Critter of the Week: Brachiosaurus

Meet Elmer. He’s a little shy, and likes staying in his comfort zone, but he’ll be your best giant friend if you give him some greens and a big hug.


The best way to a dino’s heart is through his stomach, as they say…  Well, that’s not really the phrase, but I’m sure it’s just as true, especially when it comes to these long-necked sauropods. 🙂  I think the rough estimate is a solid cube- 5ft x 5ft – of vegetation in a single day to feed one of these guys.

Oh, there’s Elmer, browsing on a few of the trees that grow here in the pasture.  You’d think you’d see him right away, he’s so big.  But his striped pattern is surprisingly good camouflage in that grove of tall conifers.

What’s he looking at…? Oh, here comes Pete on the Kabota. He’ll be joining us here on the platform to feed Elmer.  If you lean over the railing a bit and look down, see that row of big boxes kinda spaced along the wall?  That’s where the big bunches of conifer branches and ferns will go.  They’re in the big shed behind us, the one to the left of the stairs we came up.

And here comes Elmer.  My goodness, he’s fast.  It looks like he’s moving slow, but with those long legs he sure covers ground quickly!  And so quiet…You’d think there’d be the big stomping footsteps you hear in Jurassic Park.

Hey there Elmer!  We have a friend to see you today. 🙂

I just can’t get over how big he is!  What are we, 30 feet up? 40?


It’s hard to grasp how big these guys really are until you’re right next to them.  Come to think of it, that’s the way it is with most animals.

To think that Elmer is as heavy as 5 elephants.  Five!  And not just any elephant.  5 bull African elephants, which are about as big as it gets when it comes to land animals walking around today.

Here’s a video that helps put that into perspective…

So five of those guys is about as heavy as the average humpback whale.  Yes, Elmer here is every bit as big as a whale, and he’s not even the biggest sauropod out there!

Oh, hi Pete, we have a visitor today!

There you are, friend, a nice bunch of ferns you can give Elmer.  Just grab it at the end here, and make sure your fingers are in a nice, tight fist.

That’s it.

Elmer’s teeth are like pruning shears, so we don’t want to lose any fingers today by mistake.

I think he likes you!


Making progress…

So close!  Remember how I talked about the importance of baby steps last week?  Well with a few minutes of sketching here and there in between toddler potty troubles and sibling squabbles, I got the next color sketch done! 😀

You’ll notice I changed the layout of the spreads a bit on the page.  It’s easier to see the differences between the two kinds of scenes now, and for me it’s even easier to see how the scenes pair together.

I must say I am rather pleased with my first book illustration so far, if I do say so myself. 😀  There are areas that need improvement of course, but for the most part I’d say it’s time to get the final illustrations started once and for all…as soon as those last two color sketches are done.

dummy chart8.jpg

And just to show how much things can change when “fixing” a scene…here’s the rough sketch I started with.

flyers page

And here’s a closer look at the new color sketch. 🙂


Still a lot to do in the final phase of taking pictures and finding proper reference, perhaps even constructing a little mock-up of the scene to get the lighting right…but I like the general idea of this spread much better.

Those last two spreads will be challenging, since I’m still not happy with any of the thumbnails I’ve drawn up.  I may give those two a rest while I work on the info pages that’ll be in the back of the book. 🙂

Baby steps. 😀

Oh yes, and here’s a close up on Elmer’s updated look.  Come on Elmer, don’t be shy… 😉

Elmer close-up



Coming Next Week…

I hope you don’t mind getting wet, because this swimming critter loves to splash! 🙂

Share your guess in the comments! He’s one of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Critter of the Week: Brachiosaurus

  1. The art is getting better every update i must say,the new sketch is really detailed.And a question,are you gonna draw something for the back cover? Flipper needs a big tank for the COTW train,so we are gonna need a boat,plus it’s much suiting.Does my profile change? I keep changing devices to use in.


    1. Hi Kaprosaurus, good to see you here!

      Thank you! I’m a sucker for detail, so even though these are supposed to be mostly just experiments with color, I can’t help adding a few more details in the sketch. Which turns out well since I’m printing these out to test on people. 😀

      I need to go back in all of them and add Pete’s little bird though. That’s a crucial little detail I didn’t add to any of them yet.

      And yes, I need a back cover! No idea what I’ll be doing for that yet. I’ve been looking at the back covers of picture books for ideas 🙂

      Luckily Flipper is only about as big as a dolphin, so his tank car on the train doesn’t have to be very big. At least not as big as some other marine critters 😀

      As for your profile, I’m not sure what you mean. The little gravatar picture is the random default picture, which I think is different every time. And your name always shows up as anonymous.

      If you sign your name at the end of your comment I’ll always know it’s you. I can usually tell, but it’s good to know for sure 😉

      Thank you again for all your kind comments, it sure is awesome to see you here every week. 😀


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