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James Gurney

Author of Dinotopia

25+ Works 4,402 Members 53 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: © Gurney 2007


Works by James Gurney

Associated Works

On Stranger Tides (1987) — Cover artist, some editions — 1,699 copies
The Stress of Her Regard (1989) — Cover artist, some editions — 1,238 copies
City of Sorcery (1984) — Cover artist, some editions — 1,148 copies
Forty Thousand in Gehenna (1983) — Cover artist, some editions — 1,090 copies
Rogue Moon (1960) — Cover artist, some editions — 851 copies
Quozl (1989) — Cover artist, some editions — 736 copies
Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 (2008) — Foreword, some editions — 630 copies
Dinotopia Lost (1996) — Cover artist, some editions — 445 copies
Warrior Woman (1985) — Cover artist, some editions — 444 copies
The Forever Man (1986) — Cover artist, some editions — 367 copies
Castle Kidnapped (1989) — Cover artist, some editions — 361 copies
Michaelmas (1977) — Cover artist, some editions — 323 copies
The Digging Leviathan (1984) — Cover artist, some editions — 319 copies
Starrigger (1983) — Cover artist, some editions — 245 copies
The Fleet (1988) — Cover artist — 234 copies
Modern Classics of Fantasy (1939) — Cover artist — 205 copies
A Journey of the Imagination: The Art of James Christensen (1994) — Introduction — 178 copies
Counter Attack (1988) — Cover artist — 161 copies
Procurator (1984) — Cover artist, some editions — 140 copies
The Argonaut Affair (1987) — Cover artist, some editions — 135 copies
Sworn Allies (1990) — Cover artist — 130 copies
Breakthrough (1989) — Cover artist — 127 copies
New Barbarians (1986) — Cover artist, some editions — 107 copies
Magical Beginnings (2003) — Cover artist, some editions — 101 copies
Salvage and destroy (1984) — Cover artist, some editions — 98 copies
Cry Republic (1989) — Cover artist, some editions — 89 copies
Homecoming (1984) — Cover artist, some editions — 75 copies
Dinotopia [2002 TV miniseries] (2002) — Original book — 74 copies
Space Cadets (2006) — Cover artist, some editions — 30 copies
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction April 1983, Vol. 64, No. 4 (1983) — Cover artist, some editions — 11 copies
Art Alphabets and Lettering (1918) — Introduction, some editions — 5 copies
Dinotopia [2002 TV Series] — Original book — 4 copies
Der Planetenretter. (1988) — Cover artist, some editions — 4 copies


adventure (119) aliens (60) alternate history (137) anthology (148) art (334) children (63) children's (154) Darkover (168) dinosaurs (439) Dinotopia (143) ebook (89) fantasy (1,789) fiction (1,172) graphic novel (94) hardcover (95) historical fantasy (58) historical fiction (66) horror (78) humor (54) illustrated (120) illustration (56) novel (171) own (94) painting (64) paperback (131) picture book (108) pirates (181) read (189) science fiction (1,501) Science Fiction/Fantasy (79) series (66) sf (442) sff (199) short stories (65) signed (56) speculative fiction (54) steampunk (66) to-read (520) unread (107) vampires (59)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Gurney, James
Other names
Gurney, Jim
Glendale, California, USA
Places of residence
Hudson Valley, New York, USA
Palo Alto, California, USA
University of California, Berkeley (B.A.|Anthropology|1979)
Art Center College of Design
Short biography
James Gurney (born June 14, 1958) 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.



James Gurney in Picture books (November 2014)


Read this to recapture some childhood nostalgia and it did not disappoint. The whimsical world that James has designed and illustrated is still incredibly charming and engrossing.
JasonMehmel | 8 other reviews | Feb 9, 2024 |
If you paint and can allow yourself to have only one book about mastering your craft - this is the book you were looking for! It's comprehensive, easy to digest, and full of amazing inspirations. It will be useful at any level, from beginners to pros.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It doesn't give you point-by-point instructions on painting, but rather shows different problems that every artist will encounter. It helped me to notice these problems, understand their nature, and gave a perspective on how to think about solving them. I think I'm better equipped to take up a challenge and confidently play with light and color.

It starts with generic, fundamental knowledge about different kinds of lighting and color theory that any beginner will appreciate. Gradually selected subjects, each of them beautifully illustrated, become more advanced and more specific. Maybe not all o them are applicable to every picture but if you happen to work on something peculiar, you'll have no problems finding the right reference in this book as it is structured very well.

All of the insights, tips, and techniques are very pragmatic, based either on physics, psychology, or years of practice. They are described in a simple and accessible manner, without lyrical "artsy" language that likes to get loose with sense and meaning.

While Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn't Exist was rather universal in terms of medium, this book is heavily skewed toward painting. There are parts dedicated solely to pigments, paints, and mixing colors that won't be applicable to any other medium. Nevertheless, I believe that any visual artist will benefit from reading this book.
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1 vote
sperzdechly | 2 other reviews | Jan 12, 2023 |
It's an excellent book for artists who want to elevate their craft. Not merely draw or paint better but develop better art concepts and create final pieces more thoughtfully. Having a sneak peek into the approach of the author helped me not only to improve my practices but also to appreciate art in a new, more informed way.

James Gurney is a professional artist specializing in painting realistically things that don't exist for National Geographic, fantasy and sci-fi book covers, and his own illustrated book series Dinotopia. In this book, he breaks down the creative process behind many of his phenomenal art pieces. There is a lot of preparation, conceptualization, and planning done to make sure that the final result will be:
a) not only realistic but more importantly believable,
b) not simply correct but also intriguing and original,
c) telling an interesting story.

Each method or practice is explained in bite-sized chunks that are written in a conversational manner, without "artsy" words that would confuse beginners. However, if you are just starting your art journey this book might be overwhelming. It's inspiring to see how great art comes to be but the amount of time and effort necessary at this level and scale can be intimidating.

Most of the book focuses on developing the piece (rather than actual delivery) - meaning research, exploration, and prototyping - and is full of invaluable tips for any creator, regardless of medium or art form. The style of the author is very realistic. He can go the extra mile to find or create real-life references for his unreal art subjects but, at the same time, he emphasizes letting the imagination run free whenever it serves to tell a better story.

I'm dropping a half-star because there are a few ideas that seem out of place in this book, being either beyond the reach of mere mortals or tackling a different subject, e.g. eye-tracking analysis or the whole Careers chapter. Also, some points are very specific to an art piece illustrating them and are hard to generalize for another usage - it feels like "show and tell" of the author but the task of extracting insights is fully the reader's job.

This book is a valuable resource for anyone who mastered the basics of drawing or painting and wants to get serious about creating art. I will certainly be referencing it on regular basis, looking for inspiration and honing my own creative process.
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sperzdechly | 4 other reviews | Aug 29, 2022 |
3.5 for me: didnt like the mostly incomplete paintings (seems like he was rushed) and he ditched the journal entries and just went with a narrative which didnt work in my opinion. Wasn't as engaged as with the first book.
Bandit_ | 8 other reviews | Jan 15, 2022 |



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