Osmatar's avatar
How (not) to Draw Feathered Dinosaurs
By Osmatar   |   Watch
438 119 32K (1 Today)
Published: October 10, 2014
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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Comments (111)
RobotNarkoman's avatar
RobotNarkoman|Professional Digital Artist
Laughed my ass off XDDD this is pure genius!
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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. ^^'
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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 : youtu.be/LqmcIvp6x1I  Velociraptor Icon 
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Khandle's avatar
Khandle|Hobbyist Digital Artist
*sigh*
At least the people who draw them like this acknowledge feathers at all.
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fandomedragon25's avatar
fandomedragon25|Hobbyist General Artist
Uh how would it camouflage into its surroundings as a stealthy predator?  
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Evodolka's avatar
Evodolka|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
aww man
clearly i have to redo my Utahraptor then, i did it completely wrong going off this :D
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RaptorWings's avatar
RaptorWings|Student General Artist
oh gosh its dying
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Tello640's avatar
Tello640|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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.
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TyrannosaurusLives00's avatar
Cough-Ark-Cough
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RaptorWings's avatar
RaptorWings|Student General Artist
yes
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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.
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Osmatar's avatar
Osmatar|Professional General Artist
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.
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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.
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RiceLemons's avatar
RiceLemons|Student Digital Artist
A scarlet-macaw rex? 

:0
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ArtKitt-Creations's avatar
ArtKitt-Creations|Professional Digital Artist
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. 
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WhiteKitsuneKnight's avatar
WhiteKitsuneKnight|Student General Artist
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!
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Osmatar's avatar
Osmatar|Professional General Artist
Cool! :D
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LadyTroodon's avatar
LadyTroodon|Hobbyist Writer
Ugh...it's so hideous it's funny
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CelticQuailKnight's avatar
CelticQuailKnight|Student General Artist
This actually made me laugh. And cry a lot inside, too, don't get me wrong.
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Osmatar's avatar
Osmatar|Professional General Artist
:D
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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.
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Osmatar's avatar
Osmatar|Professional General Artist
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.
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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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Osmatar's avatar
Osmatar|Professional General Artist
I've heard (and I'm not sure how reliable this info is) that Horner did try to promote feathers for the raptors, but either Spielberg or Stan Winston shot the idea down. I don't know the reasoning behind it, but since it was the early days of CGI it could be they were simply worried they'd not be able to do realistic feathers.
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