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Re: Notes on scientifically comparative paleoposes


Yes, of course I did not mean that Mr. Paul was the first to use an
elevation. The mere fact that I called it an "elevation" may indicate that
I knew it is an architectural drawing convention. Thank you for helping me
to clarify.

I wanted to distinguish Mr. Paul's skeletal drawings as particularly
systematic, in that he has drawn so many taxa, and always from the same
three aspects. This allows cross - comparison. I think it is fair to say
that no one else has drawn so many measured skeletal illustrations that
can be so readily cross - checked. This includes extinct and extant
dinosaurs but also extinct and extant mammals, pterosaurs, etc.

Moreover, his combination of these systematic viewpoints with his
characteristically active poses was a real breakthrough. In Fig 179 of
Ostrom's monograph on Deinonychus (pg 142), Bakker drew the skeleton in
elevation. Yet I think it is fair to say that it does not capture the same
sense of life and power that we see in Mr. Paul's drawings of the same
taxon from Predatory Dinosaurs of the World. Mr. Paul had an insight - he
must have said "hey, I can pose this thing as if it was one frame of an
x-ray film of a cassowary on a treadmill", and that was a brilliant
innovation. It was brilliant because it captured the world's imagination,
and because it distilled into one image the message that these animals
were not sluggish and unfit.

I, personally, would not draw a skeletal outline with one foot raised and
a black silhouette to mark the soft tissue. I would feel that that was a
direct ripoff of Mr. Paul's method. But I can see how many paleoartists
would want to, and his contribution is such a  deep part of paleoart
visual culture now that some may even do it more or less without thinking
of where the method came from. But those who do should at very least
acknowledge that they are emulating Gregory S. Paul.

If a fine - art painter decides to work in a manner that resembles the
style of Jackson Pollock, that may well be a valid approach, but they are
going to have to answer a lot of questions about Abstract Expressionism. I
think it makes perfect sense if the same is true for illustrators who
adopt Mr. Paul's techniques.


> I was responding to what Jason wrote. He wrote the quote I cited below,
> mentioning the "brilliant innovation", and later in the post wrote that
> no one should copy Greg Paul.  Presumably that includes the brilliant
> innovation.
> Dan
> On 3/18/2011 1:16 PM, GSP1954@aol.com wrote:
>> In a message dated 3/18/11 11:24:18 AM, danchure@easilink.com writes:
>> <<  Jason wrote
>> "My understanding of Mr. Paulâ??s process is that he draws elevations
>> â??
>> side views of the skeletons with the sagittal plane perfectly
>> perpendicular to the viewerâ??s line of sight - and sometimes dorsal
>> views
>> and anterior views as well. The point of this is to eliminate the
>> distortions inherent in perspective drawing. Each bone is drawn to the
>> same scale, so the proportions can be compared and trusted.
>> His process is a brilliant innovation."
>> I agree that this is a lateral, dorsal, and cross-sectional illustration
>> technique is a quite important and useful addition to looking at and
>> representing skeletons.  However, this was being done long before it was
>> applied to
>> dinosaurs, in architecture for example. Greg applied it to skeletal
>> reconstructions--- it did not leap fully formed, de novo, from his head
>> (to be fair,
>> I don't believe he ever claimed it did).  As a result, I don't see how
>> one
>> can ask others not to use that elevational approach.  It is used
>> universally
>> in many other fields as a standard way of presenting visual information.
>> Dan
>>   >>
>> No, no, no! Neither Jason or I are asking others not to use the basic
>> side-top-front-back blueprint system! Gosh golly. Pllleeeaassseee
>> respond to what
>> we are actually saying. I beg all of you.
>> Greg
>> </HTML>

Jason Brougham
Senior Principal Preparator
Department of Exhibition
American Museum of Natural History
81st Street at Central Park West
212 496 3544