Meet the man whose job it is to paint giant dinosaurs

PUBLISHED: 15:25 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:25 16 October 2019

Scenic artist Will Adams at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, based in Lenwade. Picture: ROARR!

Scenic artist Will Adams at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, based in Lenwade. Picture: ROARR!


He has painted more than 450 dinosaurs and endured numerous attacks from sentinel bees.

Scenic artist Will Adams at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, based in Lenwade. Picture: ROARR!Scenic artist Will Adams at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, based in Lenwade. Picture: ROARR!

But for scenic artist Will Adams, his "enduring fascination" for the extinct beings makes it all worth while - especially when his masterpieces continue to delight thousands of children every year.

From ferocious velociraptors to an 18-metre-high brachiosaurus, Mr Adams has left his mark across a range of designs and projects at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure, based in Lenwade.

But what inspires him to continue this unique commission and how long does each dinosaur take to paint?

"It can vary enormously depending on the size and condition," he said.

"The Brachiosaurus, our largest dinosaur, took me three weeks with an assistant.

"I had to use a genie boom - a type of small crane - to work on him. The only problem was the bees nest in his neck. The bees would put up with me for most of the day, but regularly, at about four o'clock, they would send out a sentinel to sting me.

"A genie boom's descent is painfully slow, so they always got their man."

Mr Adams described such a project as "pretty much like painting a house" and put its success down to preparation. He used masonry paints and acrylic varnish with a UV filter to paint directly on to the concrete skin.

"Although these days some pigments in dinosaur skin can be decoded, the colours are still largely guess work.

"I think along the lines of whether the animal would need to camouflage itself or would be more concerned with display."

As well as the imposing figures, the Norfolk artist has also painted murals inside Dinomite, the attraction's indoor play area, Dippyville and the secret animal garden.

Mr Adams, who was born in Hunstanton and raised in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, added: "There is an enduring fascination for dinosaurs.

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"They are dragon-like and fearsome but we know they're no longer alive, so we are safe."

As well as the illustrations being used across the park, he also works extensively on the park's scare attraction PrimEvil - which this year is celebrating 10 years of fear.

He added: "I'm looking forward to 2020 and to working with my friends at the park on some truly exciting projects."

The career behind the dinosaurs...

Will Adams studied Fine Art at Reading University before moving to East London to work at the Whitechapel Gallery as a community artist and tutor.

He was an active member of the Tower Hamlets Arts Committee and the Artists Union and was involved in several major projects including a 90m mural of the London Docklands Development Corporation, commissioned after the IRA bombing of Canary Wharf in 1996.

Mr Adams has held five long-term artist residencies. He has also regularly shown his own work in exhibitions including The Royal Academy Summer Show, John Moores 17 and won the Royal Watercolour Society prize in 1999.

Following involvement in the films of Ken McMullen, he joined a company specialising in opera, ballet and West End shows

He joined the BBC in the early nineties, before becoming freelance working on shows such as EastEnders.

He came back to Norfolk in 2000 and now has a studio in Norwich.

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