Illustrating Imagination

I am a hopeless artist. Sure, I can draw a stick figure -- but that about covers the extent of my artistic ability. And when it comes to drawing something that no one in living memory has ever set eyes on, I’m completely at a loss. Clearly, I’m no James Gurney, the artist and author behind the acclaimed Dinotopia series.

Gurney’s first illustrated children’s book, Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time, had crossover appeal with both children and adults; the tome follows the story of an island inhabited by shipwrecked humans and sentient dinosaurs who manage to live together in a symbiotic relationship. A Land Apart From Time was followed by Dinotopia: The World Beneath; Dinotopia: First Flight; and Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, Gurney’s most recent work, released in October 2007.

Tonight, Gurney speaks from 6:30 to 8 p.m. as part of the Denver Botanic Gardens’ “Cafe Botanique” Science and Art Lecture Series. In "Dinotopia: Behind the Scenes," Gurney will discuss the details of realistically portraying imaginary scenes in traditional media; he’ll discuss research, thumbnail sketches, reference maquettes, perspective, dinosaur reconstruction, step-by-step sequences, plein air painting, world-building and working as an author/illustrator. He’ll sign copies of A Land Apart From Time and Journey to Chandara after the event; tickets are $10 for members and $13 for the general public. Gurney will appear again tomorrow at the DBG, 1005 York Street, for a plein air workshop. Call 720-865-3580 or visit
Thu., March 5, 6:30-8 p.m., 2009

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen