Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A whole lotta dinosaurs

Just posting these for posting's sake.   I figure I might as well be comprehensive.  A bunch of dino sketches from the last few weeks.  Enjoy.


fluffy deinonychus


giraffititan sketch

parasaurolophus sketch

allosaur sketch

Nothronychus quickie sketch

Velociraptor quickie sketch


Thursday, September 27, 2012

More urban sketching goodness around Denver

I haven't done as much sketching outside in the past month as I would have liked, even though the weather has been fantastic, but I did manage a few doodles here and there.  I humbly submit them here. though if you follow me on Flickr they are old news.  But I present them anyway out of a sense of duty.

This first one was done from near the same spot as my other sketch of the Brown Palace Hotel, this time looking west down 17th behind it.  It's unfinished I suppose, but I like it.
tremont and 17th

This one was done in Castle Rock, a southern suburb of Denver.  Linda was there for a book signing at Stash, a very cool yarn shop.  While she signed I sketched.
3rd and Willcox

A rare non-architectural sketch, in Cheesman Park in Denver.  I think our Grand Canyon trip may be having some effect on me.
cheesman park

Bagged another great old building in Denver, the old Chamber of Commerce building, now residential.
old chamber of commerce

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Build a Dinosaur part VI

Here we are, the sixth and final installment of my long-overdue blog chronicling the Deinonychus I built this spring.

Links to the other posts in this series:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

When last we left, I was in the middle of the long and tedious process of applying epoxy clay scales.  Since most of the deino is going to be covered with feathers, I decided only to cover the legs, feet and hands.  The head has been covered for a while now.
Still adding scales
The leg on the left has a priming coat of acrylic gesso over the scales, as I'm going to paint this guy with acrylic paint.

Detail of the hands:
Detail of the hands

The whole guy scaled and ready to paint:
deinonychus scaled, primed and ready for painting and feathering

I started with the legs and arms:
beginning feathers 02
There's also a preliminary feather test going on in the above photo.

Closeup of the legs and arms.  The paint was applied with a pouncing brush (commonly used for stencils) to minimize brushstrokes.

I decided to add a little more color to the face as well:
deinonychus beginning feathers

I painted a basic counter-shaded coat under where I planned to put the feathers.  It served both as a means to reduce the visibility of the white plaster under the darker top feathers and as a template for where to place which feathers when I got to that step.


Before feathering I decided to build the final base for our hero.  I cut a 24" x 48" MDF in half and glued the two halves together.  When the glue was dry I freehand-drew a quick organic shape for the base then cut it out with a jigsaw. I then used a hand-held router with a roundover bit to smooth out and round over the top edge.  When I was done the base was very heavy and very stable.

Turning Mr. Deino upside-down I drilled holes in the bottom of his feet and inserted short lengths of PVC pipe, epoxying them in place.  I also glued a length of PVC into the already-made chest hole.  I then glued lengths of wooden dowel into holes I drilled into the base (one is visible above) so that the bits of pipe in the feet and chest would slide down onto these dowels and fit snugly and stably, but could be removed if necessary.
Another shot of the base

Later I painted the base with three coats of satin black latex enamel.

Oh yeah-- the feathers.
The bottom layer of white feathers were added first, and I used craft/costume fur (fake of course) for the tail and torso and craft feathers stitched into satin bias tape for the underside of the neck.  I glued and pinned everything in place.
Getting feathered up

I then laid in the top layer of feathers.  I used rooster hackle also stitched into bias tape that I purchased from Lamplight Feather Inc.   I started at the tail and worked my way toward the head, overlapping each course of feathers enough to cover the previous course's bias tape trim.
Feathering in progress..
The arm feathers were whole dried rooster wings I purchased on  They were also glued and pinned in place.
Test-fitting arm feathers
The feathers on the head obviously couldn't be attached via bias tape, so I pulled them off the trim and glued each one on separately, placing them in holes I made with a metal probe.
deinonychus sculpture closeup

And then I was done!  I put him in the yard and took a few photographs.
deinonychus sculpture finished

deinonychus sculpture finished

deinonychus sculpture closeup

I took Deino to work in a U-Haul van.
On to the exhibit...

Going for a ride

Here he is in the back room, waiting for his exhibit to be prepared.
staging area

And finally in his home, next to yours truly:
best friends

I prepared a little information placard:
exhibit info

Well, that does it for this series!  It was certainly one of the most challenging project I've ever done, but also one of my favorites, and writing about it reminded me of the all the crazy things I did earlier this year that I probably never thought I'd ever do.  And hopefully I'll get a chance to do another one some day...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Some more dino sketches

Colorized and digitized the feathered T. rex I've been working on.  Also fixed the perspective and posture of the legs, which really bothered me in the pencil sketch.   More may yet be done on this one.
feathered tyrannosaurus

Utahraptor got a similar treatment, digitally colored in Photoshop, with a complete redo of the arm feathers from the original pen and ink sketch, done way back last year.
utahraptor dancing


Tiny sketches of a rex and and allosaur, each about 3 inches wide.
tiny t rex sketch

tiny allosaurus sketch

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Road Trip

Linda and I took a short trip last week across the Colorado Plateau, from here in Colorado through Utah to Arizona and back.  I got the opportunity to do a few sketches, and we also got engaged somewhere along the way.

Our first stop was in Grand Junction, Colorado, on the western border near Utah.  We ate lunch downtown at a great little Nepalese/Indian restaurant, and afterward I had enough time to do this little sketch while Linda checked out the local yarn shop.
grand junction colorado
That's Linda's little Honda Fit in the middle.

We continued on into Colorado National Monument, just outside of town.
colorado national monument

colorado national monument

After driving the park's main road and stopping for some (very hot) photo opportunities, we continued on to Moab, Utah, arriving in the early evening.  The last leg took us into the Colorado River canyon as the sun was setting.
colorado river canyon

The next day, we went to Arches National Park and hiked around all morning.  We checked out the Courthouse Towers, Sand Dune Arch, Skyline Arch and the Devil's Garden, where I did a quick watercolor sketch of Landscape Arch while being watched by some nice German tourists.
landscape arch

Afterward we went back into Moab for lunch and a nap before returning to the park to tackle the Delicate Arch trail in the late afternon.  It was super hot and mostly uphill, but we were rewarded at the end with an amazing view of the arch just before sunset.
delicate arch

We were tired enough that I had plenty of time for a sketch while we rested.
delicate arch

After an amazing dinner that night in Moab, we set off the next morning for the Grand Canyon, arriving in the mid-afternoon.  We took a lazy drive through the park to our hotel room and saw some amazing sites.  Over the next two days we went to some great ranger programs, walked along the rim trail, saw some amazing sunsets and got engaged!  I also did these sketches:

view of grand canyon village from fossil beds

from yavapai point

near geology museum

camera in yavapai lodge hotel room

bright angel lodge lobby

hermits rest

yavapai point

yavapai point watercolor

grand canyon watercolor

Of course, there was some stuff I didn't sketch.
grand canyon clouds

grand canyon sunset

On our trip back we stopped for a night in Mesa Verde National Park and saw some amazing Anasazi cliff dwellings.  We took a tour the next morning, but there was not enough time for a sketch.  Ah well, another time.  cliff palace