The frame for these books are the ‘found’ 19th century journals of shipwreck survivor Arthur Denison and his son. Gurney mocked-up the first journal, though whether this was simply for himself or for inspiration or as a model for an illustration I don’t know:
That initial mockup would eventually be developed into a full prop version.
I was surprised to learn I actually have at least one Dinotopia prop. Mr. Gurney based the "sunstones" that power the technology of his world...
...on the deck prisms used to light enclosed spaces in sailing ships.