Deep Dive: Badlands to the Bone by Julie deBoer

Posted by Jasen Robillard on

Badlands to the Bone - Julie deBoer

Artist: Julie deBoer
Puzzle Designer: Jasen Robillard
Dimensions: 40cm x 33cm
Piece Count: 551
Difficulty: 4 out of 5


Julie is known for her use of bold color and sharp contrast in her prairie and foothills inspired art. It was her dynamic skies that drew StumpCraft to her work and ultimately led to a local artist collaboration. After sharing a few HDR photos for inspiration Julie was able to meld the bold fluidity depicted in her cloud-filled skies, into the earth-bound landscapes seen in typical Alberta Badlands morphology. 

Beyond the creation of a stunning art piece, our goal was to provide a backdrop for a dinosaur-themed puzzle. The experience of solving a StumpCraft jigsaw puzzle is very much akin to that of a paleontologist. Enjoy sifting through the dinosaur bones and see how many species you can recognize and discover!


Lightly watermarked reference image
Note, reference images are watermarked to prevent unauthorized printing of our artist's work, as well as copycat puzzles which have become common since 2020.

Julie deBoer's Art

Julie's Levelling Up for Artists Mentorship Community

Shop: Julie deBoer - Badlands to the Bone

Puzzle Design Notes

The idea of a dinosaur-themed puzzle had been rummaging about in my mind since the early days of StumpCraft prototypes back in 2016. By 2018, with a few designs under by belt, I knew I had to pursue that idea to fruition.

I regularly browse Instagram for local Canadian fine artists and came across Julie deBoer's fantastic profile. I immediately fell in love with her arrestingly dynamic and contrast-rich skies. I thought the fluidity and dynamism expressed in her skies would translate well to Canadian Badlands morphology. I reached out to her and explained the vision and we started collaborating on the project in early January of this year.

Here's Julie's take on the early days of our collaboration:

When Jasen reached out to me with his vision to collaborate on a new puzzle creation, I was immediately intrigued! I had never collaborated with another artist, but had always wanted to. Jasen had a vision for my art that I had never considered - to apply my flowing, fluid style (that I use to create my big sky paintings), to create the flowing, intricate details of the Badlands landscape. I thought, "this guy is brilliant!"
[ed: Julie, you're welcome to write blog content for me anytime.]
I’m an Alberta girl, so I know the badlands like the back of my hand. I’ve spent many blistering hot summer days, parched and exhilarated, lost in the badlands as a kid (and now with my own kids). I immediately envisioned a painting full of color and movement. Jasen was right, my painting style would work perfectly to capture the unique nature of the Badlands landscape. 

I started off by sending her a few of the photos I'd taken over my last several trips to Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park.

Alberta Badlands HDR - Jasen Robillard


Alberta Badlands - Jasen Robillard

Julie worked off the photos to come up with some preliminary sketches.

Once we had settled on a basic structure and dimensions for the art piece, Julie then worked on the full scale canvas. I managed to sneak over to her studio to capture a few photos just before the final touches were made.

The result is a stunning view into the geomorphology of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation near Drumheller, and the perfect backdrop for a Badlands-inspired, dinosaur-themed puzzle.

StumpCraft Puzzle - Badlands to the Bone by Julie deBoer
StumpCraft Puzzle Details - Dinosaur Whimsies in Badlands to the Bone by Julie deBoer

Here's Julie once again with her take on the resulting collaborative:

This partnership has been fun and has pushed my limits as an artist - which I love. I have also gained a comrade in Jasen. He’s as much an artist as I am - he makes art out of art!  His puzzles are absolutely one-of-a-kind and lovingly designed. I see his whimsical, fun, witty, and creative mind in the design of each piece of every puzzle and the story he tells through them. Jasen makes art which people can play with and puzzle over, which is exactly what I did with my family when my Stumpcraft + Julie deBoer Badlands to the Bone puzzle arrived at my door! Literally hours and hours of frustrating, frantic fun! 
StumpCraft Puzzle Mosaic - Badlands to the Bone by Julie deBoer

I had a ton of fun researching and designing this puzzle. If you want to quickly dive into it yourself, one of the best places to start is the Horseshoe Canyon Formation page on Wikipedia.  And of course, you owe it to yourself to visit the excellent Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology

Get Stumped! Or take a peek below if you'd like a couple hints as to what you might find by sifting through the Drumheller sediment.


  • Multi-piece whimsies
    • 2x ammonites
    • lambeosaurus
    • albertasaurus exhibit
    • tyrannosaurus rex dig site
    • iguanodon
    • troodon
    • plesiosaurus
    • ribcage bones
    • velocoraptor
    • ornithomimus
    • stegosaurus
    • triceratops
    • spinosaurus
    • trilobite
    • K/Pg impact asteroid
  • Single piece
    • 8x footprint casts (3 species)
    • 5x diatom
    • 2x mosasaurus
    • 2x platypterigius
    • 2x archelon
    • 2x paleontologists
    • 2x coal carts
    • miner
    • paleontology tool field kit (7 items)
    • tyrannosaurus rex
    • brontosaurus
    • triceratops
    • archaeopteryx in death pose
    • plesiosaurus
    • sarcosuchus
    • repenamamus
    • ankylosaurus
    • elasmosaurus
    • xiphactinus
    • hoodoo silhouette
    • Julie deBoer signature
    • StumpCraft beaver & maple leaf


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