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RE: GSP statement on use of my dinosaur restorations (follow up)



I would like to thank all who provided supporting statements on my post. 

Some responders (incl typothorax@gmail.com) brought up some very pertinent 
points and questions. 

Assume that some person is being hired to produce restorations of 
prehistoric animals for some form of commercial project, or gratis for a 
nonprofit 
such as the National Park Service for that matter (why, because if not 
provided the art for free the NPS might have to hire a qualified person, 
providing 
said person needed income). 

The basic rule needs to be that that an artist produce their own skeletal 
restoration based on original research. This would include using photos of 
the skeleton, or an illustrated technical paper on the particular taxon. This 
then goes into your files as documentation of originality, and you can 
publish it. 

Do not pose it in my classic left foot pushing off in a high velocity 
posture. Not because I am inherently outraged -- it would be rather nice if not 
for some practical issues. For one thing I have succeeded in getting some big 
payments for unauthorized use of this pose by major prjects that should 
have known better. Aside from the financial issue, there are other concerns if 
you think about it. It is widely assumed that any skeleton in this pose is 
mine, but what if it does not meet my level of accuracy? The trust in and 
value of my work is degraded. There are gigillions of poses a skeleton can be 
placed in. Be original.  

Lots of original skeletal restorations do not look much like mine -- I 
suspect because they are not necessarily as accurate. If someone's original 
skeletal restoration is close to mine that is OK as long as they have the 
documentation of originality. A reverse example of this is my skeletal 
restoration 
of Hypsilophodon. When published it has sometimes been credited in 
publications as based on Galton's earlier restoration even though I did not 
tell the 
publisher that this was so. In fact, my restoration is entirely original, I 
used the illustrations of the individual bones in Peter's monograph, I did 
not redraw and repose Peter's version. The reason they are so similar is 
because Peter's was very good and I did not turn up major differences in 
proportions or posture -- a rare event. 

Perhaps you are thinking that it sounds like a whole lot of work to have to 
go to the trouble to do original skeletal restorations for all these 
dinosaurs, all the more so when a set of excellent skeletal restorations is 
already available. 

Exactly. That is the whole point. 

I do a whole lot of work for every dinosaur I do, and it requires 
considerable time. Traveling hither and yon. Digging up all those old obscure 
papers. 
Cross scaling elements. Raising my blood pressure trying to cross scaling 
elements when it is not working out for some damn reason. Years of becoming 
familiar with animal anatomy and function (notice how I turned out to be 
right about giant theropods having flexed legs after all). Keeping up with the 
increasingly massive literature. Reworking old skeletal restorations as new 
information comes in and the occasional oops about a prior effort. 

For another artist to take one of my skeletons, and then get a job at a low 
rate because they did not do the work is obviously not a workable 
arrangement. 

Paleoart is a distinctive subset of wildlife art because of the very large 
amount of preliminary research that is required. It is not like illustrating 
lions or penquins because their form is known and well documented. It is 
also unlike fantasy art because one can make up anything without original 
technical effort comparable to paleorestorations. Same with speculative aliens. 
Because paleoart does require extended original research all participants 
who wish to produce technically accurate art need to go through the process. 
Here's why. 

If a person no longer uses my restorations but does their own then they 
will have to go to a lot more time and effort. This is good because it should 
compel said person to require higher payments for a given number of 
dinosaurs, which will reduce underbidding on projects that those who do the 
extensive 
preliminary work cannot and should not have to match. Or said person might 
decide it is not worth the trouble and will leave the business, reducing the 
number of competing artists to the needed advantage of those remaining. 

So the choices are these -- 

Do your own researched and produced skeletal restorations in an original 
pose. If some of these turn out it is very similar to mine that's OK as long 
as the documentation exists. 

Do not do your own skeletal restorations, but do not copy my art either (i. 
e. stay away from the Greg Paul look). There are some current artists who 
do this and they are not violating my copyrights. I of course prefer to think 
such work is not as accurate as mine but what do I know. 

If you do wish to base your work on mine first make arrangements. 

If you are thinking that gee wiz doing your own technical research and 
restorations sure sounds like a pain in the butt, or may be beyond your 
knowledge base, and you don't want to risk doing inaccurate restorations or do 
not 
think paying me a fee is workable, then there is another alternative. Perhaps 
it is better if you do something else. I know, it's lots of fun 
illustrating dinosaurs. But if you cannot produce high quality, original 
paleorestorations is it really a good idea to be in the business? If you for 
example like 
the Greg Paul look do you really want to be underbidding me? Does not make 
sense when you mull it over. 

If I were getting all the work I could handle then I would not be upset 
(except in certain egregious cases). But the situation has gotten ridiculous. 
And as has been pointed out in the discussion it is not just me, a number of 
long working paleoartists are getting little work because those in charge of 
projects have gotten into the very bad habit of turning to newer artists 
despite their work often being derivative. So someone had to call a halt to 
the situation. 

G Paul 

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