Thursday, November 3, 2011

Liaoning Scene

I consider this to basically be my magnum opus of paleoart at this point in time. I've spent months on all of the details and shading. The full resolution version is about five times larger than this one. I am SO glad it is finally finished.

This represents a hypothetical scene from the Jehol group of early Cretaceous Liaoning of China, something like 122 million years ago. Several animals from the Yixian formation are represented here: Sinornithosaurus millennii, a feathered dromaeosaurid dinosaur; Liaoxitriton zhongjiani, a salamander; Alloraphidia, a snakefly; Epicharmeropsis, a mayfly, and a dead Callobatrachus, a frog.

The gliding dinosaurs are meant to be generic microraptorine dinosaurs, not Microraptor gui specifically, in order to avoid the slight anachronism caused by placing Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus in the same scene. Despite that, it is (obviously) based on Microraptor gui (I started this scene before I learned that the two animals were not quite contemporary, I admit).

This illustration will be the section header for the chapter on feathered dinosaurs for the book on evolution and religion that I'm currently working on with a few other people. Once again, thanks to Jon for shading critiques and suggestions.

To see a larger version, please click here.


  1. Beautiful!
    You've managed a wonderful dramatic feeling while avoiding sensationalist presentations. Bravo!

    I feel the shadows are too dark. On the wings, there would be a great deal of subsurface scattering and around the forest much more diffuse bounce light.

  2. Thank you both! And thanks for your helpful comments about the shading too, David. I wanted to go for a highly contrasted "Douglas Henderson" feel to the painting, a look which requires dark shadows, but I agree that more diffuse bounce light would make it look more realistic.

  3. Hello! I wonder how you got started with your art. Because i want to do paleo-art as well but have no idea how to begin.