About the Me

When people ask me what I do, I shuffle about, look at my feet, and confusedly say “artist I guess?” This is rarely satisfying, to me or my intrepid questioner, so I clarify that I paint dinosaurs… no, not just dinosaurs, but other prehistoric animals including pterosaurs, which aren’t dinosaurs because, well, let me tell you about cladistic nomenclature… oh no, it’s happening again!

I don’t really like talking about my art. The best thing for you to do is take a look at it. Sometimes there’s a prehistoric animal in it. I try to make these as accurate as possible, and sometimes I add some provocative speculation. Sometimes there’s not a prehistoric animal in it. In that case, usually there's a little message or metaphor or two. Do you like that little message or metaphor or two? Sometimes there isn’t a little message or metaphor or two. In that case, do you like looking at the picture? Yes? Good.

Want to know more? Urg, fine I guess.

The Process

Nearly all of the work you see on this site is digital, created in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. People sometimes think that because you’re making art on a computer, it does the work for you. But this is not the case. Computers are stupid, so things need to be painted, drawn just as they would in real-life. Working digitally means that I can correct my pictures without limit (this is particularly important for palaeontological subjects), and I don’t have to photograph or scan my work, which is complex and inevitably imperfect.

My palaeontological work involves quite a bit or research, which is an ongoing, never ending process. Turns out that palaeontology is an unfortunately fast-moving field. Often I rely on the work of others for references, Scott Hartman’s skeletal diagrams are particularly useful to me.

Books

I have made two books with my friends Darren Naish and C.M. Kosemen, All Yesterdays about reconstructing dinosaurs and their relations in 2012 and Cryptozoologicon, about mystery animals in 2013.

Both have been pretty well received, and All Yesterdays seems to have spawned something of a new movement in palaeontological art, which swells my cranium. Both are available in ebook and paperback versions.

Podcats

Darren Naish and I have a podcast, also known as a podcats, officially called the Tetrapod Zoology Podcast. The show aims to be twice a month, in which we discuss animals, palaeontology, and monster movies. A well loved child has many names and hashtags, and ours has several: #Tetrapodcats, #TetZoopodcats, #TetZooPodcast, and probably others. It has spawned a fan comic, TetZoo Time, and will soon be an unstoppable monster devouring all in its podcatsing path.

Tech

I've written this site myself, the back-end is Node.js, and I like to keep the whole thing as cutting edge as I can. The site is not very backwards compatible, but that lets me try out the latest and greatest stuff.

I've spent too much time on some of the little details of this site (and maybe not enough on others...). For example, I have a little obsession with clean URLs. Just about everything is just slash-something. You can link to an arbitrary search on my site by appending it like so:

http://johnconway.co/robots

Neat? Neat. Look at how clean that is!