Well-Read Wednesday – James Gurney

Read Books Drink Tea


June 17, 2020 – Day 93 of my quarantine

James Gurney is an artist and author best known for his illustrated book series Dinotopia, which is presented in the form of a 19th-century explorer’s journal from an island utopia cohabited by humans and dinosaurs. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York, in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

From his website bio –

Born in California in 1958, the son of a mechanical engineer, he taught himself to draw by reading books about the illustrators Norman Rockwell and Howard Pyle. He studied archaeology at the University of California at Berkeley, receiving a degree in anthropology with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Prompted by a cross-country adventure on freight trains, he coauthored The Artist’s Guide to Sketching in 1982. During the same period, he worked as a background painter for the animated film Fire and Ice, co-produced by Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta.

His freelance illustration career began with paperback book covers, where he developed his characteristic realistic renderings of fantastic scenes, often using posed models and handmade maquettes for reference. He has worked on more than a dozen assignments for National Geographic magazine, painting reconstructions of Moche, Kushite, and Etruscan civilizations. The inspiration that came from researching these scenes of ancient life led to a series of lost world paintings, including ”Dinosaur Parade” and ”Waterfall City.” With the encouragement of retired publishers Ian and Betty Ballantine, he committed two years’ time to writing and illustrating Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time, which was published in 1992.

I am just finally collecting the last of the Dinotopia books to finish my collection and am currently reading The World Beneath. In addition to being a wonderful storyteller and illustrator, Mr. Gurney also teaches painting and drawing and has many tutorials on YouTube as well as for purchase from his website.

His love of finding “Other Worlds” and “Lost Places” is so similar to my own,  I cannot help but greatly admire him and feel he is a kindred artistic spirit and fellow traveler.


Sending you all my Love and Light. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Stay Sane. Stay Strong out there.

Until next time … here’s Josh Groban signing one of my favorite songs –