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Osmatar's avatar

How (not) to Draw Feathered Dinosaurs

By Osmatar
This is what happens when you attempt to put together every bad paleoart meme still alive in the field of feathered dinosaur illustration. Behold and despair!

This little project was originally intended as a follow-up to Worst. Deinonychus. Ever. because I couldn't address feathers in that one. However I fell seriously ill before finishing it, leaving it lingering for two years. Thankfully in the meantime lots of people have made good scientifically accurate guides to feathered dinosaur anatomy so I don't have to feel so bad about releasing this abomination to the interwebs.

This non-inforgraphic is not intended as an actual guide. If you do want to use it somehow, just do the opposite of what the anti-guide advises you to do.

(Disclaimer: not all of the advice in this anti-guide is 100% bad all of the time. If you however can't tell the universally bad advice from the situationally bad, make sure to read up on dinosaur anatomy and taxonomy before you try illustrating one.)
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TurningOverANewWord's avatar
It's because Toymakers are trying to please both the people who grew up with the 'giant lizard' dinosaurs that was popularized in Jurassic park and other older movies, and the demands of scientific community to have the stuff sold in museums and stuff be more up to modern standards of scientific accuracy.
RobotNarkoman's avatar
Laughed my ass off XDDD this is pure genius!
ElfenFang's avatar
ok i wanted to make a raptor character/was looking at google for feather reference and came across this haha. this so funny but sad/true. xD
i think naked dinos or these at least look like a cool fictional creature but its still inaccurate yeah. ^^'
MrProfGenius's avatar
Yeah it can't be helped Dinosaurs is a creature have similiarities with birds than reptile one. Agile movements, hot blooded, legs shaped especially for bipedal dinosaurs have much similiarities with birds than reptile, yeah we must accept the facts they are more like "Giant Emu". I also draw a Velociraptor based from this issue too :  Velociraptor Icon 
Khandle's avatar
At least the people who draw them like this acknowledge feathers at all.
fandomedragon25's avatar
Uh how would it camouflage into its surroundings as a stealthy predator?  
Evodolka's avatar
aww man
clearly i have to redo my Utahraptor then, i did it completely wrong going off this :D
RaptorWings's avatar
oh gosh its dying
Tello640's avatar
Man, now I feel like a idiot for drawing my raptor a head-crest...
Velociraptor by Tello640
I hope it's not too bad outside of that.
Wasichuwitko's avatar
The naked face would work for scavengers. Any other naked parts would depend on the species' environments and behavior.

Otherwise: study real birds for an idea of what to do with dinos.
Osmatar's avatar
There is actually very little evidence to suggest that naked faces are directly related to scavenging. Not all (or probably even most) avians with naked faces scavenge and not all scavenging birds have naked faces. What naked facial skin seem to be is a thermoregulatory adaptation for animals that have to deal with a wide temperature gradient, and in some cases display (though the former probably came before the latter).

I really shoud find the time to do a serious helpful version of this, covering every detail and possibility.
Wasichuwitko's avatar
Given what scavengers often eat, naked faces could guard against disease caused by rotting bits and pieces caught in fur or feathers.

Too bad we can't know the feather distribution on the various species.
RiceLemons's avatar
A scarlet-macaw rex? 

ArtKitt-Creations's avatar
That's pretty sad and true lol. I play a game where all the raptors while feathered, have that unnatural wrist shape like you drew. 
WhiteKitsuneKnight's avatar
This was actually pretty helpful! I'm designing a replica dinosaur and following the opposite of the advice given here has landed me a pretty cool looking dino!
LadyTroodon's avatar's so hideous it's funny
CelticQuailKnight's avatar
This actually made me laugh. And cry a lot inside, too, don't get me wrong.
tarbano's avatar
Think I might know what started the mohawks gig. A popular arcade game called Primal Rage had dinosaur and dinosaur-like characters and one of them named "Talon" resembled a giant Deinonychus, granted what one was thought to look like at the time. It was the first time I recall seeing a dromaeosaurid given feathers and in this case, it was a mohawk.
Osmatar's avatar
I'm pretty sure they got it from an earlier source. There were certainly feather mohawks on deinonychosaurs already in the 1980s. The earliest one I can think of straight away is from G. S. Paul, but I used to draw one on my Deinonychuses in the 80s too, before I was even aware of Paul's work.
ElSqiubbonator's avatar
That brings up an interesting question: if Paul was in the habit of putting feathers on his raptors in the 80s, how come the raptors in Jurassic Park--which were based on Paul's sketches--don't have them?
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