Olduvai George is a blog title and online identity for natural history illustrator Carl Buell. (The name is a play on Olduvai Gorge, a large ravine in Tanzania where some of the earliest human remains have been found.)
Buell has a passionate fascination with animals, living and extinct, although his work has him most often illustrating animals that lived in the last 65 million years (after the disappearance of the dinosaurs). His robust, colorful illustration style uses texture and color relationships to give the animals a real sense of physical presence.
He works in both traditional media and digital painting, working primarily in Photoshop for the latter. You’ll also find work in acrylic posted on the site (image above). Here is his step-by-step walk through of his digital illustration of a mammoth, and a more abbreviated look at the drawings for a color image of a bird.
The links that say “Click here for a larger, more detailed image” link to Buell’s Photostream on Flickr. While it’s nice to be able to leaf through the images that way, and I think there are a few on Flickr not on the blog, the images are disappointingly not much (or any) bigger then the images on the blog. They’re good sized on the blog postings, I would just enjoy seeing more of the details because the images seem rich in detail and texture.
There are both color and black and white illustrations posted on the site. Some of the black and white ones are preparatory drawings for color pieces, some are finished (and nicely rendered) black and white illustrations.
Check out this wonderful black and white landscape, inspired in part by Ansel Adams’ photographic techniques.
[Addendum: As of June, 2010 — Buell seems to have abandoned the Olduvai George blog, it’s gone. He has a largely incomplete website that appears to be in the early stages of construction, I don’t know how current it is. In the meanwhile, his Flickr account looks like it’s been updated recently.]