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1a by EWilloughby

Just over a year ago, myself and Agahnim reached a major milestone in our long-term goal of evolution education and outreach, which served the basis for starting our DA group Domain-of-Darwin over 11 years ago. We published our first book! Published by Inkwater Press and titled God’s Word or Human Reason?, the book has been available on Amazon since January of last year.

I am now offering direct purchases of signed, inscribed hardcovers that are personalized with a drawing of a bird or dinosaur of your choice. They are $40 (U.S. and Canada) or $50 (everywhere else), shipping included. Thanks to my excellent web developer friend, you can do this easily through this form on my website, with PayPal or a credit card:

Buy my book with a personalized signing and dinosaur drawing!

3 by EWilloughby

We wrote the book with the original intention of educating creationists and fence-sitters with nuance, reason and kindness, but we guarantee that just about anyone who accepts evolution has something to learn from it too. For those of you who don’t already know about the book, here’s the Amazon description and inside flap teaser:
God gave humans the ability to reason, but the Bible commands that we have faith in Him. According to Answers in Genesis, the largest and most influential creationist organization in the United States, the conclusions of human reason must be rejected if they contradict our understanding of the Bible. What are the implications of this worldview, and is it the best one for a Christian to live by?

The book is the result of almost a decade of effort by its unusual collection of authors, each of whom has written a chapter (or two) in their area of expertise or interest.
  • Jonathan Kane, the originator of the book’s concept and purpose, has written the opening chapter on the nature and purpose of science as well as the centerpiece chapter on bird and dinosaur evolution;
  • Emily Willoughby has written the chapter on radiometric dating and contributed the book’s centerpiece illustrations of feathered dinosaurs (all of which were produced specially for the book and which include 3 exclusive paintings not posted on any of my online galleries); 
  • T. Michael Keesey has written a chapter extensively detailing the emergence of the human primate from our diverse panoply of primate ancestors;
  • Glenn Morton, a professional geologist, has written a chapter on the pitfalls of “Flood geology” and what the fossil record tells us;
  • and James Comer, who has written the concluding chapter on how it’s possible to intrepret the Bible in a way that’s consistent with an acceptance of evolutionary theory.
One of the most unique things about our book is that all five of its authors were once creationists. We each eventually came to reject creationist ideology at different points in our lives, and from different catalysts, as we became exposed to the science of evolution, paleontology, and geology. Today, the five of us are represented by two atheists, one deist, and two evolution-accepting Christians, and each of us has written a short narrative following our chapters on the unique experiences and circumstances that led to our rejection of creationism and, in some cases, of Christianity.

We're delighted that the book has been well-received so far, and has recently been reviewed by the excellent Darren Naish of Tetrapod Zoology, and mentioned by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. If you were ever a creationist or know someone who is, are interested in learning about creationist arguments and their strongest rebuttals in much more detail than any other book on the market, or would simply like the opportunity to support us and our creative endeavors (and get a commissioned sketch from me!), now's your chance to snag an exclusive copy.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting me and my artwork over the years!

At long last—it is here!

After nearly a decade of hard work, patience and stubborn perseverance, the book on the evolution/creationism debate that I've been working on with Agahnim and colleagues is finally ready for public consumption.

Published by Inkwater Press, 424 pages, you can get the hardcover on Amazon for $36:…

Among many other things, this book will feature a handful of totally new full-color pieces of my paleoart, a teaser of which I will upload here soon, so stay tuned.

Most of my watchers by now will have seen my two illustrations for this new dromaeosaur, but I think the discovery is exciting enough to warrant its own journal entry as well!

Without further ado: meet Dakotaraptor, the first "giant" dromaeosaur from the Hell Creek formation.

I've been sitting on these illustrations for months and can't think of the last time I've been so excited to illustrate a new taxon. At 5.5 meters in length and with magnificently robust ulnar quill knobs, this is not only the first "giant" dromaeosaur from Hell Creek, but it is also the first dromaeosaur in this size range with indisputable evidence of feathers. And not just shaggy and sparse "protofeathers" as many skeptics purport in defense of the "half-arse" integument pattern (I'm sorry you hate that image, Tom, but no other infographic uses the term "half-arse"...).

No, Dakotaraptor had massive ulnar quill knobs, which meant that its arms likely supported thick, heavy feathers with a stiff central rachis. This confirms, once and for all, that feathers stage 3 and beyond existed on dromaeosaurs larger than Velociraptor and Zhenyuanlong. What was such a large dromaeosaur doing with feathers like this? There are several options which are not mutually exclusive: brooding eggs, aggressive mating and territorial displays, shielding young... but many of you will recall my particular fondness for Denver Fowler's 2011 paper on "raptor prey restraint", which posited a unique predatory role for robust wings on non-volant dromaeosaurs. These wings would have acted as stabilizers and balancers for a large animal as it struggled atop still-living prey, much as modern birds of prey do. Modern hawks and eagles have evolved particularly stout and powerful ankles for this purpose, which allow greater torque for the inner claw on each foot to dig into unruly prey. This inner claw is, certainly by no coincidence, by far the largest on most birds of prey.

Dakotaraptor's Ornithomimus Dinner by EWilloughby 

The use of RPR by Dakotaraptor means it would have been especially appropriate when grappling similarly-sized prey, and Hell Creek has given us the perfect also-feathered match: Ornithomimus, a new feathered specimen of which has been described just days before.

There is much to be said on Dakotaraptor, from its possible synonymity with Acheroraptor to its ecological relationships with other Hell Creek carnivores, but it should come as no surprise that the role of feathers in its predatory ecology is what interests me most! I look forward to seeing what future analyses and potentially more material will bring.

As for my watchers, I have a request of all of you: I have not had the time to sift through the rapid influx of new illustrations of this exciting taxon, so please link to your favorites in the comments! (I have seen the Saurian version many times and am more interested in seeing others, mind you.)
Well, I've been tagged on this a few times and my previous journal entry here is over a year old, so I might as well. :)

  1. How long have you been on DeviantArt?
    Over ten years, and it will be eleven in October.

  2. What does your username mean?
    It's my name.

  3. Describe yourself in three words.
    Paleoartist; eventual scientist.

  4. Are you left or right handed?

  5. What was your first deviation?
    Squirrel by EWilloughby
    This piece of Redwall fanart. In fact, the Redwall fandom was my introduction to DeviantArt: I had been a member of The Long Patrol forums, doing sketches for people of their Redwall-inspired characters, and was told that I MUST register an account at DA and share my art with the world. I wonder if I still have any watchers from those Redwall days?

  6. What is your favourite type of art to create?
    If "type" means subject matter, then it's accurate feathered dinosaur paleoart. If "type" means medium, then see question #13.

  7. If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be?
    Oil or oil pastels in the manner of Douglas Henderson. 

  8. What was your first favourite?
    Bambiraptor feinbergorum by kyoht
    This Bambiraptor by Heather "Kyoht" Luterman, who was one of my favorite paleoartists back in the day and was one of my first exposures to accurate dromaeosaur art.

  9. What type of art do you tend to favourite the most?
    Accurate paleoart of mostly feathered dinosaurs, and some bird art and bird photography.

  10. Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist?
    Probably :iconjconway:, :icondustdevil: and :icondinomaniac:, though DA is no longer the best place to follow their work.

  11. If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be?
    I've met a number in person already, so it's hard to say. Maybe :iconkeesey:, :iconscotthartman: or :iconorange-eyed-serpent:.

  12. How has a fellow deviant impacted your life?
    Well, the most obvious answer is :iconagahnim:, whom I met through this site (sort of) almost 10 years ago. He has had a greater cumulative impact on my life in these past 10 years than probably any other person I've known in that time, online or off.

  13. What are your preferred tools to create art?
    I bounce between digital art (CS4 with a Wacom tablet) and gouache/watercolor traditional pieces. Preference at any given time depends on client's preference, suitability of the composition to the medium, and specific level of rage I'm currently feeling towards Photoshop.

  14. What is the most inspirational place for you to create art?
    I don't think location has affected level of inspiration to a significant extent.

  15. What is your favourite DeviantArt memory?
    Meeting Jon or being contacted for publication in a book for the first time, which was the biggest single thing that made me reconsider a career as an illustrator. There is much I dislike about this silly website, but damn if it hasn't been kind of ridiculously integral to most of the things I've found valuable over the years.


Paleontologist and eminent blogger Andrea Cau has recently written a somewhat controversial article (be mindful that it's translated from Italian) about paleoart and what he calls "paleoartismo". Paleoartismo, from what I can understand, is a sort of "acme" paleoart, wherein the illustrator doesn't have a full understanding, or appreciation, of what they're illustrating. The article has generated a bit of flack, and other paleoartists and enthusiasts have written their thoughts in places like here and here.

I can understand where Cau is coming from, and I definitely don't disagree with him entirely as others seem to. For a brief rundown of my thoughts on his points, you can see my comment to Hyrotrioskjan's journal entry above. But that's not what I want to discuss here.

My journal title here is a bit misleading in that this isn't just a response to Cau, and it isn't addressing his points directly. It's to offer a different perspective on what paleoart is, why it's important, and why we need it - both the scientists and the laymen among us.

The following is largely an adaptation of my "about" page on my website, which some of you may have seen before.

What is paleoart?

In a nutshell, paleoart (or paleontography, or paleontological reconstruction) is a category of scientific illustration that focuses on the accurate representation of prehistoric life. It is related to, yet categorically different from, wildlife art. Before the invention of photography, artwork was the only visual method available to bring the natural world to the public. Often the illustrator and the naturalist were one, for who could better understand how to most accurately render a natural subject than the one who studied it? Today, with sophisticated photography and video equipment, the vast majority of natural subjects can be recorded in the flesh. All of the delicate nuance of behavior, sound, texture, and anatomy are always accurately represented, so long as the person recording it is skilled with the equipment.

Of all scientific disciplines, paleontology is unique in that there is no equivalent method of using film to capture the reality of its natural subjects. Like the subjects it studies, the methods of paleontological reconstruction are old: we must paint, sculpt and draw to bring these animals to life. We are like the intrepid wildlife illustrators of the 1700s and prior, only with an additional limitation in that we cannot directly observe our subjects. John James Audubon painted birds in the field, but he also collected dead specimens for study and reconstruction. We have dead specimens in the form of fossils, to be sure - and we have to be the ones to layer the bones with flesh and muscle and behavior.

But paleoartists are not limited merely to bones. We have to know how to layer atop bones, and for that we have the entirety of biological science at our backs, from ornithology, evolutionary biology, to paleontology itself. The best bird photographer in the world doesn’t have to know anything about the biology and anatomy of a bird to capture breathtaking photographs, but a paleoartist can only be successful if he truly understands the animal he’s painting. In that, the paleoartist is the perfect melding of scientist and artist, the only one of its kind that really exists in the modern day.

Why is paleoart important?

Paleoart is important, in large part, because there’s no alternative way to visualize extinct organisms outside of photographs of the fossils. But why is visualizing them to begin with important? Well:

Science writers and natural illustrators have a unique responsibility to the public in that they must convey the reality of their subjects to laymen in a palatable format. Paleoartists have the responsibility to make whatever we’re illustrating as accurate as possible, because these renditions are often what shape the public’s perceptions of what these animals were actually like. We have to act as the filter that compiles and transforms published paleontological knowledge into a visual representation of that knowledge. We are, in a sense, bringing the bones back to life - but we must do so with care and respect.

But, still, why is it so important that we have visual representations of these animals and ecosystems for the public to enjoy? After all, not many people care whether the public has an accurate understanding of things like, say, the redox chemistry of dioxolenes. The answer is simple: the public loves dinosaurs, and the public funds paleontological research. State museums and a huge amount of research are direct results of the public's interest and fascination with dinosaurs. Unlike sciences including medicine, microbiology, pharmacology, engineering, etc - paleontology does not have a lot of direct influence on the health and economics of our society, but it is largely knowledge for knowledge's sake. And luckily, the public loves it, and the public is willing to support it financially.

And our obligation isn’t only to the public, either - it’s also to the animals themselves, and to the individual existences each one experienced. Every piece of accurate paleoart is based on knowledge drawn from specific specimens, and often entire species are represented only by a single fragment of skeleton. Each fossil specimen, for all of its rich wealth of knowledge, represented an individual animal with its own experiences, personality and set of behaviors that made it unique. The Sciurumimus holotype, for instance, represents everything we know about that taxon, from its phylogenetic placement to its proportions and anatomy. Yet it wasn’t just a “species”, it was also an individual - a young one, at that. What was it like? How did it die? More importantly, how did it live?

Of all the living things that have come and gone upon this planet, we will only ever know a tiny fraction of them. As a paleoartist, I feel that it’s our unique responsibility to make sure that these creatures are not forgotten, and that the public will come to know them in a way that not only represents them accurately, but pays respect to the individuals they were in life. Nothing sums up this concept better than the poem "Not Forgotten" by Jonathan Kane, which makes reference to three unique fossil specimens famous to paleontology.

Paleoart is more than a mere clinical representation of a taxon. It is an homage to the dead, a celebration of the individual lives that fought and loved and died eons ago. Through art, the public can come to know these dinosaurs as they were, not as movie monsters or mysterious creatures, but as real animals, full of beauty and life.

To whomever gave me an anonymous 1 year subscription for my birthday, thank you kindly! You are quite the sweetie, Mr. or Ms. anonymous deviant. :heart:

And I will also take this opportunity to thank the rest of you for your very nice birthday messages on my userpage, and for continuing to watch and comment on my art over the years. I appreciate each and every one of you very much, and every single comment and fave as well. This community and the people I've met here mean a lot to me, and I hope to continue contributing feathery thingies here for many years.
As of today, the official website for my illustration work is up! My dear friend and brilliant web-developer did a marvelous job, and I'm really happy with it. From here on out, this will be my official platform for displaying my professional work, as well as a hub for selling items (check out the Store section for prints, merchandise, and a handful of originals). I've also written a fairly expansive "about" section that talks about why paleoart is so important to science and society, if you're into that sort of thing.

I will still post to DA, Facebook and everywhere else, but I've been wanting a professional portfolio site for a long time and it's been a long time coming. Check it out!

Tagged by ChocolateStarfire! I hope it's okay that I don't tag anyone and write my own set of questions, but I don't mind answering your set. ;)

1. If you could pick any dinosaur to have as a pet, which would you choose?

Microraptor! Small, adorable, fascinating, and apparently easy to feed. ;)

2. If you were stuck on a deserted island that somehow had satellite access to crappy cable TV, and you only had Gilligan's Island reruns, Jersey Shore marathons, or Ancient Aliens marathons to watch, which would you suffer through?

Um… I'd probably be off looking at all the birds on the deserted island instead of watching television. Or I'd be trying to figure out how a cable/electrical hookup works without, presumably, electricity and cable access. But, if I had to choose… Gilligan's Island, probably, to gather ideas on getting off the island...

3. Star Trek or Star Wars?

That's close, but probably Star Trek.

4. Twilight Sparkle or Pinkie Pie?

Twilight Sparkle. Pinkie Pie is funny but only palatable in small doses. Twilight Sparkle is much more, well, relatable.

5. What language(s) besides English can you speak/read/write?

I can speak/read/write small snatches of a wide variety, but am fluent in nothing!

6. Name a country you'd like to visit.

New Zealand!

7. Do you like SpongeBob SquarePants?

I haven't thought about Spongebob in years, but I used to find some of them kinda funny.

8. What type of music do you like to listen to when you're studying/relaxing?

I can't read, write or study to any music that has a lyrical component, so my "work" music is usually movie scores, classical, or video game music.

9. What is one food you can never live without?

Gosh, I have to pick just one? I guess sushi, then.

10. What's your favorite video game system?

It's really close between the Super Nintendo and the N64! Not sure if I could choose between them. I guess probably N64 because my top 2 favorite games are N64 games (Ocarina of Time and Perfect Dark), but it is very very close.
  • Listening to: Belle & Sebastian
  • Reading: Gifts of the Crow
  • Watching: Game of Thrones
  • Playing: Zelda 2
  • Eating: Pasta salad
Considering how amazing it is that we have such a wealth of variety in Microraptor gut contents now, I thought it pertinent for a blog entry about my thoughts on the matter, and what information we can infer from it.

Microraptor Piscivory by EWilloughby

Click for blog entry:…
The paleontology blog Jersey Boys Hunt Dinosaurs has interviewed me! Go check it out.


Unrelatedly, happy Pi Day/Einstein's birthday. ;)
So, I'm going to have my first "real" art show at a local place in a few months, and need to figure out how to get prints and frames and mat and everything without taking a horrible kick in the wallet.

I've been consistently disappointed with CafePress and Zazzle prints, since they always seem to turn out a lot darker than they should and don't offer a lot of variety in paper type/quality.

Can anyone recommend a good place to have professional-quality prints made without having to spend a ton?

Does anyone have experience with DeviantArt prints? Do you recommend them?

Any advice would be appreciated.
Hell Creek forums has recently embarked on a collaborative effort to produce a 2013 Archosaurs Calendar. The calendar features a dinosaur (or other prehistoric animal) discovery or study for each month the discovery was published in 2012. It features art by myself, dracontes, T-PEKC, pilsator, and many other talented artists.

Proceeds will go the creation of a dinosaur book for children, featuring full accurate, educational illustrations and information!

Please consider investing in this awesome 2013 calendar. It's only $17.99 USD and goes to a good cause!

>>>… <<<
If any of my watchers have more than a passing interest in both The Avengers universe and The Lion King, you should pop over to my Tumblr and read an embarrassingly in-depth comparative analysis that I wrote.…
Had an article in iO9 on Thursday, and today the HuffPo ran a little interview and slideshow of my art:…

Gotta love the comments, heh. (I'm not sure what's better - a sarcastic argument about the devil putting dinosaur bones in the ground to trick man, or referring to "Liaoning" as though it were a species of dinosaur.)
  • Reading: A Feast for Crows (reread)
  • Watching: The Simpsons
  • Playing: Heavy Rain
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Rum & pineapple juice
Now that DeviantArt has finally made this option available, I will be joining the ranks of those who've made the switch. When I joined DA in 2004, I never imagined that this account would become a space for more than posting hastily-drawing Redwall sketches. But now I'm using it for professional work, and indeed that's almost all I upload anymore - so with that in mind, I thought it would be most appropriate to change the name of my account to my real name, which I prefer to be associated with my professional career as an illustrator.

And so farewell, fair Ferahgo. You've served me well, you wily weasel you. The name will stick with me forever elsewhere online, but DA, for all its faults, has become the nexus of my artwork's exposure on the internet. I hope all of my fine watchers don't have too much trouble getting used to the change.
Disgust me.

I found two pictures on DA, uploaded the same day, both copying an Archaeopteryx drawing by T. Michael Keesey (keesey). The two images are himawarikitsune-yiya.deviantar… and… . These accounts very likely belong to the same person. If there is any doubt whatsoever that these poses are traced (not "referenced" as the artist tracer claimed), please see these overlays I made in Photoshop:… and… . The most interesting thing is how this person reacted to me when I pointed out her folly: nothing short of intense rudeness and ignorant, arrogant behavior, and she has blocked me from commenting further on both of her accounts.

Both accounts have both been reported to the DA admins. The person is even using the second account, VixenHamHam, to sell these traced poses for DA points. I truly hope the admins deal with this soon, as it makes a mockery of DA as a site for people to share their originality and creativity.

I'm not trying to sic anyone on her (other than the admins who will hopefully remove the images), I'm just posting this out of sheer frustration. Am I totally off the mark here, or is what they're doing definitely a policy violation?

[Edit] Apparently, DA admins take art theft more seriously when it's reported by more people. So, if you are so inclined and agree with my reasoning, do feel free to report the stolen images, though please do not harass the user.

[Edit 2] TMK has confirmed that the image is a stolen copy of his artwork.… Saving this comment here in case this account disables comment, as the first account has already done.

[Edit 3] Both images have now been taken down, though the person has made a new account armoredalienartist.deviantart.… and a lovely journal entry stating boldly "I do NOT trace" which we all know is a lie. :) Some people never learn.
Yesterday I reached a milestone at DA: 100,000 pageviews. Coincidentally, I also received a Daily Deviation, my first since 2005 - and this time, for a painting I am very proud of. I don't know who got my 100,000th view, but I wanted to take the opportunity to thank that person and everyone else who has watched, commented, faved, or even just viewed my stuff in the 8 years I've been a part of this community. I know I complain about DA as much as the next person, but the reality is that this site has been incredibly important to my development as an artist, and I wouldn't be where I am today without it. I have found friends, love, and employment through this site. So regardless of what I think of the interface or the administration, I wanted to say: thanks, DA. You're alright.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to offer a special thanks to Agahnim. More than anyone else in my life, he has contributed to my becoming a better artist since 2006. He has offered tireless critiques, suggestions and encouragement about my art, and has taught me a lot about shading and composition. He pushes me to better myself, doesn't mince words to spare my feelings, and supports me through everything I do. His skill, knowledge, advice and support have been incredibly valuable to me. So, thank you.
I was filling out an art survey elsewhere and one of the questions was to list my biggest artistic weaknesses. I have a general sense of what I think my biggest weaknesses are, but what do other people think? I figured DA was the best place to ask, since I interact with so many amazingly brilliant artists here and I have watchers of such a wide variety of talents and preferences.

I want answers as honest as possible: what technical aspects of my artwork do you think need the most improvement? What things most consistently look like they're lacking or could be improved in my work? All opinions are welcomed, please be honest!
For quite a while now I've lamented the fact that to my knowledge, all dromaeosaur-related groups on DA have basically no standards for accuracy, and JP-style raptors are accepted along with real raptors. So, I've taken it upon myself to create a new group specifically only for accurate depictions of dromaeosaurid and troodontid dinosaurs.


No more naked raptors (or half-arses), pronated hands, and other maddeningly common inaccuracies. If you're interested, please join and contribute art!

Anyone can become a member - you don't have to contribute art - though only accurate and relatively high-quality artwork will be accepted.
Ok, my good friend khirainshambles is in a financial bind and needs some work.

So, for the first time in an exclusive offer, we are offering one-time-only PYROGRAPHY COMMISSION COLLABORATIONS!

I will draw your character, and she will burn it onto a piece of wood and send you the final product!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with pyrography, it works like this. I will draw a picture of your character in black and white, send it to Khira, and she will copy it line-for-line onto a piece of wood. Using a heated metal pen tool, she will then burn the lines into the wood, giving it a rich and interesting texture. Final products will look like:

[Example 1]
[Example 2]
[Example 3]
She can also do more stylized designs, such as: [Example 4]

But, of course, combined with my own art style. The level of quality you'll get from me is around this.

If you want one, they are $50. For this you will receive: my black and white drawing (digital), and an exquisite wood burning shipped to you by Khira. Which, combined, is really a steal for $50. The drawing will be sent to you within a day; the wood-burning within a few days. We work fast! Shipping fee is included in the price.

Three slots only!

1. Legndcar1 - Done
2. Gov - Done
3. Insanityspaz - Done

Comment here or note me to claim a slot. Payment is required up front, Paypal only.

As always, I prefer doing dinosaurs and other animals, but I'll do whatever.