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 hundred-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 ten of the world's leading paleo-artists; each gallery contains ten super-sized illustrations that will blow your Mesozoic mind.

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Andrey Atuchin

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.

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Alain Beneteau

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 and 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.  

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Dmitry Bogdanov

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.

of 10

The 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.

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Sergey Krasovskiy

The long-necked sauropod Mamenchisaurus (Sergey Krasovskiy).

Sergey Krasovskiy, based in Russia, is one of the world's up-and-coming paleo-artists; lately, 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.

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Julio Lacerda

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.

of 10

The 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.

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Vladimir Nikolov

The massively armored stegosaur Kentrosaurus (Vladimir Nikolov).

Vladimir Nikolov has an unusual distinction among the up-and-coming crop of paleo-artists: he is currently pursuing a degree in geology and paleontology at Sofia University in Bulgaria, and thus endeavors to make his illustrations as anatomically correct as possible.

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Nobu Tamura

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.

of 10

The Dinosaur Art of Emily Willoughby

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 most sought-after dinosaur portraitists