Fossil Hunter

A hand-drawn illustration from a simpler time. This piece was for a feature article in "The Lapidary Journal", a gem and jewelry magazine, about the dangers that online fossil purchases were causing to the field of paleontology. Amateurs were purchasing fossils at high prices (they didn't know any better), and it was driving up the market. Who knew? I drew a dinosaur purchasing a bone via the internet, because that, my friends, is comedy.

This was one of the last illustrations I drew in a completely non-digital style. Back when this piece was done (the late 90's), I would mail the original art off to the magazine's Art Director, who would scan it, adjust colors, and send me back my original. That seems so quaint now, as does the idea of laying down color and not being able to adjust it ad infinitum on its own layer in Photoshop.

Look at all that sweet natural color variation from the markers.

Of course, because of the limited tweakability of the art, these analog illustrations were turned around much faster than they would be today. Back then it was sketch (and approval, or changes), line work, and color. Now the color stage can go on for days as I keep adjusting.

There are certainly many illustrators who still work completely on paper. Sometimes I envy their process. There's something to be said for committing something once and for all to the page. On the flipside, though, I was a lot more hesitant when selecting colors back when I worked this way - I used to do little color studies on another sheet of paper first. And I was much more likely to be unhappy with the final result in one way or another. I remember asking an Art Director if he could "make the green less green" on another piece. It's nice to have that level of control on my end now.

I'm not sure what dates this illustration the most - the big, beige monitor, the flip-out card Rolodex, or the image of a dinosaur eating fast food. Dinosaurs are much healthier these days than they were a decade ago. Thank The Discovery Channel for that.

Fossil Hunter on Zazzle

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