I started with research. Hours upon hours of learning about all sorts of dinosaurs? Gosh, twist my arm.
Choosing which dinosaurs* to include was somewhat harder than I anticipated. I wanted a good variety — carnivores and herbivores, big and little, dwellers of land and sea and air. There are also some popular dinosaurs you just can’t leave out; doubling up on a couple letters (necessary to complete a 5 x 6 grid) helped with that.
I wanted each one to be as pronounceable as possible for the sanity of parents and developing readers. I also wanted to add what each name meant — I always found that fascinating — but refrained: in part because it would have crowded the artwork, but also because we’re no longer naming new specimen exclusively in latin and I didn’t want to mix different languages.
And, of course: FEATHERS. It’s generally accepted that many of the dinosaurs shown here probably had feathers. I indicated feathers when most of the examples of that species showed plumage. If only a suggestion of feathers was present, I chose to leave them off or keep them small and subtle. I’m an enthusiast, not a scientist, so I defer to the experts.
I started with some generic sketches on paper, but I already threw them out (sorry). They would have been a great example that things aren’t pretty from the get-go. They were REALLY rough, but helped me determine what I wanted the final piece to look like.
Next I moved to the computer. I started in grayscale to get a nice consistency in style, arrangement and pose.
I like when a subject has a strong silhouette — I think it helps to make a stronger, more dynamic drawing. I’ve done JUST silhouettes before, but rarely as a precursor to a more dimensional subject… I think the piece really benefited from this exercise, and I will for sure repeat this process in the future.
Then it was on to the color. I wanted simple, vivid, and non-gender specific. Dimension was shown by a gradation of that creature’s selected tone.
The final step was adding texture. We’ve got stripes, spots, scales, and of course feathers. Once I was done with the dinosaurs, I felt they were a little lonely on the page, so I added a planet in the background for them all to live on. I hope they all get along on there.
I love dinosaurs. I mean, I REALLY love dinosaurs. My brain reverts back to that gleeful state of when you’re seven or eight and just OBSESSED with whatever it was that you were obsessed with. I’ve sold a few of these on Etsy (thank you!), and I hope people enjoy having it in their home as much as I enjoyed making it.
I love my client work, but I also really love personal work. I’m glad I have room for both.
*After so much research, I now know a Pterodactyl isn’t actually considered a dinosaur. But that was one of Lincoln’s favorites, so I couldn’t leave it out. The Rugops probably wasn’t pink, either — cut me some scientific slack.