Fossil Friday: A Peak in the Sketchbook

I don’t have a critter ready to feature today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have Fossil Friday. 🙂 I’ve been hard at work with the illustrations for the short story collection, which is getting close to my personal deadline to finish it! Take a quick peak in my sketchbook to see what I’ve been working on….

First up are a few drawings from the aquatic creatures like Hybodus and Plesiosaurus. Hybodus was a shark-like animal that patrolled many of Earth’s shallow seas for an incredibly long time. Species of Hybodus span from the Permian period (the era just before the Triassic, the dawn of the “dinosaur age”) all the way to the late Cretaceous during the reign of Tyrannosaurus. In the first image all fish are drawn to scale.

The second image is featured on the fun facts section for Plesiosaurus, a marine reptile famous for its long neck. In the story, Nessie the Plesiosaurus is fed squid stuffed into ammonite shells, so I explored ammonites and other similar creatures.

The following two drawings are featured in the fun facts for one of the first stories, Ceratosaurus. Since Ceratosaurus and many of its neighbors in the Morrison Formation have the prestige of being among the first dinosaurs named, I thought it would be fun to show how our image of dinosaurs has changed over time. No, it has nothing to do with an excuse to draw vintage dinosaurs…nothing at all. 😀

Once I started researching vintage paleoart from the late 1800s, I couldn’t help but imitate the charm and personality of their drawings. I love seeing Stegosaurus’ many varying plates and tail spikes before they understood the arrangement as we do now, and most scale drawings have some snarling predator creeping up to an utterly oblivious herbivore and/or human. I almost went for the derpy Diplodocus with toothpicks for legs, but it was just a little too awkward, and even at the time most people did not think Diplodocus was a belly dragger (They thought sauropods were water-dwelling creatures, surely something as big as a whale couldn’t hold up its own weight!). Just for fun though, I’ll show you what I mean at the end of this post. 😀

The middle picture is just a close up of the two Ceratosaurus, modern and old. 🙂

This image was borrowed from, which has collected all of Heinrich Harder’s beautiful artwork along with other art published before 1923.

This picture is not mine, obviously, but painted by German artist Heinrich Harder. He did a large series of paintings for collectible cards of prehistoric animals, and all of them are gorgeous. I find it rather interesting that a Brontosaurus he painted holds its body up on strong, almost bear-like legs instead of these spindly lizardy ones. You can find that Brontosaurus here, and I highly recommend heading over to take a look at his card collection here and here.

Thank you so much for stopping by! See you on July 1st for the next Critter of the Month! 😀

Critter of the Month: Leedsichthys

Meet Gulper. He’s the biggest, most easy-going fish in the sea.  All he wants in life is to drift through nice sunny waters.  He’d love it if you joined him for a swim, and you’re welcome to hitch a ride on his fin. 🙂

Gulper is a gigantic guppy-at-heart. Do you happen to have a goldfish bowl the size of the Mediterranean Sea?

Today we have a short comic featuring one of Gulper’s giant friends. It’s speculated that these gentle giants would’ve gathered together to feed on giant clouds of plankton and other tiny creatures in the ocean.

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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 the Dimorphodon chases after something.

The little girl clung tightly to the small creature, his wings folded close against his furry body. His back paws 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.

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Critter of the Month: Gargoyleosaurus

Meet Gertrude! She may be as tough and pokey as a gargoyle, but she loves to cuddle.

A happy Gargoyleosaurus walks through fog.

The little ballerina princess shivered as she stared up the sidewalk to Uncle Pete’s house. Tombstones rose up through the dense fog, and bones littered the ground. She nudged a giant rib with her toe, clutched her goodie bag and ribboned wand tightly, and stepped forward.

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Critter of the Month: 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. 🙂

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.

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