A Collection Of Paleoart By Mark Witton
I was really excited to receive a review copy of this book. I had recently written an article about Paleoart, and learned about not just the quality of of the art itself, but the effort put in before the proverbial pen even hits the paper. Putting what you learn to use is always rewarding, so this was the perfect opportunity. The first thing that should be said is, this book is incredibly friendly to any audience. There won’t be any research needed on your part. Everything you need to know about the subject matter is contained inside. It also covers more than just dinosaurs or reptiles, it encompasses the entirety of the Mesozoic era. Land, sea, air. Dinosaurs, Pterosaurs, Mammals. Everything you need to imagine what the age of dinosaurs was like is collected within. Recreating an Age of Reptiles is a complete package.
Read Once, Look Twice
As I first scrolled through the pages on my tablet, the images were so alluring I had to remind myself there was text. I promptly skipped back to where the text started, then began reading. I caught myself doing this several times throughout the book. The pictures practically turn the pages for you. You want to treat it like a flip-book, but you can’t. You come across something just so fantastic that you HAVE to go back and read about it. Something else I caught myself doing was having to look at some pictures twice. My eyes would be drawn immediately to the animal depicted because, let’s face it, the best part about any paleoart book is the art. Then when I read the accompanying text, I realized there was an element I missed in the picture. A small creature placed for scale, something in the distance directly influencing the scene depicted, or maybe a pattern or color that adds to the story. Saying that you’ll only look at each image twice is a conservative estimate.
Art Drawn From Science
While art may be the medium on display, there is plenty of science included. There are explanations given for everything. Even details you didn’t think about initially are explained. You are given a whole new way to think about these animals. Furthermore, most of the art is within the last two years. Given how well Mark Witton researches his subject, you can expect the animals to be depicted using cutting-edge scientific data. In fact, there are images in the book based on data yet to be published. Mark also takes the time to explain everything. What part is fact, and where there is speculation, is made abundantly clear. The explanations are what make the book so accessible to anyone. You don’t need a degree – in anything – to enjoy Recreating an Age of Reptiles. Mark speaks just like he were having a conversation over a couple of drinks.
The Unusual Is The Star Attraction
Mark goes out of his way to bring you something you haven’t seen before. Something potentially nobody has seen before. Dinosaurs weathering a storm? Brontosmashing? Wait ’till you see Brontosmash for yourself! Dinosaurs interacting with bees and squid are not what I expected from this or any other book. Yet these are the images I remember most vividly. The bees especially because I just can’t stop laughing on the inside. The book has a very casual feel to it as a result of this. Many images capture prehistoric animals in the same light as household pets. Curious, playful, and even heartbreaking. Going through Recreating an Age of Reptiles is like going through your family album. Only the noteworthy and rare snapshots of life are kept for posterity. Nobody really cares for pictures of life’s mundane everyday activities.
Thoroughly Enjoyable Learning Experience
As a direct result of reading this book, I have a new-found affinity for Pterosaurs. Seems they were pretty furry little guys. Some of them were little, anyway. Some were the size of giraffes, and appropriate illustrations are quite astonishing. I didn’t know any of this before going through this book. I even managed to learn something about my favorite dinosaur (Triceratops), and I follow dinosaur-related discoveries pretty closely. Going through Recreating an Age of Reptiles can be described as sitting down to multi-course meal, but not being sure which course was dessert when you’re finished. You can pick up the books through the links here which provide a bite of the revenue to this site without you paying any extra. For physical copies, this book is available through Lulu.com as well as Amazon.com, with electronic copies coming soon.
A final thought that Mark Witton brings up at the end of his book about Paleoart. Any paleoart creation could become inaccurate tomorrow. Literally, tomorrow. That shouldn’t stop anyone from trying to create paleoart. Think of paleoart as a general idea of what a dinosaur (or other animal) may have looked like. Even with large amounts of fossils, there is just so much we still don’t know. If we waited until there was one-hundred percent scientific certainty, then we still wouldn’t have a clue what dinosaurs looked like to this day.