Critter of the Month: Dimorphodon

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… 😉

Douglas.jpg

The little girl clung tightly to the small creature, his wings folded close against his furry body. His legs dangled loosely down by her legs, but he didn’t seem to mind. He gazed up at her pink, rounded face with the wide-eyed curiosity of a bird as she chattered about lizards and the rough bark on the pine trees that bordered the fenced backyard.

The bag hanging from her shoulder bounced a little against the velvety fuzz of his leg, and he wriggled. Her short arms loosened around his leathery wings, and the bag slid down to her elbow.

“No Douglas,” she said, her lower lip puckered out in a focused frown. “Have to be patient.” She half dragged the creature and bag across the grass until they reached the center of the yard.

The little girl set Douglas down on the grass, and he poked his overlarge head through the crook of her arm as she dug into the bag. She giggled and took out a neon yellow tennis ball. Douglas chirped and hopped up and down on his mismatched feet and winged arms, his long tail bouncing like a tiny red flag behind him.

The little girl’s face lit up in a smile of little pearls, and his eyes followed the ball as she held her hand up. She threw the ball, and he raced after the neon yellow orb like a dog after a squirrel. He was really fast for an animal with wings for front legs. Every time the girl threw the ball he darted after it, using his flag of a tail and an outstretched wing for sharp turns. Again and again she threw the ball, and sometimes he’d catch it in midair with his needle sharp teeth. Then she clapped her hands and screamed with glee, her curled pigtails bouncing.

The next time she threw the ball, it dropped a few feet from her and rolled through the soft ferns and moss. Douglas caught it just before it rolled past a thin pine tree, but dropped it as soon as the little girl reached into her bag again. He scampered to her side just as she pulled out her hand with something in her closed fist. It was small, wrinkly, and looked a little like a stick.

Oh, oh, oh! Douglas chirped and jumped off the ground with his wings into a soaring leap. The little girl squealed in both delight and terror as the outspread wings and sharp little teeth soared up towards her hand, and she tossed the treat quickly towards him. Douglass caught it in midair and landed at her feet with folded wings, swallowing the treat with a quick backwards jab of his head.

The little girl carefully picked up Douglass around his wings and middle, his legs dangling. She left the empty bag laying in the ferns and grass, and a yard full of tennis balls behind them.

 

Making progress…

Two stories in one month! Well, technically the first was a filler, but I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😀 I hope you enjoy this one just as much. I sure had a chuckle or two writing it! I might need to have three posts this month, because I’m considering a special Christmas/ Holiday Cheer post. Maybe quick sketches, maybe a quick story, we’ll find out! 😛

As far as progress goes…Slow and steady wins the race? 😛

Well, I don’t know about winning, but at least it finishes the race eventually. 😀

Can you spot what’s different?

Steggy illustration_wipflat

Steggy illustration color_blogprogress.jpg

boy and steggy.jpg

One more person! And he has a face! Not the best face, by far, but I just can’t draw anything I’m actually happy with, so I guess the only cure is practice and actually continuing on anyway. 🙂

I know it’s small, but in my book any progress is good progress! Especially once I tell you what life’s been tossing my way these days. 😀

  • We moved to a new house! Not far from where we were, and it’s not very much bigger than where we were, but it’s still a major upgrade! It’s so much more efficient, and I love love love it. 😀 The kids are just as excited as if we were staying in a hotel. They loooove hotels. 😀
  • Say hello to a new babysaurus on the way! The egg will hatch next summer, so I’m still pretty early in the pregnancy, but I’m through the roughest part and feeling good!

With everything so busy with the move, and the unpredictable nature of early pregnancy, what little time I usually carve out for art has been used for much needed naps. I thought carrying my sketchbook with me everywhere I go would at least help in getting a few sketches for Instagram, but if you follow me and haven’t seen anything…clearly that plan didn’t quite pan out.

But…my thoughts are always free even if my hands aren’t (4 little ones y’know 😛 ), and I’ve been thinking on how I can tackle the picture book. Even if progress slows down to ninja snail speed, snails still go a lot faster than rocks, so I’ll be oozing along on this picture book no matter what. 😀

It would be nice to be able to finish something though. It’s great to accomplish tiny micro goals like, complete one more person for the spread, or post a sketch on Instagram. But I’m really getting to a point where I need something that’s officially done, but not something that will take time away from the picture book, because that’ll take even longer to finish. Can’t be doing that now. 🙂

So, here’s what I already have finished on the blog. 🙂

  • A lot of fully illustrated critters
  • A growing little collection of short stories

So what can I do with these?

Well the critters I can clean up a little more and make more items for Redbubble. I really like my mug and my phone case, and someone actually bought an art bag with Ajax on it! So I’d like to make more of these, even if purely for my own enjoyment and collector’s value. It’s something that I can see and touch and use and say, “I made this” 😀 And I can really enjoy using it because I made it.

The short stories I can clean up, polish, and publish in little collections. Again, it’s something that I can buy, put on my shelf, and say, “I finished this. It’s real” 🙂 Being able to see those books on my shelf would be all the encouragement I need to keep chipping away at the picture book. Plus then I’d have something to start sharing at my library or with people who are interested.

I would include little sketchy illustrations with the short stories. A bit like the sketches I post on Instagram. Perhaps with the color illustration of the featured critter.

I’m on the fence about including a few fast facts about the featured critters in the stories. Perhaps just a quick info page in the back of the book, but I’d like to know what you think about that. 🙂 I’d love to here from you in the comments.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and a special hello to the new faces I’ve met recently, and for you who come back every month. You know who you are. It really means a lot to me to see you here. 🙂

 

Coming Jan 1st…

This big guy loves to eat and have fun! Even better if he can play a game to win a snack! 🙂

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

8 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Dimorphodon

    1. It’ll be a while before we get to the Triassic, since I plan on exploring the Cretaceous next. So many new discoveries are made every year that I’m not making any lists for time periods I’m not currently exploring until I get there.

      You’re welcome to suggest Jurassic species though, especially critters that are not dinosaurs. 🙂

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  1. Yay, two short stories in one month! I really enjoyed reading them. 😀 I like how you were able to describe the surroundings while giving us some hints about the little girl’s talkative and bubbly personality in this sentence: “He gazed up at her pink, rounded face with the wide-eyed curiosity of a bird as she chattered about lizards and the rough bark on the pine trees that bordered the fenced backyard.” 🙂

    I could just picture the affectionate, but rather oblivious way she carries Douglas. 😛 I thought the gradual hints you gave of Douglas being a pterosaur were well done, since I’m guessing you wanted the reader to kind of figure out what kind of critter he was as they read on, with the help of the illustrations. I thought the scene where the little girl gives Douglas a treat was very vivid, and I could easily play a little movie of the scene in my head. 😀

    I did find the sentence “using his flag of a tail and an outstretched wing for sharp turns” a little hard to visualize—the illustration helps with that, though—and my eyes kind of skimmed over it as a statement of a fact rather than a description of what happened. But that could’ve been kind of what you were going for. 🙂

    I like the idea of adding the colored illustrations also, but I wonder how that would look together with the sketches since the styles are a bit different? And fun facts are always cool! If you are going to add some extra info, though, I personally think that it would be better to add them as a little complement—maybe a fun fact between each story, kind of like how a lot of short story collections have quotes between each story? 🙂

    Ooh, ooh, and you added the little boy to the illustration! I think he looks good, though is it just me, or is his right arm and hand bigger than his left? Good job on those hands, by the way—I always find them hard to draw. I also noticed that you lightened the foliage. Is that so the focus is on the main characters, or is it for another reason?

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    1. Thank you so much for the detailed feedback Brownie! t’s just what I need. 😀

      Lol, I actually didn’t do anything to the foliage, just added the boy, but perhaps something about the color of his clothes gives the illusion that the foliage around him is lighter. 🙂

      I like the idea of the quote-like quick facts. 🙂 Something that’s a little different from the standard habitat, diet, time period formula. Perhaps there’s a way I can incorporate some basic info like favorite food, or which critters are or are not dinosaurs, in that brief, quote-type format. 🙂

      True, the sketches are a bit different in style, but only in the fact that one is fully colored and the other isn’t. I look at Beatrix Potter’s illustrations of Peter Rabbit for inspiration here, since some are full watercolor, while others are only ink. But they fit in together just fine. Both styles use the same underlying pencil. 🙂

      I’m glad the descriptions I used were successful. Pterosaurs, and many prehistoric critters, are such unusual animals that an accompanying illustration is truly necessary if the reader is to understand the species (rather than a generic pterosaur or dinosaur, for example). I hoped that the insertion of the flag tail and how he used it to move would add a little personality and illustrate how he uses them. After all, tails and wings are more than just heavy decorations. I hoped the reader would get a picture of how he was moving. 🙂

      Thank you again for stopping by! Hopefully I can finish the next post in time for the new year! 😀

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  2. This is my favorite story by far!

    I love how you portrayed Douglas in the story! He’s so cute!

    I also like the idea of a collection of small books for each critter, having facts about them will definitely help the readers know about the critter they are reading about, plus it will entice kids to read it.

    Don’t stress yourself out on working on this too much! Having to move to a new house and having another babysaurus on the way while doing all of this will definitely be stressful. And as we all know, the more time you take on doing something, the better the outcome will be! 😊

    The next critter on the COTM train is Alfred! Well, I think it’s him.

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    1. Hi Kaprosaurus, I’m so glad you like the story! It’s one of my new favorites too, and (hopefully) shows how I’m getting better at these. 😀

      Thank you for the feedback 🙂 I have a couple of stories in mind to put into a collection, plus one or two new ones. I’m just figuring out how many to put in each collection. 😀 12 seems to be a pretty common number for short story collections, or 6 for the longer ones that take a few minutes to read. I suppose it’ll depend on the average length of my stories after I’ve cleaned them up. I was on the fence about including too many facts, but after your two cents I’m liking the addition of fast and easy facts. I’ll take a look at a bunch of kid’s books and see what sort of facts are usually provided. 🙂

      No worries, no stress here! Of course I would love to be making progress faster, but I also realize the reality of this season of life, so I do what I can as often as I can carve time out for it, while being careful not to stretch myself out too thin. 🙂 Thank you for being so patient and understanding! I promise I’ll make the long wait worth it, and no matter how crazy things get I’ll still post more art and stories for our COTM. 😀 Speaking of…

      You got it right! Alfred is super excited for his turn. 😀 Or maybe he’s excited for his Christmas treat? 😛

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