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George Olshevsky wrote:

> Don't miss the _National Geographic_ article, if only for the photo of
>the      > titanosaurid skull and the excellent art by James Gurney.
>(Artwise, Gurney and > Mark Hallett are sister groups.)

I'm probably going to end up being a pariah for writing this, but I'll live
with it...

I don't pretend to speak for Mark Hallett, and I'm certain that he, as one
of the nicest human beings to walk this planet, would tell me that I was
way off-base for even broaching this subject, but I'll be damned if I'll
let George's statement about Jim Gurney pass without comment.

It is an unbelievable insult to Mark Hallett to favorably compare Jim
Gurney's work to his. Mark Hallett is a true talent, a serious dinosaur
illustrator who does thorough, meticulous research to create *original*
paintings. Jim Gurney, on the other hand, despite his pleasing technique,
is nothing more than a plagiarist, using the creative work of others as his
"research". The full-page illustration of _Giganotosaurus_ on page 124 of
the December National Geographic is a blatantly plagiarized piece of work,
the pose and detail taken directly (scale-for-scale, wrinkle-for-wrinkle)
from the commercially-available sculpture of the tyrannosaur
_Daspletosaurus_ by the talented Mike Trcic. The fact that Gurney altered
the head and neck somewhat and added an extra finger on each hand does
nothing to diminish the fact that he simply photographed Trcic's sculpture
and painted it. That he has the unmitigated gall to exploit Trcic's work in
this manner, to pass this piece of "artwork" off as his own -- and get paid
for doing it to boot! -- is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Look closely at any of Gurney's dinosaur illustrations, and if you're
familiar with dinosaur art in any way, it's readily apparent what sources
he's used for "research". On the postage stamps, the _Einiosaurus_ is
ripped off from Trcic's _Styracosaurus_ sculpture, the Cretaceous
pterosaurs are from John Sibbick's painting of _Quetzalcoatlus_ (right down
to the color pattern!), the _Daspletosaurus_ is a Kaiyodo model, the
_Edmontonia_ is the life-sized sculpture up at the Tyrrell... Of course,
I'm not really shocked that Gurney performed these acts of plagiarism: his
"Dinotopia" books are filled with illustrations taken from photos of the
Japanese Kaiyodo model dinosaurs, so he has a proven track record in this

Mark Hallett creates stunningly-detailed, realistic illustrations of
dinosaurs based on his own research and skill as a painter. Gurney's
dinosaur work, while aesthetically appealing, is nothing more than an
exercise in technique, since he does no actual research of his own. Worse,
his exploitation of copyrighted work is of questionable legality; it is
certainly unethical at best. What is really unfathomable to me, though, is
to hear his work praised by people who should know better. To consider Jim
Gurney a legitimate dinosaur illustrator is an insult to serious dinosaur
illustrators everywhere.

Brian Franczak (franczak@ntplx.net)