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How (not) to Draw Feathered Dinosaurs by Osmatar How (not) to Draw Feathered Dinosaurs by Osmatar
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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:iconwasichuwitko:
Wasichuwitko Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017
The naked face would work for scavengers. Any other naked parts would depend on the species' environments and behavior.

Otherwise: study real birds for an idea of what to do with dinos.
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Professional General Artist
There is actually very little evidence to suggest that naked faces are directly related to scavenging. Not all (or probably even most) avians with naked faces scavenge and not all scavenging birds have naked faces. What naked facial skin seem to be is a thermoregulatory adaptation for animals that have to deal with a wide temperature gradient, and in some cases display (though the former probably came before the latter).

I really shoud find the time to do a serious helpful version of this, covering every detail and possibility.
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:iconwasichuwitko:
Wasichuwitko Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2017
Given what scavengers often eat, naked faces could guard against disease caused by rotting bits and pieces caught in fur or feathers.

Too bad we can't know the feather distribution on the various species.
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:iconricelemons:
RiceLemons Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2017  Student Digital Artist
A scarlet-macaw rex? 

:0
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:iconartkitt-creations:
ArtKitt-Creations Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
That's pretty sad and true lol. I play a game where all the raptors while feathered, have that unnatural wrist shape like you drew. 
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:iconwhitekitsuneknight:
WhiteKitsuneKnight Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This was actually pretty helpful! I'm designing a replica dinosaur and following the opposite of the advice given here has landed me a pretty cool looking dino!
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2017  Professional General Artist
Cool! :D
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:iconladytroodon:
LadyTroodon Featured By Owner May 1, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Ugh...it's so hideous it's funny
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:iconcelticquailknight:
CelticQuailKnight Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This actually made me laugh. And cry a lot inside, too, don't get me wrong.
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2017  Professional General Artist
:D
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:icontarbano:
tarbano Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2017
Think I might know what started the mohawks gig. A popular arcade game called Primal Rage had dinosaur and dinosaur-like characters and one of them named "Talon" resembled a giant Deinonychus, granted what one was thought to look like at the time. It was the first time I recall seeing a dromaeosaurid given feathers and in this case, it was a mohawk.
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2017  Professional General Artist
I'm pretty sure they got it from an earlier source. There were certainly feather mohawks on deinonychosaurs already in the 1980s. The earliest one I can think of straight away is from G. S. Paul, but I used to draw one on my Deinonychuses in the 80s too, before I was even aware of Paul's work.
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:iconelsqiubbonator:
ElSqiubbonator Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2017
That brings up an interesting question: if Paul was in the habit of putting feathers on his raptors in the 80s, how come the raptors in Jurassic Park--which were based on Paul's sketches--don't have them?
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2017  Professional General Artist
I've heard (and I'm not sure how reliable this info is) that Horner did try to promote feathers for the raptors, but either Spielberg or Stan Winston shot the idea down. I don't know the reasoning behind it, but since it was the early days of CGI it could be they were simply worried they'd not be able to do realistic feathers.
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:iconelsqiubbonator:
ElSqiubbonator Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2017
If that's the case, then why didn't they simply add feathers in the later movies when CGI was up to the task?
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2017  Professional General Artist
I think that at that point the raptors had become iconic movie monsters, and they didn't want to fix something that was already working. It's not like they cared about the science anymore, at that point.
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:icontarbano:
tarbano Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2017
Oh no doubt, Primal Rage is just the first instance I can remember it in popular culture which is why a lot of artists would use it.
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:iconsapathefox:
SapaTheFox Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2016  Student General Artist
That sack holds the reproductive organs and is larger in females. It's kinda like today's birds. The female's hips are wider than the males
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2016  Professional General Artist
That was sarcasm, right? Please tell me that was sarcasm.
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:iconsapathefox:
SapaTheFox Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2016  Student General Artist
?? Um..No??
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:iconpalaeojoe:
PalaeoJoe Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2017
Most of this diagram is sarcastic in the first place. Oamtar is being ironic for comedic effect.
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:iconnightfallblessing:
NightfallBlessing Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think that "thing" is actually a part of the pelvis but I can be wrong. This was pretty funny to read through! :heart: Good job!
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:iconsnugglesthedinosaur:
snugglesthedinosaur Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
That thing, a butthole sack or something
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:icongeomops:
geomops Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2016
adf.ly/1fCLll I like it
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:icontjlok:
tjlok Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
so true
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:icondovahkiinhu3br:
DovahkiinHU3BR Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2016
Different dinosaurs had different coats of feathers (depending of the dinosaurs, it could even be completely scaly). Small dinosaurs surely had thicker coats on larger areas of the body than larger dinopsaurs (I mean, in hot climates).
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:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
O hey
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:icondovahkiinhu3br:
DovahkiinHU3BR Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016
Hey
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:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Huy
Reply
:icondovahkiinhu3br:
DovahkiinHU3BR Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016
:D (Big Grin) 
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:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:lol:
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:iconponchofirewalker01:
PonchoFirewalker01 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2016
The naked head could be an actual thing, considering the vulture, condor, and ostrich.
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2016  Professional General Artist
A Naked leathery head, possibly. Naked and scaly, not likely. (Ostriches have quite fluffy heads, BTW, not that it matters.)
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:iconponchofirewalker01:
PonchoFirewalker01 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2016
Fair enough
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:iconzewqt:
ZeWqt Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm under the impression that the creature designer of Ark: Survival Evolved followed this helpful anti-guide.
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:iconwaldbeere7:
Waldbeere7 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2016  Hobbyist
Probably, yeah.
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:iconlemurkat:
lemurkat Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm just drawing some feathered dinosaurs for an art card swap I'm hosting, and this is giving me doubts and anxieties!
This looks a bit like a raptor wearing a macaw skin though. And mohawks are cute (but the only one I gave it to was the huxleyi, which is always depicted with a crest).
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:iconcalibersoul2012:
Calibersoul2012 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015
I believe there was a dromaeosaur with evidence of supposedly having what appeared to be a mohawk, which is what sparked so man feathered dinosaur depictions with variations of mohawks.

However, it was likely just the result of the way the animal died that made the feathers appear to be a mohawk shape.
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:icon12monkehs:
12monkehs Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
You mean microraptor?
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:iconbaryminer:
BaryMiner Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Oddly I have a figure that looks uncannily similar to this
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:iconhelixdude:
Helixdude Featured By Owner May 22, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Mohawks are overrated anyways.
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:iconvalforwing:
Valforwing Featured By Owner May 20, 2015
O.o
i do JP dino stuff and even i think this an't right.
if the body really should have all feathers....the asshalf not haveing feathers is creepy.
i under stand the feet and hands being featherless cuz it would be messy and full of ick after eating but not the whole leg.

some of this stuff is good for personalized raptors but not for realistic ones.

but then again we an't timelords so none of us will ever get to see a live dino.
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:iconvalforwing:
Valforwing Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2016
yes...i'm talking about how people are drawing feathery dinosaurs
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:iconcjcroen:
CJCroen Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is it bad that I base my Velociraptors' colors off of a bird that (I assume) weighs less than 100 grams (a bank mynah for anyone who may be wondering)? XD
In my defense, I made sure to go for something that I felt would be within the realm of reality (I searched up desert birds on google, the bank mynah was one of the results)
Conversely, I don't think a lot of people would object to the colors I picked for Deinonychus and Troodon (peregrine falcon and hooded crow, respectively).
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Professional General Artist
I think the main thing here is what it is you're trying to accomplish. This whole graphic is intended as a criticism of serious "professional" paleo illustration, the sort of thing that gets published in print etc. So things that should be as informative and accurate as possible. Hobbyist work is hobbyist work, everyone is free to set their own standards there (although if you do aim for maximal realism, then this graphic is probably useful for you).

So if you want realism, I would suggest not to use small, volant omnivores as the primary model for non-volant terrestrial predators several orders of magnitude larger. It's a bit like basing the coloration of a serval on a squirrel. It may work, but it's more likely to be right by accident than through sound logical reasoning.
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:iconcjcroen:
CJCroen Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
(I spent some time thinking about my response, because I was afraid of sounding rude or like one of those brats who can't take criticism. If I do sound like either of those things, I apologize in advance.)

I wasn't quite expecting such a detailed answer, tbh. However, in response to your "what you're trying to accomplish" statement, I'd classify myself as "aspiring cartoonist/comic book writer/novelist who cares about accuracy but is willing to take a few liberties". I like my dinosaurs and other prehistoric critters to be relatively accurate, but I tend to go crazy with colors, since dino colors seem to be the only area wherein my creativity takes a beating. Of course, Bank Mynah!Velociraptor isn't even my craziest color combo. You should see my parrot-colored ceratopsians!

That said, I don't always use birds or improbably weird mixes. While sometimes I go crazy and weird with my choices, other times I go for animals that at least somewhat match with the animal's lifestyle. My Plateosaurus is based on an okapi, my Camptosaurus on a zebra, my Parasaurolophus on a Thompson's gazelle, my Liopleurodon on an orca, my Stegosaurus on a hippopotamus and my Ceratosaurus on a tiger. Some of my other bird choices tend to be of animals that I hope at least somewhat resemble the dinosaur I'm going for. Most of my large theropods are based on birds of prey (my T. rex is loosely based on a bald eagle, Spinosaurus on an osprey, Giganotosaurus on a harpy eagle, etc.) for example.

But I see your point. While I am quite happy with most of my dino's colors, there are others that I'm either not as happy with or undecided on (by the by, can you suggest any non-giraffe/elephant colors for Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus/Brontosaurus or Camarasaurus? My old colors for them not only didn't suit them, but were also dreadfully ugly :\). Looking at your suggestions again, perhaps the colors of a desert-dwelling predator would fit Velociraptor? I was thinking some sort of desert owl (since they're both nocturnal predators).

(BTW, I have some paleo pics here on DA if you'd like to see/critique them :))
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:iconjonagold2000:
JonaGold2000 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I once saw a Utahraptor in a kidsbook that had 2 left feet, litteraly. Also an Archeopteryx with 2 pairs of hands, one unfused and one fused.
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