Meet Douglas. He’s excited to meet you! This bundle of energy may not be the best of flyers, but he loves to clamber all over things…rocks, trees, the couch, you… 😉
Quick, quick! Toss this little lizard snack for him.
That’s a good boy! He loves those little dried lizards. They’re a special treat. 🙂
What’s that? Does he fly? He can fly, but he’s much more comfortable on the ground, or climbing on rocks or trees. He’s a bit heavy for his size, and a 5-foot wingspan is not quite big enough for a pterosaur like Douglas. So he only flies if he really has to.
Short wings, strong arms and legs, and curved claws make for excellent climbing skills though! The wings are just useful if he needs to get up into the branches in a hurry (away from something big and hungry), or for an easier way down to the ground or between trees that are far apart.
Here he comes for another treat!
If you don’t like the look of the lizards, here’s a treat ball you can give him instead. 🙂 Hold it out with your hand flat, that’s good. He snaps it up super fast! Douglas doesn’t have a very strong bite, but those teeth are pretty sharp. Perfect for snapping up small, quick snacks like lizards, beetles, and small mammals.
Not at all like the Dimorphodon in Jurassic Park. 😀 Douglas is like a fuzzy flying lizard/squirrel. I could pet his thick fuzziness all day!
Fuzzy? Yup! Click here to find out more. 🙂
100 posts! Whoot! 😀
I hope you like Douglas as much as I do, he was a lot of fun. 😀
I actually kept track of my progress this time! I even took videos with my phone and did a screen capture of when I scanned him in for coloring…alas, my plan to make a little video about the whole process didn’t quite pan out. There’s a lot of things about the screen capture and movie editing software I still need to figure out first.
Oh, the joys of technology! Hopefully I’ll have that ready by next week. For now, bring on the pictures of progress! If you follow my Instagram @paleopetshop, you’ve probably seen a few of these pictures already.
Step #1: Concept Sketch
I did a little basic research before starting, because I knew nothing about Dimorphodon aside from knowing it had a big head. So I looked at Mark Witton’s skeletal reference while I drew this.
Step #2: Research, research, research!
More research! I read everything on Dimorphodon Mark Witton has written. Since he studies pterosaurs for a living, I trust his judgement more than anything else.
Step #3: The Macquette
I didn’t have what I needed to make a proper macquette, so I just used what I had on hand. Some non-drying sculpey clay I had in the closet. The wire in the pictures below is some stuff I bought at Walmart the day after I started the model. So Douglas doesn’t even have a proper armature. The head and body you see below is just clay, without the wire skeleton (armature) or aluminum foil to bulk it up.
Adding the wings…
I used the cheap jewelry wire I bought to add strength to the wings and legs. Down below is the wire “skeleton” for the legs. I bought what I thought was a thinner, more flexible wire to wrap around the larger craft wire, but the thinner one turned out to be harder to bend than the thicker wire. The thick craft wire was nickel-plated copper, so was really soft and malleable. I think the thinner wire was actually made of stainless steel, so turned out to be pretty much useless for what I needed.
So I improvised!
Instead of wrapping the thinner wire around the thick one (to help the clay grip onto it). I tore thin strips of duct tape to wrap around the thick wire instead. The rough edges of the tape was enough to give the clay something to hold onto.
Oh no! This is why it’s important to have a wire armature for your macquette’s skeleton. Good thing I could easily stick his head back on. 😀
It also would’ve been really nice to have Douglas’ wing strong enough to set down on. With an armature, the wing his weight is on could’ve been attached to a stand, instead of having to balance the poor critter on various contraptions so he wouldn’t get squished. This non-drying clay is very soft.
Plus even though Douglas had a wire in his tail, it kept flopping over instead of staying where I wanted it to.
A little more clay to his butt, plus a toothpick, and now his tail stays put! Sorta. 😀
Macquette done! I only put a bit of detail on the side we see. The hidden leg and shoulder don’t have any of the form this side has.
Step #4: Revised drawing
Oops! I miscalculated how much space his wing would take. No biggie, I can fix that. 🙂
All scanned into the computer and ready to color!
Step #5: Time for Paint!
First, I did some brief research on ground-dwelling and woodland birds, squirrels, and other critters that would fit in a similar slot in the food chain. I used the buff-banded rail as my inspiration.
All ready for the base color. No shadows or anything here. Just flat color. 🙂
I got rid of my color inspiration photo as soon as I started getting somewhere I liked with the color. I wanted to avoid copying the color scheme outright, especially since it wouldn’t really work with the fuzzies anyway. I’ll have to make a post about that at some point. Different kinds of color patterns work with different kinds of integument. Fur, scales, feathers, or skin have different patterns of coloration.
Some patterns are universal, but the patterning of that rail is unique to feathers and scales. The fuzzy integument of pterosaurs may have behaved more like fur.
Now that the base color is down, I set up my light reference photo and start painting in shadows. I’ve been using the same watercolor brush in Photoshop all this time.
First layer of light. Since the fuzzies absorb a lot of the light, it takes on a softer glow than it does on the white clay.
Next come the brightest highlights, where the light is strongest. The brights of the eyes, a touch of yellow-green on the neck and shoulder…at this point if I do any more I’d just be fussing over it forever, so it’s time to set him in his background!
Step #6: Complete Profile!
And here we are! A new critter to add to the shop. 🙂
I got the name Douglas from the movie The Croods. One of the critters the Croods pick up along the way is something that looks like a dog-sized alligator/skunk. A skunkigator. 😛 The boy of the family calls him Douglas, and I rather liked the name for this little guy. 😀
Pterosaurs have fun, totally wacky anatomy. I should add some more to the shop, or perhaps one of those weird croc cousins…hmm…so many cool Jurassic critters, so little time!
Coming Next Week…
This little guy loves to curl up in his bed with his favorite teddy. 🙂