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Mamenchisaurus

Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Second Invicta Poster

Vintage Dinosaur Art

Over a decade go, on the blog’s previous incarnation, I wrote a slightly unusual Vintage Dinosaur Art article about a single poster. Said artwork was produced to accompany the officially endorsed Natural History Museum (or, as it properly was at the time, British Museum (Natural History)) dinosaur toy line, made by Invicta Plastics of England. At the time, I mentioned that I knew of two posters, both with the same theme (an Age of Reptiles-esque seamless transition through time), but…

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Prehistoric World of the Dinosaur

Vintage Dinosaur Art

Or Norman: Into the Normanverse What book casts a longer shadow than David Norman’s 1985 The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs? Which dinosaur reconstructions are more iconic, more widely seen and more frequently copied than John Sibbick’s? What book has been referenced more frequently on these pages than the one we still affectionately call the Normanpedia? Will this whole review consist of rhetorical questions? Today, I want to talk about a book by David Norman that came out a mere three…

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs (1988) – Part 2

Vintage Dinosaur Art

Time for another round of The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs. No, not that one – the one from 1988, written by Mary Elting and illustrated by Christopher Santoro. As an aside, I didn’t say too much about Santoro last time, and I probably should have. He’s an accomplished and much-lauded illustrator of children’s books with (as of today) over 30 years’ experience (as per a number of near-identical bios that appear on various publishers’ websites, like HarperCollins). He’s not…

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs (Identifying)

Vintage Dinosaur Art

It can sometimes feel like, after countless (well, 10 or 11) years of scouring eBay, I’ve dug up virtually every popular dinosaur book from the ’80s and ’90s that could possibly be found. It doesn’t help matters that a large number of them feature a gloomy parade of depressingly sub-par Sibbick rip-offs, and therefore blend easily into one another, like a great amorphous blob of weird leathery flesh and plagiarism. And yet – and yet, not two weeks ago I…

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Great Dinosaurs – Part 2

Vintage Dinosaur Art

Last time, as we took our first look at the treasure trove of unique palaeoart that is The Great Dinosaurs, a lot of people seemed blindsided by just how good Jan Sovák’s art is. Although there are plenty of 90s tropes to go around, there is definitely something timeless about Sovák’s style that sets him apart from the trends of the day. His work just has an artistic flair that is distinct from the hyperreal dioramas of Sibbick, Paul, Robinson…

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Great Dinosaur Atlas – Part 2

Vintage Dinosaur Art

As discussed in the previous post, the artist most frequently referenced by Giuliano Fornari in illustrating The Great Dinosaur Atlas was John Sibbick. Specifically, art from the Normanpedia was often quite slavishly copied, right down to particular colour choices. As such, when Fornari shifts gears and opts to, er, pay tribute to the work of other palaeoartists with wildly contrasting styles, the effect is very jarring. Sibbick’s Normanpedia work, while beautifully executed and hugely influential, was also a little retrograde…

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Great Dinosaur Atlas – Part 1

Vintage Dinosaur Art

Back in the early 1990s, John Sibbick’s artwork for the Normanpedia (that is, 1985’s The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs, authored by David Norman) was simply everywhere. There was no escaping it. Pick up a magazine – Sibbick. Box of chocolate-coated biscuits – Sibbick. Breakfast cereal – Sibbick. Naturally, the ubiquity of Sibbick’s gorgeously painted, but rather idiosyncratic, illustrations from the mid-’80s resulted in a huge number of imitators and outright copycats – there was even a mysterious company apparently named…

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Diplodocus ribcage

Eyewitness Guides: Dinosaur – 30 years on (part 1)

Book Review

Last month, I finally got around to reviewing the Eyewitness Dinosaur video from 1994, part of a series spun off from the Eyewitness Guides books published by Dorling Kindersley. It occurred to me then that I’d never actually reviewed the Dinosaur book itself, which prompted a quick scouring of eBay for a copy – preferably as old and cheap as possible. Having bought what I thought was a 1989 edition for less than the price of a pint, I was…

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Vintage Dinosaur Art: T. R. & Friends

Vintage Dinosaur Art

There are certain books that you’ll be absolutely certain you’ve seen before, but just can’t quite place where or how. This was just such a book for me. T. R. (Tyrannosaurus rex) & Friends was published in 1988, and would’ve still been hanging around in bookshops when I first got into dinosaurs as a child, only 4 or so years later. When reader Elsie Swann sent over images from TR&F, the distinctive illustrations instantly rang a bell, but I didn’t…

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