I received a review copy from Dover Books of James Gurney’s Dinotopia, First Flight: 20th Anniversary Edition, the newest in the series of 20th anniversary editions of Gurney’s contemporary classics.
Ostensibly aimed at kids and adolescents, but delightful for adults as coffee-table art books, the series has been getting beautiful “20th Anniversary” treatment at the hands of Dover’s Calla Editions.
This one follows the adventures of Gideon Altaire, and leans more toward science fiction elements than some of the other stories, with lots of dinosaur-like robot vehicles, flying machines vs. flying reptiles, and of course, beautifully fantastic settings.
Gurney (who has been astonishingly prolific, particularly considering the amount of effort and detail that goes into his work) has been creating a body of instructional material in recent years, both on his always interesting blog, Gurney Journey, and in a series of instructional books and videos. These Dover editions are something of a blend between his endeavors in painting, storytelling and art instruction, because of the addition of generous amounts of supplementary material.
In addition to wonderfully reproducing the original book, the new volume contains an almost equal amount of additional goodies: storyboards, preliminary art, concept sketches, production art, backstory and information on the creation of the story and series.
Like much of Gurney’s work, Dinotopia, First Flight: 20th Anniversary Edition is a treat on many levels.