Zdeněk Burian (1905-1981)
I’ve wondered if Ray Harryhausen based his wonderful animated Phororhacus bird from Mysterious Island (1961) on this brilliant render by Czech illustrator Zdeněk Burian. This plate appears in Prehistoric Animals (1957, Dr. Joseph Augusta and Zdeněk Burian, Spring Book, London). I looked at the book so many times as a kid my dad stashed it away in fear of me wearing it out.
Mr. Harryhausen’s bird looks a lot like it, down to the crest, hooked beak and nasal shield.
Burian sketched and painted prehistoric creatures in dynamic settings. His work brought life to the animals. Here are a few more plates.
And my favorite…
You can read more about Burian here: