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Ellie the Studio Cat advised us that it was entirely too nice a day to be drawing inside, so the two of us chilled at the little picnic table outside sketching prehistoric animals. We’re doing some very rough studies to get a feel for rendering these ancient critters with a combination of Sharpie and fine-point pens. And yes, Ellie does look like she’s scowling in this photo, but she is just relaxing, contentedly hanging out for sunshine and sketching.

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Anyway! Trilobites seemed like they would be simple, but their unique anatomy presents some conceptual challenges. Since this sketch we found some more photo references from the Burgess Shale that depict a few different types of trilobites with anatomical variations. We will master the trilobite yet!

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Rod Ruth has a pencil drawing in Album of Prehistoric Animals that makes a great reference for Diatryma feathers and anatomy. This was the easiest one of the bunch to pin down where we would want fine lines versus bold chisel-tip inking. Smilodon smiles on, with Rod Ruth’s cover of the same book giving a perfect snarly pose to work from.

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The skull of Dunkleosteus appears in one of our favorite books, Extinction. The interesting plate structure of this placoderm’s head easily lent itself to bold black lines.

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An Archaeocyathid from the same book was rendered in ink by one of the contributing artists, so we studied the way light and shadow define the curves.

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Here is our first rough pencil study of a panel by Bob Powell with a whacky sci-fi wasp from another planet who comes to earth in a globe of pure force. The sketch isn’t so great, but this is how we get to know our subjects.

Our previous posting of Somewhere Between Mars and Earth got some encouraging response. We returned to it and filled in the lower right corner with more mega-doodle madness. Framed, it looks pretty darn trippy.

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Our first Sharpie study of And One of Them Was Destroyed felt good enough that we want to do a more finished version on some high-quality artist paper. While we get materials together for that endeavor, our two-page sketch can enjoy this 12×18 frame!

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Last but not least, we framed our little frog from our book of watercolor paper postcards. It will list on eBay soon, and we will be picking up another book of those blank postcards. In the next round, though, we will take care to leave a border around the edges. Frog looks great, but another one of our cards really needs to be matted to a 5×7 frame to preserve the details at the edges. Live and learn! UPDATE: Diving Frog sold on eBay to an overseas buyer. Rock on!

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