Tricks of the Trade: How I make paleontological reconstructions
If you want to become a paleoartist, I will tell you something that most likely you had already realized anyway: you will have to learn much of your craft on your own. There are two main reasons why this is so: on one hand, although paleoart is always on demand, that demand is not so big in monetary terms, so there is little point in creating a stable system for the teaching of this speciality within scientific illustration; on the other hand, many paleoartists treat their techniques a bit like trade secrets, something which is perfectly understandable since each artist has mastered them only through strenouos effort, and competition is fierce within a field that can feed few mouths.
But telling how you do what you do can be about more than just teaching a technique: it is also a way of sharing one’s journey of discovery, and as any paleoartist knows, many people are utterly unaware of the complex process that ultimately results in the creation of an illustration, a sculpture or an animation of extinct life.
For that reason, when I was working in the preparation of the book “Sabertooth”, I felt that the book itself could tell only half the story. The volume does include a brief section about the reconstruction methodology, but there was so much more to tell about that marriage of science and art, sometimes harmonious and sometimes almost violent, that led to that collection of images.
So, for me the book “Sabertooth” and the documentary “Bringing the Sabertooths Back to Life” are like two halves of a single thing. Now finally the film is available for download, and I sincerely hope it will complement the experience of reading the book (or, if you don´t have the book yet, it may encourage you to read it!).
Here is the link for downloading the full documentary in English without subtitles:
And here is the link for the version with subtitles in Spanish.