World of Dinosaurs Stamps: Behind the Scenes

When I was asked to design the World of Dinosaurs stamp issue (1996), I painted two panoramic settings for the individual stamp subjects. The top one was Jurassic and the other was Cretaceous. I keyed the colors differently to separate them.

I developed the design in a charcoal comprehensive drawing that I showed to the various paleontological consultants for their input and approval.

It was vitally important that the dinosaurs, insects, and plants in each panorama were all known from the same geologic formations and so would have lived together in the same time and place. 

Having worked out the plan in charcoal (bottom), I felt a lot more confident when I went to the final oil painting (top). In most natural science illustration, it's essential to present the art in a comprehensive, intermediate step that is sent out for approval by the scientists.

This was probably the only final stamp artwork that was ever worked on en plein air. I had to go outside in the forest to paint the ferns, because I discovered that cut ferns wilt too fast. The painting was less than 24 inches wide and painted on flexible Bristol board so that it could fit on the drum scanners of the time.
For for a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at how I do paleoart, check out my new DVD "How I Paint Dinosaurs" from
Digital download (HD 720p) at Gumroad (credit card) or Sellfy (Paypal). buy
“How I Paint Dinosaurs is a fascinating, detailed look into the making of the masterful dinosaur creations of James Gurney. I loved following his creative process, from the initial ideas, through the scientifically informed and accurate paleo-reconstructions, to the final stunning artwork. I found this video to be extremely informative and creative, and I have to say that I was completely inspired to draw dinosaurs!” 

—Mick Ellison, paleoartist, American Museum of Natural History 

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