Today at work at met James Gurney, the author of the acclaimed series of "Dinotopia" books.
He even signed a copy of "Journey to Chandara" with a little dinosaur doodle for me. He is a remarkable illustrator. In this book there are clear influences from Gerome and the "Orientalistes" as well as from Alma Tadema and other decimononic painters. The first thing that struck me was the similarity of the cover -which I won't reproduce here- with the Leon Belly painting : "Pilgrims to Mecca". It is a good exercise of inspiration without plagiarism. Even though I love his landscapes and I took a good look at his amazing travel notebooks (unpublished) I still think his human characters are not properly integrated and look as if they are just modern people with operatic costumes and hairdos straight out of Supercuts.
Nevertheless, he is a great illustrator by any measure.