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Leaping Velociraptor

By axcho

An experiment from a year ago, trying to draw a realistic design using the visual elements of an art style traditional to many native groups along the Northwest Coast of North America, such as the Tlingit and the Haida. Obviously, this velociraptor is not traditional.

I've been reluctant to post this drawing, for that very reason. I know there are a lot of people with strong feelings about outsiders using this art style outside of its traditional context. It is a complicated situation. I've had a number of conversations with people who are as close to the 'inside' as I could find, some of which you may read here: [link] [link]

At this point, I am ready to put this out there, as a humble experiment, simply to see how people react and what people think of my approach. If this turns out to be a mistake, I will welcome the suffering brought down upon myself and do my best to learn from the experience. Let's see what happens. ;)

Pen and colored pencil.

This is an example of a naturalistic formline design, where the silhouette more or less matches that of the actual animal.

If you like this artwork, and you want to learn more about the cultural context in which the style was developed, please see the excellent book A Story as Sharp as Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World by Robert Bringhurst. I've written a review of it, which you can read here: [link]


Naturalistic: Leaping Velociraptor
Configurative: Baby Turtle
Expansive: Future of Frog
Distributed: Salmon Box
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© 2009 - 2021 axcho
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jbriskin's avatar
I've always loved the look of the art of the PNW (Pacific Northwest) First Nations, but depicting one of the most iconic dinosaurs in this style makes it even cooler!
tigerelite115's avatar
very amazing work <3
Reptangle's avatar
I particularly love the hind feet!
xXCrystalWolfX's avatar
OMG i love this !! i did this Haida for my school project, omg that brings back memories XD i love how you did the raptor its awsome :D
Hdude18x's avatar
This would be a great tattoo mate, top work! :D
forkhead12's avatar
One thing you got the Velociraptor wrong on several levels which are a blunt snout, pronated hands and no feathers.
axcho's avatar
Ha, my mistake then. Sorry about that! ;)

I guess I was going by the Jurassic Park depiction from my childhood.
A really neat experiment. Best of Luck
RedMoonStudioz's avatar
I really enjoy how you thought outside the box while inside the box :D
revan1440's avatar
I thought this was an exceptional concept! the traditional colors had caught my eye and being both a dinosaur fanatic and an early American history buff, i was really pleased! of course, it would also make a sick tattoo
axcho's avatar
Thank you! Glad you liked the traditional colors. What sort of early American history are you into?
revan1440's avatar
mostly pre-Revolutionary War, 1800-65, but i also enjoy world war histories too :)
earlier today i thought this velociraptor design would be really interesting if you did it like a Navajo sand painting, but you'd have to be reallyyy patient! its very tedious work!
axcho's avatar
Ha, I'm pretty patient, but what with working all day at my job, I'm not sure I'd be *that* patient... =p
yellowrevolver's avatar
Love this, awesome work.
axcho's avatar
TheMorlock's avatar
CyborgGumby's avatar
this is simply amazing great work man
axcho's avatar
sacredwolf000's avatar
I love this! Not only by its native style but also its of an animal that I havent seen created by this art until now. usually from what i simple know, the north coast mainly designs animals originally coming from their own folklore and traditions such as the raven, thunderbird, wolf, bear,etc. This is the first time Ive seen a dinosaur. I myself am trying to study art from the north coast. The design is geniusly inventive and the idea is very creative. You said that you were reluctant showing this because it is outside of its traditional context. I dont know whether or not if it is an offense because from what you said above you got me thinking too based on my own research. It seems that you must know more about this art than me. I've been trying to create my very own tattoo through this art. I've been longing for this tattoo for over 7-8 years. I am very much into nature and the native american ways. Perhaps you can give me some good advice.
axcho's avatar
Thank you. :aww:

In an area like this, there will of course be many opinions. To some people, using the formline style to draw a nontraditional subject (such as a velociraptor) is essentially blasphemy, kind of like how a Christian might view, say, Raptor Jesus: [link]

I mean no disrespect, of course - I created this drawing out of reverence, admiration, and love of both velociraptors and this art style - but as someone who has no native ancestry, I can certainly understand why some people would be upset.

And on the other hand, some people will think it's awesome, just like some Christians might think Raptor Jesus is hilarious.

Anyway, if you would like to learn more about the formline art style yourself, send me a note and we can talk more about it in private. :)
sacredwolf000's avatar
From what I've briefly researched about native americans and there religious views, the difference is that they view animals as if they were equal in value and spirit to man. Unlike traditional christian views of a Hiarchy peramid with man at the very top. Native americans cling to the own kind only because they were pursicuted in the past.

I read the entire link of the raptor jesus. To be very honest I didnt find either adknowledgable nor hilarious but, kind of conserning. I too am very religious and spiritual but that does not stop me from thinking logically with reality. :worry:

Aside from all that I would sincerely like to hookup in order to learn more. I would first like to know about the laws rules and regulations of the art and culture that you warned about. I already have certain books that you suggest to others such as Northwest Coast Indian art: An Analysis Of Form by Bill Holms. Perhaps I should show you some of what I've made with the art. either I will post to my deviant or email it to you. :)
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