Critter of the Month: Camptosaurus

Meet Copper & Daisy. These gentle giants are always happy to meet new friends.  They love being part of the group.

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Daisy opened her beak and let her tongue hang lose in a gaping yawn that stretched all the way down her spine. She shook her head, and her scaly skin rippled as she shook the yawn down to the tip of her long, rigid tail.

Satisfied with her shake down, she lowered her head and nosed the conifer needles and knotted roots along the ground. She shuffled the foliage to one side with her hands- scraping at the dirt with the claw that was her thumb, grasping twigs with two strong middle fingers, brushing needles and dried ferns into a pile with the stubby and clawless end digits…She patted the patch of ground one last time, and eased her body down front end first, like a cow. She sighed and, after taking one last look to make sure her herd-mates were shuffling nearby, closed her eyes, neck arched comfortably over her shoulders.

A deep, short, croaking noise by her head made Daisy open her yellow eyes, and she stared at the disturbance.

He was standing over her, his deep red throat bloated and vibrating with each croak. In his beaked lips he held a conifer branch, the tender kind with soft, scaly needles all along the branch, and he brushed this down Daisy’s neck and flank. Daisy just closed her eyes. She didn’t want anything to do with this nonsense, but Copper softened his croak to a coo, dropped the branch at her feet, and tapped his beaked nose against her dappled green side.

Daisy tossed her head and grunted a quiet warning, and Copper backed away with his head low. He looked sideways at her, silent, and Daisy arched her neck and closed her eyes. She heard shuffling, heavy steps, and she allowed her mind to wander as she relaxed into her patch of dirt and ferns. The sun felt warm and soothing on her green, pebbly scales, and she breathed in the tang of sap and spice of crushed cycad fruit.

Shuffling steps moved closer. Thud, thud, thud…and the rustling of dried needles and ferns. A warm weight settled beside her, dry and pebbly as she, and she opened one eye. Copper lay next to her, his back against her brown belly, and his three-toed feet stretched out like a giant bird laying on its side. If he noticed she was looking at him he didn’t show it, because he kept his eyes closed and yellow neck arched like he was sleeping.

Daisy draped her head across Copper’s shoulders and shifted her weight against him, closing her eyes as his rhythmic breathing mingled with the ever-present shuffling of feet in the undergrowth.

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In case you’re wondering what Copper’s “love song” sounds like… 😀

 

 

Making progress…

I’ve been delightfully busy this month!

Baby Girl is sitting up, taste-testing food, and crawling down the hallways now, so she’s a little bundle of excitement around here. A solid night’s sleep is still pretty rare, but nap times are a little more predictable, and even if she’s awake she is easily entertained. So some days she “helps” me with my artwork. 😀

Here are a few things she’s been offering her raspberry critique on…

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So now that this “quick” project is done and in my redbubble shop, here are a few things I’ve learned…

  • Never underestimate a particular art form because it looks “simple”.
  • “Fast and easy” art, like patterns or simple designs for t-shirts, are much more complex than you’d think. Nothing is “fast and easy” if it’s the first time you’ve ever done it.
  • Time taken for a “fast and easy” side project is mostly procrastination and time taken away from the larger project. However…
  • “small” projects can provide some mental space and rest from a much larger project

 

Working on Dippy’s updated image also taught me a few things. Especially…

  • Don’t procrastinate, just start!
  • Sometimes we struggle on something we thought should be simple, and that’s ok. Sometimes we just need to see it from a different angle.
  • Don’t waste time making a reference model perfect, or even 80% accurate. Good enough is good enough. 🙂

Now that I’ve finished this little ammonite pattern and a few critter updates, I am ready to jump back into the picture book again with fresh energy. 😀 Dippy’s reference model taught me that a reference model doesn’t need to look good to do what you need it to, so I will apply that lesson to finishing Steggy’s habitat. 😀

Hopefully I can make some real progress there over the next month! In the meantime, I hope you like Copper and Daisy’s quiet little adventure. 🙂

 

Coming Sept 1st…

This little dino is a bit shy, but she’ll come out of the bushes for a sweet hug and a small treat. 🙂

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

Critter of the Month: Camarasaurus

Meet Bella. She’s big, she’s loud, and she’s really happy to see you! She’s happy to see anyone really, except Alfred, but can you blame her? There’s about a-bazillion years of conflict going on there…

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There she is! She is the most accommodating of Pete’s very large camarasaurus herd- voted least likely to accidentally trample the equipment. They can be an excitable bunch, and don’t always pay attention to what they’re bumping into. Continue reading

Critter of the Month: Ceratosaurus

Meet Bowser. Those horns may look intimidating, and his toothy grin can be downright fearsome.  But you know what they say about books and their covers… 😉

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Crouched in the dappled shade of a gnarled cedar tree, Bowser inhaled a long, slow breath.

The bitter tang of oily sap that bubbled from a gash in the tree’s trunk.

The dusty heat from sun-baked rocks and chalky, clay-hardened soil.

The earthy spice of charcoal and wood smoke…and a sweetness so tantalizing he could almost taste it as the scent filled his sinuses. Continue reading

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. 🙂

 

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I say “just about” anybody, because there was that one time some kids wanted her to be their fortress in a water balloon battle.   Continue reading

Critter of the Week: Scutellosaurus

Meet Skittles.  She might be all hard and pebbly on the outside, but on the inside she wants nothing more than a nice warm hug.  Scratch just a little in between those rocky scutes, and she’ll roll on her back so you can rub her smooth, soft belly scales.

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Shff. Click. Shff. Click. Shffff…Click.

Small claws on padded, three-toed feet scratched softly on tile as she crept through the sunlit passage. She paused. Not sure if she should brave the open space in front of her, and she cocked her small, triangular head first one way, then another. Her tiny nostrils flared wide as she sniffed the air, and she clicked the narrow, beaked end of her snout with a satisfied chirp.

It was close.

Continue reading

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.  🙂 Continue reading

Critter of the Week: Pterodactylus

Meet Terry. She’s a chipper little flyer who would love to scramble up onto your shoulder and nibble your ear (just a little nibble, it tickles).  And could she please, pretty please have a tiny bit of that sandwich?

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Heavy boots sank into the spongy soil as Pete walked up the riverbank. With a low grunt, he stepped up onto a large, twisted root of a cypress tree, and clambered out onto a gnarled root slope that jutted out over the slow moving water. He sat down slowly, careful not to squish his paper bag as he held onto the thick trunk for balance, and sat with his legs dangling over the dark green water below.

Continue reading