© 2015 Stephanie Smith

I hope you’re enjoying your summer! Guess which summer popcorn movie with dubious scientific underpinnings I went to see last week? Jurassic World was a fun flick (although not without some serious plot flaws) but some paleontologists were not as amused: the current science says that critters like Velociraptors would actually be much pudgier and probably covered in some kind of feathers, virtually unrecognizable as the same critters from the movie. Which gave me the idea for this sketch!

I’ve always had a soft spot for dinosaurs and the original Jurassic Park totally blew me away when I first saw it in the theater. It was the first time we actually saw on the big screen the active and social dinosaurs that I’d read about in books like The Dinosaurs: A Fantastic View of a Lost Era by William Stout (I still have my well-thumbed copy of the original printing!) instead of the slow, plodding behemoths of the past. But that was 20 years ago, and paleontology has advanced a lot since then: the movement against “shrink-wrapped dinosaurs” (art that focuses mostly on the bone structure and discounts musculature, skin flaps, and fatty tissues) and concrete discoveries about pigmentation and feathers are starting to change the representation of dinosaurs again. And there’s enough evidence out there to back it up that the Jurassic World even hung a lampshade on the fact that their dinosaurs don’t measure up to scientific scrutiny.

Mine’s not particularly accurate either — I drew it too large, for starters, and the proportions are off — but as much as I like drawing my boney, scaly dragons I also love the idea of a world full of crazy, colorful, feathery dinosaurs.

Pencil sketch on bristol, with blue pencil underdrawing, © 2015.