Friday, January 22, 2010

Carnotaurus and Bumps

Blogger is acting funny so I hope this turns out right.

I was told by a friend of mine that several people have said that my style is 'comic booky'. To that I say, Duh!, I'm a professional comic book artist, that's my job! I don't switch to a more realistic style because sometimes it's hard to switch back, and like it or not, comic book anatomy isn't always the same as real life. I do try to keep the anatomy on the dinosaurs as correct as possible but I'm sure some sort of comic style shines through.

I'm only bringing this up because on these people said that the 'bumps' I do are completely without reason, I just make it all up! And since someone in the comments also asked about it, I thought I'd do a post on it. Sorry it took so long, the new computer screen is playing havok with my head.

So on to the reasons, and the reason is the beastie, Carnotaurus. Well, he's part of the reason, the other things are the current feathered dinosaurs finds from China. Carnotaurus is one of the only decent large theropod skin fossils, they have most of a side (I can't find any of the info online, for some reason it's so common knowledge that it isn't important enough to put on the internet!) I do remember an article I read about the fossil impressions, typical dinosaurs skin, circular scales with occasional larger scales, with larger bump like scales in rows down the length of the animal. I don't draw all the little scales, it would take forever and I have yet to find any filter in Photoshop that will do it so I just concentrate on the larger stuff, following the Carnotaurus skin that's been found. I do a few longer scales on the heads of some of the theropods in keeping with current reptiles scales and bird feather placements. Since it is now believed that scales did not lead to feathers, these 'scales' are sort of a feather precursor, made up but not out of the realms of possibility. I'm quite sure feathers didn't just pop up fully formed and ready to go;).

As for the feet and hands, For those I use actual bird reference, or chicken if you want the absolute truth. We feed our dogs chicken and sometimes they have feet still attached. I've seen plenty a chicken foot so I use those for theropod feet.

I hope that makes sense.




  1. Though you've probably already seen this:

    I've read other papers discribing flower and sunburts patterns, particularily triceratops, which has a flower pattern, with one large scale surrounded by smaller ones. Some of the larger bumps you use could be discribed as scutes or osteoderm, which many dinosaurs had, not just the 'armored' ones.

    A few examples:

    Sauropods, such as titanosaurs were known to have them.

    Ornithopods with scutes: Hypsilophodon, Thescelosaurus

    Theropod:Ceratosaurus had small osteoderms along its back

    Some more stuff on scutes:

  2. Personally, I find your coloring to be "comic booky" but not your line drawings. I've been very tempted to take one of your line-drawings at color it myself, just to see an alternative.

    In the end, its your style, and looks fantastic. I believe I was the commenter who asked about the arm quills. They feel right when viewing them, and they feel right when I hear the explanation. How's that for science!

  3. Hi Spoinger,

    I have seen most of that, I was just focusing on the theropods. I left out Ceratosaurus because I'm an idiot, so thanks! I do think the new feathered Hypsilophodon and that Psittacosaurus with the tail quills throw some large monkey wrenches into who was feathered and who was scaled. But thanks for the links, I've already downloaded the pdf's:)


    Interesting. I'm not really a painter myself, I always hated working with paint, to messy and frisket was way to time consuming. It's actually very funny, since most comic book colorists can't color my stuff well, Jess and I use a different technique than pretty much everyone else who colors comics now (they pay crap for colors now so all the good painters left years ago:() so it does look different from the norm but that might only be to my trained comic book eye;)

    I did draw a comic with dinosaurs in it years ago, the story is crap and the inking on the dinosaurs doesn't work for me but it has the more typical comic coloring. I'll see if I can find the stuff and put it to show you.

    Thanks for the compliments:) I just finished up a Therizinosaurus for you guys at Art Evolved yesterday. Just pencils right now but if you prefer them to the colors I might not mess with it.



  4. David-

    Brett does the shiny thing. It's very comic booky, though you don't see a lot of airbrush type work in comics any more.

  5. I think your comic booky style is what sets you apart from all the other paleoartists out there. You have some of the most dynamic and exciting dino art I've seen, and it keeps me coming back. And Jess, your coloring compliments Brett's lines very nicely. Keep em coming. :)