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About Traditional Art / Artist Member Mette AumalaFemale/Finland Groups :iconprehistory-alive: Prehistory-Alive
Bringing prehistory back to life
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Mystery Meat-Eater by Osmatar
Mystery Meat-Eater
This theropod head has been built upon a skull, applying realistic approximations of soft tissue culminating in scaly and feathery integument. Here's what I find most interesting about it: it's not immediately obvious what taxon it belongs to. Unlike with a shrink-wrapped skull, you can't see the clear outlines of the different openings of the skull pressed against the skin, or the number or size of the various teeth. Real living animals don't work like that, and neither would real extinct ones have. For that reason I'm not going to reveal which theropod this is, although I'm sure someone will either be able to guess or figure it out given enough time and effort. 
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My recent dinosaur-anatomy related epiphany has forced me to take a good look at all of my past paleoart with a critical eye. Anything I produced many years ago is of course going to be out of date anyway, but I can't turn a blind eye at anything I've done recently, especially things that are still works in progress or intended for eventual publishing. And it's not just supraorbital membranes, I've been way too sloppy with soft tissues in general. 

Let's take an example: my recent Tyrannosaurus portrait. It's not just the brow that I'd fix, but also the ear should be higher up and the lips... the lips are a total mess. While drawing it I tried to wrap my head around the concept of lips that covered most of the teeth in the upper jaw but left some visible similar to the canines of cats, and the result was a half-arsed failure. Now, having finally read Jaime Headden's blog post on overbites (I'm slowly trying to catch up to what I've missed thanks to Diazepam) I realize just how badly I screwed things up. At this point I'd have to redrew so much I'm not sure if it's worth it or if I should just do a completely new drawing.

I feel like maybe I should take a break from the work I had planned on doing and going for something more spontaneous. That means more random doodles and cartoon spinosaurs and less "proper" artwork. I guess I should be glad for anything I manage to produce, though, considering how long my dry spell has been.

As for my ill-being, I managed to eliminate the foods behind my intolerance symptoms, only to realize that said symptoms were preventing something even worse. It seems that as long as the protracted diazepam withdrawal symptoms refuse to abate, forcing me to keep taking a whole handful of pills that mess my body up even further, it's actually preferrable to have an upset stomach.

PS. I got featured in the latest Mesozoic Miscellany at the Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs blog. If you for some reason don't follow the blog already, you should definitely check it out because it's great, especially if you like (more or less dodgy) vintage dinosaur art.
  • Mood: Anxious
How (I think) deinonychosaur eye sockets work by Osmatar
How (I think) deinonychosaur eye sockets work
I was doing a bit of research for a Velociraptor portrait I had planned, and experienced a moment of revelation I wanted to share. I was looking at pictures of various bird heads and skulls in comparison, trying to figure out what the eye should look like, and really stumbled on something that had been bothering me for a long time: those weird lacrimal protrusions or "horns".

The bottom drawing represents the usual way of reconstructing the region of the eye. There's the lacrimal horn and a big gap between it and the postorbital. The sclerotic ring and consequently the eye are located high up in the eye socket. I am now convinced that this is incorrect.

The one on the top is what you would find if Velociraptor was a bird, or a squamate, or really any living diapsid. Instead of a gap, there is continuous tissue from the lacrimal to the postorbital forming a kind of brow that arches above the eye. The sclerotic ring and consequently the eye are slightly lower in the socket. 

If you're not convinced yet, take a good look at bird and lizard skulls and compare them to the living animals. You'll find lots of the same kind of non-gaps. (There's also a Velociraptor mongoliensis skull that seems to have a longer than average arching bone stretching from the lacrimal, though the photo isn't that great). If you knew this already, well, good on you, because I'm the slowpoke who took decades to figure it out.

I'm not saying that this is fact and that I have conclusive evidence, mind you. I don't even have access to a real Velociraptor skull, just photos and a replica that's far from 100% accurate. This is just speculation based mainly on phylogentic bracketing for the time being, but I think it's more than reasonable.


Edit #1: cleaned up the image from the original hasty scribblings. Content remains the same, it just looks a bit more presentable.

Edit #2: My speculation has been confirmed by several sources, and I now have the proper term for the tissues streching from the lacrimal to the postorbital: supraorbital membrane. This structure is found in most sauropsids, but for some reason has been widely ignored in modern dinosaur restorations.
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Random Doodle: Ophthalmoceros australis by Osmatar
Random Doodle: Ophthalmoceros australis
Here is an artist's rendering of Ophthalmoceros australis, an animal that belonged to a group of strange gracile bipedal archosaurs that shared the world with giant synapsids. It is not known why this animal had strange bony hooks arching over the eye socket, but it has been hypothesized that they supported a pair of horns that may have served to protect the eyes during intraspecific fighting.

In case you didn't guess it yet, this is actually a clueless future paleoartist's failed attempt at reconstructing the head of a large bird, specifically an emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae). I hadn't jumped on the shrink-wrapping bandwagon yet, mainly because I didn't feel I had anything meaningful to contribute - until now. It's amazing how big a difference it makes to know where certain details go and when there is tissue missing. (Incidentally, I don't think Velociraptor had lacrimal horns anymore.) 
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How (not) to Draw Feathered Dinosaurs by Osmatar
How (not) to Draw Feathered Dinosaurs
This is what happens when you attempt to put together every bad paleoart meme still alive in the field of feathered dinosaur illustration. Behold and despair!

This little project was originally intended as a follow-up to Worst. Deinonychus. Ever. because I couldn't address feathers in that one. However I fell seriously ill before finishing it, leaving it lingering for two years. Thankfully in the meantime lots of people have made good scientifically accurate guides to feathered dinosaur anatomy so I don't have to feel so bad about releasing this abomination to the interwebs.

This non-inforgraphic is not intended as an actual guide. If you do want to use it somehow, just do the opposite of what the anti-guide advises you to do.

(Disclaimer: not all of the advice in this anti-guide is 100% bad all of the time. If you however can't tell the universally bad advice from the situationally bad, make sure to read up on dinosaur anatomy and taxonomy before you try illustrating one.)
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My recent dinosaur-anatomy related epiphany has forced me to take a good look at all of my past paleoart with a critical eye. Anything I produced many years ago is of course going to be out of date anyway, but I can't turn a blind eye at anything I've done recently, especially things that are still works in progress or intended for eventual publishing. And it's not just supraorbital membranes, I've been way too sloppy with soft tissues in general. 

Let's take an example: my recent Tyrannosaurus portrait. It's not just the brow that I'd fix, but also the ear should be higher up and the lips... the lips are a total mess. While drawing it I tried to wrap my head around the concept of lips that covered most of the teeth in the upper jaw but left some visible similar to the canines of cats, and the result was a half-arsed failure. Now, having finally read Jaime Headden's blog post on overbites (I'm slowly trying to catch up to what I've missed thanks to Diazepam) I realize just how badly I screwed things up. At this point I'd have to redrew so much I'm not sure if it's worth it or if I should just do a completely new drawing.

I feel like maybe I should take a break from the work I had planned on doing and going for something more spontaneous. That means more random doodles and cartoon spinosaurs and less "proper" artwork. I guess I should be glad for anything I manage to produce, though, considering how long my dry spell has been.

As for my ill-being, I managed to eliminate the foods behind my intolerance symptoms, only to realize that said symptoms were preventing something even worse. It seems that as long as the protracted diazepam withdrawal symptoms refuse to abate, forcing me to keep taking a whole handful of pills that mess my body up even further, it's actually preferrable to have an upset stomach.

PS. I got featured in the latest Mesozoic Miscellany at the Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs blog. If you for some reason don't follow the blog already, you should definitely check it out because it's great, especially if you like (more or less dodgy) vintage dinosaur art.
  • Mood: Anxious

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:iconfranz-josef73:
Franz-Josef73 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Really interesting gallery you have here. Can't believe I missed you for so long!
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:iconteiouja:
TeiOuja Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Hi there. I'm a huge fan of your artwork, particularly your He-Man redesigns. 
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:icondesorages:
DesOrages Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy birthday! Sorry for missing it.
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist
My best wishes in your birthday for you :)
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:iconalexsone:
AlexSone Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy birthday, Mette! I wish you optimistic mood and good health!
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:iconrodlox:
Rodlox Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014
Wishing you all the best.  May your birthday be quite enjoyable.
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
happy birthday!
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:iconjorre1:
jorre1 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014
happy birthday :D
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:iconevenape:
Evenape Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Have a happy birthday good miss... I hope you will be better soon enough
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:iconjakeukalane:
Jakeukalane Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
happy birthday. Hope you will feel better step by step.
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