Some Silly Dinosaur Doodles

Hi all,

It looks like it’s been a while since I posted here, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy. While I haven’t been updating this site as much as I’d like to, I have been posting plenty of art over on Twitter.

Here are some of my recent favorites:

As someone who is a big fan of both feathered and ornithischian dinosaurs, the discovery of Kulindadromeusa fuzzy little basal neornithischian, has been my favorite dinosaur story of the year. Of course I was going to draw one (many) of them.

I want one as a pet!


That also gave me more justification to draw Iguanodon covered in feathers. That’s a good bit more speculative, especially since most mammals that size aren’t particularly furry, and we know that Iguanodon had some scales at least, but Kulindadromeus opens the door to at least the possibility of a fuzzy Iguanodon. So here’s an Iguanodon with Kulindadromeus-inspired integument.

It looks like it's just wearing a coat.


Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure every Iguanodon I’ve drawn recently has been covered in shaggy feathers. That includes this Octopus and Iguanodon sketch I drew for Valerie.

Love across time and species.

Of course, one cannot live on ornithischians alone.

For example, here is a Velociraptor in space. I’m sure that must have happened at some point, right? The Maniraptor Space Agency was well known for their advanced exploration of Mars.

Raptors. In. Spaaaaaaaaaaaace.


And finally, just in case none of the above images were nerdy enough for you, I present you with what might be the dorkiest title I’ve ever come up with…

Raptor Red Wizard

"Raptor Red Wizard needs feathers badly!" - Valerie

The Internet Iguanodon

Hi all,

Sorry things have been so quiet lately. I have a nice backlog of dinosaur doodles that I’ll start posting soon, as well as some more book reviews.

In the meantime, I drew something based on a lot of my recent frustration with Facebook (and Twitter, but mostly Facebook). Please feel free to share this (with attribution, of course).

You know he's on the 'Net because of the goggles.

The Eyes Have It

I died a couple of weekends ago. Well, not me, but the character I was playing.

RIP, Spyra Glass, the three-armed, public radio-inspired, post-apocalyptic mutant gnome.

You might call him "well armed."
There’s something very strange about watching your real-life wife (in character) sort through your character’s belongings after you die (in character).

Beyond that though, I was pretty cheerful about my untimely demise. Character creation is my favorite part of most games, so I jumped at the chance to make a new one.

I played around with a number of ideas, but I kept coming back to gnomes. I’ve always felt a bit of  kinship with gnomes (I blame my father and Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet’s Gnomes) and am always drawn to crafter/tinkerer characters, so once I came upon a gnomish idea, it stuck.

Which left me with a bit of a problem.

This being a LARP (Live Action Role Playing, yes this post just got dorkier), the character was going to look an awful lot like the guy playing him (me). And, since I’m not quite dedicated enough to do something drastic like shave my beard for a character (I know, I know, what kind of nerd am I?), that meant I needed a different way to make him stand out.

I changed his clothes, the color of his beard, and dropped the third arm. That helped a bit, but it still looked like my old character wearing different clothes (much dirtier clothes, I might add).

Of course I called him Oscar

It turns out that none of that really mattered. All it took to drastically change him was the shape of his eyes. By making them oval instead of circular, the character’s whole personality changed.

The trash bags might also help a bit.
This is a lesson I should have figured out years ago.

When I first started drawing myself for my comics, I didn’t even bother with eyes. I thought that the opaque glasses look would make me more distinctive, and I enjoyed the challenge of shaping the frames to match my emotions. But everyone I talked to about it Pointed out that it just made me feel distant and robotic.

Of course it's about dinosaurs.
It took me a while to take that to heart, but once I did add pupils, my eyes became much more expressive. Humans connect to eyes, and it’s striking how much of a difference two dots can make.

Yep, more dinosaurs
My eyes stayed the same for a few years, until I got new glasses that were rounder. At first, this change was just a way to reflect the shape of my new glasses. They were circles, so my eyes became circles. But I noticed that the round eyes brought out a more innocent, friendly, even curious, look than my rectangular eyes ever did. I [would like to] think that matches my personality better than the snarky, sarcastic, attitude projected by the rectangular eyes. It’s subtle, and a bit reductive, but that’s what cartooning is all about.

Now I'm thinking about dinosaurs.
And now I take it even further, drawing myself in an even more cartoonish style, with my eyes big, round, and the focal point of the figure.

You might recognize me from Twitter, Facebook, or even this blog. Hello.
To bring this post full-circle, I started drawing myself this way after trying to capture Spyra, my character from the beginning of this post. That character was embodiment of the curious and silly parts of my personality, and those just happen to be the sides of myself I want to project when I draw myself.

It’s amazing what you can learn from a mutant gnome.


I spent a good bit of my teenage years as a mad-scientist god, watching over worlds destined to be destroyed once I got bored with them.

Bawhahahahaha!SimEarth was one of my favorite games. At its simplest level, it was an expanded version of SimCity. A micromanagement game that allowed you to control every aspect of a planet from the moment it collected from the dust of the early solar system. But my favorite part was imagining the stories of the people I created. Every type of multicellular creature could be made sapient and start a civilization. This meant that their icon was now represented by that creature carrying a stick (sticks being the standard measurement of intelligence).

TOOL USING DINOSAUR. I will never get tired of that idea.Of course I made vast dinosaur civilizations, and I was always happy to uncover the sapient plants and robots through Easter eggs in the game.

I think we would all watch this movie.And then there were the trichordates. The game just presented them as long extinct, but their icon made them look something like three-armed starfish. I could picture dinosaur people (most of my life has been spent imagining dinosaur people), I could picture robots and killer plants, but a race of creatures that had actually been gone for hundreds of millions of years, and which I’d never heard of, was hard to resist.

I have imagined a lot of details about this civilization. If you're nice to me, I promise not to tell you all about them.I’d be lying if I claimed that SimEarth taught me much about trichordates. What it did do was sit in the back of my mind like a little time-bomb of curiosity. Years later, as the rise of the internet pushed us firmly into the Information Age SimEarth predicted, I tried to google Trichordates.

While there isn’t much out there (in part because the actual name is Tribrachidium) what we know is fascinating. Instead of three-armed starfish, they looked more like discs, almost like tri-radial trilobites. The Melbourne Museum and Encyclopedia of Life both have some photographs of fossils and reconstructions. I’m struck by how small they are, but of course our own ancestors were once that size. I’m also struck by how profoundly different life on Earth would have been if radial symmetry had dominated. Almost everything on Earth is biradially symmetrical, from insects, to mollusks, to fish, to us. Imagining those three-armed monsters twenty years ago gave me another way to appreciate the interconnectedness of life today.

This creature does not have a pointy stick, but, on the other hand, it did actually exist.In a way, this is still how I understand the world. When I think hear the world “albedo” I imagine the adjustable sliders in the environmental menu. When I think about “biomes” I think of the squares of plants and sand I would place on my world, hoping they’d catch on (usually they were overtaken by flora more suited for the region’s climate). “Terraforming” brings to mind my often-futile attempts to remake Venus and Mars (the latter wasn’t too hard, but the former was tricky). I don’t know how much I actually learned from SimEarth, beyond the difference between prokaryote and eukaryote, but words and concepts in the game served as hooks for me to hang ideas on when I encountered them again.At the time, the graphics seemed amazing.

Silly Science Cartoons

My most popular post on Twitter is now an anthropomorphized amoeba riding an equinemorphized tardigrade.

That is not something I ever expected to happen, but I’m happy to be the guy who draws silly science cartoons. I am fascinated by the world around us (and the universe beyond that, and all that came before us), and this is a fun way for me to share that fascination.
Plus I get to draw stuff like this:

Tikie to the tikie(With apologies to Neil Shuban and The Sugarhill Gang)


Not only is Tiktaalik an important fossil, the missing link between fish and tetrapods (anything with four legs, including us), but its name is really fun to say (though I might be biased because it sounds a little like my name). It’s also a cute little critter who is fun to draw. Last week, after seeing Tiktaalik’s cameo in the first episode of the new version of Cosmos, this drawing popped into my head.

I imagine it yelling "rock out!"

Rock it like Tiktaalik!

Which lead to this:

I just flew in from the Canadian Arctic, and boy are my arms tired.

Tiktaalik takes to the sky

And this:

I'm assuming it has heat-shielding on its tail.

Tiktaalik on a Rocket!

Judging by the doodles in my sketchbook, there are more of these to come.

Future Crows

I'm not sure how it actually puts that backpack on.I’ve always been interested in time travel, and the more I learn about corvid intelligence, the more I suspect they might one day become the dominant civilization on Earth. Throw those in a mental blender, and you get this.