Monday, December 22, 2014

Mesozoic Miscellany 71

Newsie Bits

The Danek Edmontosaurus Bonebed is the subject of the new issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. An important site for both research and outreach, the bonebed has produced over 800 specimens, dominated by E. regalis, but also containing the northernmost specimen of Albertosaurus, Troodon, and a bonus ceratopsian horncore.

More: Everything Dinosaur and both featured articles about the bonebed. University of Alberta PhD candidate Michael Burns was interviewed about the issue in general at Canadian Science Publishing. The introduction is available for free[PDF link].

Around the Dinoblogosphere

Rebecca Groom's rooster-y troodontid is gorgeous! The superlatives are tripping over themselves to stampede out my mouth.

More book reviews from Herman Diaz at ART Evolved, this time focusing on a pair of titles from the Walking With Dinosaurs franchise.

Gareth Monger is really delivering the goods in the early days of his Pteroformer blog, including this post about the need to stay open-minded as research changes the look of prehistoric animals.

At SV-POW, Matt Wedel tips us off to the publication of his description of a new Haplocanthosaurus specimen, in the free-to-access journal Volumina Jurassica's new issue, which focuses on the Morrison formation.

Brian Switek writes about research into the ranges of the Cretaceous sea bird Hesperornis, taking the approach of studying extant penguin growth rings.

Liz Martin writes about one of the big reasons 2014 has been good to paleontology fans: two new pterosaur bonebed sites, which are exceedlingly rare. The Brazilian and Chinese sites feature multiple three-dimensionally preserved specimens of Caiuajara and Hamipterus, respectively. They really are treasure troves, adding new insights into social behavior, egg morphology, sexual dimorphism, ontogeny, and habitat. Read on at Gimpasaura.

Ben Miller offers a look at The Last American Dinosaurs, an exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. It looks amazing, and I agree when he writes that he's "...a fan of this personalized approach to science communication. In-house scientists are museums’ most important and unique resources, and placing them front-and-center reminds visitors that science is done by real and diverse people, not caricatures in lab coats."

You may see Albertonykus at The Last American Dinosaurs in his role as a docent, but his recent museum visit post takes you to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History instead.

Fernanda Castano wrote a nice primer on the Anthropocene at Letters from Gondwana.

A clumsy Aucasaurus was the subject of one of Mark Witton's paleoart commission specials, and a unique piece it is - a bit of slapstick humor but beautifully rendered.

Lisa Buckley wrote about visiting the type locality of the ichnotaxa Ignotornis mcconnelli, sharing plenty of great photos from the site.

The Dinosaur Toy blog featured a review of the new CollectA Mosasaurus. They also previewed a mixed bag of upcoming figures from Schleich. The Kentrosaurus is nice, at least.

Extant Theropod Appreciation

Gray-Necked Wood Rails are Awesome (and Kind of Obnoxious).

Paleoart Pick

Apsaravis has done a gorgeous series on carcharodontosaurids, including this Acrocanthosaurus. You can and should buy prints of her work at DeviantArt.

Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, © Apsaravis, used with permission.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


In my day (and night and weekend) job as a freelance designer and illustrator, I recently was hired to do some advertising illustrations in a pixel art style, emulating the look of 8-bit video game graphics. It was a reminder of how much fun I had drawing on the old Tandy personal computer my family had in the late eighties, in which I would draw elaborate scenes inspired by the Sierra games I loved - especially the King's Quest and Space Quest series (for some reason, I was never allowed to play Leisure Suit Larry). I love chiptune music as well, so slipping into this complimentary realm felt very comfortable for me.

What came next was inevitable, I suppose: I began experimenting with pixelated saurians. It's been a fun exercise, and has actually given shape to a long-gestating project I've had in mind. The process of creating pixel art of dinosaurs fits in well with the driving inspiration of many of my design series, such as Cladistic Heraldry: how little visual information do you need to recognizably depict an extinct animal? Pixel art is all about that, of course. It leaves the viewer's imagination to fill in the visual gaps.

I've enjoyed creating these low-resolution archosaurs so much that I'm going to be releasing one every week for the next several weeks. To start, I translated my 2012 Anchiornis into a sprite.

Next, I chose Amargasaurus, one of my favorite sauropods but one I've never drawn.

Most recently, I heeded my wife's sage advice: "You should do one that people have actually heard of!" Thus, Tyrannosaurus rex.

Naturally, I am designing merch for these designs in my online store, in my quest to have a ginormous shop full of a diverse array of prehistoric animals. Mugs, stickers, and tees are all available at my Redbubble shop. I'll be sharing these weekly at the LITC Facebook page; like us there for treats like these, post sneak peeks, and scintillating conversation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Introducing Aquilops!

The early history of ceratopsians is mostly known from Asia, so it's with great fanfare that Andy Farke et al. present Aquilops americanus, a 106 million-year-old animal from the Cloverly formation (unit VII) of Montana, USA*. Accompanying the paper (published today in PLOS ONE) are a number of superb artworks from renowned palaeoartist and occasional soggy-looking rapper Brian Engh - not only depicting the tiny, spiky-cheeked Montanan of long ago, but also placing it in a richly realised palaeoenvironment. They're quite ravishing to look at, I'm sure you'll agree, and happily Brian was more than happy to share the full story behind them.

All artwork is © Brian Engh, used with permission. Do not reuse without permission, or a Gobiconodon will get you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mesozoic Miscellany 70

Newsie Bits: Dispatches from Isla Nublar Edition

Just as the previous installment of Mesozoic Miscellany went up, the Jurassic World trailer hit the web, sparking conversation, argument, and ranting that continues unabated. From a JP-virgin's-eye-view to a celebration of my personal favorite scene of the original film to an interview with a leading figure in the online JP fan community, we've certainly written many words about Jurassic Park over the years. I vacillate daily about whether I should chime in about Jurassic World. I find I have sympathies with "both ends of the spectrum," leaning more towards the negative side, but wonder how much I can really contribute to the conversation.

Anyhow, we'll see if I can resolve my own feelings to the point that I feel like posting about the trailer and the issues that have been discussed over the last couple weeks. In the meantime, here is a collection of writing that represents this sprawling discussion pretty well: reactions positive, negative, and pragmatic.

First up, a brief interview with Jack Horner himself about his role as an advisor on the franchise. Oddly, he seems to think that riding down a river populated by titanic sauropods and thagomizer-bearing stegosaurs would be no more dangerous than being around cows in a pasture. Which seems kind of unlikely.

Tony Martin wrote about the ichnology of the Jurassic World trailer.

John Conway's been particularly vocal, and with his hilarious grumpiness concerning most movies he and Darren talk about on the TetZoo podcast, you can probably guess where this is going. He's not just bashing it for the sake of it, however: he's specifically annoyed by the ways critics of the JW dinosaurs are dismissed as being supercilious nerds. He's written some of the best defenses of JW critics so far, at his blog and in a guest column at the Guardian. He and Darren have a fun conversation on the latest TetZoo podcast, as well.

On the other hand, Chris DiPiazza offered his perspective at Jersey Boys Hunt Dinosaurs, and is pretty excited for the movie - especially to see what's going on with the seemingly trained pack of raptors. At the Ornithischian Revolution, Ali Nabavizadeh shares similarly optimistic thoughts.

The Jurassic World website, presented as a straight-faced corporate site dedicated to the working park in the fictional JP universe, was launched around the time of the trailer. It's pretty well done, and offers some glimpses into the design of the working theme park. However, paleoartist Brian Choo noticed that icons on one of the attractions bear strong resemblance to various illustrations, as if the production designers didn't really, y'know... care about copyright. Matt Martyniuk and Glendon Mellow both cover the issue at DinoGoss and Symbiartic, respectively.

At Prehistoric Pulp, Walt Williams singled out the overt nostalgia-baiting of the trailer. "I don’t want a film whose main draw is reminding you of that great movie you saw as a kid. I want it to stand as a good film on its own."

Will Svensen at Tyrant King Productions is disappointed by what he thinks are boring, badly rendered dinosaurs.

At Antediluvian Salad, Duane Nash takes a pragmatic look, putting the whole JW kerfuffle into context while not necessarily forgiving its flaws.

The mosasaur in the JW trailer is pretty freaking huge, and both Zach Miller and Craig Dylke have posts about it.

Finally, check out the funny Bouletcorp comic about a realistic Jurassic Park.

Around the Dinoblogosphere

There are some new kids on the block that I've seen pop up: first is Gareth Monger's new Pteroformer blog, in which he discusses paleoart as well as sharing progress on his new book project. The second is "Thagomizers," a video series exploring paleoart and pop culture's history of popularizing paleontology (that's a lot of P's). The first episode, introducing the series, went up in November.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City (NEW YORK CITY!?) also launched a new video series. "Shelf Life" explores the museum's collections in monthly videos. Here's the first installment, "33 Million Things."

Fossils for Africa, featuring the art of Luis Rey has been published, and the artist wrote about it at his blog.

David Prus expressed his gratitude for the mighty Deinocheirus this Thanksgiving.

Morganucodon popped its fuzzy little head up at Mark Witton's blog.

Some German-flavored paleo-blogging: Liz Martin writes about the pterosaurs of Stuttgart and Munich, Heinrich Mallison writes an account of the measurement of the Berlin Giraffatitan and provides a wealth of photos at Dinosaurpalaeo. At Saurian, Mark Wildman reflects on the recent SVP meeting in Berlin.

Extant Theropod Appreciation

I've been a fan of the bite-sized natural history podcast Natural Selections for a long time, and they recently had a run of episodes all about birds. Host Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smith's College discussed bird phylogeny, the colors of eggs and their shape, and the ranges of American seagulls.

Paleoart Pick

As an example of a Velociraptor that manages to have the presence of an actual animal that lived as well as satisfying a bit of that AWESOMEBRO badassedness the Jurassic Park films surely require, I submit Ville Sinkkonen's wonderful recent piece.

Velociraptor © Ville Sinkkonen and used with permission.

Check out more of Ville's work at DeviantArt and ArtStation, and consider purchasing a print from him - though he only has his popular "Dave" available at the moment, it's a hell of a piece.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Great 2014 Dinosaur Gift Guide: Volume 3!

And I'm back to wrap up the gift guide, in which I gently exhort you to bestow the gift of paleoart upon your dinosaur-loving friends and relations, It's a clear win-win in that it supports independent creators who work hard to produce engaging, accurate representations of extinct life and it provides the recipient with a unique and memorable gift. Catch up with parts one and two, if you haven't seen them yet.

The Tales of Prehistoric Life series of books by Daniel Loxton, published by Kids Can Press.

Daniel Loxton's three-part Tales of Prehistoric Life series is a great way to fill a young dinosaur hunter's bookshelf. I've given them as a gift to a precocious young paleontologist-in-training, and he was particularly taken by the books' combination of realistic dinosaurs in a narrative story. I reviewed the books here recently; take a look and see for yourself.

The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi, published by Titan Books.

Julius Csotonyi is a modern master of paleoart, as evidenced by his winning the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s Lanzendorf PaleoArt Prize for 2-Dimensional Art three times. He sells prints of his immaculately rendered prehistoric scenes on his on-line store, and was also the subject of this year's Titan Books publication The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi: Dinosaurs, Saber-tooths, & Beyond.

Gravity cannot reach us anymore
Pteranodon © Mark Witton, via Flickr.

Mark Witton is another influential figure, perhaps more than any other single artist popularizing the appearance of pterosaurs as informed by modern science. He recently began selling prints, and authored Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy, which was published last year.

The LITC Aisle

Top-to-Bottom: Deinocheirus by Asher Elbein, Lambeosaurus by Niroot Puttapipat, and Buitreraptor by David Orr.

Finally, I'd be a poor capitalist if I did not mention that your intrepid bloggers here at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs have their own wares for sale. I feel very lucky to share LITC with such talent. Asher's art is available at DeviantArt, Niroot's is available from DeviantArt and Redbubble, and my designs and illustrations are all at Redbubble.

I'm also supremely delighted to announce...

You can support the blog directly by purchasing official LITC merchandise! The logo is available in pink and black or in all white, both on a wide variety of products. I'll be rolling out a redesign of the blog soon, but as a sneak peek I've created merchandise of the new logo. Proceeds from these sales will help us purchase books and offset possible future expenses related to the hosting of the blog. Not a bad present, just imagine gathering the whole family (however you may define it, of course) for a holiday portrait in red and green LITC tees...

I hope this series has inspired you to support paleoartists and publishers releasing good work. There are so many options for dinosaur toys, videos, models, games, and books. If even a fraction of the people who keep the Big Dinosaur Merchandise Train rolling down the rails patronized artists and small publishers who consistently push out inspiring work, it would be a heck of a lot easier for those creators to keep doing it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Great 2014 Dinosaur Gift Guide: Volume 2!

Welcome to part two of the LITC 2014 Dinosaur Gift Guide! If you missed the first installment, check it out here. the goal with this brief series of posts is to highlight artists and other independent creators of dinosaur goods. Since paleontology depends on the work of artists to reach the public, it's vital to directly support them when possible. There has never been an easier time to do it, and dinosaur lovers have never had such a wealth of amazing art by so many talented people.

Onward with the second installment. I've decided to split this guide off into a trilogy to keep the post lengths reasonable, so the third and final part will be coming Wednesday!

The Paleopost Postcard set, featuring the work of Tiffany Turrill and Brynn Metheney.

Tiffany Turrill and Brynn Metheney are concept artists in the videogame industry, and every single time they share their dinosaur work, it's the sweetest of sweet treats. Their Paleopost postcard set is a great way to get some of their finest work in one package - saurian and otherwise extinct.

Arthropod Meeting by Glendon Mellow, available from his Redbubble shop as a print or as part of his wonderful 2015 calendar.

Glendon Mellow doesn't do a lot of dinosaurs, but his utterly unique eye deserves inclusion here, often drawing from prehistory for inspiration in his surreal juxtapositions. His Avimimus, available as an iPhone or Galaxy case would be a great set of training wheels for someone working up the nerve to commission him for one of his striking tattoo designs!

Trikeratos by Scott Elyard, an exploration of cybernetic technology and prehistoric life, available as prints, pillow, tote bag, or tee at Redbubble.

Scott Elyard also has a uniquely unfettered imagination, with a portfolio populated by cybernetic saurians and brightly colored skull portraits.

Lesser Bowertyrant by Raven Amos, available as a print, pillow, or tote bag from Redbubble.

Raven Amos' work is consistently eye-popping, with bold color choices, stylistic daring, and intricate line work. Raven's work is available at Neatorama as well as Redbubble. The Neatorama store also includes her Nintendo/Kaiju Mashup series. Her GaMario and Linkzilla are slam dunks.

The mighty Dreadnoughtus, illustrated by Christopher DiPiazza and available as a print from the Jersey Boys Hunt Dinosaurs Zazzle shop.

Christopher DiPiazza has been sharing wonderful watercolor paintings of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasties for a good long while over at Jersey Boys Hunt Dinosaurs, and you can support him and the blog as an enterprise at their official Zazzle shop. From their heraldic blog logo to feathered maniraptors panoramas, there's plenty of great stuff to choose from.

The Caffienated Raptor mug, by Emily Willoughby and available from her on-line store.

Emily Willoughby is a shining star in today's paleoart universe, bringing a naturalism to her feathered maniraptors that perhaps more than anyone other single body of work invites lovers of today's extant theropods to extend that appreciation to their Mesozoic forebears.

The TetZoo Aisle

The covers of All Yesterdays and Cryptozoologicon: Volume 1, from Irregular Books.

The fellows of the TetZoo/ Irregular Books empire are marvels of productivity, especially considering the high quality of their work. I consider All Yesterdays a must-have for paleoart enthusiasts, both for the sheer volume of beautiful, challenging work inside and for the way it communicates the strong tug-of-war between imagination and inference at the heart of paleontological restoration. Their Cryptozoologicon: Volume 1 applies a similar approach to the existence of cryptids. Darren Naish's Tetrapod Zoology: Book 1 would round out a nice little book set.

Of course, there are other options available to support their unflagging efforts to educate and inspire natural history enthusiasts. Memo Kosemen sells prints from his DeviantArt account, John Conway sells his from his own site, and Darren Naish sells his designs on tees at Redbubble. The TetZoo Podcast also has its own Redbubble shop.

We'll wrap up with the third part on Wednesday, which will include even more artwork and books to stuff those stockings with.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Great 2014 Dinosaur Gift Guide: Volume 1!

Though any time of year is the right time to bestow a saurian gift upon a friend or loved one, this time of year seems to put special focus on gift-giving. I'm not sure why.

In the interest of helping people find unique and inspiring dinosaur gifts, I've put together this guide. It's certainly not meant to be comprehensive, but rather is an attempt help you choose gifts that both delight their recipient and support the forward progress of paleontology. One easy and meaningful way to do that is to support artists who care about how distant chapters of life's story are presented, and work hard to research their subjects and depict them in novel ways. Also deserving of support are the publishers who commission said artists and dedicated shops who specialize in dinosaurs, such as Everything Dinosaur and Dan's Dinosaurs. What I especially love about the Dan's Dinosaurs is that they work directly with artists, so there are a number of links below that lead to their site - if you're looking to wow someone with original artworks or excellent sculptures, it's a great place to start.

Andy Farke at the Integrative Paleontologists had a similar post idea, and beat me to the punch. Be sure to read his gift guide over there. Since this was already mostly written up, and there are a few differences, I figured I'd go ahead and post mine, as well. It's so packed with sweet goodies, I'll be splitting it in two, with the second half queued up for Monday.

Stenopterygius Palaeoplushie by Rebecca Groom, available at Etsy.

Rebecca Groom's work has been steadily growing in popularity, and for good reason. She crafts some of the finest plush prehistoric critters I've seen (and you don't have to rely on my opinion - her Velociraptor Kickstarter was a resounding success). Her Palaeoplushies are available in limited supply at her Etsy shop, with a larger range at Dan's Dinosaurs. Rebecca also designed a heraldic Microraptor that would be welcome in any enthusiast's wardrobe.

Velociraptor portrait by Angela Connor, available at her Redbubble shop.

Angela Connor has popped up here before when I included her Paleo Portraits series in a Mesozoic Miscellany post. I love the simplicity and charm of the project, putting special focus on the "soul" of the animals, if I may be so woo-woo.

Stegoceras validum by Matt Martyniuk, available as a print from his DeviantArt store.

Matt Martyniuk is no stranger to readers of this blog, as a whip-smart researcher and terrific illustrator. His book projects would be especially inspiring to the paleontology prodigies in your life. His A Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs came out in 2012, and this year he released his first Beasts of Antiquity title. Matt also sells prints at his DeviantArt page, my favorites of which reimagine classic natural history illustration styles of the 18th and 19th century with modern knowledge of dinosaurs: as if an Audubon stepped into the Mesozoic.

Tempest Tricera by Sharon Wegner-Larson, available from her Redbubble shop or Etsy.

Sharon Wegner-Larson's Synapsid Sunrise was one of the delights of our All Yesterdays Contest back in 2013. Her paleo-themed fabric designs such are wonderful (see the full set here), as are her watercolors of sea life and Mesozoic megafauna such as the incredible Triceratops shared above. Her Redbubble shop has two of her pieces, and you can currently purchase pillows, paintings, and prints in her Etsy Store.

Chubbie Anzu by David Krentz, from his Shapeways store.

David Krentz is also a fixture in the online paleo community, a jack-of-all trades who nonetheless seems to be a master of all. He has a Shapeways shop where you can purchase his sculptures (ranging from realistic to the fanciful like the Anzu shared above), and Dan's Dinosaurs sells his work as well. For the budding paleoartists in your life, the Krentz Presentz: Drawing Tyrannosaurus Rex DVD available from Dan's Dinosaurs would be an ideal choice. As if that wasn't enough, David has some really fun designs available on tees in his Redbubble shop.

Oviraptorid tee shirt by Jaime Headden, available from Redbubble.

Jaime Headden's illustrates intricately stippled skulls and life restorations, and would be perfect for those who admire the simple elegance of skeletal anatomy.

Prairie Moon Corythosaurus (original painting) by Angie Rodrigues, available from Dan's Dinosaurs.

Angie Rodrigues hasn't been very active lately, but is one of my perennial favorites. Her originals are featured at Dan's Dinosaurs, and for those who can't quite spend that much, she's got prints available at her own Redbubble shop and DeviantArt, including Triceratops: Autumn Refuge and Fly Away, featuring Iguanodon and Iberomesornis.

Ornithomimosaurs in autumn, available from Chris Masnaghetti's Society 6 page.

Christian Masnaghetti's work has impressed me for a while, and he keeps pushing himself stylistically and technically (I love his recent "Spino-potamus"). Purchase his prints at Society 6 and Redbubble. I also interviewed him a couple years ago, so check out more of his stuff there.

Stay tuned for the second half on Monday, which includes much more artwork as well as a number of books to stock the shelves of the dinosaur enthusiasts in your life (surely you know dozens).

Thursday, November 27, 2014


With 1980s-style dinosaurs once again grabbing everyone's attention, thanks to the recent trailer for the long-delayed instalment of a certain cinematic franchise, it's only fitting that my latest book is a seminal specimen from the era. Hailing from around the same time as the Normanpedia,WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (which absolutely must be written in all-caps) sees Norman and Sibbick team up again, but this time the results are a little more fun (while avoiding anachronistic humans and dinosaurs made up by Ray Harryhausen). The cover says it all.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mesozoic Miscellany 69

Newsie Bits

ThinkGeek, the popular on-line retailer specializing in, appropriately enough, geeky gifts, recently began selling fossils. This resulted in criticism from paleontologists, and eventually ThinkGeek's decision to halt the sales, at least for a time. Lee Hall posted about the controversy at Extinct Los Angeles, following his original post with a ThinkGeek reply, and his subsequent response. At Jersey Boys Hunt Dinosaurs - as well as her blog Shaman of the Atheistic Sciences, Lisa Buckley has shared her opinions on how to best approach the collecting of fossils. At i09, Artiofab wrote a series of posts on the issue - here, here, and here. Emily Graslie weighed in at the Brain Scoop blog. The American Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences issued a press release supporting ThinkGeek for selling fossils [PDF].

Around the Dinoblogosphere

At Dinosaur Postcards, Denver Fowler writes about some intruguing early 20th century photo postcards which seem to show paleontological work in the Morrison Formation.

It looks like Kansas has its very own bona fide Mosasaurus, after a history of taxonomic reassignments found putative specimens placed in other genera. Anthony Maltese gives you the low down.

Over at Art Evolved, Herman is back with more dinosaur book reviews, offering a positive look at Sloan's Feathered Dinosaurs and a less glowing review of the infamous How to Keep Dinosaurs.

Mark Witton is selling prints!

Learn about the less-publicized dangers of paleontology at Mary Anning's Revenge.

On the lastest episode of the TetZoo podcast, John and Darren offer a great tribute to Eleanor Kish, who recently passed away - in addition to discussions on the Shanklin croc, bird behavior, and the proud tradition of paleontologists giving lousy advice to artists. Thanks for the shout-out to Marc's 2013 post on Kish, guys!

James Gurney is on Soundcloud, and has been posting Dinotopia audio-books. episodes one and two are currently available. Expect a new chapter every Tuesday for the next three months or so. Gurney writes about the project at the Gurney Journey blog.

On the Dinologue Youtube channel, Brian Switek discusses the Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry at Dinosaur National Monument.

Paul Barrett writes about the Natural History Museum in London's unveiled a new Stegosaurus at New Views on Old Bones. It's the most complete specimen ever found and once it goes on public display on December 4, should be quite a centerpiece for their collection.

At Antediluvian Salad, Duane Nash writes about a visit to Big Sur, musing on redwoods living at the extreme edge of their range, the history of the taxon, and their use in environments in paleoart.

Jurassic World's teaser trailer is set to debut on Thursday, but since this is the way the world works now, there is a teaser trailer for the teaser trailer.

Edited: Well, that was quick. Here's the whole trailer, two days early. In-depth analysis to come!

Extant Theropod Appreciation

At 10,000 Birds, Larry Jordan writes about the Peregrine Falcon's use of tree cavities for nesting sites and shares a video of a peregrine taking on a brown pelican.

Paleoart(ish) Pick

I'm not going to pretend to get the whole Pokemon thing, but DeviantArt recently profiled RJ Palmer, who illustrated the realistic Pokemon series, about his dinosaur obsession and the way it informs his work. They're pretty great, and in the interview RJ gives props to some other great illustrators, including official friend of LITC Paul Heaston. Check it out (er, catch 'em all)!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Cretaceous Tortoise and Hare

Once upon a time, in the autumn of 2011, I submitted an artwork requested by one Scott Persons of the University of Alberta via Art Evolved...

Three years later, the resulting set of three illustrations -- a race between an Olorotitan and a Tarbosaurus -- was finally published in the press release for a study of hadrosaur locomotion by Dr. Phil Currie and Scott Persons, which I expect a number of our readers are already familiar with, either independently or via the Chasmosaurs Facebook page. There is also a podcast about the research. Here, for your delectation and privilege (or indeed indifference and ennui, so please you) are the illustrations at a much larger size, which can be opened out in a new tab/window for full-view if you wish. Much of the comic expression in the dinosaurs' eyes are missed in reduction -- something which I hadn't accounted for when I drew them.

The Aesop analogy subsequently repeated in the article was one which had actually occurred to Scott as a result of my original submission, as quoted in my linked Himmapaanensis post above: '...this is a charming twist (and one I had not anticipated). I like it very much!' I readily confess that my simple little ego was considerably flattered by this.

There is also a story behind the flag-waving Protoceratops, who was originally accompanied by a much more incongruous figure (again, for the sake of this post's conciseness, please see the first link for this). I don't know, you'd think I had a penchant for such a thing...

Prints of the illustrations were donated to the silent auction at the Alberta Dinosaur Research Institute fundraising dinner this past weekend. Sean Willett of the Dragon Tongues podcast (whom Marc and I had the great pleasure of meeting and speaking to at the first TetZooCon, and for whom David recently completed a new logo) had very kindly placed a bid on them. He informs me that the prints finally sold for over $100.

Photograph by Sean Willett

Of course, given that it has been three years since their creation, there are several things I would do differently now. So consider this the appropriate disclaimer/apology for any obvious shortcomings. I do know, however, that I would relish more such opportunities for playful pictures accompanying serious research in formal publications. Can we make this A Thing, please?