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Theropod Tutorial
By Droemar   |   Watch
3K 127 79K (3 Today)
Published: February 12, 2008
© 2008 - 2019 Droemar
A sequel of sorts to the Raptor Tutorial. Again, this is as much for me as anyone else; my hope is that other people will be able to benefit from my rather nonsensical scribblings. I should be updating my comic tomorrow.

Theropods are pretty hard to nail down; saying you're going to draw them is like saying you're going to draw a canine or feline. There are a LOT of variations, and half the scientists in the world are debating who goes where. I focused on the clade that Acrocanthosaurus belongs to, because those are the ones I'm really studying. (They're the villains in mah book.) I did add T-Rex in, but mostly for the benefit of showing the pinnacle of specialization the guy was. That bulldog neck and battering ram skull more than make up for his dinky forepaws.

Theropods really were the ultimate predator. I don't care what you compare them to: sharks, orcas, tigers, bears, wolves. I have a wall chart that shows how big the various species in my book were in relation to each other, and seeing an Acro go after an Astrodon must've been like watching gods fight, let alone what a Giganotosaurus would have looked like going after an Argentinosaurus.

You just can't beat something that could run you down and eat you in a couple of bites.
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Comments (117)
DR-Studios's avatar
DR-Studios|Professional General Artist
I need to point something out here.  First off love your tutorials, very dynamic and full of good information for poses, anatomy, pretty much all is really good.  However there is a bit of an anatomical error here with the feet.

Theropods did not have five toes.  That is a basal characteristic of reptilia, but in Theropods they have four digits, one of which (Digit 1 the innermost digit and the smallest) is vestigial and does not touch the ground.  The 'fifth toe' is not actually a toe but a vestigial metatarsal.  Now in basal theropods, such as Herrarasaurus, this fifth digit does have tarsals which make it a full toe, however in the more derived theropods (Maniraptorians, Tyrannosauridae, Charcarasauridae), this is vestigial and there is no evidence that it broke the skin.

Otherwise your tutorials are amazing!
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DinosaurBoy65's avatar
DinosaurBoy65|Hobbyist General Artist
Actually the feet only had 4.
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NeoNilo's avatar
NeoNilo|Student Digital Artist
THANK YOU! Oh my god I've been looking for one of these for weeks
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PCAwesomeness's avatar
Awesome job!

However, why is there at least one person who starts a fight with you in your comments?
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Droemar's avatar
I don't know, to be honest. Everybody has their own opinions about dinosaurs and how they should be drawn, but instead of doing their own damn tutorial they tell me what's wrong with mine!
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PCAwesomeness's avatar
I guess.

Hell, there's even people who start a war over the most trivial things...
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Droemar's avatar
I've been called a "feather-Nazi" on my newest raptor tutorial. I still laugh about that.
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FeatherNerd's avatar
FeatherNerd|Hobbyist General Artist
Tyrant LIZARDS?
Tyrannosaurus rex means dominant tyrant reptile. Not tyrant lizard king or whatever
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Droemar's avatar
Aw, it's so cute when people so much more ignorant than me try to school me on dinosaurs.
Tyrannosaurus (/tˌrænəˈsɔːrəs/ or /tˌrænəˈsɔːrəs/, meaning "tyrant lizard", from the Ancient Greek tyrannos (τύραννος), "tyrant", and sauros (σαῦρος), "lizard"[1]) is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur.  The species Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning "king" in Latin), is one of the most well-represented of the large theropods.
But by all means, explain to me why "tyrannos" translates to "dominant" instead of tyrant, and how reptile and lizard are not synonymous.
(Pssst, if you're thinking of Indominus rex, that's not a real dinosaur!"
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FeatherNerd's avatar
FeatherNerd|Hobbyist General Artist
I'm greek you know. And our language is far more complicated than you think. So, don't challenge me...
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Droemar's avatar
Take it up with Huxley, man. He's the one who named the species and the clade.
And for someone who speaks Greek, you seem woefully inept at being able to explain to me why "tyrannos" means "dominant" instead of "tyrant."
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Evodolka's avatar
Evodolka|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is pretty cool
thanks for the written advice
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BaconChemist's avatar
BaconChemist|Hobbyist General Artist
So, I've had a newfound interest in dinosaur art. This is extremely useful...

...but spinosaurids (the quadrupedal rendition in specific) are a tough nut to crack, mainly because they are so different than other theropods (mainly because of quadrupedal stuff). I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but when I draw spinosaurids it always looks... wrong.
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Droemar's avatar
Even the scientists are confused. The "new" rendition is very controversial; many aren't sure if it was quadrupedal.
I think because it's up for debate (and because the only intact skeleton was destroyed by WW2 bombings), you should just have fun with it. I personally prefer bipedal; I think Spinosaurus is entirely too close in physiology to Baryonx, which is the same type of predator: croc-faced fish catcher.
CollectA and Schliech make figures that would be worth studying. They at least attempt scientific accuracy, and I know for a fact they've released a quadruped version of Spino. Also, Shapeways.com has some great dinosaur models molded by 3D paleo enthusiasts; maybe there's a Spinosaurus there worth getting to practice drawing?
(I do this all the time. My dino collection is shameless.)
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BaconChemist's avatar
BaconChemist|Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks alot, man! 
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nchamunda's avatar
nchamunda|Hobbyist General Artist
This Tutorial on theropod dinosaurs will be useful.
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Wikzzz's avatar
Thanks for the dinosaur's tutorial
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CrazyMira's avatar
CrazyMira|Student Artist
You should totally do one for birds! Like eagles, ravens, etc :D But this was really helpful!
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Droemar's avatar
I'm not sure how well I know bird anatomy, but I can keep it in mind.
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erickreillyart's avatar
erickreillyart|Professional Digital Artist
This looks most helpful. Thank you.
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keesey's avatar
This is incorrect. The fifth "digit" is just a metatarsal that wouldn't be externally visible. It *certainly* did not have an ungual (claw)!
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Kingpin2007's avatar
Kingpin2007|Hobbyist General Artist
5 toes? Odd. All conventional representations I know of depict 4. 3 main toes and a small one at the side.
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Droemar's avatar
Depends on the theropod in terms of what was vestigial and what wasn't.

[link]
[link]

"The first toe is separated from the rest of the foot and did not touch the ground. Three elongated toes (digits 2-4) bear the body’s weight. In most theropods, the number of phalanges (toe bones) on the five toes had the following formula: 2-3-4-5-0 (Weishampel, p. 212)"
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Kingpin2007's avatar
Kingpin2007|Hobbyist General Artist
Hm. Interesting. Will have to keep more of an eye out next time I'm at a museum...
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anonymous's avatar
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