Caught in a Moment


Oviraptorosaurs are my favorite group of fossil animals, a fact I do not think anyone doubts. WAAAAY back at the beginning of last year, shortly after ending a somewhat lengthy drawing hiatus of about 2 years (egad!), I decided to test if my skills were too rusty or if the impetus to improve had shown fruit as I put graphite to paper … and sought to be better at what I was doing before. As such, the result, a depiction of the poorly-known oviraptorid Conchoraptor gracilis, was a trial to show a profile of the forward body. He (or she?) seems to be reaching out, but I wanted to provide an ambiguous dynamic, where the lower portion of the image seems in motion but the upper is still. Perhaps he is in display for his mate, or to get another girl to lay her eggs in his nest. I think I succeeded in applying some ideas about reconstruction of the beak, eye, feathering, and general form to this, while keeping a distinctive style intact. Whether I succeeded in achieving “better” work than I have in the past is up to the viewer. I mean, well —  it’s not my best, I know, but it is pretty up there and high on my favorites list.

© 2011 Jaime A. Headden. DO NOT USE WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

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4 Responses to Caught in a Moment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Even though you may not be sure if you love it, I have to say this is one of the best pieces of paleo-art I have seen in a while. I like how the beak and eyes appear full and almost photorealistic, rather than flat like I have seen in other pieces of paleo-art. The feathering is also nice, there is just enough to beef up the animal and make it look alive (not “shrink-wrapped”), but not too much that it obscures the contours of the skeleton underneath.

    • I appreciate your comments. The reason I didn’t show it to anyone for a whole year, and the main reason I am not so fond of it, is that I screwed up on the feathering of the arms. It’s subtle, but very, very noticeable if you are familiar enough with the foibles of the way feathers fold: the more distal feathers overlay, rather than underlay, the following feathers, so that the leading edge is always on top, and I got this totally wrong on both arms. Similarly, the texturing for arm feathers excluding the coverts does not correctly follow the arrangement of feathers, but was sketched in with the desire to “clean it up, later.” I never did, and put so much work into the wing that i felt I couldn’t correct it at the time. I probably CAN correct it, but felt doing so ruins its legitimacy. So it’s presented here as a flaw. My test was to see if I was rusty, and I forgot this important, necessary lesson for feather folding in wings!

  2. mattvr says:

    Nice, subtle, poised, anticipatory…

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