Monday, 12 September 2011

Hadrosaurs for the Win

It's always a pleasure seeing a hadrosaur triumph over a tyrannosaur, no?  This was my submission for Scott Persons' Hadrosaur Conference art request via ART Evolved.  My race is between an Olorotitan and a Tarbosaurus.  I'm afraid I may have failed somewhat in making the Tarbo look sufficiently different from a T. rex, in spite of those studies, but then I suppose many people regard them as belonging to the same genus at any rate.  

Scott remarked that the piece was "evocative of the Aesop fable, The Tortoise and the Hare -- this is a charming twist (and one I had not anticipated).  I like it very much!"

Readers who are already familiar with my work will observe the little personal indulgence in the bottom right corner.  The version which was eventually considered among the final round of entries actually omits this, as the following correspondence between Scott and myself explains: 

Scott: "I have a small concern about the small... swordsman sitting astride the Protoceratops. I like him, and I would not hesitate to include him, if I used the image in my symposium talk, but I think he would be too confusing were he to appear in any press releases.  Attached you will find a modification of your original image with the little fellow digitally removed.  As the contest comes to a close... , would you object to having this modification be the version that moves on to the final round of consideration? "

I replied: "...I have no objections at all to your considering it instead for the final round.  My thought in including the little 17th century soldier was that he would have been the one officiating at the start of the race, and so appears now at the end to cheer on the winner.  He also happened to serve rather well as a compositional anchor, and was something of a personal 'stamp' or motif, ... it was very indulgent of me.  He would work sequentially, but I do indeed see how he could be very confusing were the image to appear singly in a press release, the thought of which had escaped me.  I'm afraid my illustrator's mind was working in its natural narrative mode!  I think that was also why I was reminded instantly of The Tortoise and the Hare when I first read your brief."

There is more about this piece to follow (I am sitting on some news which prevents me from saying more for the present).  For the moment, here is a sketchbook page with the roughs I made for the entire sequence.


  1. awesome! I guess it does look less complicated without the little dinosaur, but I still kind of like him!

  2. AinaMoraiwe, it is not so much an issue of complication -- having something there actually helps the composition -- it's only that the swordsman could prove confusing to viewers. ^_^ The Protoceratops alone would be fine though. There's more about this piece but I can't post about it yet!

  3. I didn't know you'd started a blog Niroot, great! I love this picture, it's fantastic and as usual with all your pictures, the detail and colours are beautiful. I like your signature on the flag too!:)

  4. Thank you, Harriet!

    The blog is extremely new, so I haven't quite had the chance to spread the word about it yet; though Peter Bond over at ART Evolved has been very kind in mentioning it!

  5. Hi Niroot!
    Fantastic stuff here. Love your take on this one!