Tarbosaurus: early sketch

This is one of the initial sketches done for Dave Hone’s Selective Feeding by Tyrannosaurs paper.

I initially proposed 3 images for the paper, unfortunately due to time constraints I couldn’t include this part of the ‘story’, so I wound up with the diptych.

Still, there’s something nice about a wandering Tarbosaurus looking for an easy snack!

Dinophiles will notice some display plumage on those tiny arms. I guess the other thing about this image is the closed mouth. Usually these guys are portrayed majestically roaring or (er, magnificently?)gaping, which is a pity since they have such a cute overbite!

New Theme and New Portfolio Website

You might have noticed a nice new theme with a pretty bit of art work at the top, I felt it was time for a face lift!

The image in the header is a sneak preview of 2 new paintings for Dave Hone, hopefully there’ll be a post on this soon.

Some people have been asking for a portfolio site to view my work.

Well, now I have one over here. There’s also a permanent link in the sidebar.

So traipse on over for a sneak preview of some new stuff, as well as all the er… old stuff from here in one convenient location!


Dinosaur Art: Chaz the drive by Chasmosaurus.

Ok so it’s a pretty obscure post title.

The Chinese Dinosaur images have been popping up from one end of the Net to the other, which has been getting a bit more traffic through the blog, nice!

I’ve also had contact from many different corners of the globe asking for permission to use the images for this or that, which has been quite cool.

One person to get in contact was David Orr, who writes the blog, ‘Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs’. Dave’s site describes itself: Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs is a blog about dinosaurs, their relations, their neighbors, their study, and their various manifestations in pop culture.

Dave wanted to do an interview about the artwork that I’d done, my interaction with Dave Hone over on ‘Archosaur Musings’, and some stuff about me. It left me blinking at the screen a bit bamboozled… ‘about me?’..

He then asked if I had any other dinosaur images I could supply him with for the story….er….. it was at this point I was reminded how little I’ve done since I got back into painting, and like most artists I don’t like anything I did more than 30 seconds ago.

So I found a Chasmosaur skull on the net and added some flesh to the bones for a bit of fun. I consider a painting like this to be a ‘drive by’, pretty much a speed paint done in a couple of hours.

I stayed in black and white because I’m trying to work on my values, and since this is quite a different animal to Xixianykus I looked at a bit more reptile reference, though there’s a fair bit of parrot in there.

Anyway, do go and check out David Orr’s site and even the interview (I really jibber on a bit though, you have been warned!).


New Chinese Dinosaur Art #1: Linheraptor exquisitus

For those not in the know I recently scored a pretty exciting gig with the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology & Palaeoanthropology.

China has had a bit of a renaissance of Dinosaur discoveries in the past decade, with incredibly well preserved fossil animals being unearthed with astonishing regularity from fine grain stone which revealed features such as feathers and skin impressions. Many discoveries have changed the way these animals were understood.

Luckily for me an opportunity arose through Dr. Dave Hone, a Visiting Scholar at the Institute doing his Post Doctorate under Professor Xu Xing,  a world renowned Palaeontologist.

I met Dave through his popular blog: ‘Dave hone’s Archosaur Musings’ (Hooray for the internet!)

So I was given the task of doing the first life reconstruction of two animals, one of them was Linheraptor exquisitus.

I was supplied with a draft of the paper as well as photos of the skeleton….

Image copyright Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology & Palaeoanthropology, contact Dave Hone for permission to use elsewhere.

It’s a Dromaeosaur, a cousin to the well known Velociraptor. He’s about average size for this kind of animal, 1.8m long.

Reading the Scientific Paper gave me real appreciation of the depth of knowledge and level of detail Palaeontologists use in their study, it was a real education.

I was given plenty of advice and guidance through the process, though there was quite a bit of research and a bucket load of reference images of birds, animals and landscape. The anatomy, environment and behaviour needed to be accurate and Dave was very gracious fielding an awful lot of questions.

So, to coincide with the official release here is the ‘official’ reconstruction!(click image to embiggenate)

As you can see it’s covered in feathers, based upon fossil findings of related animals. The feathers had to conform in shape and layout to known relatives.

Colour and patterning were based upon environmental and lifestyle factors and modern counterparts with similar lifestyles.

The image was painted in Photoshop, which allowed plenty of flexibility, which was good as it went through many revisions along the way!

I’d like to thank Dave for giving me this great opportunity.

Be sure to take a look over at Dave’s blog for the full details.

Matt (email details are on the about page)

Dead on Time WIP#3 (I am an Eeeeeeeeediot!)

EEDIOT! Of course I launched into this image in a typical gung-ho fashion and now I’m paying for it!

I decided the perspective would be easier if I actually had an idea what a super duper futuristic jet was supposed to look like! I know, basic stuff huh!?

So I did some rough sketching to at least get a silhouette  of a top down view based loosely on the game itself and some reference images of fighter planes I found on the net. Well Duh!

Here’s the result, it’s all pretty loose still and I want to keep it that way.

There was the other little matter of the final aspect ratio of the image needing to match the cover of the case! Ahem.

I’ve had fun erasing parts of the plane back to expose the ground colour too.

Still not totally happy, the fighter is looking like a static brick. Things might change!

The landscape is coming a bit easier, really just chucking in rock formations from some reference material. Nice to play with some blues in amongst all that orange rock too.

I’m a little concerned with output from Photoshop. Images that look fine in PS come out with more contrast when displayed in browsers etc. Gamma correction settings or something perhaps?

Hopefully I’ll get another update done before I go on holiday.

Dead on Time WIP#2

Here’s an update on the ‘Dead on Time’ image. I’ve been battling perspective a bit and the natural inclination to add too much detail too early.

I think I’ll try to keep this image much looser than what I usually do, partly because I’m running out of time before Christmas holidays and partly because I want to stop it becoming too laboured.

I was looking at the screen shots from the game and noticed this spindle like baddie.

I thought my bad guy space ships were a bit bland so I’m going to play with this design to tie it in with the game more strongly.

When I first saw the player’s ship in the screen shots I thought I was looking at a top down view of a Bee! Paul and I had an email exchange titled ‘above a bee’ where we toyed briefly with the idea of the ship as a bee and I produced a 3D bee image which I did as part of the course I teach at TAFE as possible loading/cover art(see below). The idea didn’t fly but I still internally refer to this game as ‘Above a Bee’ !

‘Dead on Time’ WIP #1

My friend Paul Kooistra has asked me to produce a cover for his new Retro Game ‘Dead on Time’.
I did a cover for his earlier release ‘Star Sabre’ which can be seen in the ‘recent artwork’ post below.
For those not in the know there’s a small but passionate bunch who produce new games for old computer systems like the Commodore 64 and in this case the Amstrad CPC. The games can be played on the old systems or on a modern PC using an emulator. They get a release online and sometimes on disk or even cassette tape! Here’s a screen shot from ‘Star Sabre’:

So for my first WIP post I thought I’d put up my initial concept, there’s a few things wrong, perspective is a bit out of whack on the fighter etc.
I’m trying to integrate my pictures better working holistically rather than working on isolated elements and not giving some parts of the composition the attention they need.
Where this goes will entirely depend on whether Paul likes the direction I’m going in, so this could be as far as this concept gets.

Feel free to comment on my composition, colours, perpective and all the rest!