Critter of the Week: Stegosaurus

Meet Steggy.  She might not have very much of a brain, but she makes up for that with the softness of her heart.  There’s not a whole lot that’ll surprise her (thanks to Pete’s training), and she’ll let just about anybody clamber on her back. 🙂

 

Steggy_update3

 

I say “just about” anybody, because there was that one time some kids wanted her to be their fortress in a water balloon battle.  That was a bit too much for Steggy.  But that class of preschoolers who came to visit were adorable.  Steggy just sat there and let them climb all over her (Pete stuck a few tennis balls on her spikes, so they wouldn’t be so sharp).  The kids had a great time painting stars and hearts on her big plates.

Steggy’s pretty mellow because of all the surprise games and “scary new things” Pete does with her.  Like horses, Stegosaurus tend to be nervous around anything new.  Like training a race horse to ignore the noise of the crowd and the track, Steggy here’s been trained to not freak out when she sees something new or something jumps out of the bushes.

That small brain (just one, and about the size of the average dog brain) means that Stegosaurus tend to be more reactive, you see.  More temperamental and aggressive when they’re surprised, nervous, or scared.  And they’re fast with that tail!

That tail is a spiked mace of pure muscle, and most Stegosaurus have a “swing first, don’t ask questions” sort of attitude.

But once Steggy figured out that Pete is just going to throw new stuff at her all the time, she learned to just not be surprised.

Here’s a peek into her thought process…

A giant stuffed bear in the crook of a tree?  Huh?  Weird.  Leaves are tasty…

Neon flags waving along the fence line?  What’s that! Ooh…pretty. (steps closer, takes a cautious bite out of a green one) Ooh, they taste funny.

A big, inflatable Halloween spider sitting in a corner of the pasture.  Monster?! Wait…monster? (stares at it for a while) Hmm…not coming closer…What’s for breakfast?

 

Making progress…

Isn’t it funny? The last time Steggy was featured as COTW she had an update, and now she’s got a new update again! 😀 Here are the many stages Steggy has gone through. 🙂

 

Steggy_update3
Our most recent update! It makes a big difference, having a little model to reference for light. 🙂 This one is also based on more research.
Steggy_update2
I Finally changed her color pattern and updated her eye, but this was a quick fix because I couldn’t stand looking at the other color pattern anymore. 😀
steggy
Experimenting with color patterns, and some research done here, but I was never very happy with this one.
6x8dress up with steggy_printready
The first edition! No ref at all and no active research. This was illustrated in the concept art phase. 🙂

 

Baby news!

Baby’s official D-day (Delivery day, if she doesn’t choose an earlier birthday herself) will be Monday the 8th. 😀 Everything looks healthy and I’m feeling good, but the earlier date is a precaution, since not much is known about my condition.

The only thing the doctors actually know is that Baby looks good now, so if we induce now, then we know she won’t get into trouble later.

The condition is known as Cholestasis. There are lots of good resources about it already, so I won’t go into details here (check out icpcare.org or itchymoms.com for more info). Let’s just say that the liver doesn’t function properly, and that can cause insane itchiness and major problems for Baby.

So if you, dear reader, happen to be pregnant and feeling itchy, please do not hesitate to inform your care provider.

It’s not just any itch.

It usually strikes at night, and can appear as soon as the second trimester of pregnancy. (usually waits until the 3rd trimester, but with my first three it started in the 2nd)

In most cases I’ve heard the itching is just in the hands and feet.

In my case, it’s always been an all-body itch that burns like fire. It’s not relieved by any scratching, creams, oatmeal baths, or anything else you might put on the surface of your skin to relieve itchiness.

It feels like a swarm of fire ants has crawled under your skin, head to toe. The only relief I’ve ever found is keeping up with the doctor’s prescription of Ursodiol, and soaking in clay baths.

It’s a rare, but miserable condition for Mama, and dangerous for Baby if left untreated.

I don’t say this to be alarmist, but Cholestasis is not very well known, and it’s rare enough that most care providers won’t think of it as an option until many weeks of sleepless misery.

I just want to make sure there are as many random places information about cholestasis as possible, so that if you are pregnant and have an itch that won’t go away and won’t let you sleep- ask your care provider about cholestasis of pregnancy or intraheptic cholestasis of pregnancy.

 

 

On a much happier note…We’re excited to meet our new little bundle of joy, and I don’t mind being induced at all since that means we get to meet her sooner. 😀

Since Baby’s arrival will cause some chaos for a little while, I will be taking a hiatus from the blog for one month. This will allow me to use every spare moment to get ready for my presentation in February, and so that I don’t stretch myself out too thin between house, hubby, and a herd of children. 😀

But no worries. I won’t be abandoning the book or the blog, and you can always keep up to date on my Instagram account @paleopetshop 🙂 I will still be uploading little doodles and things there.

So keep on eye on Instagram, or this site, whichever is easier (you can see my Instagram feed on the home page here too 🙂 ). And I’ll see you in a month!

Hmm…It’d be awesome if I can set up something special next time I see you…we’ll see how things are once Baby arrives!

7 thoughts on “Critter of the Week: Stegosaurus

  1. I really like this version of Steggy,but her tail i think is little bit more muscular than usual,not sure.
    Congratulation on Baby’s first (Technically) birthday! Can’t believe this day actually came for you,after all the weeks you have been making blogs posts,and i commenting on it weekly! Hopefully no major problems for her,i am happy for you,you deserve the one month break! I won’t be expecting any COTW next post,Pete and the creatures are gonna have a little late holiday celebration!

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    1. Hi Kaprosaurus, thank you for stopping by! 😀

      Thank you very much! Sweet baby girl arrived safe and sound on D-day, and I am feeling great! She weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds, and is very healthy. 😀

      I’m glad you like Steggy. I certainly do. 🙂 There seems to be evidence of the plates partially covered in soft tissue, while the rest is covered in horn. So part of her tubbyness is the fleshy pad of soft tissue her plates are embedded in. In theory, this would help the plates have a bit more flexibility along her spine, since they’re not connected to any muscles or bone. 🙂

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  2. Steggy! 😀 She’s back, and she’s gone through quite the evolution. I really like her latest update. 🙂 You did a good job on the shadows and highlights (that model you made must’ve been very helpful), and her picture really has a 3D aspect to it. Despite the rather tricky angle, the perspective looks great. I like her colors, too. She has a nice, rusted shade of orange; fitting for a children’s picture book but also a realistic “warning” color for a heavily-armored stegosaurus to have. And her round tubbiness is back!

    Really the only thing I notice that might need fixing is that on certain parts of Steggy (mainly the legs and feet) she seems to blend in with the background a bit. Unless that’s what you’re going for, maybe it would be good if you tried cleaning up just outside the lines a little, hardening the lines themselves, or defining the shadows along the edges more. 🙂

    Overall, it looks great! As far as art goes, Steggy’s probably my favorite so far. It’s interesting to see how your style has changed since you made your first concept for Pete’s Paleo Petshop. 🙂

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    1. Hi Brownie! Thank you for stopping by 😀

      I’m glad you like her. I’m much happier with her overall look now, especially how the light and shadow gives the illusion of 3 dimensions. 🙂

      In a painting, it’s actually a good thing to have certain areas (especially shaded ones) blend in with the background a bit. You want to have a single focus point, like the head, and it would be hard to have that if every part of the illustration was equally detailed and sharp. Plus, areas of shadow naturally lose contrast and sharpness. Look at just a few famous paintings, and you’ll quickly notice that many times the shadowed part of a face or hand will blend right into the darker background, while the brighter areas of the face really come into focus. 🙂

      The murky shadows at her feet also anchor Steggy to the ground a bit better. Help her look like she’s standing on solid ground. At least that’s the theory. 😛 I’ve been reading James Gurney’s books. 😀

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