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The Tutorial on How to Stop Drawing Stupid Raptors



I've looked for a nicely detailed, affordable, ($15-$30) scientifically accurate raptor type figurine these last few weeks, and they pretty much don't exist. I think Carnegie makes one, and it sucks. Even a lot of the higher end resin models out there are still stuck on "A hurr hurr, Velociraptor was six feet tall and had pronated hands!" For the record: shame on you, Papo. Shame on you.

So I'm doing my part to change that. I managed to find my figurine, but it wasn't easy, dammit, and it sure as hell wasn't mainstream.

I love Jurassic Park, but I recently rewatched it and was very struck by the scene where Grant says about the fossil "No wonder these guys learned how to fly" and everyone laughs at him. Because in my reading, scientists knew the connection between birds and dinosaurs ages before. Like, the ink on Origin of the Species wasn't even dry before Huxley said birds evolved from dinosaurs, and by the 60s that got rediscovered so by the 90s paleontologists were like "Yeah, birds are surviving dinosaurs." Granted, maybe it was the movie trying to spoonfeed updated science to drooling masses, but that brings me to the whole problem this tutorial is trying to address.

I've seen some really great art, 3d and otherwise, of the Jurassic Park raptors, and I can't figure out why, if you're going to put that much time and effort into something, would you not bother doing your research in the first place? I understand if it's fanart. It's fine to love Jurassic Park; I love it, too, despite its naked, naked raptors.  But I see people who are like "Behold! Velociraptor mongoliensis!" and I'm like "Uh, dude, this would make any first year paleontologist laugh until he crapped himself." Is it just the idea that instead of being the slightly menacing Hollywood monster, real Velociraptor being a fluffly chicken sized thing is disappointing? I mean, it's not like Deinonychus or Utahraptor didn't exist. Do feathers make them less scary? Golden eagles can break the spine of a wolf and they have feathers.

There's just a big divide, I've noticed quite suddenly, between science versus what people want to see. And I can't tell if it's because it's what people want to see, or it's because what a company thinks they want to see, or if people are ignorant, unwilling to educate themselves, and demand/accept the parameters given to them by corporate-designed pop culture. The persistence of the Jurassic Park raptor is odd to me, because it's just a little older than the science debunking it as inaccurate. And even within the realm of dino enthusiasts, who one would think demand scientific accuracy, the JP raptors, naked and running around with pronated hands, are disappointingly pervasive. If you do a search just for "raptor" on DA alone, more than half the drawings you will see are the naked versions, and even if they have feathers almost all of them still have pronated hands.

I had to update my own version of dinosaurs during my work on Mark of the Conifer, but I found it to be an awe-inspiring, joyful experience, not something that ripped away my nostalgia and destroyed my love for dinosaurs. I guess I'm just baffled as to why other people would be unwilling to do the same.

No one draws dinosaurs dragging their tails and bellies along the ground anymore. When you're drawing raptors like the JP raptors, you're pretty much saying "I LIKE my dinosaurs to look like Valley of the Gwangi!"
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aikman2016's avatar

Informative post.

Also about the figurine part, I find ironic that the company that disappointed you so long ago ended up producing two of the best dromaeosaur figures available on the market currently.