Enrico Bonino

nato in provincia di Bergamo nel 1966, si è laureato in Geologia presso il Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra dell’Università di Genova (Italia).

Editore e curatore scientifico del Museo Back to the Past a Cancun (Messico), attualmente risiede in Belgio dove svolge attività come specialista nel settore cartografico utilizzando tecniche di trattamento di immagini satellitari e GIS.

Le competenze acquisite nel settore dell’image processing, una buona dote artistica e una profonda passione per le scienze della terra, hanno permesso all’autore la pubblicazione di una serie di volumi trattanti dell’evoluzione dei trilobiti, e la collaborazione scientifica ed artistica con musei nazionali e internazionali.

English version

I’m a geologist, cartographer and amateur paleontologist, born in 1966, in a little village near the town of Bergamo (northern part of Italy). Nowadays I am living in Liège (Belgium) , working as a GIS consultant and software trainer.

My passion for drawing extinct animals and fossils started long time ago, as a child, in the seventies. I started by drawing dinosaurs in a William Stout style using charcoal and black ink. As my passion for drawing and paleontology grew, I developed a “paleo-fantasy” style, like Zdenek Burian and Douglas Henderson.

A degree in Earth Sciences, obtained at the University of Genoa (Italy) with specialization in Stratigraphy and Paleontology, gave me a sound scientific knowledge that I use in the reconstruction of fossils and extinct organisms.

With my professional background, artistic talent and a deep passion for Earth sciences, have over the years resultated in scientific and artistic collaboration with national and international museums. Besides my career in the GIS domain,
I am curator of The Back to the Past Museum in Cancun (Mexico).

Illustration techniques

about my drawings, dioramas, reconstructions in books and posters

A spontaneous good skill in grayscale freehand drawing (I’m self-taught artist), allowed me to naturally shift to digital art at the same time as computer graphic software developed. I use Adobe Photoshop to draw the dioramas. The base is roughly drawn in black and white layer (directly on Photoshop and by hand) following “celestial inspiration” and clearly after a more detailed bibliographic research concerning the particular ecosystem; for each organism presented. At least three additional layers where then added containing the creature outline, the grey-scale background (providing the 3D effect) and eventually the soft parts (e.g. the legs, antennae and gills for trilobites). In general I use a scanned image of the fossil (acquired from books, fossils or previous reconstructions) and I draw the first outline in black & white and with the finest brush available. When needed and in particular situations a new digital brush was created. Starting from this first outline the shape was stretched, rotated, deformed to create a new, and more complete representation of the organism. Adobe Photoshop contains all the tools to do this kind of job. After completing this stage, a new background layer is created by using brushes of different shape, size, and transparency. The creature becomes alive (3D effect) by applying different grey-scale tone from black to white.

I like to draw by hand on paper (I draw with charcoal landscapes) but with the evolution of computer hardware like digitizer (I use a Wacom Intuos3 9×12 inch tablet) it is really easy to draw directly on screen (also I use a 22″ wide screen ViewSonic screen).
The possibility to zoom in /out, create different layers that you can show or hide, draw and undoing many time as you want can really speed your artistic work.
Using different spatial resolution allow to obtain dioramas that can be printed in high quality books as for big wall posters, like the Bolca’s diorama, covering 4.50 x 1.40m wide without loosing details. I also use of Adobe Illustrator for final layouts which permits me to produce illustrative thematic posters in various formats and complexities.

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