The World's Best Dinosaur Artists

Barring the invention of a time machine, we'll never get to see living, breathing dinosaurs—and the skeletal reconstructions at natural history museums can only take the average person's imagination so far.

That's why paleo-artists are so important: These unsung heroes literally "flesh out" the discoveries made by researchers in the field, and can make a 100 million-year-old tyrannosaur or raptor seem as real as a working breed at the Westminster Dog Show.

Below is a selection of galleries featuring 10 of the world's leading paleo-artists.

01
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Dinosaur Art of Andrey Atuchin

volgadraco
Volgadraco, an azhdarchid pterosaur (Andrey Atuchin).

Andrey Atuchin's depictions of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and other prehistoric creatures are crisp, colorful, and anatomically faultless; this paleo-artist is especially fond of highly ornamented breeds like ceratopsians, ankylosaurs, and small-armed, big-crested theropods.

02
of 10

Dinosaur Art of Alain Beneteau

cryolophosaurus
Cryolophosaurus, the "cold-crested lizard" (Alain Beneteau).

Alain Beneteau's work has appeared in numerous books and scientific papers worldwide, and his illustrations have become more ambitious in their scope—witness his numerous, lifelike tableaux of sauropods and theropods doing battle with one another or his richly detailed Mesozoic seascapes. 

03
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Dinosaur Art of Dmitry Bogdanov

cacops
Cacops, a prehistoric amphibian (Dmitri Bogdanov).

From his home base in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Dmitry Bogdanov illustrates a vast array of prehistoric creatures, not only dinosaurs and pterosaurs but such "unfashionable" reptiles as pelycosaurs, archosaurs, and therapsids, as well as a huge assortment of fish and amphibians.

04
of 10

Dinosaur Art of Karen Carr

the ordovician sea
Marine life during the Ordovician period (Karen Carr).

One of the world's most sought-after paleo-artists, Karen Carr has executed prehistoric panoramas for natural history museums (including the Field Museum, the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution), and her work has appeared in numerous popular magazines.

05
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Dinosaur Art of Sergey Krasovskiy

mamenchisaurus
The long-necked sauropod Mamenchisaurus (Sergey Krasovskiy).

Sergey Krasovskiy, based in Russia, is one of the world's top paleo-artists. Winner of the 2017 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's John J. Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize, his finely detailed work has become much broader in its sweep, consisting of detailed panoramas of enormous dinosaurs and pterosaurs set against lush prehistoric landscapes.

06
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Dinosaur Art of Julio Lacerda

Austroraptor
Austroraptor, the largest raptor ever discovered in South America (Vladimir Nikolov).

The young Brazilian paleo-artist Julio Lacerda has a unique approach to his work: he favors intimate, uncannily lifelike depictions of smallish dinosaurs (mostly feathered raptors and dino-birds), caught at revealing "you are there" angles.

07
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Dinosaur Art of H. Kyoht Luterman

H. Kyoht Luterman

H. Kyoht Luterman's illustrations of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals have a cartoony, and even cuddly, feel that belie their utter authenticity; it takes a rare talent to make a Lissodus shark seem approachable, or to compel you to want to adopt a Micropachycephalosaurus.

08
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Dinosaur Art of Vladimir Nikolov

Kentrosaurus
The massively armored stegosaur Kentrosaurus (Vladimir Nikolov).

Vladimir Nikolov has an unusual distinction among paleo-artists: as a geology and paleontology student as Sofia University in Bulgaria, he endeavors to make his illustrations as anatomically correct as possible.

09
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Dinosaur Art of Nobu Tamura

diprotodon
Diprotodon, aka the Giant Wombat (Nobu Tamura).

Over the past few years, the prolific paleo-artist Nobu Tamura has evolved a much more realistic style, using 3D modeling techniques that make his subjects (ranging from dinosaurs to prehistoric mammals) "pop" from the background and seem unnervingly lifelike.

10
of 10

Dinosaur Art of Emily Willoughby

eosinopteryx
Eosinopteryx, a feathered "dino-bird" of the late Jurassic (Emily Willoughby).

One of the new, young breed of paleo-artists who are equally at home in the worlds of academia and illustration, Emily Willoughby graduated college with a degree in biology in 2012 and has quickly become one of the world's most sought-after dinosaur portraitists.