Tuesday, April 8, 2014

LOEB: If history repeats itself I want a dinosaur

This Week: "Hey, Isn't that..."

During my senior year of high school, the local museum in our small town was visited by a traveling exhibit of the famous "Sue" T-Rex Skeleton. During its time there we were also graced with a guest lecturer who had some experience with dinosaurs; James Gurney, author and illustrator of the award winning "Dinotopia" book series. 

The fellow on the left in the hat

In these pre-Wikipedia days, this was useful for learning key information about his career like his background paintings on the cult film "Fire and Ice", his work for National Geographic, and how in China, the Dinotopia books are printed as "Happy Magic Dinosaur Kingdom". 

At the end he was signing books were I told him I was an aspiring artist. Upon hearing this, he wrote "To Erik, Fellow Artist". 

Fast forward to my senior year at the Columbus College of Art and Design when James Gurney came to campus as a guest lecturer. I got the auditorium early with my copy of Dinotopia in hand. He saw me scoping a seat and said "Hello young man, would you like me to sign that for you?" So I got the chance to open up the book and show him were he had signed four years ago and how his encouragement had inspired me to pursue a career in the fine arts. 

Read about other Leaguers brush with greatness here:

* Geeky Vixen recounts many celebrity meetings
* Space For Rent gets his G.O.A.T.
* Retro Robot gets a case of Tenacious D
* Femme Fandom has an excelsior encounter!
* Dex meets the friendliest famous people
* Miss M parties with a local celebrity

Until next time, I'll leave you with something my father once told me as a child. "Dinosaurs didn't go extinct. They're just hiding ... right behind you! "


  1. Love it. Dinotopia are some of my favorite books.

  2. That is a great story. I loved that dinotopia book when it first came out. I was surprised it never became a movie property.

    1. Well there were some TV properties including a 2002 mini series that won an Emmy for special effects which lead into a short run TV series on ABC. Despite the technical limitations of television at the time Mr. Gurney said he was more interested in seeing Dinotopia developed for television rather than movies because he felt that a feature film might have too much violence for kids to be able see it.

      The mini series is alright in its own respects but it deviates from the source material by necessity since the books are more akin to travelogue than a story.

  3. Sue came to Boston's Museum of Science and it was pretty cool to see. That is awesome you got to meet Mr Gurney, I love the Dinotopia books.

    1. Yeah, I stuck around the museum to sketch the sketch and it was cool... until I got locked in. But thats another story for another time.

      Thanks for the including a link to my page on your blog!

  4. This is such a freakin cool story! I love that you got to see him twice. I also like what he signed for you. That is just really awesome. Now I've heard of Dinotopia, but I don't think I ever really read anything about it before. I'll have to check it out!

    Hope you are doing well! I see you have been busy with posting some new things and I am loving every minute of it! Check your FB too, I am going to be sending you a message shortly.

    1. I was planned on putting up some pictures of the books themselves, but I was looking at my stats and noticed that my most viewed posts are the ones with hi res pictures from artists I admire. So it seems people were coming in from Google for these illustrations rather than the text I was writing around them.

      Sorry I that meant I couldn't bring you up to speed, but do check out the books. They are children's picture books after all so it should be a pretty quick and easy read.

  5. That's cool. I loved that book as a kid. We had to pick a book that we would memorize in a Fahrenheit 451 scenario in Middle School and I had to write a couple paragraphs about why I'd memorize Dinotopian. The goofy thing about that is that I love the art in the book far more than the story.

    1. Thats a neat project. Rereading the book, and its clear that the art is the star of the show. It is written in the style of a sketch travel journal which was popular at the start of the twentieth century as it was the only way to see pictures of other parts of the world.


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