Bicyclophosaurus Tattoo - initial skull sketch

Been planning to get a new tattoo on my “cycling leg” for a while now. (Chains are on the right; cyclists often roll up the right pant leg so it doesn’t get caught in the chain.)  

The image of the tattoo is smouldering quietly in my brain, and has been for over a year. I have the tattoo artist lined up.

Now I just need to draw the thing.  

 

 Initial Bicyclophosaurus skull exploration  

Initial Bicyclophosaurus skull exploration  

I’m basing the tattoo off of one of my favourite childhood dinosaurs, the Triassic-era crested carnivore Dilophosaurus.  And blending it with bike parts. 

(In Jurassic Park terms, dilophosaurus is the one that killed Nedry. It was small and had a neck frill. There’s no evidence they would have had something like a frill f'real and they were cool enough with the crest, IMO. They were also much larger, at 7 metres long.)

I remember being fascinated by the weird upper lip line, and double crests as a kid. And the first illustration I had ever seen showed dilophosaurus running swiftly after its prey. I think it was in a book illustrated by John Hamburger. 

My kids were suggesting the velociraptor instead, since it's fast like a bike; being from Toronto, a raptor is a pretty good idea. We’ll see.

The death pose that I used for 3(!) of author Brian Switek’s tattoos makes a great design. (See all of Brian’s ink in my tattoo gallery). I like black line tattoos, and fossil skeletons have a lot of good visual repetition and broken symmetry that make them compelling to look at.

"Behold my compelling and muscular calves, everyone!" I shall exhort passers-by along my commute. 

 The 3rd of three Morrisson Formation carnivore fossil tattoos I designed for author Brian Switek, and inked by Austin Huffman of Heart of Gold Tattoo in Utah. 

The 3rd of three Morrisson Formation carnivore fossil tattoos I designed for author Brian Switek, and inked by Austin Huffman of Heart of Gold Tattoo in Utah. 

So my plan is to blend the dilophosaurus skeleton with bicycle parts. Gears, chain, spokes. I have a bat-winged trilobite fossil tattoo on my arm; another impossible hybrid seems appropriate. 

Not sure if the crest will be a big gear or not yet.  

 Quick hack job of seeing how the rough would look as a black line design. Photo of the pencil sketch messed with in ArtRage for iPad.  

Quick hack job of seeing how the rough would look as a black line design. Photo of the pencil sketch messed with in ArtRage for iPad.  

Once I’m satisfied with the design, tattoo artist German Shible of Passage Tattoo is my go-to arist to do the work. I’ve known him for years, and watched his tattoo career from the start. Can’t wait to book the appointment!

But I gotta draw the beastie first. More on this as it progresses. 

A Bedraggled Quill

Art Monday sketch.  

A bedraggled quill. And my least favourite way of writing a capital “G”. feathers can be fun and contemplative to draw. Lots of careful repetition of line. 

 Pencil with an ink signature. 

Pencil with an ink signature. 

Spiny Trilobite

2017 was a rough year, and 2018 has felt like rebuilding. 

I’m going to try and post some new art —a sketch, a painting, a drawing—  every Monday. 

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The Flying Trilobite blog is over 11 years old, and despite what looks like inactivity, I still blog, just professionally now. 

The first few years of my blog, I posted new art every Monday - and even when I stopped I had a traffic spike every Monday for years after I gave up the practice. I’m going to attempt to be that disciplined again.  

Every professional advancement in my life has directly or indirectly stemmed from blogging my surreal SciArt, scientific illustrations, and tattoo designs. And it makes me happy. 

While you can’t regress in life, I am finding that looking to the past for sources of calm and happiness seems to help. Drawing is a huge part of that.  

In addition, keep your eye on Symbiartic - I have some new posts coming and I’ve started the arduous process of adding the back catalogue from when we were on Scientific American, re-posting everything by hand. We have ideas for how to take Symbiartic forward.  

Going forward by looking to the past. Blogging, drawing, and sharing. 

So far

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1,185 km in 2018 so far. 

These gloves were a Christmas gift from my wife & kids. Putting some wear on ‘em. 

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#bikeTO #cyclinglife

An Asthmatic Cyclist

 My trusty Jamis mountain bike. 

My trusty Jamis mountain bike. 

 

A little over a year ago, my lifelong asthma was diagnosed as eosinophilic asthma — something about 5% of asthmatics have. 

Basically, my body produces too many eosinophilic white blood cells, which are great at fighting parasites like ringworm, and for causing bronchiole constriction. 

After a simple blood test and some insurance wrangling, I now receive a one-a-month injection of mepoluzimab, trade name Nucala by GlaxoSmithKline. 

At my first appointment, I said to the nurse I’d read white blood cells can stay in your system for about 8 hours — I wondered if I’d feel better starting the next day. She smiled and said most people feel better within an hour. 

One injection and observation period later, and I was taking huge deep breaths. And enjoying them. There was no wheezy chaser at the end of a big inhale-exhale.  

I biked back to my temp job, and ran up 5 floors of stairs. Winded, but *not wheezing*.  

I felt like the first time I ever had espresso. 

The upshot is I’m able to chase my kids some more, I cycle commute as much as can (which I was already doing - but now I enjoy it again) and I’m going for longer rides. 50k is my longest. I’m sure I can do more but that’s a big chunk of time (4 hours) as a parent. I bike from Little Italy Toronto to Mississauga to visit my nephew on occasion, and to the Queensway movie theatre. 

I still have asthma. I still need ventolin and Zenhale. I still wheeze. But the injection stops me from having an asthma attack. I can push my self harder during exercise and just be out of breath, not wheezing.  

Being out of breath and able to deeply breathe in is a wonderful feeling that I’m chasing more and more. 

If there was a version of heaven that required me being totally alone, it would be on my bike, racing through the green of Toronto’s ravines and the sunsets on our city’s beach.  

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Not my longest ride at 42km, (26 miles Americans) but a typical route involving the Don Valley and Toronto’s waterfront. #BikeTO

Inktober sketch #2

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Some messy, late-night trilobites swimming through the air above a Jack O'Lantern. 

Blending a little #sciart with Hallowe'en every day this month.

It's Inktober!

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Inktober is here! That spooky month where illustrators flit about Twitter with smudgy fingers, eschewing ctrl-z and abstaining from erasable pencils. Ink! Messy, permanent, committed.

 I've gone deep into my art cabinet and excavated my late grandmother's ink nibs and fountain pens. I think I'll go with a "prehistoric creatures with jack o'lanterns" theme for the month. Find all my sketches here on The Flying Trilobite blog, or on Twitter @FlyingTrilobite.   If you want more artists in your Twitter feed, or on Instagram, just check the #inktober hashtag.  

I've gone deep into my art cabinet and excavated my late grandmother's ink nibs and fountain pens. I think I'll go with a "prehistoric creatures with jack o'lanterns" theme for the month. Find all my sketches here on The Flying Trilobite blog, or on Twitter @FlyingTrilobite. 

If you want more artists in your Twitter feed, or on Instagram, just check the #inktober hashtag.  

Cyborg Sea Anemone

 Cyborg Sea Anemone © Glendon Mellow 2017, Shareable under ( CC BY-NC 3.0 )

Cyborg Sea Anemone © Glendon Mellow 2017, Shareable under (CC BY-NC 3.0)

This morning's sketch. Just a Cyborg Sea Anemone trundling along on the ocean floor in search of food. When coral reefs die you gotta go where the food is at and give up on the sessile lifestyle.

Desperate times, man, desperate times. 

 Might paint this one in ArtRage later. 

Might paint this one in ArtRage later.