About mattvr

Animator/Painting Guy/Pointless Waffler

Small Island Studio Launches!

Optimistic Painter has been a bit quiet lately as I have been working hard to launch our new business venture: Small Island Studio

Small Island Studio originated as a desire in me to connect ideas and education with people using images and animation. As an animator I’m aware of the power of the visual to help people understand the complex.

Thankfully I met my business partner, Susanne Schantz, who saw the value in what I was trying to do and felt that it was both worthwhile and that there was a market for this service.

I’m very lucky to be surrounded by talented people, among them people like David Orr, who bridge the scientific and illustrative fields. I saw many of these people being under utilised, and really wanted to show off what they can do and reward them too!

Of course I know quite a few scientists as well, so there are lots of opportunities for collaboration. In fact, we’re hoping to produce something very soon along those lines.

So please visit Small Island Studio to see our first Explainer Animation and visit the gallery, I hope you enjoy it!

Drawing dinosaurs: how is palaeoart produced

Long time collaborator Dr. Dave Hone has been kind enough to feature my recent Bellubrunnus painting in his Guardian Blog Article about Paleoart.

It’s been quiet around here lately as I discover just how long it takes to start a new business! Small Island Studio will be launching at the end of this week, keep your eyes peeled for some dinosaur related animation in the near future!

 

I like your old stuff better than your new stuff #2

Vintage art, circa sometime in the mid 90’s. This is the second version of a piece depicting a predator chasing two Leaellynasaurs across a river. (Acrylic on Board)

The first version had an Abelisaur, back when some research indicated a closer tie between South American and Australian fauna in the Early Cretaceous, until Allosaurus seemed to be a safer bet. Now I’d need to do a version with an Australovenator , feathered of course!

I was already stubbornly feathering my Leaellynasaurs for cold conditions back then, despite no direct evidence of any insulation.

Apologies for the poor photography…Image

Not my best work.. and probably heading upwards of 15 years old! But fun to post during a busy patch.

Bellubrunnus Work in Progress Animation.

Apologies for the lack of updates, I’ve been really busy in the background on various projects. Here’s a work in progress animation of the Bellubrunnus painting.

In retrospect I should have spent more time on the composition, it really could have used another animal in there for example.

Anyway, enjoy another peek at my scattalogical process!

Bellubrunnus: Cute Fuzzy Death from Above

In the midst of painting my first pterosaur for Dave Hone he approached me asking if I could do an ‘emergency painting’ for another little critter who’s description was much closer to publication. Bellubrunnus rothgaengeri is a fossil of a juvenile pterosaur closely related to Rhamphorhynchus.

As usual it was hard to say no when Dave showed me the fossil. I’m not at the bleeding edge of pterosaur knowledge but I could recognize several interesting features I couldn’t recall seeing in other animals. The first thing to leap out was the forward curving wing tips, giving the wings quite a different shape from classic pterosaurs. Dave also pointed out that Bellubrunnus had more flexibility in its tail than related species. Be sure to check out Dave’s post on Bellubrunnus at the Musings which I’m sure covers more of the anatomical detail.

So I began sketching away.. actually this sketch was what I sent Dave as a reply when he asked if I wanted the task!

Which he liked. I then made a few more to try out positioning and posture, keeping in mind we needed to clearly show the important anatomical features, the shape of the wing and the flexibility in the tail. I took inspiration from bird photography for the next one.

I really liked it but Dave pulled the whole scientific thing, turns out it was primarily a piscivore(preyed on fish), curse you evidence! I certainly wanted to avoid the old skimming pterosaur trope, and Dave was quite happy with the first gestural sketch I’d done as it showed the features that differentiated Bella from its relatives, so we went with that as a general guide, though we needed to lose the tree as the fossil indicated a coastal habitat.

Fleshing out the initial anatomy went pretty well, though we hit a few snags with the orientation of the fingers and my new favorite body part the ‘uropatagium’. Yup, I spent much time on Skype stuttering trying to pronounce ‘uropatagium’… which is the broad skin between the legs. It’s a bizarre bit of anatomy that attaches to the outside toes which then fold back over the sole of the foot.

Anyway, after much too-ing and fro-ing we got the anatomy in a happy place and I could render it all up. Here’s the final piece.(click to embiggen)

I did joke that I was incapable of producing a painting without an approaching storm in the background.. seems to be holding true for now!