New Puzzle: Badlands to the Bone by Julie deBoer

Posted by Jasen Robillard on

The idea of a dinosaur-themed puzzle had been rummaging about in my mind since the early days of StumpCraft prototypes back in 2016. Late last year, 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.

List of whimsies:

  • 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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  • I was barely coping with the stress of being overworked from the pandemic and thought of puzzles as a portal to peace – but only as something to give my physically distant family members. After the puzzle arrived I thought I should try it out – you know, in case they might find it too difficult. I cannot fully express how blissful it was to hold and sort through the lovely wooden pieces. Just the physicality of it was soothing. The contemplation it took settled my zoom addled brain and I felt the presence of Jasen the puzzle maker trying to outwit me with all kinds of clever twists. Working on the puzzle became a daily therapy that got me sanely through to the end of the school term. I didn’t want it to end – the puzzle that is.

    This was my first Stumpcraft puzzle and frankly the first puzzle I’ve encountered that was not the standard cardboard variety. And I’m now a fan. I did share the puzzle with my family – although they found it too difficult and so I happily get to keep it. I have since bought another highly enjoyable Stumpcraft puzzle but Badlands is still my fave.

    Sandra on
  • I have completed my first puzzle of 2022 and I must say it was fantastic. As the daughter of a former coal miner and born in the Drumheller Valley I greatly appreciate all of the work that went into the making of this puzzle. Can’t wait to work on another.
    Dani McPhee

    Danielle McPhee on
  • We just finished Badlands to the Bone, and really enjoyed it. As always, we flipped the puzzle over (which was made much easier by the high quality, thick wood and the tight-fitting pieces) to enjoy finding all the hidden fossils and other fun figures and designs. We liked the non-traditional cut of the non-whimsy pieces — it made for a fun change of pace from other puzzles we have done. We will be looking for our next puzzle from Jasen and hope it’s as fun as this one.

    Dave Kohn on
  • Just finished Badlands to the Bone. Great puzzle and loved the surprise puzzle within a puzzle! Very cool!

    Dorothy Warren on
  • I own most of the Stumpcraft puzzles and this particular puzzle is a favorite of mine. The monumental effort invested in clever design shows. The puzzle is packed with delightful whimsical dinosaur “fossils”. I was so impressed I gave this puzzle as a gift to a friend of mine who owns a puzzle company. And she delighted in it.

    This is a difficult puzzle, difficult but do-able. More importantly it is a quality and clever puzzle worth of one’s time. One earns a feeling of accomplishment and a shared quality of connection with the designer after “making all the pieces fit.”

    Jasen tells me he only makes interesting puzzles and only finds difficult puzzles interesting. The hoy polloi can buy their cardboard stamping jigsaw puzzles elsewhere. It is most unusual to find such an exclusive product, the tiny detail and exhaustive (thoughtful & clever) design makes any Stumpcraft puzzle a memorable experience for any one who desires to test their jigsaw puzzle chops.

    Without hesitation, Six out of five stars.

    Timothy Wright on
  • Excellent hard puzzle with lots of enticing dinosaur whimsies, but despite all the whimsies it’s challenging due to the painting, compounded by a lot of clever color-line cutting (or almost color-line cutting), and a lot of split connectors (where big innie fits two smaller outies on two different pieces). Not for newbies or younger kids, but an ignenious igneous treat for serious puzzlers.

    Maya on

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