Attic Scene. James Gurney (American, 1985-). Gurney is the artist and author best known for his illustrated book series Dinotopia. He specializes in painting realistic images of scenes that can’t be photographed, from dinosaurs to ancient civilizations. He is also a dedicated plein air painter and sketcher, believing that making studies directly from observation fuels his imagination. Gurney taught himself to draw by reading books about the illustrators Norman Rockwell and Howard Pyle.