Monday, January 31, 2011

Draw a Dinosaur Day!

Oh my goodness, we almost missed it! Submissions are still being accepted (as far as I can tell). Breaking out the Wacom as soon as I post this.

Draw a Dinosaur Day Official Site!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shark Seal Speedpaint

Speedpaint Shark and the Carbon Cycle
(pen and pencil crayon, actually!)

Yesterday, David Maas challenged the ART Evolved community to a speedpaint day.  Being super-busy this weekend, I really didn't think I'd be able to participate, but here I am.  Loosely based on this Ask-a-Biologist question, I threw together this sharky piece in 20 minutes during a science 10 class I taught today... though perhaps based more on the Carbon Cycle I was teaching ;)

Octopus limbs

For David Maas's Ask A Biologist speedpaint challenge, I chose the question, Do octopus limbs grow back?

Though the answer is no, I gave my octopus a few split digits, as though a new tip grew next to a partially severed one. Painted in ArtRage in 30 minutes.  Still learning to speedpaint digitally: I didn't expect the "glitter" setting to make that much texture under the other layers of paint.

Cross-posted on my blog.

Panda Dating

My ask a biologist paint is on the question of panda sex by Nick. I went a bit over. Spent about 40 minutes, including getting caught up in the idea of that dating advice pamphlet on the floor. A panda dating advisor from "askAbiologist".

Guest Speed Paint- Anthony Contoleon

In responses to David's speed paint challenge, Anthony Contoleon sent us this:

This was his response to this topic on Ask a Biologist

Bear V. Shark V. Eagle speed-paint!

Yesterday morning, Dave Maas invited the Art Evolved crew to a Speed Paint challenge, based on questions posed to the extremely useful (and oftentimes unintentionally amusing) website Ask a Biologist. For the unfamiliar, a Speed-Paint is a quick digital (or not) painting finished within a half-hour or less.

For this week's game, I chose this question, because who could resist? "Who would win, a harpy eagle or a grizzly bear?" With this question for the ages and the memory of an excellent satirical book that is more than a little tangentially related in mind, I spent twenty minutes on this:

Whoever wins, we lose...

I will confess I cheated a tiny bit: I just had to double-check on what a Harpy eagle looks like. Wound up mostly going from my memory anyway.

(NOTE: Simulposted at my blog. Also, I apologize for the hugeness; I have since re-sized it. Hopefully, you can click it to see the big version.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ArtEvolved Call-out: Speed Paint Friday

Hello everybody... I've been disciplined enough to keep up more or less daily speed somethings...
No, that's not the news. The news is that I'd like to call you all out to jump in tomorrow and do a speed paint.

Here's the idea:
- go to AskABiologist (a great site with bits about dinosaurs, trilobites, mammoths, etc.)
- select a question / answer from anywhere
- do a half-hour paint, scribble, sculpt or whatever
- post it here with a link to the question that inspired it

- Repeat every Friday

I'll be doing one tomorrow, Friday and you're welcome to join me. We can see if its worth continuing or expanding upon.

Tips to speed-painting:
work rough, don't get caught up on details. If you notice any one area of your paint becoming more detailed than others, go work on those less detailed bits. Have fun, have no fear of sharing catastrophes... its a speed paint.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Drawing Mega-Mammals

Last month, I spent some time in my beloved Natural History Museum (not mine, of course, but it's mine in the sense that I've spent a rather large chunk of my life within its walls) drawing some of the mammals. I was spurred into it by the need to create new content for the (then) upcoming elephant gallery.

American Mastodon skeleton
Mammut americanum (Kerr, 1792)
Mammutidae; Proboscidea; Mammalia; Chordata
Line drawing in graphite pencil
Drawn from mounted specimen at Natural History Museum, London, December 2010

I decided to draw the American mastodon because the skeleton was in a convenient place to sit/stand, and it was fairly quiet. Although the mammal halls in the NHM are usually fairly popular, few people go to the 'dead end' that is made up of a woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius skull, a Stegodon ganesa skull, and the mastodon skeleton.

American Mastodon in tundra scene
Marker pen on clear acetate, with photo backdrop (by Billy Lindgrom at Wikimedia Commons)
Drawn from mounted specimen at Natural History Museum, London, December 2010

I then thought I'd try something different; I brought along some clear acetate sheets, like those used for overhead projections, and marker pens. After completing the pencil drawing, using that and the actual specimen as a guide, I drew an outline of the mastodon as it would be with all the layers of muscle, fat, and fur, including the boneless fillet that is the trunk. I was somewhat happy with the end result, but thought of superimposing a tundra backdrop afterwards.

Moropus elatus Marsh, 1877
Chalicotheriidae; Perissodactyla; Mammalia; Chordata
Line drawing in graphite pencil
Drawn from mounted specimen at Natural History Museum, London, December 2010

Moropus isn't an elephant, or even a proboscidean, so it didn't end up in the ART Evolved gallery. This is the first place outside my sketchpad that this piece has been seen. Moropus was a chalicothere, a member of odd-shaped herbivorous mammals with relatively long forelimbs and short hindlimbs. They have well-developed claws on all limbs, and possibly used them to pull down leafy branches from up high to feed on. I didn't produce an acetate reconstruction of Moropus, but I might one day.

Paleoparadoxia tabatai Tokunaga, 1939
Paleoparadoxiidae; Desmostylia; Mammalia; Chordata
Line drawing in graphite pencil
Drawn from mounted specimen at Natural History Museum, London, December 2008

As you can see, I did this drawing over 2 years ago, whilst I worked at the library at the NHM. Paleoparadoxia is a member of the order Desmostylia, within the group of orders known as Afrotheria. The Afrotheria consist of six extant (surviving) orders: Proboscidea (elephants); Hyracoidea (hyraxes); Sirenia (manatees and dugongs); Tubulidentata (aardvarks); Afrosoricida (tenrecs and golden moles); and Macroscelidea (sengis, or elephant shrews). There are also a few completely extinct orders, one of which was the Desmostylia.

They mostly lived around the northern Pacific Ocean, with localities mostly in Japan, western Canada and the western United States. Several genera have been named, and although it is believed that all desmostylians were aquatic to some extent, some were more ocean-going than others. The main evidence for such a conclusion is bone density, which reveals just how heavy and able to sink or float the animals were.

Paleoparadoxia tabatai life reconstruction
Graphite pencil illustration
Drawn from mounted specimen (skeleton) at Natural History Museum, London, December 2010

Whilst at the Museum on the day I drew the rest of the specimens, I thought I'd do a life reconstruction of this desmostylian. I'm not very happy with the way the face has turned out, as I don't think I've drawn the teeth accurately at all. In my defence, the specimen on display is quite poor, and a lot of liberties have to be made as to tooth count and position of limbs.

Phiomia serridens Andrews & Beadnell, 1902
Phiomiidae; Proboscidea; Mammalia; Chordata
Graphite pencil illustration Drawn from specimen at Natural History Museum, London, December 2010

And this is the other new piece I submitted to the elephant gallery. Phiomia was a small, early proboscidean with a short trunk. A skull is on display next to a reconstructed model of it. My own reconstruction, therefore, was unnecessary. Also, I only had the skull to work from.

May I take this opportunity to remind you of the official The Disillusioned Taxonomist Facebook group, and the first volume of The Disillusioned Taxonomist in print form, covering posts from mid to late 2008.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dinos vs Han Solo

Paleontologist and ART Evolved reader Jerry D. Harris of Dixie State College, Utah, pointed us towards some fantastic and funny paleo-art: The Top Ten Dinosaurs that could eat Han Solo, by Luke Campbell!

Allosaur and Solo by Luke Campbell
Check them all out here...

Thanks Jerry!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Buff Steg

Heinich Mallison describes Stegosaurus Pectoralis from david maas on Vimeo.

Another gem reposted from my site. Do you all like these?
Want more? Got requests? Let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dinosaur Wars; Monday on PBS!


Set your calendars (those of you in the States who get to see this): Dinosaur Wars will be broadcast on American Experience (PBS) on Monday, January 17th at 9:00pm.
From the producers Mark Davis and Anna Saraceno:
Edward Cope and O.C. Marsh, pioneers of paleontology in the decades after the Civil War, unearthed thousands of fossils, including hundreds of dinosaurs, from the prehistoric bone yards of the American West. They also nearly destroyed each other in the process, consumed by one of the most bitter feuds in the history of science.

I have great admiration for the way Mark Davis' MDTV Productions has presented science in the past, particularly with The Four-winged Dinosaur, so I very much look forward to how they treat this very interesting conflict of egos / media and science. One of the things I appreciate is the decision to use puppetry to portray microraptor and kin. That may sound odd coming from a 3D artist, yet the way they portrayed the reconstructions maintained a tight focus on the people and the scientific questions. Of course, I'm also sure that this can be done with cg animation, but the efforts wee see are all too often driven by low-budget attempts to mimic Jurassic Park style realism. Hats off to Mark Davis, and - please, someone get this to Europe so that I can see it!

Mallison; Tyrannosaurus skull musculature

Mallison; Tyrannosaurus skull musculature from david maas

Discussions with a skilled paleontologist like Heinrich Mallison is a luxury not many illustrators get to enjoy, so you can imagine what it’s like to have a day-long private tour of a museum… in this case, the wonderful Sauriermuseum in Aatal. (those Stegs!) I wish I could have had the whole day on tape, as I’m sure I was able to digest less than half of what we talked about. Here we are at the Tyrranosaurus rex skull. Sorry for the background sound and my left arm camera rig, but the energy makes up for it.
(repost from my blog)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jurassic Park IV ?What!?

What!? JP4 gets one stage less than Desperate Housewives!?!
Click on the image for more on whether there really is a JP4 or not. If Pixar also makes their Dinosaur film it could be the new age.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

AE's 2nd Anniversary Gallery in March: Terror Birds

Time flies when you're having fun, it has been 2 years since ART Evolved started! It is not hard to see how so many millions of years have passed between us and our artistic subject matters.

So as per overwhelming demand on our poll the subject of our two year gallery will be the Terror Birds.

So get creating your giant meat eating birds for March 1 2011.

If you're new to the site, we accept any and all artwork submitted that is themed around any of our gallery topics. Just send your submission(s), along with any accompanying text you'd like with them, and the link to your website/blog/online picture gallery to our email, and we'll post them!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Elephant Gallery

Welcome to the new year and the new time capsule - The Elephant Galley!
Dumbo, Manny, Barbar, Stampy, Tantor, Horton, Mr. Snuffelupagus, and Oliphaunts are famous elephants in pop culture.   Large tusks, distinctive ears, long trunks, and hair (sometimes lots!) are distinctive features for this group of animals.  The Proboscidea order has been around since the Eocene.  Mammoths went extinct in the late Pleistocene, while Asian and African elephants wander the Earth today. 

If you have a submission you'd like entered into the Elephant Time Capsule, please send it to

Now, shine up the tusks and pack the trunk, it's time for the Elephant Gallery!  Enjoy!

African Elephant Profile by Lucy Walsh

Cretan Dwarf Elephant (Elephas creticus) by Mo Hassan

Colour pencil illustration.

American Mastodon (Mammut americanum) Skeleton by Mo Hassan

Graphite pencil illustration drawn from mounted specimen at Natural History Museum, London.

American Mastodon (Mammut americanum) Life Restoration by Mo Hassan

Marker pen illustration on acetate with photo background (by Billy Lindblom - from Wikimedia Commons)

Christmas with Helgar by Sarah Snell-Pym

A Family of Mammoths by Natasja Den Ouden

Woolly Mammoth and Friend by Craig Dylke

Woolly Mammoth by Stuart Phelps

Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) by Mo Hassan

Colour pencil illustration.

Woolly Mammoth by Peter Bond

(with photo background by Craig Dylke)

Mammoth by Lucy Walsh

Baby Mammoth by Lucy Walsh

Shropshire Mammoth - A4 Lino Print by Rachael Revelle

Gomphotherium angustidens by Mo Hassan

Graphite pencil illustration.

Phiomia aerridens skull by Mo Hassan

Graphite pencil illustration drawn from specimen at Natural History Museum.

Gomphotherium productum by Bill J. Unzen

Amebelodon floridanus by John Meszaros

A small herd of Amebelodon shovel-tuskers tromping through a Slash Pine-Saw Palmetto Scrubland in Miocene Florida.  The two big "cats" in the foreground are Barbourofelids or False Sabre-tooths, which are not directly related to Smilodon and other big felines.  Although this pair is probably large and strong enough to take down a full-sized Amebelodon, they know better than to tangle with these proboscideans unless they absolutely have to.

Mammoth by David Mass

Mammut americanum by David Tana

Mammut americanum, a proboscidean that still lived on the American continent until around 11,000 years ago. It was the woodland cousin of the more famous grassland elephantid, Mammuthus. Colored pencil on paper

There we go, Ladies and Gentlemen - the Elephant Gallery!

ART Evolved's next time capsule will be Terror Birds, so grab those pencils, dust off the tablet, and illustrate one of there scary critters!

The deadline for submissions is February 28th 2011, and you can send them in to