Supplemental Training: James Gurney’s “Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art” dvd

We recently had the pleasure of reviewing illustrator and author James Gurney’s dvd, “Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art.”  This wonderful instructional video (available as an mp4 download here, or a dvd disc here) joins James in his studio, as he executes and completes a pair of paleontological illustrations for Scientific American magazine

One of the illustrations from James’ dvd, as it appears on the cover of Scientific American magazine

The dvd, at just under an hour in length, follows James’ process, from thumbnail sketches, to color comps, to the final painting.  Viewers are treated to a “guest spot” in his wonderful studio, filled with fantastic maquette sculptures, museum-quality casts, and skeletal specimens (all in addition to and surrounding his art work station).  As he executes his sketches, finalizes his drawing, and moves on to the painting, the viewer follows along, gaining insight into his process.


one of the illustrations, on the board and ready to be painted

 One of the wonderful aspects of this dvd is that James goes beyonshows the viewer just what it takes to create a scientifically-accurate and exciting illustration.  James delves into the kind of reference and attention to detail the artist needs in order to create the kinds of images.  From image gathering, to fossil references, and even a hike into the woods, James utilizes all tools available to inject a sense of “realism” and “real-world-grit” into his work.  His advice and insight crosses genres, and make this dvd an important and fascinating watch for not only naturalist and paleo illustrators, but fantasy illustrators, sci fi painters, and fine artists alike.


The start of a tyrannosaur head

For students looking to add a bit of  “cross training” into their routine, this DVD offers fantastic supplemental training to our online program.  As a traditional painter with an “old school” approach to his paintings (in his lesson, you’ll even see him make large changes  to the painting on-the-fly), James’ insight meshes very well with the teachings from our own program. We highly recommend picking up “Tyrannosaurs: Behind the Art” , and pairing the skills learned in in your atelier studies with the mastery James Gurney demonstrates in this wonderful video.

Jeff Watts posing for James Gurney at the Watts Atelier in Encinitas, California