It was a very small, intimate chat...only about 40 people, not like Harry Potter release night. I liked James Guerney instantly...he's very warm and genuine. He talked about getting his degrees in archaeology, being an artist for National Geographic, and his working process for writing the Dinotopia books. He showed us his sketches of various cities he'd visited, which were all very common (but incredibly beautiful) scenes...usually what he saw while waiting at laundromats, he said. He made a good point that artists draw a lot of old barns and boats, but not the everyday things like streetlights and fast food signs, which need to be documented.
He took a few questions. I asked which dinosaur was the most difficult to draw, and he said it was the T-rex, because everyone knows it so well and expects a lot. Then he got up and did some drawings for us on a big sketchpad. The first few were just cheesy faces (he's incredibly corny, as it turns out), but the third was actually a very nice T-rex drawing. He wanted to make it silly, so he took some audience suggestions and made it so.
Eventually we all lined up to get our books signed. Tyler got me Journey to Chandara for Christmas, but he let me open it early so I could get it signed (I got it wrapped up again so I can open it on Christmas and read it then). Guerney signed it to me in his beautiful cursive script (and drew a beautiful brachiosaur underneath it). We chatted a bit about dinosaurs and living in Idaho, and I asked him if anyone had asked for his T-rex sketch he made earlier. Surprisingly, nobody had, so he signed it and gave it to me.
And that's how I got an enormous blue marker sketch by the author of Dinotopia of a T-rex playing soccer.