That Little Glow

Just sent final art off to a client. Feels good to have accomplished some illustration work before 7am on a Monday. That Little Glow. 

It isn't the pic below though: can't show everyone yet!



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Ceratosaurus Science Ink

Another dinosaur tattoo design!

In March of 2012, I posted a bit about the process behind paleontology author and blogger Brian Switek's 
Allosaurus tattoo design, which he commissioned from me and had inked at the Heart of Gold Tattoo studio.

Brian Switek is the author of Written in Stone and My Beloved Brontosaurus and the former blogger at Laelaps on Wired, and Dinosaur Tracking on the Smithsonian site.

Recently, he's taken his Laelaps blog to National Geographic's new "science salon" blog network, Phenomena. 




You can read more about how I personalized it with hidden Easter Eggs in the design to make it specifically for Brian in the original post.

Brian liked it enough, he needed another carnivore.

Ceratosaurus!


Sketching the horned beastie in my Moleskine. Ceratosaurus was much like Allosaurus but with a wicked horn, and devilish ridges over its eyes. 



My work in progress, inking using ArtRage Studio Pro. The inks in ArtRage are pretty phenomenal. In this case, I mostly stuck with the technical pen. 
Illustrators out there can see why I enjoy Artrage so much. It's like working on a desktop in realspace. Reference photos pinned, all my tools on the quarter-wheel to the left, all my paints in the palette on the right. 

My first proposed final design. 

You can see one of the differences I made from the Allosaurus in the top image in this post:  The allosaurus had hollow, outlined vertebrae and ribs, with solid black limbs and skull and the Ceratosaurus has the reverse. The dinosaurs are similar enough (and I was proud of my skull linework on the Cerato) that I thought this might be interesting.

Brian made the call, and it was the right one to have both matching: outlined vertebrae and ribs, solid limbs and skull. The two predators are, after all, side-by-side on his arm and so the similarity strengthens the design. 


From left: Allosaurus, revised Ceratosaurus, initial Ceratosaurus. Click to enlarge.
Yeah. The middle one matches the Allosaurus much better, and the skulls have more impact in solid black

Brian visited Jon at Heart of Gold tattoo in Utah again, and here's the final result!  

Brian's arm photo by Tracey Switek.

It was amazing working with Brian Switek again and boy oh boy - I want a dino skeleton tattoo now myself.

You can read more about how the two skeletons I largely worked from for the Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus are related over on Brian's post on the new Laelaps!

If you'd like to see more of my science ink designs, check them out at my portfolio at glendonmellow.com under the science tattoo header


Thanks Brian!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
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Almost used this sketch


Recently, over on Symbiartic, I posted a piece ruminating about copyright and the utility of good scientific illustration, called Dinosaur Couture Should Be Open To All. I hesitated putting the post up, since although tangential, I thought some sort of illustration riffing on dinosaurs and high fashion would enhance the post. 

Squeezing in time to make any sort of artwork is next to impossible the past couple of weeks: our son is teething, not sleeping well and I'm very behind my self-imposed deadlines. So I spent some time and tried to work on the sketch above, thinking maybe a model with some sort of fossil couture outfit could be fun. The face is pretty flawed, I didn't use an actual model. Perhaps I was thinking of Eva, from America's Next Top Model season 3?

Ultimately not happy with it, I decided instead to attempt a breezy fashion design sketch, using watercolours in ArtRage. 



C'mon, the hipster pants and shoulder pads on the right not doin' it for ya?


I was scrambling to complete it before posting and heading out the door...in the end, I erased the two dinos on the sides, and went with the parasaurolophus in the spring dress. 






Ok. Not my best work. But I hope a splash of colour livened up the post. 


I feel hopeful about getting some sort of studio and blogging schedule back on track soon. We're going to try some new things with Calvin's sleep schedule to allow him to be more rested, and in turn, me more rested. I love being a stay at home dad and freelancer: it's a balancing act that's tipped a bit askew, that's all. 

I'll leave this post with a fanciful parasaurolophus I'm more proud of. 



Check out Dinosaur Couture Should Be Open To All on Symbiartic! 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Inky Bidness

Coupla tattoo things. 

Fascinating personal post by paleo-author Brian Switek of Laelaps over at his other gig, Dinosaur Tracking, where he talks some more about the tattoo I designed for him not long ago. And hints at a second design possibly in the works. (I'm trying to see if it's possible to make a theropod's jaw open and close on Brian's flexing bicep.)

Check out his Allosaurus Ink, Brian has more recent, healed photos.  



Another tattoo I designed, the caffeine molecule for my SciAm peep Scicurious has long been one of my most popular all-time posts for getting traffic. Bound to happen then, that another internet denizen, Ryan S on Reddit has gotten a similar tattoo based on the design Sci and I came up with. 

Here it is on Scicurious:






I've also made a portfolio gallery of my science tattoo designs if you'd like to see more.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Allosaurus Science Ink

You know, doing science tattoo designs is an aspect of my current career I never would have guessed I'd be doing 10 years ago. They're challenging and fascinating. Each time I feel really honoured someone would like their body graced by one of my images. 

When author of Written in Stone Brian Switek asked me about designing a tattoo, I was really excited.  Brian's one of my favourite bloggers, both at Wired's Laelaps and the Smithsonian's Dinosaur Tracking, and who I have also been lucky enough to meet at ScienceOnline the past few years.  Great guy. 

Right away, he knew what he wanted: allosaurus in the death pose in blackline. 

I headed to the Royal Ontario Museum, which has an allosaurus mount scurrying under the new signature barosaurus named Gordo.  


I took these photos since they're backlit, and that's helpful for a blackline tattoo, but in the end I didn't reference them.

Instead, even tough it was to be a blackline, silhouette design, I like to start by standing in the museum and drawing a detailed sketch of the skull, hands and feet



While I was drawing this from the original skeleton, Gregory Paul patted me on the head, gave me a doggy treat and said, "Good boy!". Then he whacked my nose with a rolled up newspaper. Yeah, I was confused too. 



I drew the body separately, and Photoshopped the head on. For those not familiar with this pose, most terrestial vertebrates, from dinosaurs to rabbits can be found in this extreme back-arched pose after they die. The thinking is that it's likely ligaments and tissues around the deceased animal's spine tend to dry out first, tightening and contorting the body. 




Above is a screenshot of me inking the skull using ArtRage Studio Pro, my favourite digital painting program.  I found the basic billboard marker gave me the lines I liked.

Brian was getting this tattoo in part to mark a transition: from his home state of New Jersey to Utah, and the allosaurus is Utah's state dinosaur. So as I neared completion of the skeleton drawing, I started thinking about different ways to make this tattoo design more personal to Brian, and not just a random dino fossil.

So I sent him this image below in an email, and asked if he could find the Easter Eggs:




Do you see them?  




The coloured-in portions are in the shape of a tiny New Jersey (green) and Utah (coral).

After looking at a few variations, such as all-black with no outlines, a broken tail, and so on Brian settled on the image above. I like this one too: the solid black ribs, leg and skull are offset by the outlined vertebrae.  I think it breaks up the image in an interesting way, and visually makes the image clearer to someone who may not be familiar with the dinosaur death pose. 


Here's Brian with the finished piece, done by Jon at Heart of Gold Tattoo.

Thanks Brian!  That was really fun and I love how the final version turned out. Badass allosaurus.

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For more of my science tattoo designs, check out the following links:

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Beware of Explodey Anklyosaurs



Beware of explodey pineapple anklyosaurs.

Sometimes they travel far distances before kabooming.

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This post marks the return of Art Mondays on The Flying Trilobite! My posting has been a bit sporadic lately, so I think I'll return to this discipline that I held for a few years on the blog.  At the very least, expect new art and art commentary each Monday.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Lookee here--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Avimimus sketch



Had some fun with textures and feathers on this Avimimus sketch earlier in the summer.

Thought I'd post it now, since there's an interesting discussion started by Craig Dylke over at ART Evolved about dinosaur feathers and accuracy in science art and film.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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New!  Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!