After a brief hiatus, we’re finally bringing Community content features back to Collect Jurassic! As we’ve done in the past, we’ll be featuring a curated showcase of the Jurassic collecting community’s artwork, toy photography, video animations, opinion pieces and more. One key departure from previous content is we’re having you, the fans, contribute directly with your articles.
Our first Community feature comes courtesy of Brian, aka @aquariumaster (Instagram, Etsy Shop), who has been hard at work this past year creating his own Mattel-inspired toy designs and sharing them with his growing Instagram following. Find out more about Brian, his history with Jurassic collecting and see more of his amazing toy artwork below!
Hello, my name is Brian, and while relatively new to both digital art and being active in the Jurassic Community itself, I have always been in love with dinosaurs and Jurassic Park. When I was very young, I vaguely remember heading to Toys ‘R’ Us with my father and purchasing a few toys after the release of Jurassic Park 3 and being in love with them. I believe my fascination with dinosaurs began when he who would take me to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, alongside showing me old documentaries like “Walking with Dinosaurs”. Shortly after watching the rest of the Jurassic Park movies, dinosaurs have always been a part of my life. Fast forward to my high school days, I began painting murals of dinosaurs, and would be caught a few times in class sketching and doodling whatever dinosaur popped into mind. While I never considered myself to be a great artist, I was very content with my doodles which I would save in my notebooks, and even did some paintings when I could. Dinosaurs fueled my drive to create.
Over the years my love for Jurassic Park would grow, taking me to new places and adventures. I was the first in line at the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Premiere in LA, and even traveled to Japan and visited the Prime 1 studio store in Tokyo and Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. But around this time, I really stopped creating art, and wouldn’t do it as often as I wanted. However, I still collected all the latest Jurassic merchandise, and kept up to date with the latest news. College began and I created even less art. But as time went on, I found myself missing the days of painting and drawing. A few months ago, a friend recommended a program that introduced me to digital art. Extremely difficult to use and alien to me, I had a hard time using the app. But overtime, I am slowly figuring out how to create digitally more and more. I’ve gotten to the point now where I feel I can make art that I am proud of, allowing me to take my love for drawing and creating even more seriously.
I began my journey with digital art with a few projects, taking inspiration from anime and chibi designs, while making some comic style dinosaurs as well. Just recently I’ve only begun to feel more comfortable with drawing, which has led to some improvement through more detailed drawings of Jurassic Park’s carnivores which I have turned into prints. But people seemed to really enjoy my Mattel designs, which I stumbled upon randomly, not thinking too much of it. The first designs stemmed from when I was a kid. During that time, certain species didn’t exist in toy form or I couldn’t buy them at all. So, I would resort to drawing the species I loved instead. Now as I began to make my first designs, I got extremely positive responses, and realized that there were so many people, like me, that wanted their favorite species to be made. And with Mattel currently at the helm, I began to make figures I’ve always wanted, Therizonosaurus, Itchyosaurus, Liopleurodon, and Camerasarus to name a few in their very unique and distinct Mattel style. But then as I was searching for more species to draw, I realized a whole host of Jurassic Park and World dinosaurs that have yet to be made into figures. It was then when I realized something- I found that because I had no previous attachment to some of the more obscure Mattel species, I wasn’t so keen on purchasing them myself. But there was a whole treasure trove of dinosaurs I knew not only I wanted, but many people who grew up with old dinosaur documentaries, and even dinosaurs from the official Jurassic movies people were craving for. I realized that all these years looking back, the same dinosaurs I loved as a kid, I still love now. And nothing would make me happier than to see them in toy form. I began creating dinosaurs from the films like Corythosaurus and Apatosaurus. All while trying to stay within the limitations of what I knew Mattel has made in the past. I would implement designs with detachable tails and heads in order to downsize the packaging, even creating non dinosaur species like Dunkleosteus. Later, I even began to implement hybrids like fan favorites- Spinoraptor and Carnoraptor.
I really do enjoy creating these toys but throughout my time sketching, I have always stood by some pre-existing thoughts I had about some of the criticism Mattel receives. Firstly, when I made these concepts, I have never felt like Mattel wasn’t doing their job properly or they weren’t giving fans what they wanted. I think everyone should realize that sketches and designs are fun and easy to make, but the work the creative team at Mattel puts despite the limitations from Universal, and higher ups give them is amazing. I can only imagine all the ideas that get shot down, and checks and legal issues that need to be worked out before the design even gets approved. And despite all that, Mattel has given us some of the most movie accurate and downright beautiful figures we have ever had. They even continue to come up with interesting action features and play styles. And while there may be a few more repaints in our future, I can only imagine the surprises they have for the final installment of Jurassic World.
The drawings I’ve made are almost like a little wish list to add to the already huge figure line up Mattel already has. I would never have thought I’d ever see some of the dinosaurs they’ve made in toy form, and I am so happy to be a collector as Mattel continues to give us some amazing toys. I hope, I myself, can continue to improve my art and designs while I learn more about becoming a better artist. I am hopeful that the prints I am selling will help fuel future Mattel designs and projects and improve my art as a whole. I want to look back on my first introduction to digital art and be happy with the progress I know I will make. I am very excited to see what both Mattel and I will create in the future.