Paleo-Art in Progress: Spinosaurus Part 2

Now I can show the entire process, step-by-step, for how the Spinosaurus painting came to be, from preliminary sketch to the finished artwork. A scan of the painting is at the end.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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I first began with an initial sketch to set down the composition and shape of the dinosaur, as well as the eel he's catching.
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Next I added in some details and scale patterns that I thought would look neat. Note the little spines on his underbelly, somewhat like the spines on the throat of a bearded dragon.
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I copied the sketch on a sheet of tracing paper, then used that and a piece of graphite paper to transfer the shape onto an 8x10 inch masonite board.
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Here is where the trees and background begin to take shape, the water is filled in, and the two animals are given a contrasting color scheme for visual interest.
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Many details and highlights are added in, from the tree bark to the Spinosaur's eye.
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The finished work, with water highlights on the wet parts of the Spinosaur's hide, and dark stripes and spots for more of a natural pattern than just being entirely red.
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The final scan of the image.

Finished the Spinosaurus Painting

Here’s my latest finished painting. It is an 8 x 10 acrylic piece on masonite board. Scans of this and other paintings are forthcoming.

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A Spinosaurus aegypticus has just caught a large eel, which is still struggling to liberate itself from the predator’s bite. Unfortunately for the eel, Spinosaur teeth and jaws are designed to catch fish.

Finished Cover Art and Paleo Art

The cover art for “Arrivers: Alliance” is now finished and scanned. So here is the result.

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I also finished another piece of paleo art, depicting two Carnotaurus stalking a Saltasaurus. The foreground flesh-eater is calling for the rest of their pack to help tackle the giant sauropod.

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Hope you all have a terrific day!

“Batman vs. Superman” is Criminally Underrated

It’s one of the classic debates in comic book circles: if Batman and Superman got into a fight, who would walk away?

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Copyright belongs to DC Comics and Warner Bros.

A lot is being said about this new movie, and I won’t spoil the outcome, but the critics and “comic book authorities” are certainly losing. That’s because for reasons I cannot understand, they are hating on one of the greatest, most thrilling, best-balanced comic book movies in recent memory.
It’s a long movie, and requires an investment of time and attention. Come to think of it, maybe that’s enough reason for it to not “click” with the Twitter generation. (I doubt even the Lord of the Rings movies would be allowed to run for three hours to tell their own stories, if they were being made today) But the payoff and literally Earth-shattering developments are well worth it. The consequences of the almost-as-underrated Man of Steel are intelligently dealt with, and feed into this one’s storyline naturally. It plays its numerous elements like a rip-roaring symphony, to an effect that reminds us all what the word “epic” actually means.
Both Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) get the space they need to tell their stories, plus the villains and secondary characters get plenty of time to shine, so I don’t get why people are saying the movie and plot are underdeveloped. Frankly, it’s an absolute miracle this movie gets so much right, considering the fact that it crams in enough plot for three films. In addition to the two title characters, there is Wonder Woman (an undeniably awesome Gal Gadot), Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, providing the scariest and most deliciously unhinged take on Luthor since Kevin Spacey), Doomsday, and several others beside. If there was anything that didn’t quite work, it was the extra attention given to all the setup for the Justice League to come together. But that setup is still tantalizing and just plain cool, and I say that as someone who’s never read a Justice League comic.
There was always something fishy about the overreaction against Ben Affleck. Sure enough, he makes an entirely believable and human Bruce Wayne, a bitter man with all the trust burned out of him by two decades of fighting “freaks dressed like clowns,” who would be exactly the sort of man to assume the worst in Kal-El/Superman and take a stand against him. He is arguably one of the best incarnations of Batman ever put on screen.
For those who have groused about Superman not being the perfect Boy Scout of the Christopher Reeves movies: remember in Superman II when he gives up his responsibility of saving lives and defending Earth so he can sleep with Lois Lane? Not exactly the spotless paragon everyone talks about. Cavill makes perfect sense as a Superman who struggles with doubt, but is still trying to be an authentic hero in a world that has all but given up on morality, and often looks with suspicion on the exact people who have the courage and conviction to do what we all know to be morally right.
I have been given plenty of reason to distrust the critic community already, but quite honestly, this is also a reason to distrust the comic book crowd as a whole when it comes to appreciating a great story. They’ll love a comic book film just because it’s an exercise in snark and mean-spirited flippancy (exhibit A: Deadpool) and make fun of Ben Affleck for being disappointed at the negative response. It seems nothing else will be good enough for them.
Remember, this is three movies in one. But it works. Do yourself a favor and go see it, and don’t let all the parroted hatred toward this incredible film stand in your way.

“Arrivers: Alliance” Coming Soon to Kindle

The Arrivers serial has already turned more successful than I anticipated. Kindle has a bunch of sub-categories for their ebooks, and the first installment, “Escaping,” for a time became the #1 most downloaded in Quick-Read Science Fiction.

Back by popular demand, the story of Sergeant Tobias, Reverend Rousseau, and the mercenary “Jezebel” continues at long last. “Arrivers: Alliance” widens the conflict, and now Tobias may have to make an uneasy alliance with the criminal underworld to combat a rapidly growing threat.

I decided to start painting my own cover art for the story as well. Here’s the progress so far, and I’ll keep you updated!

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The story’s release date is April 15th.

(UPDATE) Apologies. There I go again, trying to be all confident and getting a story out before it’s ready. I hope you all can forgive me. God willing, the story will be out this summer. Look for it somewhere around June 1st.

Awesome Sights at the Dinosaur Hotel

After more than a year of anticipation, I got to finally spend a night at the famous “Dinosaur Hotel,” the Best Western Denver Southwest.

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Acrocanthosaurus skull, a giant carnivore that hunted the long-necked sauropods.

The place is chock full of stuff that will make a paleontologist’s heart sing. Dinosaur skulls and fossil displays are all over the lobby, which is made to look like a turn-of-the-century explorer’s den, complete with an Allosaurus skull on the mantelpiece.

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The only way this could look more awesome is if it was a stuffed and mounted Allosaurus head, but those seem to be in short supply.

There’s a paleontologist who will be there in the mornings to answer all sorts of questions about prehistoric life, the continental breakfast is excellent (especially considering the fact that they have waffles), and there are more fossils on display than in some natural history museums. It’s spectacular.

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Beware of Stegosaurs reading over your shoulder.

If you are in the Denver area, this would be a great place to stop by for the night! You’ll be glad if you go check it out.