David K. Smith
Dinosaurus comic book, c. 1960

A LITTLE BACKGROUND: I've liked dinosaurs ever since I was four years old. I think it was the day that my parents bought me this comic book (left), a comic I still have today. How could a kid not love this cover! Oversized dinosaurs wreaking havoc on a remote island! I was hooked. From that point on, I wanted to dig up dinosaur bones. But I also liked drawing dinosaurs (and other stuff).

I received my Bachelor's degree in geology at the University of Connecticut — and took a lot of drawing classes while there — but by the end of those four years, I had lost my motivation to pursue a career in paleontology. So now the big question was "Now what?"

Following graduation, I "fled" to California where I took a job delivering mail for the College of Natural Resources. In 1989, a catalog from UREP, the University Research Expeditions Program (now extinct), arrived in the mailroom. UREP was a program that matched volunteers with UC faculty who needed people to help with various field projects around the world. I found one such project called "Dawn of the Dinosaurs" led by UCMP's own Kevin Padian — he needed people to help look for early dinosaurs near the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Sounded fantastic to me! So I signed up. The other volunteers turned out to be a great bunch of people and we were fortunate to find, and excavate, a nearly complete skeleton of a phytosaur (a large crocodile-like reptile from the Triassic Period). I wanted more!

That was 1989. Since then, I have prospected for, excavated, or collected fossils in the field (primarily dinosaurs) every summer through 2005 (missed 2004 though). I've worked in Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and South Dakota. But, I digress....

Over time, I worked my way out of the mailroom and into a full-time graphics design job. In the early 1990s, I spent several Fridays volunteering at the Museum of Paleontology, helping Mark Goodwin grind down rough edges on the cast "bones" for the Tyrannosaurus rex skeletal mount that now graces VLSB's Wallace Atrium. In 1996, I took a graphic design position with UCMP and the Department of Integrative Biology. A couple years later, I became a full-time employee of the UC Museum of Paleontology, working with UCMP's outreach unit. So now I'm doing two of my favorite things: artwork/design and paleontology!

Check out some of the artwork I've produced over the past 25 years or so:

UCMP art

CNR art

Other UC art

Field work art