The first one I want to show you is my VERY early scribbles for the giant marine lizard, Tylosaurus. I was messing around with different pattern and pose ideas.
|You can already see I had decided to use the Sea Crate for a color reference.|
Next is the trendy hadrosaur, Tsintaosaurus. I actually spent a lot of time settling on a color scheme. The big one in the middle was the first idea, which was inspired by the Marbled Newt. (I may still use these colors for a different dinosaur in the future. I like newts.) Then I thought of the color scheme on the bottom which didn't really have any modern animal inspiration connected to it. Finally, I decided to paint a color scheme using the look on the top right, which was inspired by a Horned Grebe and another species of newt, the Iranian Kaiser Newt!
Here is the finished product!
Next we have two dinosaurs that were both officially described within a week of each other this year. They are the North American oviraptorosaur, Anzu, and the Alaskan tyrannosaurid, Nanuqsaurus. Both of the ideas for these guys, as well as my latest painting of the pterosaur, Caviramus, were born on the same piece of lined paper. (Inspiration doesn't always hit when preferred art tools are within grasp.)
Let's go back to that Caviramus! After I came up with the initial doodle in my notebook, I decided that I really wanted to keep that pose. It has good depth and movement. I drew up a sketch on water color paper and asked paleontologist, Dr. Mark Witton, who is an expert on pterosaurs, if he would mind looking it over for me for accuracy's sake. He kindly accepted. Below is the first sketch I sent him.
After kindly looking it over, he pointed out that the elongated toes would have been facing inward during flight. He also recommended I make the crest larger since it likely would have been more elaborate from the structure on the skull in life. Taking this all in, I made the changes and sent it back to him like this. (I also tweaked the lower jaw ever so much to match the skull as closely as possible.)
This time Dr. Witton suggested I add more membrane between the back legs. This structure is called a uropatagium and has been found on several rhamphorhyncoid pterosaur specimens. He also suggested I make the crest even bigger. A concaved shape isn't very aerodynamic, and therefore probably not good for a flying animal. Friend, and fellow paleoartist, Vladimir Nikolov, kindly pointed out that I had forgotten to include the poor creature's propatagiums! The propatagium is a section of membrane on the inside of a pterosaur's elbow. Again, we know they had these thanks to fossils.
After making all those changes I began to apply the paint. (The propotagiums I actually had to add in after the paint...it was an off day.) In the end I was left with a very hard-earned, yet worth it, scientifically accurate Caviramus painting!