2011: Year of the Prehistoric Kitteh

With 2011 behind us, and in the tradition of self absorbed internet navel gazing, I thought I’d pass on how this little blog is doing.

Thumbs up From king Iguanodon!

Optimistic Painter started back in 2009 with the ‘optimistic’ aspiration that it would help me get my painting trousers on and get brush wiggling, since then it’s grown beyond any expectation, with 18000 people going through the turnstiles this year!

Why oh why did they come? Well, it’d be a mystery to me too but WordPress give some nice stats that might help! To start, top searches for 2011 were for, I kid you not, “Creepy Forests”!

A little project I did for Stefan Le Mottee as a background in a short film. The other top search was quite unexpected, especially as I can’t even type it without checking the spelling. It was Quetzalcoatlus, with the ‘Big bird Goes Postal’ illustration proving pretty popular.

Of course these may have been the top searches for 2011, but they were far from the post with the most hits. Back in June Dave Orr of Love in the time of Chasmosaurus and I were discussing Dinosaur TV Tropes with the possibility of doing some posts together. Just for fun I haphazardly collaged together a little gag cartoon. Dave ordered me to immediately post it in my blog for the betterment of all humankind… or er, mostly frustrated scientists and paleo-nerds.

A minor…er, very minor, internet meme was born! Kitteh garnered  more hits in a single day that OPB usually got in a month! Since then the adventures of Kitteh have continued to be popular so I’ve kept chopping up bits of photos haphazardly to make new ones, who am I to argue with the public!

2011 continued the paleo themed illustrations with the above mentioned Quetzalcoatlus and a painting I wanted to make ever since I’d done the ‘official’ scavenging Tarbosaur back in 2010 for Dave Hone.

2011 was also the year of my clients being kind and allowing me to post about some of the other projects I’ve been involved in. So thanks to all for putting up with me asking “Is it ok if I blog this?”

I’d better wrap this up. 2012 is already shaping up to be interesting, with at least two ‘official’ paleo illustrations slated thanks to Dave Hone (watch out for ‘cute fuzzy death from above’!) and more freelance work and non paleo illustration on the way.

So thanks for watching, you’ve kept me painting! And have a great new year!


Kitteh: A Predator Meets His Match!

Here’s the latest Kitteh. I’m finally getting down to the nitty gritty of predator/prey tussles, so many tropes…

For best effect please imagine the narration is read by Kenneth Branagh.(make sure he gets especially tremulous on the last bit)

All kneel before Kittethulu!

Ok, so this is either late, missing the story it refers to by a couple of weeks, or early for a palaeontological Halloween cartoon. Take your pick!

This one might be funny to the 2 people who get all the references…. otherwise, just chuckle at the funny cat head on the cephalopod and make ‘octopussy’ jokes to yourself..!

Soon, more Pterosaurs!

Kitteh Revolutions!

There’s been quite a response in the palaeontological blogosphere about the two new dinosaur documentaries on the block, Dinosaur Revolutions and Planet Dinosaur.

Down here in darkest Tasmania I’ve been able to catch at least parts of these shows on the web, though not as much as I’d like.

The Kitteh cartoons are all about dinosaur documentary tropes and while I really wanted to do something about Revolutions in particular, Kitteh has never been about a specific show, otherwise his stereotypes wouldn’t be stereotypes…er… you know what I mean.

I’m also quite conscious that in these heady days of the interwebs I have more than passing contact with some of the people directly involved in creating these shows. Has this affected Kitteh’s response? A bit, though not to preserve the sensitivities of those people, but more because I’ve heard their stories about the production.

I’m also a fan of artists who worked on the show, like David Krentz and Angie Rodrigues, the latter especially for her beautiful and completely believable take on patterns and colours which for me is worth the price of admission.

Attempting to capture narrative almost entirely with action was a bold step I could only admire, possibly because there were times I wanted to slap Kenneth Branagh during Walking with Dinosaurs..(“Yes we can see the diplodocus has arrived! SHUT UP!”)

Working in animation, I have small understanding of the trials and tribulations of trying to get a show funded and in production, the compromises that arise during production and how much work is involved.

Being an animator, I could see where they coming from when they referenced Warner Bro’s cartoons. To be completely honest, while there’s a sensible part of me saying “But that’s not Science!” it was mostly slapped down by the gibbering fool wishing they could do “Rabbit Seasoning” with therapods.(or at least have a fossil being excavated suddenly leap up and start singing?)

In the end Kitteh could really only do one thing, a bit of a tribute that finds the fun and wonders if a new stereotype may emerge from Revolutions….

Kitteh in TerrorDactile!

Kitteh makes it’s return this week with more science documentary tropes and a special guest star courtesy of Dave Hone of Archosaur Musings, who supplied the highly accurate pterosaur reconstruction.

In other Kitteh news Illustrator Tricia of Tricia’s Obligatory Art Blog has created Kitteh fan art in the form of a (slightly disturbing) life reconstruction!

Toddle over to Tricia’s Flicker for a look at Tricia’s reconstruction of Kitteh and his Mouse prey, as well as Tricia’s take on one of Kitteh’s natural enemies.