Dinotopia: The Books: The Sunstones

An ancient, ‘lost’ civilization in Dinotopia’s pre-history developed advanced technology powered by ‘sunstones.’ You can see one in Arthur Denison’s hand here:

Arthur Will WB

Though this object looks quite exotic, it is in fact based on a modern reproduction of a ship’s deck prism.


Which can be readily found for sale online.

Dinotopia: The Books: The Journals

The Dinotopia books are framed as ‘found manuscripts,’ a technique popular in gothic (in the literary sense) novels, usually as the subtitle “Manuscript Found in an Abandoned Castle,” “Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” etc. Lovecraft does this as well.

The frame for these books are the ‘found’ 19th century journals of shipwreck survivor Arthur Denison and his son. Gurney mocked-up the first journal, though whether this was simply for himself or for inspiration or as a model for an illustration I don’t know:

Journal the First - Original Maquette

He also made a more polished version of the third journal for public exhibition:

Here is a staged tableau, and JG’s illustration of the same:



Here are some regrettably small images of the book, showing the spine and lock:

Dinotopia: The Books: The Photographs

In the books, there are a couple photographs of the Denisons which apparently survived the shipwreck and were placed in the ‘journals’ of Arthur Denison. Here’s one, in it’s ‘current’ condition:


I have taken the liberty of ‘restoring’ this image to (closer to) it’s ‘original’ condition. Ideally, you print this out at your local photo place, paste it on to an appropriate piece of cardstock or a salvaged, real, period photo card, and then age / weather / distress / discolor / stain to suit:

Continue reading “Dinotopia: The Books: The Photographs”

Dinotopia: The Books: The Props

I forget how or why, but I thought of Dinotopia last night, and I’d like to present some of the illustrations of props and set dressing that appear in the books:


Compare the amulet above with the real, Egyptian amulets below, also illustrated by James Gurney:

Amulet Scarabs by JG.jpg

Many more illustrations below the jump:

Continue reading “Dinotopia: The Books: The Props”