Here is Deinonychus. Its colors were inspired by the Martial Eagle from Africa. Dromaeosaurs with bird of prey colors are pretty common in paleo-art actually.
At the zoo I work with a beautiful Wood Turtle. I wanted to do an ankylosaur with wood turtle colors for a long time but never really got the opportunity. Then time came for me to illustrate the armored pseudosuchian, Desmatosuchus, and I decided to apply the Wood Turtle's pallet there instead. I think it fits him nicely.
I used the patterns from the Australian Military Dragon on my Eocursor.
My Ornithocheirus were based on the Great Frigate Bird. I didn't give them inflatable neck pouches though. I actually like the look of a large almost-black pterosaur.
I keep a Fire Skink for a pet. (Her name is Ruby.) She sometimes comes to events with me to show kids an example of a non-dinosaur reptile. She also has GORGEOUS colors. I really wanted to paint a dinosaur that looked like that. Europelta was discovered soon after and I took that as a great opportunity to try it out.
I also always wanted to do a predatory dinosaur with alternating dark and light colored bands like the Black-headed Python from Australia has. Liliensternus has that nice long neck, tail, and legs so I decided it would be a perfect candidate to try this out on.
When I decided to do a Tylosaurus I actually was struggling with ideas for an interesting, yet plausible color scheme that hadn't been done already. There are a lot of whale and shark inspired mosasaurs but then I realized that there weren't many with sea snake colors. I found this odd since mosasaurs and snakes are actually pretty closely related. Here is my Tylosaurus with a Sea Crate pattern.
A lot of times when paleo-art uses modern animals as inspiration, the animals chosen usually have some sort of connection to the prehistoric creature that is being modeled after them. Also, birds and reptiles are used more often than not when depicting dinosaurs. The reality is, however, we still have never seen the colors on the vast majority of these creatures and there really is nothing wrong with using some more obscure models for color ideas especially if the end result still makes sense and/or looks good. I do this also sometimes.
|Using fish and amphibians as models for dinosaurs? This guy is nuts!|
Also let's be honest, if I never revealed to you that I used a Lionfish as inspiration for my Amargasaurus colors would you have noticed and/or said anything?
I know some people who's heads explode at the thought of using mammals as inspiration for dinosaurs as well. Camouflage is camouflage I say. Check out Concavenator.
Another one of my pets, a Iranian Spotted Newt has the most beautiful colors of any amphibian (It toally gives dart frogs a run for their money.) I took inspiration from that little guy's skin as well as the head of the Horned Grebe to make my Tsintaosaurus.
That's all for today! Keep in mind that I still do a lot of more or less original color schemes too, but sometimes nature is just too awesome to pass up on some of its pallets. What sort of color schemes did you think certain prehistoric animals had? Do you think they exhibited a lot of the same colors as animals do today or were they more or less completely different?