A bit of Dreadnoughtus for Stanford University Magazine

In a shock development I’m posting on my blog!

Thought I’d drop a quick dinosaur picture here commissioned by Stanford University Magazine. They approached me asking for a blue whale, a minke whale, a dreadnoughtus and a person for size comparison.

Go read the story about the efficiencies of being a gigantic whale and eating all your meals in a single giant gulp online here!

The large wattle on Dreadnoughtus is very much stolen from the brilliant Brian Enge’s concept of large display features on sauropods.

Meanwhile, here’s my version of the Stanford uni image with ‘enormous aquarium effect’!

DreadnoughtusSort of wondering now if my Dreadnoughtus is a bit on the small side… hmm.

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!

Ray Bradbury passes…

Ray Bradbury, one of the ‘old men of Science Fiction’ has passed away at the age of 91.

Bradbury wrote in the era when ideas we consider tropes now were, well, ideas. When they thought there may be canals on Mars, before man had been to the moon. It was a golden age of science fiction writing.

When I was in my early teens I discovered a pile of old Science Fiction short story compilations in the shed. My Dad had read them back in the 70’s, but they were really stories from as early as the 40’s.

Bradbury was among them, telling stories with the twists so common to the form, but tying it in with heart, thoughtfulness and sentiment. His prose was almost poetic even while he built tension in stories like ‘The Fog Horn’, or bordered on the theological in ‘The Traveler’. My favourite by far though, and my favourite short story of any author is ‘A Sound of Thunder’.

Bradbury’s tale of vainglorious hunters going back in time to hunt a Tyrannosaurus and unwittingly affecting their future would, if published today, be considered a rehash, a cliche. Except Bradbury did it with such class, subtlety and so perfectly for the short story form, to me everything since seems trite.

In 1983 Bantam Books published ‘Dinosaur Tales’, an illustrated collection of Bradbury’s short stories about dinosaurs. Among them was ‘”Besides A Dinosaur, Whatta Ya Wanna Be When You Grow Up?“(alarmed grandfather looks for a substitute obsession when his grandson begins sharpening his teeth), “The Fog Horn“(a terrifying and mournful romance between a lighthouse and….. something ancient) and “A Sound of Thunder”.

And so came together my favourite short story, and my favourite illustrator, William Stout, who had provided the beautiful drawings to accompany the story. There’s little I can say about how much this double whammy affected me as a developing artist, except perhaps that one day I still want to make a short film that’s entirely true to the story and illustrations in that book. I’ve posted a couple of illustrations from the book below, both are by William Stout.

Yutyrannus, Metyrannus, We all Tyrannus….

Since the description of everyone’s new favourite tyrannosaur Yutyrannus, there’s been an absolute glut of depictions by anyone who can hold a pencil in the paleo illustration community.

And why not? A 6 meter long tyrannosaur with fluffy feathers! It’s weird and cool and just ever so disturbing in equal measure, a bit like like Yo Gabba Gabba.

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Not wanting to join in the frenzy I thought I’d take another tack and take a serious and in depth look at what this discovery means for anatomists, palaeontographical illustrators and nerds who like to draw dinosaurs..

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Spinosaurus Mum takes a break..

Well, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and kept throwing more time and energy into the Spinosaurus sketch! In some ways it touches back to the first paleo gig I did a few years ago for Tor Bertin who was reviewing Spinosaur material.

Back then I’d hoped to paint the living animal, but had to satisfied with doing some studies of the jaws instead.(I still had more fun than any sane person should have)

Recently inspired by the skeletal reconstruction by Scott Hartman with Andre Cau and Jamie Headden I thought I’d have a stab at painting the new look properly.

Hopefully I did the guys’ hard work some service, the new sail extends much further down the tail. The pose has no scientific verification, though I did opt for something different than the usual explosive action poses we usually find Spinosaurus in.(at least it isn’t beating up Tyrannosaurus!)

What can I say? It’s a mum, eating a snack on her break. With a cheeky Ornithocheirid pterosaur waiting for some scraps. You might have noticed the little guy has changed since the last post, well, I discovered there wasn’t really a way for it to be clinging on with the wings in that position. Here’s a before and after…