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!

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…

Quetzalcoatlus animated progression

I forgot to make my now traditional animated Gif of my Quetzalcoatlus painting so with it being a busy month for non-blog work I thought I’d chuck one up.

It’s pretty clear from watching how the painting came together that I’m going off half baked and things are developing quite organically.

What’s also clear is when I got a hand from Dave Hone to fix the anatomy!


Oh, and a little hint of what’s been keeping me busy….

Quetzalcoatlus: Big Bird goes Postal

Welcome to a dinosaur free painting!  Nup, no dinosaurs here! And before I’m lynched for suggesting Quetzalcoatlus is a bird in the title, there are no birds in this painting either.

Quetzalcoatlus is a Pterosaur, and so far as we know, the largest animal known to have flown. Once you start  imagining something as tall as a giraffe with the wing span of a Cessna flying about it begins to boggle the mind.

When I decided to make this painting on a bit of a whim I didn’t realise what a contentious animal Quetzalcoatlus was. Since its discovery more than 30 years ago it has yet to be properly ‘described’ by science, in part because its discoverer has hoarded it away and allowed only a tiny few workers in the area to examine the fossil. Despite 30 years of promises to spill the scientific beans, the beans have remained in their er.. scientific tin….

Pterosaurs as a group of animals are also contentious. Debate flows back and forth about many aspects of their anatomy, how they walked, how they flew, and what they ate.

In the end I was inspired by recent work carried out by Mark Witton and Darren Naish which suggests the family which Quetzalcoatlus belongs to may have had a lifestyle similar to ground based predatory birds like Hornbills or Storks. Mark is a talented illustrator in his own right and several inspiring images accompanied the release of the paper. Giraffe sized killers stalking around gobbling stuff up? What’s not to like?

A big thanks to Dave Hone for advice on the bizarre anatomy of these creatures.

PS: The little guy about to be dinner is Champsosaurus, he’s weird in his own right, if you want to know more I’ve discussed him elsewhere.

Daddys version #2

My just turned 5 year old son presented me with this awesome picture the other day.

Being the brilliant father I am I’ve since forgotten what he said it was… ahem.

Of course, all I saw was what I wanted to see, so to me it was the most awesome abstract expressionist drawing of a giant robot in a forest I’d seen.

Being an old hand at ripping off my kids’ ideas I couldn’t resist.


I traced over the lines I liked and embellished a bit, but when Isaac handed me the picture this is pretty much what I saw.

I shocked myself by drawing it in Flash(not my favourite software). Colouring was done in Photoshop. The giant robot in forest theme is pretty reminiscent of the Iron Giant. (if you haven’t watched ‘Iron Giant’ watch it now, it’s bloody brilliant)

I dunno, maybe the death ray should have been shoulder mounted……

Run Like a Champsosaurus!

It probably won’t stop you getting horribly consumed!

I seem to be a bit fixated on feeding large predators innocent bystanders at the moment.(please post psychological analysis in the comments section)

Champsosaurus is a new discovery for me. I was looking for a victim for the predator in my next painting and stumbled across this little guy. It belongs to a line of reptiles that developed parallel to crocodiles and looked a lot like them, likely with a similar lifestyle. Though they lacked the armored scutes and had much more lizard like skin. Choristodera experts feel free to critique his anatomy.

The freaky bulging skull with little eyes stuffed down the front and nostrils pushed all the way to the end of the snout had instant appeal.

I have to admit, I’m almost sorry that he’s about to become a meal……… almost.

Weapon: WIP and Adventures in Colour Spaaaaaaace!

So I’m fairly ticked off. I make a painting, post it on the blog, stick it on Imagekind to sell, all goes well… until I see it on another computer.

Grey mud. Lost my pretty blues and yellows to the ham fisted colour overlord that is Windows.(apparently looks even worse on Mac!) So what happened?

Experienced Graphic Designers will know I fell foul of not setting up my colour space properly. What’s colour space? (did you even ask?) I’ll tell you anyway you poor buggers.

All the devices and software we use use their own set of colours to display an image, some have a wider range than others. So when something is produced in one place it gets reinterpreted when you import it or display it somewhere else. Many things share the same set of colours, but plenty don’t. You can also make a colour profile that travels with the image which smart apps and hardware can use to help get the colour as close to the original as possible. So I really should have been working in my destination colour space. sigh.

So now to a little test. Below is a comparison of the original image, and a new one with the colour space corrected. Now for me the new image is too gaudy in Firefox(the filthy liar), but in dedicated Windows apps it seems to match my Photoshop colours.

I thought I’d do the usual gif sequence so you can see how disorganised I was as the painting came together, but one step along the way merits a little extra attention..

Yup, frenzied scribbling!

I’ll often do this trying to get the feel of something without getting stuck doing details. It seems to work for me to get the main masses and directions working, or at least to grab that fleeting picture inside my head and dump it on the page. Anyway, here’s the work in progress animation, enjoy!

Now with working animation!

Weapon: Tarbosaurus

It’s been a few months since I did a painting for Dave Hone’s paper on selective feeding behaviour of tyrannosaurs. When Dave first approached me I have to admit I was looking forward to painting some dinosaur carnage. Instead the paper was about a Tarbosaur delicately nipping stuff  it had found lying around, so I had to satisfy myself with a quick and dirty scrawling of reptilian mayhem….

Until now.

click for enbiggenment

I think the title is self explanatory.(must resist explaining) Sanja found this one a little uncomfortable to look at, especially the look in the poor Saurolphus’ eye….. not a good place to be.

When Dave’s paper was released much of the media jumped all over it as if it was all about Tyrannosaurs exclusively scavenging. So I thought I’d do my bit to tip the scale, at least artistically.

Luckily a bit of science came out just in time for my Tarbosaur reconstruction, with W. Scott Persons and Philip J. Currie detailing how Tyrannosaurs had some serious ‘junk in their trunk’ with massive tail muscles adding some serious er, horsepower(?) to therapod locomotion.

To the huge number of people who participated in last week’s competition, ‘What the heck is this?’ the truth is now revealed, it’s a big fat dino-callus. Dr. Mark Witton nailed it!

Mark wins a poster print from my new poster/art/print store over there ——->

The rest of you can buy things if you fall down and bump your head and suddenly feel like owning posters of prehistoric things.(it might happen)

While you recover, here’s a couple of full res images from the painting. (actually, you might have to click on them, they don’t fit in the blog!)

I’ll be back soon with some work in progress shots and making of stuff…..

Revenge is a dish best served by…Godzilla!

Recently got the terrible news that a friend and co-worker had been run down by a garbage truck. Thankfully Ching-Yee survived albeit with some pretty bad injuries. Now she’s stuck in hospital while she waits for her broken bits to get better. Ching’s husband James put out the call for her wide ranging artist and animator friends to get scribbling to encourage her to do some of her own drawing and keep her mind occupied, this is my small contribution. Predictably, a large scaly animal destroys something!

That’ll teach garbage trucks to pick on small animators on scooters.