I’ll say right off that I just love dinosaur art: beautiful paintings and drawings of fantastic animals that actually existed. Wonderful. I loved it when I was a kid and I love it now. (I have my own book of Dinosaur Cartoons, in fact.) Nothing like a nice colorful dinosaur picture to start out your day.
Good Paleo art requires more than beautiful painting or drawing; it’s actually “paloeontological life reconstruction art” and, like all scientific illustration, must be scientifically accurate.
John Sibbick is one of the foremost dinosaur and paleo life artists in the field. In addition to his illustrations of dinosaurs, prehistoric sea life (including wonderfully weird trilobites) and other amazing prehistoric animals, Sibbick also creates sensational fantasy illustrations and beautiful scientific illustrations of modern animals.
He works most often in gouache, which lends itself well to his use of detailed textures and vivid colors. The Sketches Gallery on his site also includes renderings in pencil, colored pencil and pen and ink. His masteful use of texture, in all of the media he works in, is of particular interest.
Sibbick has illustrated some of the best books on prehistoric animals, including My Favorite Dinosaurs (aimed a kids, but wonderful illustrations). Dinosaurs a Global View, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs and, in particular, the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. (Out of print, but still around. Look for the edition that combines the latter two books in one volume.)