Critter of the Week: Juramaia

Meet Maya.  She’s a sweet little fuzzball who loves nothing more than to curl up in your pocket.  At least during the day.  When the sun goes down, that’s when the party starts!

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Wait a second…what’s a squirrel doing in a dinosaur book?  Well I’m glad you asked.  So far, her kind is the first mammal discovered that nourishes her babies in utero with a placenta.  A placental mammal.  (humans, dogs, and elephants are also placental mammals)  This is unique from marsupials like kangaroos, or egg laying monotremes like platypus.  🙂

My little girl keeps calling Maya a squirrel (she’s 3 🙂 ), but she’s a bit more like a tree shrew.  Little Maya has sharp little teeth that are great for just about anything she can get her paws on, but bugs are her favorite.  That slender nose helps her sniff them out in the dark.  She has long arms and sharp claws that make her completely at home in the tree tops.

When you’re the size of a squirrel it’s good to be out of reach of giant dinosaurs!

If you want to learn more, here’s a great news article with a picture of the beautiful fossil. It even has fur!

Here are a few cute videos of sugar gliders. Sugar gliders are marsupials, so they have a pouch like a kangaroo. Maya doesn’t have the gliding skin membranes  sugar gliders have either, but she’s just as playful, and she loves clambering all over the furniture, or you!


Making progress…


I’m afraid it’s been slow progress this week. I haven’t been able to do much on the diorama, not enough to showcase here anyway (it doesn’t look very different from last week). But I’ve been able to work on digital stuff!

I don’t mind the slow progress on the diorama, since it would give me peace of mind to have the other stuff presentation ready. 🙂 Here’s a sneak peak on what I’ve been doing…

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Here I’ve put together a bunch of the first concept doodles for Pete’s Paleo Petshop, back when I was just drawing dinosaurs doing everyday animal shenanigans. Since my art presentation at the local library will be featuring my progress on making a picture book, I’m including a few spreads of idea-dumps like this one.

This next one shows how I decided on focusing on a different time period per book, starting with the Jurassic. I had some fun doodling different animals that might be featured in the book. I was also experimenting with a cuter style.

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Some fun with messy color sketches. More for experimenting with the fun of the idea, thinking about scenarios that might happen in the book.

And then of course there is the concept art that truly started it all. Steggy and her girls playing dress up. I hadn’t done any research yet (or looked up references), so Steggy has the typical balloonish look of most picture-book dinosaurs, but the illustration gets the idea across. Hard to imagine it’s been 2 years since I painted this, and the little doodles above. 🙂 Time flies!

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Now I have all these ready to print and frame for the presentation, and I have a few short words on the method behind the madness as well. I think I may just push to finish getting these together this week, so that they’re done and ready to go. Then I’ll be free to focus on the finished illustration without worrying about these other sketches and paintings.

I’d much rather be working last minute on finishing details on the final illustration than rushing to get all these ready in time! I know it’s a bit less exciting, but I know how I tend to linger on the details, so I’d better prep the fast stuff first. 🙂

I have to be honest. The clock is ticking, and Baby just might have to come sooner than I’m ready for. Only 8 more weeks to go! And that’s if she can stay in her bubble until the full 40 weeks. There’s a chance that she’ll have to come early, for medical reasons and her own safety. I’m doing everything I can to ensure that Baby and I are healthy, but sometimes life hands you complications that can only be managed, and not cured.

So far we’re managing the situation well, and if things continue as they are, we can wait for Baby to come when she chooses. 🙂

I don’t like to bring off-topic subjects to the blog, because I like talking about cute prehistoric critters, but I may write a special post about this. It’s not very well known, and it’s important that any pregnant mama who happens to stumble across this blog has access to this sort of information. After all, a big portion of my readers will be parents of dino-obsessed kids, including pregnant mamas. 😀


Coming Next Week…

This little critter may have a rough, pebbly outside, but she’s all soft gooey lovins on the inside. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Critter of the Week: Juramaia

  1. Ooohh… I never noticed the similarities between sugar gliders and Maya! If they still exist to this day,i would be getting them,since sugar gliders are one of my favorite pets.Those doodles are cool! I am pretty sure people will like your art,especially dinosaur fans! And Steggy (In the doodle that started it all) looks really cute! And no need to rush,if Baby is coming quickly than expected,then do not work quickly,overworking is not good.Skittles is next COTW! 😀


    1. Oh my, how did I miss this?! Hi Kaprosaurus, I’m glad you like my messy little doodles. 😀

      It’s always fun to just let loose and doodle a bunch of messy stuff, not caring how it looks. People seem to like the messy doodles a lot. I always like seeing quick sketches of artists I follow. They provide a bit of a window into their process, and sketches always have a lot of life and excitement to them. Something about the sketchiness and creative energy in them. 🙂 You can always tell how much fun the artist had while drawing them.

      Sugar gliders are adorable. I was able to babysit one for a friend when I was younger, and they are absolutely adorable! Of course, they’re very different from Maya, since sugar gliders are marsupials with a pouch, and Maya is a placental mammal like us, so no pouch there. Maya also didn’t have very much fruit to eat, but she sure loves insects, and I’m sure she would eat a cycad “fruit” whenever it was available. I imagine Maya’s movements and nocturnal behavior to look very similar to the little sugar gliders, so that’s why I shared the videos. 🙂

      Thank you for understanding. This past week has been pretty crazy as far as Baby is concerned, so I’m definitely being extra careful and taking each day as best I can. It won’t mean no progress at all, but progress will definitely be pretty slow. Perhaps I can draw a few sketchy doodles to make up for extra slow progress. That’s the sort of thing I can do in my sketchbook no matter where I am. 🙂

      Skittles post is up! I hope you enjoy her little adventure. 😀


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