Roman Uchytel. Taking paleoart to the next level.

Figure 1. Roman Uchytel is the arist/naturalist who is bringing prehistoric beasts and birds back to life.

Figure 1. Roman Uchytel is the arist/naturalist who is bringing prehistoric beasts and birds back to life.

Here’s an artist worth noting.
Roman Uchytel (Fig. 1) says it best himself, “Using only their skeletons, I bring creatures to life that roamed the same routes that take you to and from work hundreds of thousands of years ago.”

His mission:
“Roman Uchytel’s galleries constitute the first resource solely dedicated to the reconstruction of prehistoric animals beyond the dinosaurs. These are not photographs, but rather, artistic recreations from the skeletons of ancient animals that roamed the earth millions of years ago. Many of these fascinating creatures are unfamiliar to the public and remain a mystery even to science.”

Figure 2. Homepage for Roman Uchytel's images. Click to visit.

Figure 2. Homepage for Roman Uchytel’s images. Click to visit.

Check out his website
and you will be filled with wonder:


Paleoart Issues – SVPCA talks

M Witton, D Naish and J Conway express their unhappiness with current paleoart trends in an abstract published in the upcoming SVPCA talk titles and abstracts.

From the Witton, Naish Conway abstract:
“Palaeoartists fight a losing battle for credibility and even moderate commercial success…and we ascribe its ongoing nature to low awareness of three major issues.

Firstly, palaeoart is rife with copying and plagiarism.

Secondly, the scientific rigour associated with many palaeoartworks, even those produced in close association with consulting academics, is often low. 

Thirdly, many palaeoart patrons have unrealistic concepts of financing artwork.”

All three authors are good artists.
Unfortunately there have been times when all three have freehanded things that should have been strictly traced. Unfortunately there have been times when these guys embraced bad hypotheses (archosaur origin for pterosaurs, deep chord wing attached to the ankle, single uropatagium presence, allometry during ontogeny for pterosaurs, forelimb wing launch, etc.) which adversely affected their art. And did I mention these data deniers have blackwashed the work of other workers without providing competing candidate solutions? So they’re not the little angels they think they are. Nevertheless, they raise some interesting issues that should be discussed and perhaps adopted.

Witton MP, Naish D and Conway J 2015. Trends and patterns in modern palaeoartistry: a call for change. SVPCA abstracts 2015.

Stephen Czerkas

Paleoartist and writer Stephen Czerkas died this week.
I respected his artwork (Fig. 1). He was 63 years old.

Stephen Czerkas paleoartist with his most famous creation, before and after feathers.

Figure 1. Stephen Czerkas paleoartist with his most famous creation, Deinonychus, before and after feathers.

I only met Stephen Czerkas once, 
but saw his famous Deinonychus everywhere. He and his wife Sylvia were at or near the center of dinosaur reconstruction several decades ago when I was just a pup. They published several books. Opened a museum. Introduced the world to sauropod spines and made some bad decisions.

Stephen Czerkas was a serious worker, intent on ‘getting things right.’ To that end he added feathers to his Deinonychus (Fig. 1).

Sorry to see him go. He influenced us all.

Learn more here from Bill Stout’s homage to Stephen Czerkas.


Julius Csotonyi book and preview

Julius Csotonyi is the latest and perhaps best dino illustrator I have seen. A rare combination of supreme talent and vivid imagination, the work of Julius Csotonyi just blows my mind. Here’s a link to a Wired preview of the book.

Figure 1. Click to link to book preview and Wired article online for Julius Csotonyi. Just fantastic!!

Figure 1. Click to link to book preview and Wired article online for Julius Csotonyi. Just fantastic!!


Tribute to Doug Henderson, Paleoartist

Perhaps no other paleoartist cares more about the environment of his subjects than does Doug Henderson. Sometimes it is hard to find the animals in the layout filled with rotting logs and misty swamps. Henderson paints with light and so takes his creations beyond mere graphics and elevates it to art. Now there is a YouTube video tribute that is linked here. I enjoy all of Henderson’s artwork. He never fails to amaze.

Click to view YouTube video of Doug Henderson paleo artwork.

Click to view YouTube video of Doug Henderson paleo artwork.

Robert Nicholls – A New Paleoartist

I’m always the last one to know about new talent.
Today, it’s Robert Nicholls, a paleo artist whose website can be accessed here.

 Kronosaurus by Robert Nicholls.

Figure 1. Kronosaurus by Robert Nicholls.

Hylonomus sculpture by Robert Nicholls.

Figure 2. Hylonomus sculpture by Robert Nicholls.

Leedsichthys by Robert Nicholls.

Figure 3. Leedsichthys by Robert Nicholls.

With exciting POVs, moody lighting and good morphologies Nicholls’ work stands at the forefront of what’s out there now.

Nicholls will next be working with the Bristol Dinosaur Project with details and more images here.

John Conway – Paleoartist extraordinaire

John Conway is a paleoartist whose work deserves a wider audience. I encourage all readers to check out his website here.

Conway has the eye of a true artist. His work is simply beautiful. He also brings new insight into familiar and not so familiar specimens. His choice of colors, point-of-view and lighting are unique and more than satisfying. His work invites close inspection and admiration. His work evokes mood and involvement.

Here’s a selection from his homepage.

The art of John Conway. Click to go to his website.

Figure 1. The art of John Conway. Click to go to enlarge and go to his website.

Sure I have the usual rant/quibbles
about his Rhamphorhynchus (he followed the invalidated Sordes cruropatagium model of Sharov/Bakhurina/Unwin), but those are easily overlooked when seduced by his talents for portraying it. In any case, Conway illustrated this falsified hypothesis more clearly than anyone else ever and, in doing so, answered the persistent question: “Was the cloaca above or below the ‘cruropatagium’?” [Conway indicates it was below, evidently, making sex a wee bit more difficult, but excrement did not stain the membrane].

Earlier I also made notes on his Pteranodon proportions.

Don’t miss his Anhanguera cutaway. It’s a classic. Be sure to run your mouse over the “Skeleton :: Musculature :: Pulmonary :: External” caption to see all four images. A truly amazing illustration.