Niroot Puttapipat (himmapaan)

Niroot Puttapipat (himmapaan), illustration and paleo art
Niroot Puttapipat is a London-based illustrator who uses the handle “Himmapaan”.

His work shows his admiration for Golden Age illustrators like Arthur Rackham, Howard Pyle and Edmund Dulac, as well as natural history and paleontological greats like Charles R. Knight.

Puttapipat works with a nice balance between detailed rendering and graphic shapes, particular in his series of illustrations for classics like Aladdin, and modern novels like Salman Rushdie’s Luka and the Fire of Life (images above, second and third from bottom).

He has provided illustration for a number of recent editions of classics. There is a list of publications here, and a listing of books for which he has done illustrations on Amazon.

As continuing Lines and Colors readers will not find surprising, I particularly enjoy his fanciful takes on dinosaurs and related subjects. Sometimes Puttapipat’s fondness for classic literature and paleontological art collide, as in his hilarious and wonderful “Brontesausus” (above, bottom).

[Via Wil Freeborn, (my post here)]


Paleo artist shows us new feathered dinosaur species, “The Chicken from Hell”

New feathered dinosaur, Anzu wyliei, paleo art by Robert F. Walters
When new discoveries are made in paleontology, most interestingly in the realm of dinosaurs, it’s up to paleo artists to interpret the findings and give them a visual form based on the available scientific data.

In this case, a new dinosaur species was discovered by scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the University of Utah — not by digging in the earth, but by digging through existing fossils in the collections of several museums and piecing together the evidence.

Anzu wyliei, as the new dinosaur is called, sports some jaunty feathers and looks a bit like the nightmare chicken of your worst post bar-b-que dreams; and some of the scientists on the team have nicknamed it “The Chicken from Hell”.

As reported in the article, “One Scary Chicken—New species of large, feathered dinosaur discovered“, on Smithsonian Science, the name is taken in part from the name of a feathered demon from ancient Mesopotamian myths. The beast was about 5 feet tall at the hips and 11 feet long.

The new find is here brought to life by noted paleo artist Robert F. Walters, who I have profiled before. Walters and his partner, Tess Kissinger, created the dramatically large mural of the Hell Creek Formation at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and are well versed in the visual reconstruction of animals from this period.


James Gurney's How I Paint Dinosaurs

James Gurney's How I paint Dinosaurs
Long time readers of Lines and Colors will know that I’m an admirer of the work of illustrator and painter James Gurney. I also love dinosaurs and paleontological art, an area in which Gurney is one of the foremost artists working today, so I was delighted to receive a review copy of Gurney’s instructional DVD How I paint Dinosaurs.

In the hour long DVD, Gurney goes through his process of creating two dinosaur illustrations for Scientific American magazine, from initial concept and composition thumbnails through to the finished paintings.

He discusses and demonstrates the process of working out compositional variations, developing them from thumbnails to initial sketches to be submitted to the art director for approval. From there, he details the process he uses to create a maquette, or clay model, of his subjects for determining lighting. He moves on to the initial block in of the painting, refinement and development of various stages, and the eventual finish. He goes through this process, emphasizing different points along the way, for two different paintings.

As is sometimes the case with good art instruction videos, the techniques he presents go beyond the specific subject, and would be of value to nature and natural history artists (of which paleo art is a subset), as well as concept artists who base their work on realism, and illustrators in general.

If you’re familiar with Gurney’s other instructional material, particularly his books Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What doesn’t Exist (Amazon link, my review here) and Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter (Amazon link, my review here), you will find examples of the same kind of fundamental principles here of methods he has found successful. For example, the use of a limited gamut (color range) to achieve a certain kind of color harmony, and the advantages of pre-mixing piles of some colors in ranges of variation in value and chroma, to allow less distracted focus during the painting process.

Illustrators who have never worked from three dimensional models may wonder at the time devoted to constructing and painting the maquettes used as reference for the paintings here, but when you see Gurney searching for the best value arrangement in his composition by turning the models in the light, you’ll easily see why he and others at his level of expertise often find it worth the effort.

There were places I wanted to ask for more detail — to run the video back and say “Wait! Wait! How did you make the wrinkles on the dinosaur’s neck look so convincing?” or “Let’s hear more about that brush-pen you’re using to block out the thumbnail sketches!”; but there is plenty of detail to be had.

Like many of the best instructional art videos, on a second viewing, you’ll find little nuggets that you may have cruised over on initial viewing (like doing a pencil drawing on illustration board with the pencil held horizontally, so the point doesn’t indent the board, making it easier to erase and move lines). Much of the detail is visual, beyond the verbal instruction, in good close-ups of brush work and paint application.

Depending on your inclinations, you may also find some helpful examples in Gurney’s studio practices.

The video includes a short mini-feature on brushwork (that I would like to see expanded on in the future), and the DVD version includes a beautiful little print of one of the finished paintings.

There is a video trailer on YouTube, and additional information about the video (and a treasure trove of fascinating material in general) on Gurney’s blog Gurney Journey.

James Gurney’s How I Paint Dinosaurs is $32 for the DVD, available from Kunaki or Amazon, and $15 for a digital download through Gumroad.


Zdeněk Burian trove

Zdenek Burian

Someone has posted an absolute treasure trove of work by the great paleo artist and natural history illustrator Zdeněk Burian on Flickr!

The set is extensive and includes numerous paintings and many drawings of his range of subjects, including dinosaurs, flying reptiles, prehistoric mammals, undersea life, prehistoric plants, primates, early humans and portraits of famous naturalists. Many of the images are linked to large reproductions.

Yes, many of the reconstructions of prehistoric animals are inaccurate in light of recent findings, but Burian was, first and foremost, a terrific painter and draftsman.

Enjoy it while you can; resources like this have a tendency to be ephemeral.

See my previous post on Zdeněk Burian.

[Via MetaFilter]


“Picturing Dinosaurs” on

Picturing Dinosaurs on Charles R. Knight, Robert F. Walters, William Stout, Rudolph Zallinger, James Gurney, Zdeněk Burian, Peter Schouten,  Douglas Henderson
As the latest installment of her wonderful ongoing series of themed “Picturing…” posts on, Irene Gallo has posted “Picturing Dinosaurs“, a theme near and dear to my heart (or more accurately, near and dear to the fevered brain of the 10 year old kid in me that still holds major sway over what I like).

For someone who is a self professed non-expert on dinosaurs, Gallo has pretty much covered the bases, with nods to paleo art greats past and present, as well as some fun and essential pop culture dinosaur references like Moebius’s Arzach pterosaur, Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes T-rex in a jet and Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur.

What fun!

(Images above: Charles R. Knight, Robert F. Walters, William Stout, Rudolph Zallinger, James Gurney, Zdeněk Burian, Peter Schouten, Douglas Henderson)


New improved blog list (well, updated anyway)

From the Lines and Colors blogroll: John Macdonald Aiken, Ivan Generalic, Duane Keiser, Hans Versfelt , William J Aylward, Bob Eggleton, Kazu Kibuishi, Jacob Stålhamma, Elanor Kish, Mark Hess
In the left hand column of this blog, about halfway down, under the long lists of categories and the longer list of archives, is a list of links under the heading “Relevant Blogs”.

This has long been ignored, both unduly so by myself, and perhaps rightly so by those who have clicked on many of the links only to find they were out of date, broken or otherwise less than useful.

In response to a little recent pestering by a couple of readers (to whom my thanks go out for bringing it up into my field of attention), I squeezed out some time over the past few weeks to weed out the dead links, blogs that have not been updated for a year or more and less interesting destinations that were left over from years ago when the pickings were slimmer.

I’ve also included a number of fresh new destinations, to which I will continue to add.

The list is divided into generalized categories of blogs (which I may also eventually refine a bit) that hopefully make it a little easier to browse.

It may not look like much — it’s just a list of links — but as I’ve tried to demonstrate with a few examples above, there are treasures to be found.

Images above, from the blog list categories:

“Art, Painting & Sketch”: John Macdonald Aiken from Underpaintings and Ivan Generalic from Art Inconnu

“Painting a Day”: Duane Keiser

“Other Painting Blogs”: Hans Versfelt

“Illustration”: William J Aylward from 100 Years of Illustration and Design

“Sci-Fi & Fantasy”: Bob Eggleton

“Comics & Cartoons”: Kazu Kibuishi

“Animation & Concept”: Jacob Stålhammar from Animation Blog and Peggy Chung from Concept Art World

“Paleo & Scientific”: Elanor Kish from Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs

“Tools & Techniques”: Mark Hess from The Tools Artists Use

Considering that many of these blogs are in themselves both extensive resources and jumping off points for even more great sources of art, I’ll issue my Major Timesink Warning should you choose to jump down any or all of these rabbit holes.