Blog Tour: Juan Carlos Alonso on Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous

dinosaurs come alive

Today we launch @QuartoKids first blog tour featuring debut author and paleoartist Juan Carlos Alonso!  We’ve asked Juan Carlos to kick off the tour on the “home blog” and asked the obvious question — why did you write Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous?

But first — enter here to win a copy of the book!

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Now, please meet Juan Carlos Alonso, author and illustrator of Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous.

AlonsoDinosaurs and prehistoric life have always fascinated me. As a child I was obsessed with dinosaurs, and it turns out I wasn’t the only one. It seems that children from every corner of the world, speaking different languages, from varying upbringings all share the same interest in dinosaurs. I’ve asked myself, why? And the only answer I come up with is: because they are large, ferocious and they are no longer around. The fact that they are extinct opens the door to imagination, and makes us ask what they were like? How did they move? How did they behave? Sure the movies do a good job bringing them to “life,” but new discoveries keep trumping anything Hollywood can come up with. For instance, Tyrannosaurus rex for many years was considered to be the largest land predator ever, then the remains of the larger animal the Giganotosuarus was discovered making it the largest, and soon after an even larger Spinosaurus becomes the king of the predators. Whenever the ultimate dinosaur is found, a new, larger one is right around the corner. It seems as though there’s always something bigger, scarier or stranger lurking underneath any number of undiscovered rocks. All of this feeds a child’s sense of wonder, as it did mine growing up and well into adulthood.


Ultimately for me dinosaurs, or prehistoric wildlife to be precise, are the perfect mixture of science (fossil record), fantasy (bringing them to life in your mind) and art (interpreting fossils and fleshing them out). All three interest me a great deal. Though I have always been intrigued, it wasn’t until about 5 years ago, when my daughter was 2 years old that I began to watch her and experience the wonder of discovery through her eyes. Her curiosity inspired me and brought me back to my own childhood. I thought why not create the book I treasured as a child, one that embodied science and art the way I remembered in dinosaur books and share with children. This was the genesis for the Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous. Though there are plenty of good dinosaur books on the market, I felt the intimacy of the hand drawn sketch was being replaced by computer generated or enhanced photo-real imagery. I decided to create drawings that looked as if sketched while observing the subject in first person, more personal; a mixture of Charles Darwin and John James Audubon, giving the book a more organic feel. It was the best way I knew how to share my passion for art and prehistory.

dinosaurs ancient earth journal

Why the Early Cretaceous? This was a period in earth’s history that has come to light recently with many new fossil discoveries particularly in China. It was a time of transition for a lot of species and a time of birth for many new ones including the first true birds. Very few books, if any, are dedicated specifically to the Early Cretaceous and its fascinating wildlife. Wildlife that featured unique animals, some adorned with crests, others with elongated spines and some covered completely in feathers. So many of these animals have not been featured in books or looked at closely. I also noticed most books approached the Mesozoic Era as a whole, then broke down each period and the animals within it. My approach was to try to build a picture of the world and how it appeared, including which plants, insects, and animals coexisted inside the 38 million year window of the Early Cretaceous. This I felt brought some perspective to prehistory and evolution. Looking forward, I would like to write and illustrate more books each focusing on a single time period so the changes to the earth and its creatures can be studied individually and together.

dinosaurs ancient earth

A great deal of research and attention to detail has been put into this book by both my co-author, Gregory Paul and myself to provide the absolute latest and scientifically correct information available. In every way this book was a labor of love—my main goal is to share my passion for art and my genuine curiosity for all things nature and ultimately inspire children to pursue their own.

Juan Carlos Alonso is a Cuban American graphic designer, creative director, and illustrator. He has over 30 years experience in the graphic design/illustration field. In 1992, he founded Alonso & Company, a creative boutique specializing in branding, design, and advertising. He has been working with clients of all sizes from Fortune 500 to local businesses and has forged strong relationships with companies including the NBA franchise The Miami Heat, Bacardi Rum, Ryder System, Pitney Bowes, and Capitol Records. Alonso & Company has attained international acclaim for work in advertising and graphic design. His passion for nature has taken him around the world from Australia to the Galapagos Islands to study animals. Along with his work in the graphic arts, he is also an accomplished wildlife sculptor focusing mostly on prehistoric animals.

And the Blog Tour Continues — check out all of the stops!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Prose and Kahn


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Curling Up with a Good Book

guest post and giveaway

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rockin’ Book Reviews


Thursday, August 27, 2015

From the Mixed Up Files


Friday, August 28, 2015

From My Balcony

Q&A and giveaway

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Dispersal of Darwin

guest post and giveaway

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Children’s Book Review

guest post and giveaway

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ice Fairy’s Treasure Chest

review and giveaway

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Book Wars


Thursday, September 3, 2015

SoCal City Kids

guest post and giveaway

Friday, September 4, 2015

Cracking the Cover


Ancient Earth Journal: The Early Cretaceous

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