I’d like you to meet Lumpy the Dinosaur. He’s made of animation clay, a kind of clay that never gets hard. His arms, legs, head, and tail can all be repositioned. Lumpy posed for the three dinosaurs in the illustration for “Dinosaurs vs. Astronauts.”
I’ve been drawing dinosaurs since I was a little kid, but for this illustration I had to visualize them at angles I wasn’t used to. Creating a 3D model of a dinosaur makes the job much easier. It’s an extra step to help the final illustration look as realistic as possible.
My favorite artist, James Gurney, calls models like Lumpy “macquettes.” Pretty much everything I know about illustration I learned from Mr. Gurney. He wrote a book called Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist, which I use as a reference along with one of his other books, Color and Light. He also has a blog called Gurney Journey, which I recommend for anyone interested in art, and a few years ago I was lucky enough to attend one of his seminars. I learned more from him in a one-hour seminar than I did from years of regular art classes.