Sometimes I’m a bit lazy in my stippling of skulls, and try to be loose about details, and this is generally true when the target is pretty tiny. In the case of my cookiecutter shark stipple (if you can find it in the banner above — or, if you’re lazy, just try here) I wanted to convey only a small amount of detail because, wel … the material isn’t really bone, and doesn’t hold a lot of detail itself being mostly cartilage. Incidentally, this is also why I haven’t gotten around to finishing details on a hagfish “skull,” either, or I’d actually have more than one fish to my repertoire.
Other times, I am unsure about the quality of details and so spare the invention of these for the sake of the piece’s honesty.
But another way is to just not draw all of it.
I just don’t like Tyrannosaurus rex that much. It’s cool, it has some really fascinating aspects do it, I love the thingamabobs in its skull and jaw that really give you an idea that this animal was a biter of some hard stuff. But when it comes to illustrating the animal, it’s hard to get excited. So I just drew the tip of its snout.
Now, my normal practice is to make the components of the skull and jaw separate pieces, so I can move them about. That was the intention here. I wanted to be able to illustrate the oddity of what happens when you get a group of animals that demonstrate a (sometimes severe) overbite, as do tyrannosaurids. Sometimes, this overbite is minor, and the first dentary tooth is aligned to the first maxillary. Other times, however, the first dentary tooth is much further posterior, and you get issues. This all depends on the quality of the taphonomy, preparation, and even replication of the skull by mounting, and how things are fitted. But sometimes, it also depends on nature, and you just get a really, really short mandible for your skull.
We’ll get to that next.