And so it begins. Welcome to the first post of Paleo Illustrata, the blog about one man's journey into the art of palaeontology. Enraptured by books and films of dinosaurs as a small boy, the fascination never left me as I grew up. Around the age of nine my family went on holiday to Charmouth in Dorset and on the beach there I picked up my first fossils and that was that, I was totally hooked and am still - now more than ever though I'm in my mid-forties. As happens in life somewhere along the way I got a little lost . . . and ended up a graphic designer instead of a vertebrate palaeontologist, but still the fascination persists, the passion burns strong and along with my wife I still go collecting, talking to and learning from as many palaeontologists, scientists, collectors, dig volunteers etc as I can and making new friends along the way. It's a privilege to be able to spend time in the company of these most inspiring of people.
This blog is going to mainly be about dinosaurs and my art, although palaeontology is an immense subject and other critters might creep, crawl or fly in from time to time (I mean, who doesn't love those Burgess Shale beasties for a start?). I will also be looking at other paleo art and trying to dig out some of the more obscure representations of past life on earth and pay homage to some of the many known and unknown paleo artists who have blazed a trail for the modern masters who communicate the latest scientific discoveries in their dazzling depictions of ancient life.
So this is the blog of one enthusiastic amateur's journey into the art of palaeontology. I hope you can come along for the ride, where old fossils, new cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary science and the timeless pursuit of art all combine together to enable us to take a glimpse back into deep time . . .
A sketch of the head of Neoveantor salerii, Wessex Formation, Isle of Wight, England.