Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Inside the collection: Dinosaur Vector Designs

Dinosaurs and Vectors? It's a natural. The word usually associated with dinosaurs is 'big'; same with vectors. For me, the best characteristic of vector images is that they can be printed really large without a loss in quality. So, if you have a really big project—say, you wanted to make a REALLY BIG poster of a dinosaur, this is the collection for you.

The desire to create this collection was really just the need to redress an early problem from my childhood. I grew up in a family that put a lot of value on, and had a lot of interest in, mysterious things. Atlantis, UFOs, Bigfoot, Astrology… My mother was the instigator in this, and we, her six children, were her willing acolytes. Dinosaurs fit under her umbrella  of 'the mysterious'—it wasn't that anyone doubted their existence, but it was the practical questions that plagued us and made them so mysterious —How did they get so darn big, anyway??? How could such huge bodies be controlled by such small brains??? What happened to them??? Questions such as these filled my bedtime ruminations. 

I was fortunate to share a bedroom with my much older and wiser brother Robert, so I didn't just have to ruminate, I could discuss things. He's two years older than me, so I was kind of born into a world in which he defined a lot of what was to be focused on—like dinosaurs. He was the one who was particularly obsessed with them; they were his specialty. It seems that by the time I started to speak he could already identify, spell the name of, and define the dietary proclivities of fifty of them. Of course I was set on the idea of catching up with him. As proof of how successful I was at that I'll offer that during the creation of this collection I had a conversation with him in which he off-handedly corrected my confusing Pterodons for Pterodactyls—there's still just no getting around him!  

The thing that bothered me and always struck me as odd while spending hours of my childhood pouring over any dinosaur book that I could get my hands on (in between looking at magazines with photos of UFOs and Bigfoot), was the disparity between how the dinosaurs looked in the pictures, and how they were described in the text. They were supposed to be agile survivors and super-successful predators, with lightening-quick reflexes. In the pictures they all looked a little tired and kind of over-weight, with a lumbering quality to their gate.  Back then, color illustrations had the same level of veracity as photographs—this must be the way they looked—so it was just another baffling and annoying conundrum.

It wasn't until years later while working with images by the paleo-artist Jan Sovak, that I realized that I had been raised on pretty bad  dinosaur pictures. Suddenly, here were the nimble and ferocious animals we had imagined! When I began choosing images for this collection I started with Sovak's images. I also located a couple of other great sources within the Dover archive, and threw in several of the 1950s-style dinosaurs that so confounded me as a child (check out the tyrannosaurus on image sheet 41).

This collection is one of two brand new collections in the popular Vector Design Series: Dinosaur Vector Designs and Masks Vector Designs. They are available exclusively through DoverPictura.

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