Critter of the Month?

Ooh, what are the mysterious eggs for? I’m sorry for the wait, but Pete and I are having a bit of trouble finding Elmer. I think he heard the rumor about getting a check-up with the vet…

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little preview sketch, and the picture below is probably pretty close to what Elmer’s habitat might’ve looked like. Only instead of grass there would be drought-hardy ferns, and cycads that look a bit like giant, prickly pineapples scattered about. 🙂

eggs

 

You’d think it would be easy to find a giant browsing in a savannah of ferns and araucaria trees! See you in a few days! I hope to have Elmer back here by next week at the latest. 🙂

MONKEY PUZZLE.jpg
Should be easy to find a giant the size of a whale in this stuff right??

 

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?

Terry update

Terry always likes a snack, especially small morsels like snails, grubs, and worms she digs up.  That sandwich looks quite tempting though, and she won’t turn her nose up at an opportunity to snatch it out of your hand, so keep an eye and a firm hold on it. 😀 Continue reading

Critter of the Week: Brachiosaurus

Meet Elmer. He’s a little shy, and likes staying in his comfort zone, but he’ll be your best giant friend if you give him some greens and a big hug.

elmer

The best way to a dino’s heart is through his stomach, as they say.  Well, that’s not really the phrase, but I’m sure it’s just as true, especially when it comes to these long-necked sauropods. 🙂  I think the rough estimate is a solid cube- 5ft x 5ft – of vegetation in a single day to feed one of these guys.

Oh, there’s Elmer, browsing on a few of the trees that grow here in the pasture.  You’d think you’d see him right away, he’s so big.  But his striped pattern is surprisingly good camouflage in that grove of tall conifers.

What’s he looking at…? Oh, here comes Pete on the Kabota. He’ll be joining us here on the platform to feed Elmer.  If you lean over the railing a bit and look down, see that row of big boxes kinda spaced along the wall?  That’s where the big bunches of conifer branches and ferns will go.  They’re in the big shed behind us, the one to the left of the stairs we came up.

And here comes Elmer.  My goodness, he’s fast.  It looks like he’s moving slow, but with those long legs he sure covers ground quickly!  And so quiet…You’d think there’d be the big stomping footsteps you hear in Jurassic Park.

Hey there Elmer!  We have a friend to see you today. 🙂

I just can’t get over how big he is!  What are we, 30 feet up? 40?

elmer-size-copy

It’s hard to grasp how big these guys really are until you’re right next to them.  Come to think of it, that’s the way it is with most animals.

To think that Elmer is as heavy as 5 elephants.  Five!  And not just any elephant.  5 bull African elephants, which are about as big as it gets when it comes to land animals walking around today.

Here’s a video that helps put that into perspective…

So five of those guys is about as heavy as the average humpback whale.  Yes, Elmer here is every bit as big as a whale, and he’s not even the biggest sauropod out there!

Oh, hi Pete, we have a visitor today!

There you are, friend, a nice bunch of ferns you can give Elmer.  Just grab it at the end here, and make sure your fingers are in a nice, tight fist.

That’s it.

Elmer’s teeth are like pruning shears, so we don’t want to lose any fingers today by mistake.

I think he likes you!

 

Making progress…

I’ve been working on actually finishing the homepage image for a bit now, and I thought I would share my progress so far.

It’s an important part of the site, since it’s the first thing you see, and it’s the “front window” of Pete’s Paleo Petshop.

But it’s also a test.

  • A test for style, to make sure I’m happy with it, and it’ll have the feel I’m going for.
  • A test to see how long it takes me to complete a full illustration. (so far two weeks, but that’s in between the margins of everything else)
  • And a test to make sure you like what you see as well.  After all, this may be an ambitious idea and project, but the long-term goal is to earn a passive income in a way that doesn’t take time from my family.

So here is two weeks of sporadic sketching between posts, child herding, and making sure the house doesn’t fall apart. 😛  (I exaggerate, but truly, being a stay-at-home mom takes quite a bit more work than a lot of people think 🙂 )

homepage-progress

Compared to the current homepage…You’ll notice the little saber-tooth cub lost his fangs.  They’re just hidden behind extra large lips.  Turns out only tusks are exposed, so all saber-tooth cats should have their teeth nicely sheathed. 🙂

I did look at reference pictures, but research was kept to a minimum since most of these animals are not in the Jurassic period.  I’ll update the picture as I get to the appropriate periods, which may take a while. 😛

home page picture

Coming Next Week…

I hope you don’t mind getting wet, because this swimming critter loves to splash! 🙂

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

Critter of the Week: Allosaurus

Meet Alfred.  The lion of the Jurassic!  The prince of the Mesozoic! The…oh, there he goes after another butterfly.  All he needs to be happy in life is his food, his chew toy, and a nice long nap.

 

Alfred

Looks like Alfred has found something to chase.  No worries though, that butterfly has nothing to fear, and he’ll give up soon enough.  Allosaurus (ah-low-saw-rus) wasn’t very fast, but he can’t help it- if it runs off, he’s got to chase it!  After a quick sprint, Alfred loves to settle under the shade of a tree and take a nice nap.

What’s that you say?  He’s a fearsome predator?  Well yes, yes he is.  Take a quick look at lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!), and most of the time you’ll actually catch them napping.  Crocodiles and eagles, Alfred’s closest living relatives, also do a lot of nothing.  Once you have a full belly, why not enjoy a siesta in the sun?  🙂

You can find out more about Alfred at his critter page.

Fun Fact: This guy is the first critter that I kinda found my style.  All the ones I drew before him were very inconsistent, but this one had the sketchiness and detailed painterly mixture I was looking for.  All other critters after him I’ve been refining my technique and getting better.

Now I have to practice on my people!

 

Making progress…

I had a big surprise planned.  The goal was to have Pete’s Postcards from the Shop all set up by my birthday (that’s today.  I just set it as a convenient goal date. 🙂 )

The Critter Cards were done, I got the PDF file sorted out, Mailchimp all set up and ready to go…I run through the motions to test it out for myself and…

Nothing.

I wasn’t really surprised, since I can’t really use my personal email account to send you emails from the Paleo Petshop.  But it was worth a try.  I’m trying to spend as little money as possible until I start earning a little.  This can turn into a really expensive hobby really fast if I’m not careful.

Not exactly what I’m going for. 🙂

So now I’m figuring out the best place to purchase a domain name, so that PaleoPetshop.wordpress.com can turn into PaleoPetshop.com.  Only problem is that so many places offer so many different packages with bells and whistles I’m not ready for just yet.  Like webhosting.

All I need is an official domain name, and the email address I can use with Mailchimp.

Wish me luck!  I’ve got a couple of options I’m looking at, but it’s just a matter of figuring out which one’s a better fit. 🙂

In the meantime, here’s the Critter Card chart with all dinosaurs colored in. 😀

chibi-critters-progress-copy4

 

Coming Next Week…

A giant with a heart of gold, life is never boring when this big guy is around.  Nothing is out of reach!  He’ll stick his nose into everything until every mystery is solved.

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

Critter of the Week: Dryosaurus

Meet Rosie. She’s a bit shy, and might need a little encouragement to come closer.  A few treats should do the trick.  Before you know it she’ll be perfectly content to snuggle close and put her head on your lap. 🙂

 

Rosie.jpg

Rosie is smaller than your average dinosaur, about the size of a deer.  Like a deer, she can be a bit jumpy, and she feels much better if she has friends to keep her company and watch out for troublesome, over-exuberant types like Opie.  He’s far too excitable, and that makes her nervous.  She’d much rather curl up under the shade of spiky cycad fronds for a little siesta.

Much safer there.  And Rosie always wins at hide-and-seek. 😉

If you take the time to give her treats and coax her out of the thicket, then she’ll get to know you rather quickly.  Then she’ll be your friend forever, and come running when you call. 🙂  I hope you don’t mind having a second shadow…

 

 

Making progress…

I’m working on something super top-secret at the moment.  Well, not really super top-secret, since I told my family about it- but anyway, I want to mention it here too.

Since it may be a while before the picture book is finished, I want to work on a smaller, short term project so that you have something sooner.

In short, I want to create a collection of shortstories, mini-comics, illustrations, what-have-you.  My question is about what topic to cover…

  • Letters to Pete- Frustrated paleo pet owners send letters to Pete with their questions.  What do you do when Big Al keeps tearing up the furniture?
  • Critter cam- So what do dinosaurs do when you’re not looking?  Find out what happens if you give Dippy a giant ball.
  • The Paleo Pet handbook- a small book with all the basics of the care and feeding of your paleo pets.

Please let me know what looks the most interesting in the comments! Thank you for sharing a little of your time with me here on the site, you guys are awesome, and I want to do whatever I can to make your stay better than great. 🙂

 

Coming Next Week…

Food is the first (and just about only) thing in mind for this gentle giant. 🙂

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

The Art & Science of Pete’s Paleo Petshop

So there’s a long and a short way to go about this.  I do something really tedious and boring, and pull out the scientific papers, fossils, diagrams, anatomy jargon, and articles written by people much smarter and more knowledgeable than me in all things paleontology…

 

OR

I can save you the big snore (because the technical stuff is tough to read, and I like this sort of thing!) and have an excuse to draw yet more cute critters, while sneaking in a few quick fossil facts in a bite-size post or convenient picture. 🙂

Why am I doing this?

The truth is that I got a little frustrated.  All the dinosaur books for kids fall into one of two categories-

Super cute story and dinosaurs, but no science.  For example, “Pteradactyls” lumped in with the dinosaurs, and dinos stuck with the appearance of rubber toys from the 80s.

OR

“Educational”, but tough to read.  Because after reading a list of names like Tyrannosaurus rex, Euplocephalosaurus, and Parasaurolophus 20 nights in a row, I know that book is going to put aside for “some other time”.  Plus the computer graphics always look a bit unpleasant to me.

Pete’s Paleo Petshop is the best of both worlds.  A cute story with illustrations based on the latest scientific research I can find.  But I also want to make clear what part of the illustration is something we actually know as fact, or really just an educated guess.  Speculation.  A hypothesis. 🙂

So this is the start of a new series called The Art & Science of Pete’s Paleo Petshop. That’s super long though, so I’ll have to shorten it somehow. 🙂

For your convenience, I’ll keep a list of all posts in the series here on this page, and I’ll update the list with links as we go along.  I’ll begin with the main cast, and we’ll see where we go from there. 🙂

 

chibi critters color.jpg

Main Cast:

 

Bonus Question: Any special requests?  I’ll be going over these critters in no particular order, so if there’s one you really want to see first, let me know.  First one to answer in the comments gets first pick! 🙂

Critter of the Week: Brachiosaurus

Meet Elmer. He’s a little shy, and likes staying in his comfort zone, but he’ll be your best giant friend if you give him some greens and a big hug.

 

Elmer.png

The best way to a dino’s heart is through his stomach, as they say.  Well, that’s not really the phrase, but I’m sure it’s just as true, especially when it comes to these long-necked sauropods. 🙂  I think the rough estimate is a solid cube- 5ft x 5ft – of vegetation in a single day to feed one of these guys.

Speaking of feeding longnecks…it reminds me of that scene in Jurassic Park.  The one where Dr. Grant and the kids are enjoying a few moments not running away from hungry Rexy, and they get a chance to pat the brachiosaurus (totally my inspiration for paleo pets, by the way).

If you’ve ever watched Jurassic Park, you may notice that Elmer’s head looks a little strange…that’s because the longneck in Jurassic Park is an African cousin of this guy (and until recently the critter with more complete fossils).  There’s a few differences between the two even a novice dino enthusiast like me can easily recognize…

  • Completely different head.  The African cousin (Giraffatitan) has a head like the one in Jurassic Park.  The American Brachiosaurus (Elmer here) has a much gentler slope to his forehead, and longer snout.
  • Body shape is different. The African Giraffatitan has a shorter torso and overall more stocky build.  While Elmer the Brachiosaurus has a longer body, and generally is a bit more slender.  Not skinny, just not as stocky as his African cousin.
  • They live on entirely different continents.  The Atlantic ocean was already forming in the Jurassic period, so Brachiosaurus and Giraffatitan were separated by a lot of water. 🙂  That leads to the same sort of thing that makes a mountain lion (cougar, puma, etc…) in the Americas different from a lion in Africa.

 

Also on the subject of greenery, I tried experimenting with something different this time.  All these critter profiles are an experiment in style really, as I practice how I want to illustrate the pictures in the book.

This time I really focused on making my shadows dark and my highlights light.  It sounds obvious and hard to mess up, I know, but you’d be surprised how hard it is!  Especially working with color, it gets really easy to let the color do all the work, and not see how dull and gray everything is.   So I changed the whole picture to grayscale, so I could see how it looked in black, white, and gray tones.

It all looked about the same shade of gray.  Not good.  I like it much better now after I added more light and shadow. 🙂 So I’ll do that test from now on.

Another experiment is the vague hint of background.  I don’t generally paint backgrounds, so this is me dipping my toes in the river to see how cold the water is.  I like to ease my way into things.  Baby steps. 😀

Do you like the profile pictures better this way, or are they better with simple painted color?  Let me know in the comments! 🙂

 

Making progress…

I’m having fun experimenting with new artsy techniques.  As an artist, it’s always a joy and a challenge to improve my work.  Plus it’s an important bonus that I can give you something better and better each time you stop by. 🙂

On a related sidenote, I think I’m getting into the swing of these little profile pictures.  I think I’m getting a little faster at it, or at least not as many starts-&-stops as before. 🙂

 

Coming Next Week…

Look up to see this critter, before he nabs that sandwich out of your hand! 🙂

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