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I know that it’s been a while, but here is my latest addition of paleo-art to this blog. Behold – Alamosaurus, a behemoth of a sauropod that roamed Texas during the late Cretaceous Period. Alamosaurus was a member of the “titanosaur” family, which is more well-known from species found in South America, Europe, and Africa. No complete skeleton of Alamosaurus has ever been found, so we only have a rough idea about what it looked like, and we’re not even sure how big it was when it was fully grown. The most common estimate that I’ve seen is that it was somewhere around 65 – 70 feet long, but it might have been bigger than that.
Because no complete specimen of Alamosaurus has been found, you’re going to see a lot of variation in paleo-art reconstructions of this animal. From what I’ve gathered, a lot of the pictures that are visible on the internet these days are inaccurate. Alamosaurus had a massively thick neck, but its tail was not correspondingly long or massive. The presence of osteoderms along its back are a guess, since other titanosaurs, notably Saltasaurus, were known to have had them.
This was the first illustration that I made which was actually published. I drew this last year for Prehistoric Times Magazine, and it was accepted by Mr. Michael Fredericks, the magazine’s editor. It appeared in print in issue #102 (Summer 2012). Needless to say, I was excited when I was told that one of my drawings would appear in a magazine. I was even more excited when I actually saw it in print. Giganotosaurus carolinii lived in Argentina about 100 million years ago (or MYA as it is commonly abbreviated) during the middle Cretaceous Period. Giganotosaurus, which means “giant southern lizard”, was slightly larger than T. rex, but it also evolved from a more primitive ancestry. Because it was more evolutionarilly primitive than T. rex, I wanted to give it more crocodile-like skin. This drawing took me three whole weeks to complete, working non-stop. By contrast, my “Tyrannosaurus rex head” drawing, which is equally detailed and is the same size, only took me three days. Why did this drawing take so long? It’s because each scale had to be drawn individually and given special individual attention.
I have an interesting quirk when it comes to illustrating creatures with this type of skin texture. I use regular copy paper for most of my drawings. It may look smooth, but if you get really up close to it, you can see that it actually has a rather rough and imperfect surface – it is covered in very small wrinkles and dents. The human eye and brain has a tendency to recognize patterns, whether they actually exist in reality or not. When I saw the dents and wrinkles in the paper, my eye simply connected the dots. The result is what you see. This is why many of the scales, if you examine them closely, have facets with straight sides. It’s a very time-consuming process, but it produces great effects. I love all of my drawings, but this one is definitely one of my favorites, and I’m sure that it will be one of your favorites as well.