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Re: Dinosaur Illustration

I'd say that in ANY type of illustration, there are usually few people that
can support themselves with nothing but freelance work; I'm guessing that
you could probably count on two hands the number of artists who specialize
in illustrating dinosaurs that can support themselves entirely on dinosaur
illustration without needing another source of income. On the other hand, if
you plan on having a steady job and using dinosaur illustration as a
secondary source of income, that might be a more realistic expectation.

One thing that others have already said was to do lots of research....this
is something that I've been trying to work on more lately myself; I'm
trained as an illustrator, not a scientist at all, but I'm trying to teach
myself more and more each time I work on an illustration.

Back in, I think it was 1997 or early '98, I emailed one of the established
paleoartists and asked for advice, kind of like what you've done. His reply
went something like this: "Right now there is a very short group of
paleoartists that you might call the "A-List" artists, and most of them have
been doing this for decades; for anyone to break away from the pack and be
considered part of that "A-List" group, you need to be spot-on with the
science, not just the artwork (at the time, I really didn't have either even
close to 'spot on')"  The gist of his message was, if you want to really
make it as a paleoartist, you need to work really hard at it...it's a
specialized niche, and many of the people that are involved in choosing
artists and buying illustrations want something that not only looks great
but has the highest level of accuracy possible.

Now, not everyone wants to be one of the elite, of course. You might be
happy to get some freelance work to supplement your income and not really
aspire to get gigs with Scientific American or National Geographic or
anything like that...and that's fine, too. Maybe you should figure out what
your goal should be.

Potential clients vary quite a bit, from book publishers, newspapers, toy
companies, museums, magazines, advertising...once again, the cream of the
crop will likely get first dibs on the big-time projects, but there are
enough scraps falling from the table (so to speak) for some decent freelance
opportunities for a skilled and determined artist. Good luck!

-Chris Srnka

----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris Benzinski" <cbenzinski@hotmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Saturday, December 07, 2002 6:37 PM
Subject: Dinosaur Illustration

> I want to draw dinosaurs. My approach is a bit freestyle as I'm not to
> up on the anatomy or physiology of prehistoric reptiles  (I suppose It
> to have a bsc in biology or an applied science degree or something, but
> I do not).
> I want to be able to do a technical-ish illustration containing pertinant
> visual information but still maintaining artistic merit, well defined by
> 'old masters' of the genre Mark Hess and John Sibbick.
> Where do I start ? What do I need ? Is there a future in this field and
> are potential clients?
> Many thanks,
> cmb
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