Saturday, January 7, 2012

The inherent humor of great size differences

I haven't really publicized it yet, but my lady-wife Jennie and I have started an Etsy shop called Terrier Mountain (see, our house is on a hill, and we have 1.5 terriers). We have some linocut and letterpress stuff up right now, and I'm in the process of figuring out a good way to produce high-quality prints of my illustrations. I've had great results with a high-end Epson printer using their line of pigment-based archival quality inks, but it's a school printer and thus not available to me for my "commercial" work. As soon as I figure out a good direction, I'll be adding a bunch of digital illustrations, and maybe photographs, to the shop.

Among this work is a set of cartoony illustrations I conceived as the sort of thing I'd want to hang in a nursery. Although I didn't put this much thought into the project when I started drawing, it sort of makes sense: beyond the simple style and bright colors, they call on that essential component of kids' dinosaur obsessions: they were freakin' big. Here are the first three.

First, we visit the late Cretaceous of Mongolia, where a curious Shuvuuia seems to have awakened a grumpy Protoceratops by jumping up on his back.

Shuvuuia and Protoceratops

Then on to late Jurassic Africa and the Tendaguru formation, where a young Giraffatitan is being buzzed by a lil' rhamphorynchid.

Rhamphorynchus and Giraffatitan

Finally, a pair from the Tithonian: Allosaurus and Anurognathus. This was the first one I did (accounting for the different proportions, which will be normalized for the final product), and my friend Gatis made an observation that it was funny because of the unimpressed expression on the allosaur's face. Because of that, I changed my Giraffatitan so it wasn't smiling. I think he was right about it.

Allosaurus and Anurognathus

I have some ideas for the next one. But today I had an idea: I've been lucky enough that I've had a few people turn my silly ideas in to illustrations, so I figure it's time to start paying people back. In the comments below, feel free to suggest pairs you'd like to see me do in this style. As you can see, I'm trying to represent a diverse group of animals, and I'm trying to keep them at least roughly contemporaneous. Pairs from the same formation get precedence. I can't promise I'll do every suggestion as my semester starts up this week, but I'll do what I can! Have at it!


  1. Those are adorable. If you're willing to go beyond vertebrates, how about Epicharmeropsis landing on the snout of a Beipiaosaurus or Psittacosaurus? (If not, Xianglong or a small enantiornithine might also work.)

  2. Inverts are absolutely allowed, and a visit to the Jehol is pretty much mandatory. Good suggestion!

  3. I really like the sauropod and pterosaur. Nice stuff.

  4. Adorable, indeed. What about a Deinonychus fleeing from an Acrocanthosaurus? It's one more shot to put dromaeosaurs to shame since they are always portrait as bad-asses.

  5. A compsognathus running along the tail of a brachiosaur/diplodocus

  6. I love these!

    Because I am on a Therizinosaur kick, how about Beipiaosaurus and Confuciusornis?

  7. Shantungosaurus and Scansoriopteryx (or Epidendrosaurus if you prefer). Neither from the same formation nor period, but hey...

  8. Can't stop thinking about this! Aargh!

    A triceratops, head lowered so the long horns are horizontal. A small pterodactyl (or several) perched on the horn, with if possible a goofy expression.

  9. To continue the Jehol kick everyone seems to be on, how about Mei long, peacefully curled up and taking a nap (complete with snore-y little 'z's!) on the head or back of either Sinotyrannus or one of the Yixian titanosauriforms?

  10. I love it, I do. Next month on my blog I am contemplating Anurognathus entries for a week. Mind if I put that little guy on the top of the page the first day either in its entirety or as a zoomed in detail?

  11. That would be fine, Ian. It's available here:

    and if you don't mind, I'd love a link to my onlineshop where I sell prints: Thanks.

    1. I certainly will! I'm actually going to put it up today because today is the first day I've not been updating on my phone this week.


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