Utahraptor attacking Hippodraco. Credit: Julius Csotonyi
They may be long extinct, but thanks to one paleoartist dinosaurs have now been resurrected in stunning and terrifying detail. New pictures of T. rex and co. have been illustrated in vivid style by award winning Canadian artist Julius Csotonyi in his new book, “The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi,” published by Titan Books.
How do you make your art look so fanciful?
Actually, I consider myself to be a conservative artist, trying to make a photorealistic representation that respects the scientific evidence available on any given dinosaur. I start off with the original research in peer-reviewed journals, then I build up from paintings from simple sketches based on their bones. And I’m always in conversation with paleontologists to get the most accurate information.It’s necessary to have details on the dinosaur and other animals alive at the same time, as well as information on plants and vegetation. All this helps me produce a reasonable reconstruction.
Your style is clearly about painting a prehistoric world that’s full of color.
I guess I’m thinking like a wildlife photographer in the savannah or jungle: my job is to find the most picturesque locations and settings that have nice lighting, and identify what would be an interesting composition. Everyone loves an epic battle between two prehistoric beasts.
Which one did you pick for your book?
The megalodon, a gigantic prehistoric shark, stalking an ancestor of the elephant called a platybelodon. I’ll admit that this encounter would have been rather unlikely – the idea of a big shark going into ridiculously shallow water – but some unlikely interactions make for some bizarre scenes.
If you could turn yourself into a dinosaur, which one would you pick?
[Laughs] I would probably go for one that has the greatest chance of survival. The human-sized troodon is known to be one of the smartest, with big eyes, great vision and speed.