Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Utahraptor competition: the contenders

Just over a month ago, I launched our latest art competition in the name of drawing attention to the Utahraptor Project. The aim was to humorously illustrate how all those dinosaurs ended up caught in quicksand together - disregarding the scientific hypothesis that it was a predator trap, because pish, scientists, what do they know? Below, I'll lay out everything we've received, and although our decision is final, feel free to leave a comment in aid of your preferred winner.

We did get a couple of entries that illustrated Utahraptor (or, in one case, seemingly a JP raptor), but otherwise completely ignored the brief. So they're disregarded here. Sorry, guys. But everyone else is here...starting with Christian A Juul.

Christian's entry features a certain politician/reality TV star/real estate magnate/serial bankrupt/charlatan attempting to persuade a Utahraptor that it's absolutely worth diving in to deadly quicksand in pursuit of an easy meal. Political commentary? On LITC? Never let it be said. The Utahraptor is decked out in suitably patriotic red, white, and blue, which I rather like, even if it reminds me of the mascot from the 1998 World Cup (held in France). A strong first entry.

Next, we have a wee comic/film parody from Szymon Górnicki; if you're not getting it, check out this poster. Here, three 'helpless ornithopods' have turned the tables and dispatched a gaggle of Utahraptor over a cliff edge where they will, presumably, meet a very sticky end. Beautifully drawn and it manages to be funny while remaining entirely naturalistic - even realistic. Except the text.

Robin Liesens' entry alludes to a certain paper published recently - you might have heard of it - that proposed a radical shakeup of the dinosaur family tree. SAND = Sauropods Are Not Dinosaurs, geddit? There are a number of wonderful touches here, including the iguanodont holding its glass with its pinky, the armband-wearing juvenile Utahraptor, and the snorkelling individual in the centre, who is surely dead.

Connor Ross submitted a wee comic strip that references Bob Bakker's novel Raptor Red. I haven't read it, but understand there is a chapter (that's been illustrated by Luis Rey) involving Utahraptor sliding down snowy slopes for the sheer joy of it. Here, they are at significant risk of sludgy doom, but one of them is far too bird-brained to realise.

Julio Lacerda submitted a meme. SHAME. Amusing image, though.

Meanwhile, Yul Altolaguirre fully embraced the spirit of silliness that gave us Ost's surfing T. rex last time. Yes, they're fighting a gigantic evil mud monster, and it doesn't half make me chuckle. As a bonus, Yul's girlfriend also submitted a piece featuring gracefully diving Utahraptor, blissfully unaware of their grisly fate (below).

Rhunevild, aka Madbat, aka Madison H, depicted what appears to be a quite delightful sandcastle-making contest going horribly awry. You may wish to note that Madison has paid a fair bit of attention to the animals' heads - remember, anatomical accuracy wasn't a requirement, but is to be commended. Mainly because the serious reconstruction/silly scenario contrast is inherently funny. Notice also the iguanodont in the background, almost completely submerged. Oh dear.

And finally, in at the eleventh hour, here's Chris DiPiazza's painterly piece. Having to climb a garden fence to retrieve a ball might be bad enough, but our poor green friend here has to brave a gloopy deathtrap.

That's your lot! Which one's your favourite? Let us know! In addition to a couple of randomly selected cruddy dinosaur books pulled from my collection, the winner will also receive this very lovely chicken card signed and illustrated by Katrina van Grouw, Darren Naish, Mark Witton, John Conway and our own Natee. And me. Best of luck!


  1. These are all fantastic, and I wish I had had time to participate. My vote would definitely go to Madison H, and not just for the Jimi Hendrix reference.

    1. Wow, thank you, Emily! I've been a fan of your paintings for a while, so this made me very happy. :) Also glad you enjoyed the Hendrix reference!


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