it away. If anyone wants to illustrate this species, that's the group I'd look at for reference. Quite a challenge!

But rather than steal the thunder I will let the pictures do the talking. Check out my blog for much more detail:

The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi

I just got my hands on a copy of The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi, and I have to say it is a mighty fine tome of palaeo-art!
The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi, brought to you by Titan Books at places like here.
I'll do a more detailed review later this week. However if you like palaeo-art and/or specifically the work of the modern master Julius Csotonyi buy this book.

It contains the majority of Mr. Csotonyi's pieces. They are of a very high quality, and the book is beautifully put together. For the mere day I've had it on the coffee table has been perused by the twice.

So stay tuned for my deeper look into the book later in the week. However trust me, it is worth picking up ;)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Guest Artist- Nikos Par

We have a guest posting here on ART Evolved. Say hi to Nikos. I'll let his words and art doing the rest of talking.


"Greetings to all dinofans!
I am Nikos from Greece and  i create prehistoric animal models for hobby. i am interested in creating accurate models based on scientific publications (bone lengths,ratios, even colors! if there is available data).
I post here to share my creations, discuss with other paleoartists and listen to  new ideas to continue my work....  

In the pictures u can see a Tyrannosaurus rex head model scaled (1/5) created from liquid latex, all proportions are scientific accurate and the size of the eyeball is based on published scientific calculations. Also u can see few feathers on the back of the neck because available data suggest that T-rex had feathers at least as juvenile. ''

Thanks for the feedback and I would like to ask u if i can post here videos with animatronics dinosaurs....

Monday, April 21, 2014

My 3rd Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a very good book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-"My 1st Pair of Reviews" ( ).
-"My 2nd Pair of Reviews" ( ).

1 of Lessem's best/most underrated books ( ): 4/5

Short version: Before the "Walking with Dinosaurs" series, Lessem's "Dinosaur Worlds" (I.e. DW) was, & in some ways still is, the best children's dino book when it came to putting dinos into an evolutionary & ecological context. I recommend reading DW in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs").

Long version: Read on.

You could say Don Lessem is the Don Bluth of dinos: Bluth's pre-1990 work is mostly good, while his post-1990 work is mostly not-so-good; The same goes for Lessem's pre- & post-2000 work, respectively. DW is 1 of Lessem's best/most underrated books: Underrated because it's less popular than it should be; Best because of the reasons listed below.

1) DW's very authoritative, having been authored by "one of the world's foremost authors and presenters of dinosaur information for children and adults" & scientifically supervised by 20 paleontologists, including Peter Dodson (Senior Scientific Advisor), Hans Sues (Animals), Leo Hickey & Robert Spicer (Plants), & Conrad Labandiera (Insects). To quote Taylor, "those are big guns firing."

2) DW's very complete. After the Introduction (which summarizes the geologic history & evolution, anatomy, ecology, & discovery of dinos), it consists of 16 chapters, each of which focuses on a different Mesozoic site (4 Late Triassic, 1 Early Jurassic, 1 Middle Jurassic, 2 Late Jurassic, 4 Early Cretaceous, & 4 Late Cretaceous). Compare that to the 6 chapters of the "Walking with Dinosaurs" series (1 Late Triassic, 2 Late Jurassic, 2 Early Cretaceous, & 1 Late Cretaceous). Better still, using Holtz's "Dinosaurs" as a guide, DW features representatives of 26 different dino groups (Those in Chapters 12-35 minus therizinosauroids & Chapter 27 in its entirety). Again, compare that to the 16 different dino groups of the "Walking with Dinosaurs" series (Those in Chapters 13-35 minus ceratosaurs, spinosaurs, & Chapters 18, 19, 23, 26, 27, 33, & 34 in their entirety).

3) DW's very in-depth. Using Chapter 1 (which focuses on Valley of the Moon, Northwestern Argentina, 228 MYA) as an example, each chapter consists of 5 sections: "Major artwork panorama" reconstructs the site's entire ecosystem ( ); "A Look Back In Time" describes the site's environment (A river valley); "Featured Creatures" describes some of the site's dinos & other organisms (Herrerasaurus, Eoraptor, Saurosuchus, & various insects & plants), "Then And Now" compares the site's ecosystem to a modern ecosystem (That of western Wyoming); "How Do We Know" examines the site's fossil evidence (The fossilized remains of Herrerasaurus).

4) DW puts dinos into an evolutionary & ecological context: As you may remember, I really like popular dino books that do that ( ); See #2 & #3 above for how DW does that; See "Item Mentality and Dinosaurs in Popular Science" ( ) & "Alternatives to the Item Mentality in Dinosaur Books and Art" ( ) for why it's important that popular dino books do that.

At this point, you may be wondering why only 4/5 stars? For 1, while the illustrations by Kirk & Robins (E.g. See #3 above) are mostly good, those by Field & James (E.g. See the very derpy Giganotosaurus on the cover) are mostly not-so-good. For another, there are several weird bits throughout DW. Again, using Chapter 1 as an example, it's claimed that "Eoraptor is an efficient hunter of...larger, slower plant-eaters" despite the fact that "Eoraptor...lacked an extra joint in the middle of its jaw" (which meant that Eoraptor would've been limited to small prey).

1 of Lessem's worst/most overrated books ( ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best encyclopedic dino book for casual readers, get Holtz's "Dinosaurs".* Despite its title, Lessem's "The Ultimate Dinopedia" (I.e. Dinopedia) is a mixed bag at best & a complete failure at worst.

Long version: Read on.

You could say Don Lessem is the Don Bluth of dinos: Bluth's pre-1990 work is mostly good, while his post-1990 work is mostly not-so-good; The same goes for Lessem's pre- & post-2000 work, respectively. In my previous review, I referred to "Dinosaur Worlds" as 1 of Lessem's best/most underrated books. This review is about Dinopedia, 1 of Lessem's worst/most overrated books: Overrated because it's more popular than it should be; Worst because of the reasons listed below.

1) Dinopedia's a mixed bag in terms of paleoart. In fact, it reminds me of Long's "Feathered Dinosaurs" (Quoting Miller: "I bought the book expecting a more technical discussion of the animals discussed therein...but was surprised to find beautiful paintings of questionably-restored dinosaurs"), but less beautiful & more questionable: Less beautiful because, to quote Willoughby, "I probably prefer a more realistic style in paleoart"; More questionable because while Long isn't known for being a "premier dinosaur populariser", Lessem is. For instance, the dromaeosaurs (I.e. My favorite dinos) range from being completely feathered (Microraptor) to lacking primaries (Buitreraptor) to lacking wing feathers altogether (Velociraptor & Deinonychus) to being completely naked (Utahraptor). I could list the other things wrong with the paleoart, but I want to keep this review under a millennium long, so instead I'll refer you to Vincent's "Ten Commandments for Dinosaur Collectibles" (which sums up everything wrong with Dinopedia's paleoart: ).

2) Dinopedia's a confusing mess in terms of organization: The 1st section (I.e. "DISCOVERING DINOSAURS") is a mess because it's scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason (E.g. "Dinosaur Worlds", "Dinosaur Habitats", & "Other Animals From Dinosaur Time" should be kept together, but instead they're placed at opposite ends of said section); The 2nd & 3rd sections (I.e. "THE MEAT EATERS" & "THE PLANT EATERS", respectively) are confusing because each begins with a seemingly contradictory version of the "Dinosaur Family Tree" on pages 22-23 (1 with only non-therizinosaur theropods & 1 with all dinos except non-therizinosaur theropods, respectively) & no explanation of why. I'm not saying that there's 1 right way to organize a dino book. However, there should be logical transitions between the chapters & the chapters should flow into each other.

3) Dinopedia's a confusing mess in terms of taxonomy. In fact, it reminds me of GSPaul's "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs" (Quoting Switek: "In many cases Paul lumps several species or genera of dinosaurs into one genus, although the criteria do not appear to be consistent. For example, Paul lumps the significantly different horned dinosaurs Styracosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus into the genus Centrosaurus, while--as an extension of one of his own recent papers--he splits minutely different dinosaurs previous grouped under Iguanodon into separate genera such as Dollodon and Mantellisaurus"), but with more lumping & less splitting. For instance, the dromaeosaur family (I.e. My favorite dino family) is used to encompass every coelurosaur that isn't a tyrannosaur, an ornithomimosaur, a therizinosaur, or a bird as well as some non-coelurosaurs (E.g. The carnosaur Xuanhanosaurus, the chimeric archosaur "Protoavis", & the ankylosaur Struthiosaurus). Again, I could list the other things wrong with the taxonomy, but I want to keep this review under a millennium long, so instead I'll refer you to SpongeBobFossilPants's "Dinosaur Taxonomy From A 2010 Kids' Encyclopedia" (which sums up everything wrong with Dinopedia's taxonomy: ).

4) Dinopedia's a complete failure in terms of completeness, especially when compared to Holtz's "Dinosaurs":
-It's claimed that Dinopedia's "the most complete dinosaur reference ever". However, while Holtz keeps updates on "Supplementary Information for Holtz's Dinosaurs" when parts of his book become outdated, Lessem does no such thing for his book. Therefore, Dinopedia will never be as complete as Holtz's "Dinosaurs". Even if you compare said books at the time of publication, Dinopedia still fails in the following ways.
-It's claimed that "the incredible Dino Dictionary lists almost every dinosaur [genus] ever known". However, I only counted 683 dino genera (2 Mesozoic birds & 681 non-bird dinos) in Dinopedia. Compare that to the 801 dino genera (108 Mesozoic birds & 693 non-bird dinos) in Holtz's "Dinosaurs". Last I checked, "almost every" = at least 95%, not ~85%.
-It's claimed that "the most current research and thinking is all here". However, Dinopedia fails to cover many dino-related subjects (E.g. "Rocks and Environment", "Bringing Dinosaurs to Life: The Science of Dinosaur Art", "Taxonomy: Why Do Dinosaurs Have Such Strange Names?", & "Evolution: Descent with Modification") & those that are covered are done so in an insufficient manner: Sometimes, the text simplifies things to the point of being meaningless; This happens mostly in the main text, but also in the sidebar text (E.g. See the Lessem quote; Notice that it fails to mention either Sinosauropteryx, the 1st non-bird dino to be found with evidence of color, or melanosomes, the evidence of color); Other times, the text is just plain wrong;** This happens mostly in the sidebar text, but also in the main text (E.g. On page 20, not only does it wrongly claim that "the first animals came up on land when the age of the Earth reaches as high as your chin [300 MYA]", but in doing so contradicts the sidebar text on the same page).

*Don't take my word for it, though. See "Supplementary Information for Holtz's Dinosaurs" ( ) & read the reviews for yourself.

**On average, there are 1 or 2 factual errors per page in Dinopedia, a 272 page book; Compare that to the 1 or 2 factual errors in the entirety of Holtz's "Dinosaurs", a 432 page book.

Quoting Lessem: "Fossils generally give no information about the outer appearance of animals. So until very recently, scientists had no idea what color dinosaurs might have been. But a fossil of Anchiornis (p. 216), a newly discovered chicken-sized meat eater from China, contained a surprise. Anchiornis's fossils were very well preserved, so its feathers survived. They showed black and white wings and a reddish head. Many feathers were studied to reveal the animal's color pattern. The picture to the left shows what this meat eater might have looked like."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Online/Networks the death of paid palaeo-art?

I stumbled across the research and (modern) work of Jaron Lanier, and his views of the current centralizing of power and wealth as an accidental result of the Internet.

I won't pretend to articulate it as well as him, so just watch even the first 10 minutes of this talk to see why there just aren't jobs in palaeo-art anymore. Replace his example of musicians with those of us in the arts, and the problem becomes a very clear cut one. When you make things free, they are free. Yet life ISN'T free!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

John Conway needs your help!!!

As I've found myself drifting out of palaeoart, one of the thoughts I had was it is a field where only the few super talented individuals can make it... But that is just what I thought. I was wrong!

The super star of super stars in the modern palaeo era is in big trouble. So much so he may have to leave the field altogether. This would be none other than John Conway.

From his own blog post he outlines how despite his huge critical acclaim, multiple books, and being a big name in the palaeo world can only earn him £4200 a year. That is certainly not a living.

However you can help. Visit that link and see how you can help keep John Conway in palaeoart. It involves you getting some of his great art. So everyone wins!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top 4 Most Awesome Dino Doc Themes

This post was inspired by the Nostalgia Critic's "Top 11 Most Awesome Movie Themes" ( ). It's nothing formal, just a list of what I (as a non-expert dino fan) think are the most awesome dino doc themes & why. Even still, I hope that at least some you will get something out of it. As for why "Top 4", to quote Santa Claus ( ), "I've checked it more than once, but less than ten times, because around four I get bored."

4) "Paleoworld" ( ): This theme is great adventure music. In fact, this theme reminds me of "The Lord of the Rings" (#11 on the NC's list) in that it makes me want to stand up & yell "F*** YEAH! That was just the begining of the action! Ehh!!!!" & "F*** YEAH! I'm gonna vacation there! Mmmhhh!!!" (in combination with the footage of dino digs & museums, respectively).

3) "Evolve" ( ): As a wrestling fan, this theme reminds me of Batista's theme ("I Walk Alone": ). Don't get me wrong as I never really liked Batista. However, I always really liked his theme because it made me think of "RAW ANIMALISTIC POWER" more than any other. That's basically what "Evolve" is about (albeit in a different context), hence why a Batista-esque theme is so fitting.

2) "Bonehead Detectives of the PaleoWorld" ( ): As a rock fan, this theme reminds me of "You Shook Me All Night Long" ( ) for obvious reasons. Specifically, these are 2 awesome rock songs with similar-sounding choruses, & everyone loves screaming the chorus of an awesome rock song.

1) "Dinosaur Revolution" ( ): Even though DR got mixed reviews, I think everyone can agree on 2 things: Its dinos are the most anatomically-accurate of any dino doc at that point; Its theme is the most awesome of any dino doc at that point. In fact, DR's theme reminds me of "Conan" (#2 on the NC's list) in that "it's amazing, it's grand, it's epic, it's...just massive". DR's theme is so awesome that I had to provide a link to the extended version (as opposed to a DR episode, which uses a much shorter version).

Honorable Mention) "Walking with Dinosaurs" ( ): It was kind of a toss-up between this theme & "Paleoworld". I know this theme gets a big cheer whenever the doc opens, but it's the songs in the actual doc that make me wanna stand up & roar (E.g. The "Diplodocus Herd" scene from the "Ballad of Big Al" episode: ), hence why it didn't make the "Top 4".

Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Gig

Despite the fact that overall I'm taking a major break from palaeo-art (compared to my steady output of the past 6 years), I do have another legitimate gig.

My old workplace the Royal Tyrrell Museum has commissioned me to update an animation I did while working there 9 years ago.

The original 2004 version:


At the time this was huge, as it was the first major animation project I ever attempted. However beyond that it is admittedly rubbish ;)

In good news my 3D abilities have vastly improved.

So here is my current work in progress.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dinosaur Battlegrounds Kickstarter

Our comrade in palaeoart Frank DeNota is trying to kickstart a new pretty awesome looking Dinosaur game called Dinosaur Battlegrounds. You can check out the project here, and donate to help make this game a reality.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The End of an Era: the exit interview

Given that we've had the finale time capsule gallery, both myself and Peter thought we'd share a couple last thoughts about the site before we pseudo retire from blogging (for the time being).

We went with the terribly unoriginal format of 10 interview questions. We would have loved to come up with something a bit more creative, but time is not a teacher's friend in September... As we are both teachers that was that.

So I give you our exit interview...

ART Evolved's founders Peter Bond and Craig Dylke way back in the year 2004...

1. Why are we stepping back from AE?

ART Evolved simply deserves more time invested in it than either Craig or myself can commit.  Growth is inevitable and both of us have evolved into full time teachers - lesson planning and marking instead of updating galleries and writing ARTicles!  There is just no room for ART Evolved right now.
With these new time commitments, I found it harder and harder to dedicate the time to develop my art.  Even the creation of a sketch for an upcoming gallery became a chore.  Without the time to immerse myself into the wonderful palaeoart blogshere – reading, commenting, discussing – I began to feel disconnected.  I stopped blogging in September 2011, and really only participated in the AE galleries after that.  It stopped being fun.

While there are multiple reasons, they all combine into a lack of time for what this site needs or deserves. When both myself and Peter started this site we were young freelance substitute teachers, with oodles of energy and time at our disposal. As we both made the upgrade to proper permanent teachers, the energy and time dried up.

Personally I’ve also found that my own real attachment to the site (and its galleries in particular) has diminished too. In the early days I was still working on my artistic skills in 3D software, and the regular dead lines of the galleries gave me a challenge to strive and push myself towards. As I’ve matured as an artist (in no small part thanks to the encouragement, feedback, and support of Glendon, Matt, David M, Bond, Trish, Sean, and Albertonychus to name some I owe an artistic debut to but NOT all, sorry if you’re not mentioned), I’ve found that these deadlines are no longer motivating me the way they once did.

2. Why did we start ART Evolved?

It is just a funny thing how these “great” ideas begin. It all began with a drawing of Centrosaurus by  Manabu Sakamoto. Myself and Zach Millar while commenting/discussing with Manabu all said it would be cool to set up a fun Ceratopsian drawing challenge amongst the three of us. The rather successful palaeo-art Boneyard had been held at The Flying Trilobite not too long before this discussion, and it got my brain thinking. There were a lot feeling that palaeo-art was a rampant but under represented aspect of the palaeo online community at that time. I thought why not expand this Ceratopsian drawing challenge into something bigger, and so I enlisted my usual partner in crime Peter Bond to help me out.

ART Evolved started its conceptual life under various other names (I recall me and Bond spent a good 3-4 hour Skype conversation working on the name… sadly none of the old names survive, not that they were any good :P) originally envisioned to be a travelling blog carnival. However in looking at the hit and miss nature of the Boneyard at that time (it has since gone extinct not once but twice after a brief resurrection), we started to think a more permanent base of operations for these palaeo-art galleries would be a better idea. So the blog ART Evolved was created!

ART Evolved evolved (ha!) from a concept Craig had to build upon the Boneyard Festivals (monthly online roundups of all things palaeo).  Craig and I began blogging in 2006, sharing art and making friends with talented artist/bloggers (Glendon, Zach, Mo, Sean, Brian, David(s), Darren, Manabu, Mark, Scott, Raven, Trish, Dinorider, Emily, Nima, Blacknick, Angie, Jenn, Rachelle, just to name many – sorry if not mentioned!)  What a wonderful world!

By mid-2009, we realized is that there really wasn’t one place online where amateur and professional palaeoartists could come together and share their work, ideas and techniques.  We wanted to create such a site!  I remember spending hours on the phone with Craig discussing this new blog/carnival/site idea, trying to come up with a meaningful name.  After going through tons of ideas (none of which we can recall!), we chose ART Evolved: Life’s Time Capsule.  With invitations to many of the above artists, we launched AE with the Ceratopsian Gallery!

3. What kept you coming back to the site/project of AE every month?

We tried hard to create a real community feeling, and what I loved most about the site was the discussions that grew out of the community commenting on posts.  Personally, I also loved the concept of the monthly galleries, and seeing many artists’ different interpretations of a single subject was thrilling!

For me it was a twofold appeal. The first was I had a new artistic goal/challenge every two to three months, and you can see my art really develop and improve for the most part over the 4 year run of the site. The second was the interaction and discussions I’d have with other artists. For myself the gold age of AE was the live blogging art in progress period, we enjoyed in the middle of the site’s existence.

4. Describe highlights of your AE experience.

Pink Dinosaurs was a very special and epic achievement for myself and Bond, ART Evolved itself, the online palaeo-art community, and even just Dino lovers everywhere. We had such a tremendous response to this event, and we raised a little bit of money to boot! Thinking back on this project still brings a smile to my face.

Becoming a Blog of note relatively early in the site’s existence was an awesome achievement, and speaks to the quality of all our contributors.

Finally being featured in Earth magazine was another early highlight of AE’s run.

The number one highlight for me was the Pink Dinosaur campaign in 2010.  Over 60 artists submitted 250 drawing of pink dinosaurs, raising $500 for cancer research.  I was so proud of the palaeocommunity for jumping onboard with the cause and making the campaign work!

Rallying the AE community to defend one of our own from an evil Art Thief on DeviantArt was incredibly satisfying!  We were really a force for good.

Craig and I had always hoped that ART Evolved would become well-known, so I am also proud of our featured article in Earth Magazine and being listed on Blogger’s Blogs of Note.

5. What was your favorite piece of art you submitted?

One of my favorite submitted pieces of art is Archaeopteryx Pair in the Featured Dinosaur Gallery.  I’m proud of my Burgess Shale and Arambourgiania Family Unit pieces too.

As I’m typically not happy with my older work, I have to say Karoo Sunset was an early achievement in my AE art era. Beyond that I was quite happy with the marine pieces I did for the Dan Varner tribute. 

6. What was your favorite gallery?

 I was a big fan of the palaeo-environment galleries as they let people do almost anything they wanted, and still be in the theme. 

I love the Pterosaur, Ceratopsian, Feathured Dinos, and Sauropod galleries.

 7. What did you feel was left unaccomplished?

Involvement from more and more contributors, both amateur and professional, plateaued about halfway through ART Evolved’s four year run.  I would have loved to see the site expand bigger than it is.

I had always hoped we would get more things written on the site by authors/artists than just Bond and myself. Now we certainly did have many members post the odd thing here and there (especially during the Gregory Paul incident), but I’d always hoped it would be a hub site that people would post about work on their own sites, and thus link everyone to both the group and individual’s work.

I also wish I’d figured out a way to get more researchers involved, and have actual scientific input into the mass palaeo-art process. I completely understand that scientists have incredibly full plates, and that this was a mad man’s dream. However I dare to dream, oh yes I love to dare to dream :P

8. Where do you see your art evolving in the future?

Personally I’ve been finding I’m drifting into working for the board gaming industry. I do hope to return to palaeo-art one day, but at the moment the ability to make some income from my art has allured me away from my palaeo-art obsession (I also probably burnt myself out on it, having been doing palaeo-art almost exclusively since 2006). 

I see myself focusing more on technique and colour theory as I try to improve in painting.  I look forward to doing plein-air painting and experimenting in oils.  Somehow, I need to find a better balance between work and art.

9. What do you think of the online PaleoArtCommunity in general?  How it has evolved?

The community is amazing and wonderful, generous and inspiring.  I relish any chance of meeting face-to-face (Glendon in Toronto, Mo in London, Craig in Vancouver)!

There seems to be a definite move towards facebook and DeviantArt, and away from traditional blogging.  I see it in myself as I slowed down, and finally stopped, blogging.  There is more and more amazing art online, and protecting the rights of the artist (as Craig writes) is the new battleground.

I love it. I’m glad that for a brief few years to have been at the forefront of the movement. In the last couple of years I’ve noticed that the community has moved to various art focused websites rather than blogs, such as Deviantart. The only negative trend I’ve noticed, is due to the low demand for official palaeo-art, there is a very high edge of competition between the ever growing pool of artists out there. I don’t feel this if the fault of the artists, but more reflecting on the sad trend in society to demand more art than ever but disregard/undervalue  artists’ efforts to make it.

10. What are your parting words?  How do you feel after ending the galleries?

Thank you for real fun run everyone! This site has played such an instrumental role in helping me hone and develop my own art. I hope others benefitted from the fun and interactive pool of artists as much as I did.
A part of me feels rather sad that this era has come to an end, but yet it feels like the right time to bring things to a close. I’m a fan of the concept end things on a high, and AE certainly has been one big art rush for 4 years. So on the one hand this is us saying goodbye to AE, in reality there is nothing stopping us or someone else from bringing the site back to life someday. We are not actually shutting down. It will be some business as usual here, just no galleries.

Who knows, if the demand builds back up, or me and/or Peter suddenly find we have the time to organize them, the galleries may yet return in the future.

Until that hypothetical day though, once again my thanks and well wishes to you all for creating this fantastic site! May your art reach back to eras long ago, and your futures be full of prehistory!

It is bittersweet to step back from ART Evolved.  While the run has been fantastic, it has felt more of a burden in the past few years.  Craig and I are super proud of the site and its many amazing contributors and I will miss the lively discussions on therapod lips and arm feather arrangements!  While the entire site isn’t shutting down, the galleries will be ending for now.  ART Evolved will remain online, but mostly dormant.

 It has been an amazing 4 years, and I want to thank everyone who contributed their art and themselves to ART Evolved!  Keep your passion of palaeoart alive and take that journey to the Past as often as you can!
So what should we make next, Craig? J

Craig and Peter in July of 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Tyrannosaur Gallery

Welcome to the Tyrannosaur Gallery, ART Evolved's final gallery for awhile.

As readers have probably noticed, both Craig and I have been posting less frequently on this blog.  In fact, we feel it is time to step back and take a break from ART Evolved for the time being.  Life has a way of getting in the way of life, and Craig and I feel we can't commit the amount of time needed to keep up the quality of ART Evolved.  We will leave the site online, but sleeping.  Perhaps sometime in the future, we will revive ART Evolved, but for now she rests.

Looking back, we have had a fantastic 4 years creating a community for talented artists and palaeontology enthusiasts to come together and share ideas and inspiration.  We hosted 20 themed galleries, with over 100 artists participating from around the world.  We raised over $500 for cancer research with Pink Dinosaurs.  We hosted tutorials and debated important questions, such as "What is palaeoart?" We promoted the talents of our readers, and defended their artistic rights as well.  Craig and I even had the pleasure to meet several of you!  You are all absolutely wonderful!

With that being said, we will be ending ART Evolved's regular Time Capsule Galleries with our favourite prehistoric animal:  the Tyrannosaurs.

Please enjoy the wonderful work of many talented artists below in the Tyrannosaur Gallery!
(Click on the images to enlarge them)

Head of T-rex with Spectacular Plumage by Christoffer Gertz Bech

Starry Tyrannosaur by Harrison Cooper

Teenage Tyrannosaurus by Vassika Udurawane

Tyrannosaurus Mother and Child by Vassika Udurawane

Yutyrannus Trio in Winter by Vassika Udurawane

Swimming Albertosaurus by Vassika Udurawane

Swimming Albertosaurus makes a playful snap at some small butterflies. The dinosaur is fully feathered, even to the point of those always-prominent jaw muscles being covered. It also has lips. I am tired of the old "roaring tyrannosaur" trope, and this one's mouth is open for a reason. Also, all animals play, especially intelligent carnivores, so why not dinosaurs too?

Dragon from Jiayuguan by Elia Smaniotto

The "Destroyer" Gets A Cleaning by The Nanotyrant

This is my drawing of Bistahieversor sealeyi with a weird twist. Similar to how some animals have birds eat out of their mouths to clean them, this tyrannosaur has an enantiornithe cleaning its teeth. It's inspired by All Yesterdays.

The Singing T-rex by Trish Arnold

Three Yutyrannus Moon by Trish Arnold

Awesome Overload by Trish Arnold

Traumador the Tyrannosaur by Albertonykus

GEOL 204 by Albertonykus

A dramatization of taking Dr. Thomas Holtz's course on the fossil record, "Dinosaurs, Early Humans, Ancestors & Evolution: The Fossil Record of Vanished Worlds of the Prehistoric Past" (GEOL 204).
The text references songs Holtz plays at the beginning of each lecture.

Tyrannosaurus 2003 by Peter Bond

Tyrannosaurus 2006 by Peter Bond

Tyrannosaurus 2008 by Peter Bond

Traumador the Tyrannosaur 2010 by Peter Bond

Tyrannosaurus 2010 by Peter Bond

Tyrannosaurus 2013 by Peter Bond

Albertosaurus into the sunset by Craig Dylke

Thank you so much for checking out ART Evolved's last Time Capsule, the Tyrannosaur Gallery!

On behalf of Craig and myself, I'd like to sign off by saying thank you so much for supporting ART Evolved and to continue to push yourself artistically, recreating wonderful worlds for the past.

Thank you,

       Craig Dylke and Peter Bond

So long and thanks for all the fish!