The Paleoart Of Julius Csotonyi by Steve White and Julius Csotonyi (book review).

There is one immediate reaction from do a page flick of this book: WOW! Paleoartist Julius Csotonyi looks like he hopped into a time machine and went back to prehistoric times to compose these paintings. Actually, he worked with palaeontologists to bring their descriptions to life and extensively travelled for some 30,000 photos of scenery that could be used to match the time periods. The latter stood him in good stead because his final composites are an amalgam of the two and I only rarely spotted the join.


From the descriptions with each of the paintings, most of them have been enlarged and are on display in museums in the USA, Canada and Australia, so even if you have seen them there, I suspect this book will be the only way to have them under one cover. There are also two panoramic three page spreads included and only rarely do any paintings extend over two pages and risk centrefold loss.

Apart from the finished paintings, Csotonyi’s digital pencil illustrations are also included and a few examples of them being composing into his art. There is also a rare example of seeing the muscle and tissue under the skin that illustrates the need to consider what the skin is wrapped around. He says in the book interview that he loses a lot of night’s sleep working long hours on them and from the evidence, it’s a remarkable achievement.


Something that came up from Dr. Robert T. Bakker in one of the introductions from one of the digs at the Texas Red Beds is the absence of bones or rather how few herbivore dinosaurs compared to their carnivore cousins. I had a ponder on that and wondered if their bones were eaten or crushed. Granted, there would still be some of the more awkward bones from skulls left but they might not all have been eaten in areas where bones could be preserved or simply not enough of them have been found yet.Paeology-9

I’m still jaw-dropped from looking at all this fabulous art. Undoubtedly, this book will appeal to both dinosaur-lovers and other prehistoric animals, as well as digital art lovers who want to see other examples off the digital pen. It’s another book that you will go back and look at from time to time to feel inspired and, I suspect, a little grateful that these beasties aren’t roaming around today. A marvellous achievement.

GF Willmetts

May 2014

(pub: Titan Books. 156 page illustrated oblong hardback. Price: £24.99 (UK), $34.95 (US), $39.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78116-912-4)

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