Critter of the Month: Archaeopteryx

Meet Tango. This bird likes to party, and loves being the center of attention even more!

We’ve been working on my big boy’s reading skills, and he’s been struggling to focus on some of the stories in his workbook. To be perfectly frank, they’re not really stories so much as exposition on a particular topic. What’s exposition, you ask? In a word…boring! So I thought I’d write a few silly stories of my own for him to read!

Here’s the first little section. I’ll have it finished and post the complete story with the next critter of the month. Keep in mind this is for a beginning reader, so some sight words and words that he can sound out lol πŸ˜€

To be continued… πŸ˜›

Making progress…

I must say it’s been a very productive month!

On the good side, I’ve been drawing a lot and having a lot of fun with the Jurassic Insect series on Fossil Fridays.

On the not-so-good side, the series turned out to be quite a bit more than I expected, so that took up a lot of time I could have used for the collection. (and updating Tango, he really needs one. Ah well, at least his box matches the others now πŸ™‚ )

On the plus side of that though, knowing I have so little time has actually made me more productive, lol. I wanted to have some progress made by the end of the month so I could update my little chart and show you, so the time crunch actually inspired me to get more done! And that’s even with drawing, inking, and coloring at least 5 bugs a week (not to mention all the research concerning said bugs), instead of the usual 1 critter featured on Fossil Friday! 

Making progress at a more “normal” pace should be easy once I get the insect series done. πŸ˜€ I’ll wait to do the creepy crawlies that are not insects (spiders, scorpions, and the like) for later. I’ve been itching to draw more dinosaurs again, and I want to get to the Morrison Formation. πŸ˜€

I hope you liked the beginnings of Tango’s little story. πŸ™‚

I got so frustrated with Joey’s schoolbook. I understand that it’s meant to help him learn about certain things, like picking out nouns, or learning about what characters or setting are, but surely they could make up something a little more interesting. so I had a bit of fun the other day making up a story about Tango and a Hunter, and how Tango flew up into a huge pine tree…

Only Archaeopteryx didn’t have any neighbor dinosaurs aside from Compsognathus. Pterosaurs flew overhead, lots of them, but they weren’t interested in Tango for lunch. Another problem, no shrubs taller than 10 feet! So my idea of towering trees was wrong too lol. That’s why I research, and I changed the story to fit Tango’s home environment. The first story I wrote can feature another dino that fits better.

That’s the thing about writing stories. People tend to think they materialize out of thin air just as they appear in the book, but that’s not true at all. Sometimes the entire story can change into something that isn’t like the original “first draft” at all! Even short little stories like this one. It’s just 10,000 times easier to spot mistakes and make changes with a shorter story than a 50,000 word novel. πŸ˜€

I had a lot of fun coloring this one too. I tried to paint just like I would with watercolors. No erasing, no layers, no white, and limited colors. I quite like how it turned out! Ironically, this is actually closer to the style I envisioned for the original picture book than what the critter profile images are. I may have to experiment more to figure out what I really want to do with the picture book. πŸ™‚ This way would certainly be faster!

Thank you so much for stopping by! It really means a lot to me, and it’s great to have this so I can hold myself accountable. πŸ™‚

Coming Oct. 1st…

This little guy is often said to be no bigger than a chicken, but he doesn’t mind the mix-up, he’s just happy to see you!

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

7 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Archaeopteryx

  1. Thank you Brownie! I’m really experimenting with this watercolor style now, because I really like it. I’ll definitely keep it for short little “easy-readers” like this one, but I just might have to do something like it for the picture book. The more time passes my idea for the style gets simpler and simpler lol. πŸ˜€ Hmm…I’ll have to experiment with the paper texture. At least a subtle one. It can be hard to make digital work look like traditional, but in the end I’m trying to evoke the essence of watercolor while still not trying to “trick” anyone into thinking it’s actually watercolor, you know what I mean? πŸ™‚

    Hehe, I’m glad you like the silly little story. The “trees” where Tango lives are really just large shrubs (typically no taller than 10 feet), but they do look awful tall to Tango!


  2. Great to see Tango again, it’s been a while! I love his little story, it’s so cute. πŸ˜€ I could definitely see the picture book in a watercolor style similar to this! I wonder how it would look if you added a subtle watercolor paper texture to the image, just for extra flare?

    I also really like how you use the simplicity of the words to add to the charm of the story instead of taking away from it. It makes it feel like we’re seeing the story from Tango’s simple, birdy perspective, like the pictures also suggest (especially that second panel–the tree looks so big to poor Tango). Can’t wait to see more! πŸ˜€


  3. So, for this entry, it’s good to revisit Tango. When will you cover the Morrison Formation for FF? Well, this is a reminder: Don’t forget to update your Dinotoyblog forum.


    1. Hi Angel, thank you for stopping by!
      There are just a few more parts for the insects of the Jurassic Period, and then I’ll move on to the Morrison Formation. I need to double check, but I’m pretty sure it’s just two or three more posts. I’m kinda grouping these as I go along, since there’s so much research involved on figuring out which ones were around at the time. If I don’t come across another group that requires a post by itself, then I just have miscellaneous “flies”, creepy crawlies like silverfish and roaches, and then lacewings and other insects I haven’t been able to group anywhere else.


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