Monday, February 2, 2015

1990s-style saurians: the contenders

I'm a bit prone to tucking away wacky drawing contests in my posts, which the cynical among you might take to be my way of measuring exactly how many people are reading them all the way to the end. But that's a terrible thought, and you are quite awful and horrid people for contemplating it. On the contrary, it's simply the case that I'm well aware of the great many talented artists we have among our readership, and love to encourage them to produce the sort of glorious, preferably very amusing and quite meta artwork that you just wouldn't see pop up on any other blog (except Pteroformer. And possibly Mark Witton's blog. Oh, whatever).

In any case, back in December I requested that readers submit a satirical '1990s dinosaur' - the sort of mildly barking restoration of a dinosaur that would have slotted in nicely inside a popular book from that decade (95% of which were written by Dougal Dixon). The winner will receive my copy of How to Draw Dinosaurs, along with a nice card or something that I'll seal with a kiss. First, however, I'd like to throw the entries out to the floor, to see which one LITC readers is most worthy of being crowned The Glorious Winner. Onward!



Gareth Monger's entry, while recycled from a blog post, is nevertheless an amusing take on an '80s or '90s-style speculative reconstruction, sporting a modern-style Paulian look while remaining horribly outdated. It depicts Deinocheirus, then known only from its arms (the rest of it having been lost down the back of someone's settee), as a knuckle-dragging ornithomimosaur of murderous intent, with claws able to tear off a sauropod's vulnerable lower leg with ease. Those of a certain age will remember many therizinosaur reconstructions along these lines (if normally without the brutal carnivory).


Ralph A Attanasia Mk3 (aka Doctor Rat) submitted this lovely sepia-toned piece, depicting another animal given a dramatic overhaul last year - Spinosaurus.  Some may argue that this piece is a little too retro, given the animal's upright posture. However, I'd draw attention to the very birdlike legs and sunken face as evidence that it does fit the bill better than a cursory glance might suggest. While croc-snouted spinosaurs did start to appear in the '90s, there were still a large number of the old 'carnosaur head' versions around, and the head and arms on Ralph's creation are gloriously generic.


At the other end of the chubbiness spectrum, we have Orcface's swampy hadrosaurs. The plumpness is the result of a certain stylisation (in keeping with the rest of the artist's deviantArt gallery). This one probably is a little too retro for the '90s - hadrosaurs tended to be out and about on the land by that time, typically getting mauled by various slobbering theropods. All the same, a very charming piece with great attention to detail (I love the webbed fingers on the Parasaurolophus).

In the original post, I mentioned that a naked maniraptor would be a safe, but rather obvious bet. Jessica R (aka Pokémon Lover Wally) thought that she'd "throw me for a loop" by submitting a feathered dinosaur, but one employing as many '90s-style clichés as possible. Hence, one butt-ugly Archaeopteryx, complete with featherless 'raptor' hands, body-hugging fuzz and a bafflingly pebbly head, chasing a dragonfly past a lone cycad over a cracked patch of dirt. Colours would've been welcome, but I still think this one nails it.


And finally...Chris DiPiazza (who he?) has submitted a typically bold and colourful painting, which doubles as concept art for Jurassic World (although Colin Trevorrow wouldn't approve of the dromaeosaur mohawks - they're far too progressive). Mostly naked dromaeosaurs? Check. Wildly coloured Archaeopteryx-like  bird with lizardy head and superfluous digits? Check. Angry angry mountains? Check. The terrifying demon-pterosaur thing flying overhead may be a silly step too far, but for the most part, this is a good 'un.

Please do weigh in! I'll announce the winner in a week or so. My decision is final. So there.

25 comments:

  1. While they are all really good, and the satirical take on old Paleoart is strong in all of them, in the end the chubby Hadrosaurs are my overall favorite. That said, they might not be the most nineties looking, in which case I think the mohawk raptors and the Deinocheirus best represent the paleoart from that time.

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  2. My mostly naked dromies were partially inspired by the caharacte, Talon, from the Primal Rage franchise which was VERY popular in the 90s. At the time their version of a Velociraptor with that little bit of plumage was considered pretty out there.

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  3. Tough one! But to save my dithering further, I think I will go for Gareth's Deinocheirus.

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  4. Jessica R's Archaeopteryx gets my vote, mainly because it looks like she's taken a Darren Naish line illustration and destroyed it with bad science.

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  5. "I'm a bit prone to tucking away wacky drawing contests in my posts, which the cynical among you might take to be my way of measuring exactly how many people are reading them all the way to the end. But that's a terrible thought, and you are quite awful and horrid people for contemplating it."

    I thought about entering the contest but then decided against it, partly b/c of the time constraint & partly b/c I'm not talented enough to pull off my idea the way I imagined it.

    Anyway, I'd go w/either Gareth Monger's Deinocheirus or Jessica R's Archaeopteryx, depending on what you're looking for in a winner: If you want something more satirical, I'd go w/the former; If you want something more homage-y, I'd go w/the latter. No offense meant to the others, it's just that they remind me more of the 80s or older. Chris DiPiazza's entry in particular reminds me of the cover of Norman's "WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH".

    -Hadiaz

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  6. A lot of people seem to want to skew older than the 90s. How about a Charles R. Knight tribute competition?

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    1. I'm not sure I can lay my hands on that much oil paint! :)

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    2. I imagined more of a stylistic influence than medium! Things like: muted grey/green colours, desaturated landscapes, erect postures, static poses, and the general sort of meditative air that hangs around most of his dinosaur work.

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    3. You're onto something there, Mike.

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    4. Ditto. It might be pretty wacky from today's perspective, but I always wanted to try something like his Agathaumas.

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    5. Oh, my. yes. That sounds like a good ol' inaccurate time.

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  8. All delightfully wrong, but I have to say the deinocheirus grabs me the most.

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  9. This was fun, and a convenient excuse to draw something I love drawing anyway. Can't wait for the next one!

    And I picked up on the Primal Rage vibes in DiPiazza's entry immediately, which is about as 90's as it gets. It...it's not like I'm a huge Primal Rage fan and own most the action figures...it's just a cool picture! That...that's it...

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  10. I'm for the Charles knight idea too. It would be fun to see more newly discovered species in his style, though.

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    1. I'm with Chris: it would be more interesting to see recently discovered species restored as seen through Knight's eyes, as it were. Otherwise, it might just be too loose a skewering of pre-Renaissance ideas, which is potentially (and rather unfairly) shooting fish in a barrel.

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    2. I think the biggest challenge about a Charles Knight, er... *challenge*, is that he wasn't just an accomplished comparative anatomist and palaeoartist, but a highly skilled and knowledgeable painter in his own right. Kinda like James Gurney these days, to my mind. (though meaning no disrespect to other skilled palaeoartists!) IMO it would take a fair bit of effort just to get 'Charles-Knight-esque'.

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    3. Right, but the proposed challenge is to create work in the style of Charles Knight, not of his quality!

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    4. I guess I can't get past thinking of Knight's style as 'highly modelled and realistically rendered scenes'!

      Anyway. There's a Qianzhousaurus out there with my name on it. Or there will be. Though I agree that I'm not going to get close to Knight's quality. ;)

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    5. Mike, since you've seeded the idea, would SV-POW! host it? :)

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    6. I'd be delighted to host such a competition, but I fear not enough artists read SV-POW! (especially after the last five highly technical posts on epipohyses!)

      But if it were to be publicised here on LitToC, and if someone could post about it on the relevant parts of DeviantArt, then I think an SV-POW!-based competition could be a goer. Anyone prepared to commit to doing the publicity?

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    7. I can guarantee a reach of about three people through my own blog! Seriously, I'm happy to do my bit by helping to keep it in the Twitter feed, etc.

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Trolls get baleted.