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Showing posts from April, 2011

Orange Microraptor

Today, I bring you the third instalment of my perching dino/bird series...my orange Microraptor.
I was originally trying to draw Archaeopteryx but realised halfway through that the face was too theropod-looking and decided that I was going to convert it into a Microraptor. Actually, this one is even drawn before my blue Archaeopteryx, so I'm posting things counter-chronologically. But that's not strictly true because I only coloured this sketch in today, so it is technically my newest drawing.

I tried to pose this Microraptor with a half-folded wing; kind of like a bird folding up its wings after either landing on the branch or just extending them out for whatever reason birds extend their wings from time to time. Aside from the obviously interesting point of having tarsal "flight" feathers, Microraptor also is quite interesting in that it has really long primary feathers on the wings proper.

Colouring is as suggested to me by my fiancĂ©e, who apparently doesn't li…

Blue Archaeopteryx

This is another rendering of Archaeopteryx, one I'd done before I'd done my red Archaeopteryx. Just like my red Archaeopteryx, I made this guy's head and neck quite fluffy. The colouring is loosely based on a blue jay because I really like blue jays. But also corvids in general; corvids are cool!

...but then in hind sight, it looks a bit too much like a corvid than an Archaeopteryx, I must admit, but this is all in an attempt to make Archaeopteryx look more birdlike rather than a feathered reptile; I think most of the artistic reconstructions out there are too reptilian. I wrote in my red Archaeopteryx post as well but I kind of like the idea that Archaeopteryx and other early birds had more fuzziness about them than widely depicted.

Before anyone says, "How is this an Archaeopteryx, it just looks like a bird?", look at the fluff on the tarsals. And look at the external nares at the tip of the premaxilla. Also, do look at the claws poking out from under the wing (…

Red Archaeopteryx

After a very prolonged hiatus in palaeoart, today I bring you Archaeopteryx, the 'first' bird. I've recently been drawing various interpretations of fossil birds, primarily Archaeopteryx and Confuciusornis, but this rendering is one of my favourites so far.

A red Archaeopteryx perched on a branch.

I've come to notice that Archaeopteryx is most frequently reconstructed with very short feathers along the head and neck. Indeed in the Berlin specimen, there seems to be a general lack of long feathers around the head and neck other than faint striations (Christiansen & Bonde, 2004). Christiansen & Bonde (2004) offer two hypotheses regarding the preservation of contour feathers in Archaeopteryx: 1, the fossil is an accurate representation of plumage in life; and 2, feathers were present but lost during fossilisation. The authors seem to prefer hypothesis 1 and suggest that Archaeopteryx had mixed coverings of large pennaceous feathers and short simple proto-feathers …