"He really likes to draw," she wrote.
Wilson, 65, smiles at that remembrance.
"It's something I couldn't imagine not being able to do," he says. "It is as necessary to my existence as breathing."
The prolific, award-winning, nationally known illustrator -- who has compiled an artist's dream list of opportunities and clients -- remains energized by his work and the stunning variety it offers.
Wilson, whose work often is distributed internationally, cannot foresee ever growing tired of what he does and has no plans to retire.
"There's always so much to create and to paint that there's never a lack of something to develop," he says.
Wilson just completed his illustration from his 78th children's book, through the years contributing to such major publishing houses as
"I love the fact that there is a vast variety of styles and work in this field, and I love to pursue all of them," he says. "I've never agreed with artists who claim that you need to develop one style and be known for that one style to succeed.
"I've really had several careers in one," he says. "There isn't really much left on my career 'bucket list.' I'm surprised and somewhat in disbelief at what I've been fortunate enough to have done."
Hitting the big time
As a former partner and co-owner for 20 years (1979-1999), with
The team also animated television commercials.
"He is an amazingly versatile artist, with an amazing eye for detail, and a great friend," says Allan, former art director for
They currently have developed an animation course at the
Wilson's art has appeared on
Wilson twice received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the
Horner, who invited Wilson on a dig, is known for his groundbreaking discoveries of the first dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere, among other achievements. He served as the technical adviser for all of the "Jurassic Park" movies and is the inspiration for the movie's lead character, Dr.
Wilson fully illustrated a Dinosaur Monopoly game called "Dig'n Dinos."
"Anything from this point on is icing on the cake," Wilson says of his career.
His working style ranges from cartoon to highly detailed photo-realism, with specialization in classic Disney character art and scientifically accurate dinosaur illustrations. He prefers watercolor or acrylic, applying traditional techniques as well as airbrush.
He does not work digitally, preferring the tactile feel of the brush on board and "having the original art in your hands afterwards," he says.
Friend and fellow artist
"He can switch on a dime from drawing
In addition to Horner, Wilson also has worked with internationally renowned paleontologists
Whether he is painting a rampaging T-rex or a scene from "Winnie the Pooh," Wilson says his technique remains basically the same. "It's just a matter of dealing with light and shadow, color and tone, shape and form to depict the subject accurately," he explains.
When he was very young, he thought he might want to be a paleontologist because of his deep love for dinosaurs. "But that lasted about 15 minutes when I found out that you had to spend a lot of time in hot desert regions, digging in 100-plus-degree weather," he says. "Suddenly, being an artist held a lot more appeal for me."
Dinos and Disney
Dinosaurs and Disney have been two of his biggest interests since childhood.
"The fact that I was able to turn them into two of my biggest career-makers is still astonishing to me," he says. "I couldn't have written a better script."
Wilson hopes that when people view his illustrations, they come away with a warm feeling from their childhood, especially regarding his Disney art.
"I've tried to instill the quality and the style of the original films into the illustrations, and I hope that brings the same happy reactions that the films gave to them."
With his dinosaurs he hopes to give the viewer a sense of ''being there," by depicting scenes that are "kind of a moment in time," captured as though someone just happened upon them, he says.
A growing source of illustration jobs for artists, including himself, comes of late from independent self-publishers, someone perhaps writing their first book.
"We love working with him, and our authors love his work," says
"He is a true professional, and he gives everything in his power to make the client happy," says agent
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