Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Best Terra Nova review yet!

This art by our own Trish pretty much summarizes my views and expectations of Terra Nova (and specifically the "talents" of long time TV writer/producer Brannon Braga) perfectly...

You'll excuse me for a moment, I think I just peed my pants (in fear or laughter though?!?)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Cylce of Palaeo-art Mythology

So I'm not quite done with Andrea Cau's 10 Commandments for Palaeo-art.

While I disagreed with many of Mr. Cau's ideas for palaeo-art guideline I left one of his points untouched. It is something we palaeo-artists (and really all palaeontology enthusiasts in general) need to consider when thinking about accuracy in palaeo-art...

This issue being palaeo-art "myths" as Mr. Cau calls them. Alternatively palaeo-art memes as Darren Naish calls them (here, here, and here), or palaeo-art "type specimens" as I called them way back when.

Palaeo-art memes or myths are the artistic phenomenon in which one original artist creates their own version of something prehistoric. Other subsequent artists, due to a lack of other references (or just outright laziness) copy concepts or components of the first piece as though it was a direct source. Suddenly the prehistoric subject is always recreated just like that first artwork. Whether that first artist was (or still is) correct or not.

In his commandments Mr. Cau outlined:

7. Thou shall not create mythology

So there is no confusion on his intended meaning, I provide you with Mr. Cau's definition of "mythology" directly from a comment he made on Stu Pond's post about the commandments.

"When I say "mythology" I mean: unsupported image/idea that the profane can assume uncritically as a scientific knowledge... Since a false/wrong/obsolete/mythological idea in a paleoart image can spread more rapidly than the correct scientific concepts in a (boring) paper, paleart-mediated mythology is very dangerous for scientific progress."

I think there are certainly some very valid points here, and I completely agree with the spirit of what Mr. Cau is saying, so long as the emphasis is placed on the "spread" of an incorrect idea rather than the creation of one!

To me the problem is not the initial idea presented by the first artist in a meme chain. They are not "spreading" a "false/wrong/obsolete" idea, as their first work was original and highly creative. I think the presentation of ideas, whether they right or wrong, is critical in all avenues of life (science and art included). The problem is when people don't check an idea, and as Mr. Cau astutely puts it "uncritically" "assumes" it to be true. This is how we get the "spread" of inaccurate memes, subsequent artists who don't bother to do their own research and rip off the ideas of others.

I'm sure the first artist could explain their rational for their choices. Whether you agree with their logic or not is irrelevant frankly. The point is they made a legitimate creative decision for a reason, and that to me is all that counts. It is the copy cats who when asked why they recreated subject X the way they did can only respond "that's what the other guy(s) did" who we should take to task.

That having been said we should be cautious in our attacks and witch hunting. What is accurate now won't necessarily be tomorrow. Suddenly all our current art could be seen by future artists as some "false/wrong/obsolete" meme. Further more if people through legitimate research arrive at a similar reconstruction, that is totally acceptable.

So where does that leave us when creating new works?

Should we shy away from creating palaeo-art that contain "unsupported" ideas or concepts? Hell no!!! So long as it is a brand new idea, and not something you saw someone else doing. If you are going off someone else's artwork you should also do you're homework.

In a discussion I had with Dr. David Eberth on palaeo-art and reconstructing deep time, he sagely summarized my whole view on the topic (in this approximate "quote" I'm pulling together from my memory...) "Palaeontology is a story based science. We certainly collect and study data, but at the end of that we need to tell a story for it to really make sense. This is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. No matter what story we try and tell, due to missing variables or information, we will be unable to ever tell the whole story."

This should be the true view on accuracy in palaeo-art. It can only ever be partial accuracy, no matter what!

The worry I have with focusing on preventing "false/wrong/obsolete" reconstructions and memes, is that we could end up creating even more dangerous myths. Those that are based on supposed facts!

I present a few case studies for your consideration:

My first example is this tutorial piece by Tomozaurus that is aimed at getting artists to feather Dromaeosaurid (raptor) dinosaurs "correctly". I do like his intended take home message, but sadly he frames this completely wrong.

Tomazaurus does fantastic work, check out the rest of his great artwork here, so don't misunderstand the rant I'm about to launch into. I merely take issue with the format of this poster and false impression it creates. While he may of used quotation marks around the word "real" to alert us to the conjecture he engages in about reconstructing a Velociraptor, I feel Tomazaurus (inadvertently) is creating a myth about what we do and don't know about this animal.

The problem are the magic red X's and friendly green check marks. These symbols automatically imply black and white right and wrongs. Yet those do not exist within our scientific knowledge of Velociraptor. I'm sure Tomozaurus meant the X's and check marks ironically or in fun, but speaking as a teacher, these two symbols can carry powerful assertions about absolute correctness (60% of my incidents with parents were caused by disagreements over marking! "X"s in particular can become quite contentious in subjective areas). They should not be used lightly, especially when discussing science!

My issue is there are not many actual scientific facts about how to reconstruct a Velociraptor. The level of detail and commentary we see presented here (especially about soft tissue) is NOT possible! I don't care how much secondary (and soft) supporting evidence there is for his assertions. The point is he is basically making up his Velociraptor as much as anyone else.

Using totally different animals (Microraptor mostly) is not proof of anything about Velociraptor (Microraptor is not even close to being a direct relative of Velociraptor within the Dromaeosaurs)!. All we legitimately know about Velociraptor is it had some sort of large feathers on their arms. That is it! Not even the whole feather, just the quill base stem they've actually found in the fossil record! Yes it makes for a crappy picture, the underside of the arms, but with this format that is all you'd be allowed to show!

Frankly there is absolutely NO science to say the "half-arsed" Velociraptor is incorrect (beyond the point about the hand). The Greyhound/lizard can be said to fair analysis, but this is mostly due to the outright terrible anatomy that doesn't even match the skeleton.

Whether he was aware of it or not, Tomazaurus was essentially attempting to start a myth here. The intentions were noble, but because it was based on half truths (we know Velociraptors had quill knobs on their arms, but not what the feathers actually looked like that alone how far up the body they did or did not extend) and misused science (other feathered therapods) this had the potential to become a super-myth of sorts. Something so plausible sounding (and maybe found to be correct in the future... but don't count your fossils before they are found) that we could start to believe it to be true (without fossils!?!)... Which is just as bad as totally incorrect information becoming a wide spread myth!

My other case involves the dismissal of the unfounded palaeo-art myth/meme of ceratopsian defensive circles (seen above as created by Peter Barnett). However through the case presented in debunking this meme, a new (and not true) myth started to take form...

Ironically this was by Mr. Cau himself, and really illustrates the dangers of trying to directly confront mythology. The issue of defensive circles was raised in the same quote I used earlier from Stu Pond's blog (backlink here)

"When I say "mythology" I mean: unsupported image/idea that the profane can assume uncritically as a scientific knowledge (for example, ceratopsids forming a ring around their youngs when attacked by predators).Since a false/wrong/obsolete/mythological idea in a paleoart image can spread more rapidly than the correct scientific concepts in a (boring) paper, paleart-mediated mythology is very dangerous for scientific progress."

Mr. Cau starts to (accidentally) create a myth in this different comment further down the discussion:
"We know a lot of adult ceratopsians in bone beds, but few juveniles (if none at all) are recovered in these bonebeds. We also know that most of the known dinosaurs had a social system with juvenile and reproductive adults that lived in distinct associations: these facts support the hypothesis that juvenile and adult ceratopsid did not live together... so, the evidence actually reject the defensive ring hypothesis."

In advance I'm certain Mr. Cau was speaking from the best of his knowledge. This is not meant to belittle him, or question his knowledge. Far from it, on subject of Theropods he is one of the best in the business! However theropods and ceratopsians are not the same, and I suspect he can only afford the time to casually read the ceratopsian literature.

As a fan of both Centrosaurine dinosaurs and Taphonomy (the study of how fossils end up being fossils) I am well read up on both topics. I can say with some certainty, that while what Mr. Cau says is empirically true (in the sense of the number of juvie specimens found), the reality of the conclusions he draws are incredibly incorrect! The reason being he has only (accidentally) presented a portion of the data and findings important to Ceratopsian bonebeds. Simply counting the bones isn't enough. You have to take into account how they got there...

If you are to read any of the many papers or articles in the Dinosaur Provincal Park volume on the Centrosaur bonebeds in Alberta by Michael Ryan, Donald Brinkman, and/or David Eberth you would discover that through taphonomic analysis we have found some pretty serious preservational biases in many of these bonebeds that favour larger bone material. Meaning, yes, we get mostly bigger bones from adult animals. Yet despite this bias we still find the remains of juveniles at these sites, which means there had to be juveniles there too. More to the point there had to a lot of them to begin with for the bias being unable to wipe them all the record!

The juveniles material we have found from (Albertan Centrosaurine) sites is so good we've pieced together very complete and comprehensive osteologic series for many Centrosaurine genus solely from material recovered from these bonebeds, as we had animals of all ages to reference. Why would we have animals of all ages together unless they were living in proximity? (though this is not necessarily supporting family groups admittedly, but it is not countering family behaviour either! It does disprove Mr. Cau's statement "juvenile and adult ceratopsid did not live together." Whether it was a family group or something less social, the point is they were living close enough together to end up dead together!)

What does this evidence actually mean? You (and the experts) can (and have) drawn (pun intended :P) all sorts of things from this (I can discuss the literature in comments if people are interested). I think it emphasises how much we have yet to learn on this (or any other) topic, and that artists have an amazing amount of flexibility for palaeo-art that still falls within the factually "limits".

It also emphasises the problems with sorting myths and the truth. Mr. Cau was speaking from what he knew to be true. Yet that truth was missing some key relevant information, which actually meant it was another myth... I hope you see the very real potential for a vicious circle we could find ourselves in worrying about myths.

So I caution us from going after the myths themselves.

Not because the myths or memes themselves shouldn't be snoofed out! Far from it... There is NO reason, despite the evidence that they travelled with their young, that we should depict Ceratopsians defending their young by forming a circle! Our evidence doesn't support it in any way (especially given the herds in question are thought to have been hundreds to thousands of animals large, not something that could or would need to make a circle for defense!)... It is really time for new visual thought experiments on Ceratopsian family behaviour if anything!

I just worry in militant efforts to eradicate myths, we'll create new strains of super-myth based on partial science/fact that will cause even more entrenched damage to palaeo-art than blatantly wrong ideas.

I think rather than target ideas, we target artists and entice them to create new and different ideas. If we all do that, there will be no "spread" of any one idea (wrong or right) as we'll all be generating new ideas and expanding the current state of palaeontology.

That should be the take home message and goal... No more memes or myths, because we're all being original (or well researched) art! (I say well researched as people can come to very similar conclusions with more limited subject matter)

Your thoughts?

(By Craig Dylke)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Evan Boucher's Tupandactylus imperator: A Shameless Self Promotion

Hello fellow paleo-folk! I thought you would be interested in my newest creation. I finished my Tupandactylus imperator restoration/animation I was working on. I would suggest hopping over to vimeo to view in HD:

Instead of just posting the same info here, feel free to read more on my blog.

I hope you enjoy it! I had some good times making it. Also, in case you're curious about the process, I edited together this handy behind-the-scenes video:


 Evan B.

Friday, September 16, 2011

google image search to credit unknown artists

I wrote up usage of the google image search function at my site.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Andrea Cau's Palaeo-art Commandments

So I'm way behind on things I wanted to say in our recent discussion on accuracy in palaeo-art(funny how a move to Hong Kong with less than 4 days notice can really disrupted everything in your life... this is why I've been pretty quiet as of late if you were wondering by the way!).

I wanted to touch on a tangent of palaeo-art discussion from earlier this year that didn't really take off (which is due to the tremendous year it has been in meta palaeo-art topics!). These are the commandments of palaeo-art...

In his essay, Taylor Reints touched on the "ten commandments of palaeo-art" drafted by Italian blogger extrodinare Andrea Cau. This list of directives is intended for us artists, and they have sat somewhat untouched or discussed within the palaeo-art community beyond David Maas and Stu Pond.

I thought why not throw the spot light on the commandments right now. Do artists need such a code for palaeo-art? More to the point is this code the one we should be using?

In case you don't know the commandments here they are as translated as I could collect. The fact these were originally written in Italian is probably why they were missed or skipped by most. The original set that hit the net in English was very babblefishy, and many of the commandments were unreadable. Hopefully I haven't botched them too bad, and if any of our Italian readership could correct me on mistakes or misinterpretations in the comments that'd be appreciated!

  1. Science is the source of paleoart

  2. Thou shalt have no other reference than the living creatures, because they represent the only available animals; before representing those extinct you must be able to represent the existing

  3. Thou shall not make an idol, model or inspiration out of any paleoart, and you will only be inspired by living creatures

  4. Thou shall not call a work “paleoart” in vain

  5. Thou shall honor anatomy and ecology

  6. Thou shall not plagiarize

  7. Thou shall not create mythology

  8. Thou shall not create false reconstruction

  9. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s techniques

  10. Thou shall not desire to impress others

So there they are again. Soak them in and please do let us know your thoughts in the comment section or your own post (send us an email at artevolved@gmail.com with your essay on the topic if you're not a member of the blog). Are these the rules we palaeo-artists should all be following?

For what their worth here is my two cents... I don't think these are particularly helpful. They read to me as a desired rule set imposed by an outsider. While I can understand the motivation behind them, as the one who actually has to follow them I just don't like them at all!

I also really dislike the connection to the 10 commandments. Sure it is a cute literary reference, but I have problems with trying to connect palaeo with something so overtly religious. I'm also not a big fan of dogmatic rule sets. In my opinion THE palaeo-art rule guide should approach the artist like their a descent human being, and talk to them not at them.

Much like David Maas I had problems with 9 and 10 as an artist. Every artist I've ever encountered seeks praise and recognition for and through their work. Otherwise we'd hide it from the world and you won't know we were an artist! I can't see this ever flying in face of artists being some of the greatest attention seekers out there!

Number 9 might suffer from translation issues, but to me the not coveting what other people are doing or how they're doing it doesn't work. I'm going to be using the same techniques recreate prehistoric critters (painting, CGing, sculpting etc). Not being able to copy style is equally meaningless. How different do the pieces have to be? How do you judge? Why does it matter anyways? To me the issue is if I'm copying someone to the point where we're indistinguishable. In that case I'm plagiarizing, and that is a real problem!

Speaking of plagiarism, rule #6 is a pretty no brainer for any creative field (whether it be art or science or whatever), and I don't think we need to codify it. Those who are violating this rule are beyond a simple 10 step set of guidelines in their moral conduct in the first place, and we probably need to engage them a bit more aggressive manner.

Number 4 not calling something Palaeo-art in vain... means what exactly? This verges on scientific snobbery in my opinion. Being palaeo-art does NOT mean something has to be a scientific reconstruction...

Number 2 while I understand an infusion of living analogues is a good thing, misses the point. Fossils should be the number one reference, and the living animals should merely be additional inspiration. Looking through many of the palaeo-art memes that people complain about it is funny how most are due to the artist referencing ONLY a modern animal (here for an example)!Number 3 is okay, but again very preachy. While you shouldn't outright stick to someone else's reconstruction, taking some direction or inspiration from them is fine.

Numbers 7 and 8 I will tackle in my next post. I really am skeptical of this attempted paradigm for palaeo-art (as I'm sure you've noticed over the years!), and I think a proactive approach (rather than retroactive name calling/criticisms) is needed. This I will be getting to in my next post.

I do really like number 1, and it can stay (however I consider any picture or a Dinosaur, no matter how bad based on science if I can tell what it is supposed to be... it is funny how much even terrible pictures still get right)! Number 5 is also a reasonable request (though I don't know if I'd want to REQUIRE it of non-scientific illustrations... and people this can not be over emphasised, there are scientific illustration pieces of palaeo-art, but not all palaeo-art is a scientific illustration!)

These are just my thoughts, and totally feel free to disagree...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pete Von Sholly Speaks out about Dino Revo

Dinosaur Revolution artist Pete Von Sholly has opened up about the trials and successes of working on the show here.  Be sure to check it out for Pete's first-hand insight into Dino Revo's making!

In my own opinion (Bond), I have never seen dinosaurs that look as good as those on Dinosaur Revolution.  They stand alone in the amount of extraordinary skin detail and intricate colour patterns, as well as the glorious feathers on the smaller theropods.   They truly look like real animals!   For me, the standouts are the Trexes, Troodons, and the feathered microraptor-like critter from the third episode (what's his name?). 

This STUNNING look to the dinosaurs and other creatures shown in Dinosaur Revolutions is all due to the amazing efforts of the artists involved, including Pete, Angie Rodrigues, Ricardo Delgado, David Krentz, and many others!  Thanks for all your hard work!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Niroot Puttapipat's New Blog: Himmapaanensis

AE just had to let the world know that illustrator Niroot Puttapipat has just started his new dinosaur art blog called Himmapaanensis!  

Tarbosaurus Head Studies by Niroot Puttapipat

Marc over at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs has written a brief outline of Niroot's recent work including his illustration of Unlikely Dinosaur Battles.  Check it out, but be sure to add Himmapaanensis to your blogroll!

(Niroot also has started another blog, Himmapaan, which focuses on his non-dinosaurian fantastical illustration!)

You also may remember Niroot's submission to our Pink Dinosaur Event!  Stunning!

Pink Velociraptor by Niroot Puttapipat

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dinosaur Skeletal Tutorial at SV-POW

Possibly due to a certain post that went up here on ART Evolved last week (though I venture only possibly :P), Mike Taylor has put up on Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week two excellent tutorials on identifying every bone in a Dinosaur's skeleton.

You can check out both the first and the second with these links!

A great start to the new wave of technical tutorials we here at ART Evolved are hoping will sweep the internet! Keep your eyes on AE the next couple weeks as we have some big announcements coming down the pipe!

If you see anyone else putting together great artist friendly break downs of the technical literature please give us at heads up at artevolved@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Turtle Gallery

Welcome to the wonderful world of shelled reptiles - ART Evolved's Turtle Gallery!

What can one say about turtles?  They are reptiles who evolved to have a bony or cartilaginous shell from their ribs.  This form of protection proved effective, allowing turtles to have existed for over 200 million years!  A detailed account of their early history is difficult to piece together, but wikipedia provides a good overview.  Suffice it to say that Turtles have been around since the Triassic, evolving a wide diversity - from the huge Archelon and Letherback, to the Box, Galapagos, Snapping, and Sea Turtle!  Come and see some of this diversity below at the Turtle Gallery!

If you want to participate in any of our Galleries, send your artwork to artevolved@gmail.com and we will post it alongside the wonderful pieces here within!

Turtle Power! WIP by Patricia Arnold

The Turtle 
a sonnet by Albertonykus

A place as harsh as any one could find,

In spite of shining lakes and autumn trees;

The winter could bite you in your behind

Once the ginkgoes dispense with all their leaves.

At night the ‘raptors wake and stalk the wood

In the dark they seek prey to dismember;

To a tyrannosauroid you’d taste good;

Their presence you would want to remember.

Mammals here can be bigger than a cat,

Big enough to kill some defenseless prey,

And lest you scorn those the size of a rat,

Their venomous foot spurs will make you pay.

But inside my hard, sturdy carapace,

I can survive all the dangers I face.

Italian Family by Santino Mazzei

An illustration dedicated to Tethyshadros insularis, the dwarf Italian hadrosaur.  In the picture we can see a little turtle walking behind the dinosaurs.  A prehistoric version of the "Turtle and Hare" fable: probably Tethyshadros was a fast animal.

Angry Tank by Louis Shackleton

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

 Ugly Stage 3D Turtle WIP by Craig Dylke

 Archelon Above by Peter Bond

 Prehistoric Mutant Ninja Turtles! by Peter Bond

Proganochelys quenstedti - Late Triassic (210 myo)
Germany and Thailand - first full shell - 1m long

Odontochelys semitestacea - Late Triassic (220 myo)
Guizhou, China - oldest turtle (incomplete shell) - 40cm long

Placochelys placodonta - Late Triassic (200 myo)
Germany - paddle-like limbs - 90cm long

Archelon ischyros - Late Cretaceous (75-65 myo)
South Dakota and Wyoming, USA - HUGE - >4m long!

Cowabunga, dude!  Pizza Party!!!

And that brings us to the end of this gallery-in-a-half-shell!  Hope you have enjoyed this little gallery of turtles as you head back to school!

The next gallery is Forests and all the amazing critters that live within them!  The Forest Gallery opens here at ART Evolved on November 1st - so grab those paints and pixels, paint a modern or prehistoric forest, and send it in to artevolved@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lucy's Homemade Fossils

The amazing Lucy Walsh shares with us her homemade fossils!

Hi, thought I'd send ART Evolved my homemade fossils!

I started this as a little experiment to try to see how fast I could colour match the fossils I made with the real thing. I started out by making a cast of two of my fossils from my collection. Having never used this before, apart from on the kid's hands which you know will wash off!, I was worried the liquid that sets into a mould would damage my precious fossils, but it worked beautifully and only cost 99p from a cheap craft shop! So I filled the mould with plaster of paris and then when it was dry started painting my fake fossils.

It took me about two hours to paint both fossils, and give them a matt varnish, and I was quite pleased with the outcome!!

The next day I took them to my sisters house as a gift, and a test! I put them on her worktop and said that they were a present for her. She didnt know they weren't the real thing, until she picked them up!!! Mission accomplished!

Great fun, easy, cheap and effective! Well worth a go!!!

Kind Regards,
Lucy Walsh.

See more of Lucy's work at her blog and in her deviantArt gallery.

Celebrating Jurassic Park Blu-ray

Thursday, September 1, 2011

3D modelling a Triceratops continued

Tempus fugit. No kidding - my tempus has fugited like a mad thing this summer and it's taken until now for me to post the next installment of my occasional series on Building a Dinosaur in 3D over at Paleo Illustrata. Now we get down to business and actually start the modelling process, pulling polygons and dropping symmetry objects in our pursuit of the mighty Triceratops.

From this egg-shaped blob will emerge a beautiful Triceratops . . . hopefully.

It's worth checking out 3D World magazine, which has a feature and tutorial on the subject of modelling dinosaurs and is definitely worth a pike.

Philosofossilising: Want accuracy in palaeo-art? Do something about it!

This time ART Evolved's Craig Dylke responding to the question:

Just how important is scientific accuracy in Palaeo-art? Is palaeontology, and by association those who follow the technical side of the science, becoming too judgemental towards the artistic efforts of palaeo-artists?

This is an individual opinion on this topic. To read a number of different peoples' answer to this question click this link here. If you have your own answer, read the last paragraph of this post for details on how to get yours posted on ART Evolved.

Are you someone who wants more accuracy in modern palaeo-art?

If so, I want you to help us here at ART Evolved develop a new method for bridging the gap between the science and the art. The current tactics by academically literate people are not working with many palaeo-artists. So stop complaining about the situation or the art, and follow me through what will hopefully be a drafting of a new glorious future for more accurate palaeo-art.

I see the main reason (many) artists are ignoring (or missing) modern palaeo understanding is that too much of the important information from current research is contained (only) within the academic literature. While there are many great science literate people out there telling us artists this information exists, I don't feel they are going about it the right way.

Simply pointing out to many artists their picture is wrong, due to a certain paper, isn't helpful. Even if the intention is trying to helpfully get the artist to look up the paper. Many of us don't have easy access to academic papers (if you're not attached to an academic institution this can be quite time (or money) consuming. Time (and money) we could use for art). Even if we had the paper, many artists don't have the scientific literacy to precisely decipher the information from a full on technical document.

Artists are visual literate, and they will reference things in this "language". This is why artists often reference previous reconstructions, and end up copying mistakes from older palaeo-art. For more obscure creatures we can even find the genesis of palaeo-art "memes" (as Darren Naish has coined them) that can continue to crop up within the field.

To break the cycle of palaeo-art memes, scientifically inclined people need to stop simply complaining about them, and help us artists out in a way that is actually helpful! I think it is fair to say the artists are carrying out their end of the palaeo-art equation. We've seen an ever increasing number of reconstructions emerging recently. However the technical literature side of the equation hasn't properly adapted to the new situation of many amateur palaeo-artists not being as science oriented as one might hope (again for many of us this is a hobby we do on the side of our otherwise busy lives!).

If you are going to spend the time to call for accuracy, spend it constructively for all of us! Go grab that technical information out of the literature and translate it into a public artist friendly format!

Things like nitpicking reviews or full manifestos of rules for palaeo-art, essentially deconstructive responses, won't cut it anymore!

Instead go through your paper(s) of choice and write up a quick brief on what an artist should do or include in a reconstruction of *insert prehistoric critter of your choice*. We here at ART Evolved are aiming to launch a date base (whether it be hosted on this site, link to other blogs, or on a separate site) for such briefs/kits that artists can reference to get their reconstructions correct.

I think having something public and accessible, that we can point artists to, will be a far more powerful means of improving the base quality of all palaeo-art being created in the modern era. If we translate the technical language into artist language than people can start legitimately complaining.

We will do a more formal announcement on how we're planning to launch the database, but this shouldn't stop you from launching briefs for your favourite prehistoric critters!

ART Evolved member Matt Martyniuk (who is a very lucky individual being both science and artistically literate) has been doing an outstanding job of tackling papers and extracting the relevant information for a reconstruction on his own blog. Just check out how fantastic he took on Hesperornis' toothed beak and Theropod Wrists. You're brief doesn't even have to be this detailed as his!

The only problem I see with these briefs is the visual examples. Some technical people might be daunted by having to illustrate concepts. That is where ART Evolved comes in! There is bound to be someone out of our talented pool who would love to help you create the definative illustrated guide on how to accurately recreate your prehistoric critter.

So please don't just complain about the lack of science in palaeo-art, do something useful about it!

ART Evolved is very interested in other opinions on this topic, and would welcome your answer to this question. If you would like to enter an article on "Just how important is scientific accuracy in Palaeo-art? ", please read the brief criteria here, and send your essay to artevolved@gmail.com.