Imagine for a second you’re an artist. But you’re not just any artist, you’re an artist of dinosaur art. But not just any dinosaur art, photographic composites. What exactly does that look like, and hell, will I even like it?
The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi (Titan Books)
After reading this book I can imagine Julius has copious amounts of nature photography strewn about his house or at the very least his computer is chock full of them. You see, Julius draws, digitally mind you, dinosaurs. All sorts and probably every kind, but he does something rather unique and that’s compose pictures from real honest to goodness photographs and combines them with his digital and very realistic drawings. Having grown up being fascinated with dinosaurs I’m quite jealous kids today get such vivid representations of the dinosaurs in their natural habitat. This book is a wonder because it captures your imagination and drops you right in the middle of a very real world (albeit a very old one).
Jaw droppingly good.
I remember years ago the History channel (or maybe it was Discovery?), started pumping out dinosaur documentaries with CGI dinos walking around in live footage backgrounds. Even though these popped up when I was in my 20’s, I was captivated and overjoyed to see these semi-realistic dinosaurs (although let’s be honest, CGI was not too realistic back then). Picking this book up, I had no expectations this same feeling would come back. There are some fantastic images in this book, with underwater scenes, swamp scenes and even an under-the-dinosaur shot with a distorted mirror effect as if we’re peering through a droplet of water. Julius is a master at making the scene that much more realistic and interesting largely because he composes these images with reality and realism as the goal.
Sick page of heads.
There are plenty of extras beyond his art too, like an extensive interview with Julius, real paleontologists chiming in from time to time and some fantastic sketches by Julius. One page is filled with triceratops heads—yes, just their heads—and all their variance. There are also moments where we cut away from the art and see how it was rendered and created. Quite a cool thing to see, especially when in contrast with other art books which usually just display the work rather than show how the taffy is made so to speak.
There are however, a few missteps with this book. The worst of the problems I encountered wasn’t Julius’ fault at all, but the book makers. The text in this book is insanely small and I really don’t know why. It’s squint worthy and makes the text itself off putting to read. There are a few, and a scant few at that, images by Julius that look a bit too Photoshopped for my tastes. The settings sometimes look too real for the dinosaurs or the lighting isn’t perfect enough to make it all come together. That gripe is rare though, but it is worth noting.
Sometimes things look too fake.
Is It Good?
When it comes down to it there is so much to love in this book the gripes are minor in comparison. The text is ungodly small, but the images are so robust and cover such a wide range of scenes any dinosaur fan, and fan of art for that matter, should purchase this book.
Grab the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.