2017 Year In Review

I got a lot of stuff done in 2017, but my work is all over the place, so I thought I’d collect up the significant finished pieces and amass them here for the convenience of anyone interested. Many of these pieces were made possibile in part (if not in large part) by my patreon supporters. If you’d like to help make 2018 even more productive than 2017 consider making a small monthly donation through my Patreon page.
While most of the year was taken up grinding away on several big ambitious pieces, the year ended with a flurry of new commissions being started, and one really unique one being finished on a quick turnaround. The image below is an illustration depicting the interesection of Wilshire and La Brea in Los Angeles, as it might have looked about 15 thousand years ago.


The two mammoths depicted are based on skeletons found 15 feet below the current street level while excavating the terminal for a new Metro system in Los Angeles. The piece was conceived commissioned by Sherri Gust, CEO of Cogstone Incorporated, a leading paleontological and archaeological mitigation company based in California, for her company’s holiday card. Because the piece came to me on short notice, I had to act fast, and the entire project went from discussion with paleontologists Sherri Gust, Eric Scott and Ashley Leger, shooting reference of the fossils excavated, to finished rendering in about 2 weeks.

Most of my projects in 2016 were not such quick turnarounds, as this year saw the creation of my two largest paleoart pieces to date. Most recently completed was a 2 foot by 8 foot drawing of the Kayenta Formation paleoenvironment for the Saint George Dinosaur Discovery Site in St. George Utah. The piece is a timeline featuring 3 complex and distinct paleoenvironments over time, with dozens of animals, hundreds of plants, and even climatic changes in the weather.

Here you can see what about an hour of my time working on this piece looks like compressed into about a minute of drawing timelapse:

But this piece is far from finished, as it still needs to be digitally colored, printed, and incorporated into a new exhibit to be installed at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site. So, for the time being, the full scan of the grayscale drawing can only be seen by my Patreon supporters.

In addition to attacking big paleoart projects the long overdue final Earth Beasts Awaken video resumed production, and numerous shots for a key sequence are now in the bag.


I don’t want to give too much away, but an overview of the progress made so far, as well as a few other behind the scenes updates on Earth Beasts Awaken pt 3 can be found on my patreon.

The other major piece I took on in 2017 was a life sized mural depicting two fighting mastodons for the Western Science Center in Hemet California. This was my first piece to be printed and displayed at full scale, and it was my first piece depicting probiscidians. Naturally there was a steep learning curve when taking on both of these new challenges, and again, I documented my progress on patreon and posted an overview here.


Between the mastodon mural and rendering the Kayenta timeline I was busy with traveling to paleo conferences, meeting with researchers and museums to initiate projects and doing field work. My biggest journey was a huge road trip from southern California to Calgary Canada to attend the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting. I convoyed up to the great north with paleontologists Andrew Milner, Dr. Jim Kirkland and Don DeBlieux, and had numerous adventures along the way and while there. While in Canada I collaborated with paleontologists Brian Gee and Yara Haridy on a quick reconstruction of some strange permian monsters with especially strange dentition, which you can read more about in my post Nightmare Mouths of the Permian.

While the initial paper the art was published on focused on the predator – Cacops – we included an easter egg in that the prey featured was Yara’s study species Opisthodontosaurus carrolli, which she has since defended her master’s thesis on. A paper about its dentition can be found HERE. CaptoButt2

On the way back from Canada I stopped in Utah to assist paleontologists Andrew Milner, Rob Gay and Jessica Uglesich in the excavation of a significant Triassic bone bed right on the border of the Bears Ears National Monument. Despite being under staffed, under-funded and short on time, we managed to extract several huge chunks of stone packed with skeletal material including several significant discoveries and most of a new species just before President Trump downsized several Utah monuments in what amounts to little more than a land grab for the fossil fuel industry and a gesture of disrespect to the previous administration which established the monument. Here you can see a video of us excavating the massive fossil filled jackets:

In the background I’ve stayed active making new music, and I released a secret playlist of tracks in the works for my Patreon supporters.
I also put out a little video showing my music making progress, as requested by patreon supporters.

I also managed to complete several other videos for my paleoart youtube channel, which I’ve amassed for your viewing pleasure here:

Also announced in 2017 was that a new ornithomimid – soon to be officially named by ReBecca Hunt-Foster – is the new state fossil of Arkansas. One of several pieces of art commissioned by ReBecca went out with the State of Arkansas press release. More on this creature later…


And finally here’s a floofy family of raptors squishing through the mud of the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite that I illustrated for a short film on the Moab area, coming soon to the Moab Information Center. I now have 6 pieces of art on interpretive panels and signage at four public fossil sites in the Moab area, and I will soon be completing more. Hopefully in the coming year I’ll find the time to put together a video tour of these fossil sites I’ve had the good fortune to be able to create paleoart for, thanks to the hard work and support of ReBecca Hunt-Foster.


Again I’d like to thank my patreon supporters for their generous support throughout the year. Many of these projects would not have been possible without their support, and I am deeply honored to receive their feedback and encouragement in addition to their financial commitment to helping me make my art. Words cannot convey my gratitude, so I will thus strive to convey my thanks by making 2018 even more productive and creative than years before. Stay tuned. Lots of exciting new projects are already in the works.

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Kayenta Timeline Work In Progress

I recently finished this big drawing of the Kayenta formation, which is both a multi-environment paleoecological reconstruction and a timeline/strategraphic column. As you move through the timeline you step up through the layers of stone preserved in the rocks around St. George Utah, and every scene is based on specific fossil sites discovered and studied by paleontologist Andrew Milner and his crew. The finished full color piece will be incorporated into a museum exhibit at the Saint George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm – an awesome paleo museum in Saint George Utah.


If you don’t follow me on twitter or facebook you should be because I’ve been posting more regular updates on there, and if you’re a supporter on Patreon I recently uploaded a scan of the now finished grayscale drawing so that my supporters can see the ambitious art that they’re helping to make possible.

But this is only phase one. As is my typical process this huge drawing will be colored digitally to bring it to life and I will continue to post updates as I do.

Stay tuned, and thanks for the support.

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Nightmare Mouths of The Permian

Did you know that some prehistoric amphibians have terrifying teeth covering the entire roofs of their mouths?? Prehistoric monster teeth experts from the University of Toronto Bryan Gee, Yara Haridy and Dr. Robert Reisz have determined how the bizarre teeth covering the roof of the mouth of some prehistoric amphibians such as the chihuahua sized Cacops pictured above developed. It turns out, all of the thousands of tiny teeth these bizarre creatures used to capture and perforate their prey were made of the same ingredients as the teeth around the rim of their mouths, but bizarrely these teeth are not on the jaws, but rather on tiny plates of bone embedded in a flexible layer of tissue on the roof of the mouth. To make things extra nightmarish these tooth-carpets covered empty spaces in the roof of the mouth that their eyeballs would push down into when they swallowed, just like a modern frog. Except unlike a modern frog their eyeballs pushing into their skull would press the teeth down into the prey like a godawful amphibious iron maiden that can swallow you (if you’re a small animal).


You can read and download their scientific paper for free here (shoutouts open access!)
And you can check out the University’s official press release with a video of David Attenborough feeding a bug to a giant monkey frog (with psychadellic skin secretions btw).

One of the things that really hooked me (puns intended) into doing this quick reconstruction of this wondrous little horror from deep time was the environment. Mark MacDougall et al 2017 describe the strange depositional environment that the skeletons of the creatures pictured in my reconstruction were found in. Turns out these fossils were deposited in an ancient limestone cave system, and some of the skeletons were found with calcite cave formations grown into and around them!
Captorhinid skull with cave calcite growing around it!
It’s unclear at this point whether the animals were actually living in the upper parts of the cave and got trapped deeper down, as well as washed in by seasonal storms from some outside environment, but the area around these caves in the Permian would have been semiarid, so we thought it was reasonable to speculate that these armored amphibians would’ve been hiding amongst the limestone boulders and crevices that were likely found around the entrances to these caves.
A few months back I just so happened to be exploring a similar modern environment in Nevada, where upthrust limestone has been eroded by water to form numerous caves of various sizes.
One of the things that struck me was how much cooler and more moist the caves were than the surrounding desert – even just a few feet within the entrance. I also found evidence of animals using the caves, from birds and small invertebrates to mountain goats and puma, who had littered the floor of one of the larger cave entrances I explored with a thick mat of goat poop and goat skeletons, one of which had been recently fed on by a puma.
Thus I thought it would make sense to show a similar dynamic happening at the entrance to a small cave in the permian, with both predator and prey utilizing this uniquely productive micro ecological space to survive in a harsh desert environment…

Just a reminder that if you are time traveling and exploring small limestone caves in Oklahoma about 289 million years ago, be careful when putting your hand into small crevices. A Cacops biting you would feel like the world’s slimiest/toothiest bear trap clamping down on your hand and mashing it’s toothy mouth-roof into your flesh by pulling in its damn eyeballs.

Gee, Bryan M., Yara Haridy, and Robert R. Reisz. “Histological characterization of denticulate palatal plates in an Early Permian dissorophoid.” PeerJ 5 (2017): e3727

MacDougall, Mark J., et al. “The unique preservational environment of the Early Permian (Cisuralian) fossiliferous cave deposits of the Richards Spur locality, Oklahoma.” Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 475 (2017): 1-11.

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Valley of the Mastodons exhibit now open

SmashtodonsFINAL WebSIZED WM

Just last week the Valley of The Mastodons exhibit at the Western Science Center in Hemet CA opened, and it features my first paleoart mural. The mural depicts 2 full sized male Mastodons battling, and the older male on the right is based on the fossils of a Mastodon at the museum named “Max” who has several injuries to the right side of his jaw that are consistent with tusk strikes. The exhibit features more Mastodon fossil material on display than any Mstodon exhibit in the history of Mastodon exhibits and if you’re in southern California between now and early 2018 you should definitely check it out. After the Valley of the Mastodon exhibit closes, my mural will still be on display in the main gallery of the museum, right behind Max’s mounted skeleton.


I shot a bunch of reference footage and footage of me drawing/painting this mural which I plan on editing together as a video for my paleoart youtube page as soon as I can find the time.


As always, supporting my art on Patreon enables me to do the best job I can on projects like this and also makes doing behind the scenes posts and videos possible, so consider kicking me a few bucks on there if you can spare it and want to help me make the best art I possibly can. As a thank you to my patrons 9″x18″ poster prints of this piece are now available to my top-tier supporters or any supporters who have had my back for a while and haven’t requested a free print from me recently. Thanks yall.


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Earth Beasts Awaken update on patreon


An in depth update on Earth Beasts Awaken is long overdue, and in the last couple months I’ve managed to make a little progress. A new practical effects behind the scenes update is now up on my patreon. Yeah, it’s for supporters only, but a measly $1 pledge gets you access to it and a gaggle of other exclusive content, and that buck helps me immensely to make progress on these ambitious and often difficult projects.

Thanks again to all of you who have supported my art in various ways over the years. I have not stopped. There is a small cauldron of historian projects (music & music videos) simmering over the old hungry fire as we speak. I will however be dedicating my time to paleoart again this summer and fall, as I have landed several huge commissions. More on those later.

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Aquilops Revisited

Ever since reconstructing Aquilops in 2014 I’ve been wanting to revisit it to explore another idea for it’s life mode and role in the ecology. Spurred by the request of Dr. Andrew Farke and Gabriel Santos to do a talk about making monsters and reconstructing prehistoric animals, I finally got around to illustrating this new interpretation. Check it out:

If you’d like to support my paleoart and my ability to keep making these videos, SUPPORT ME ON PATREON or purchase a poster print of either of these illustrations:


And here’s my 2014 Boldly Displaying Aquilops (purchase button below):

Aquilops americanus a new species of basal ceratopsian dinosaur.

Aquilops americanus, a new species of basal ceratopsian dinosaur.

Click HERE for a “field guide” to everything in the above image.

Buy a 12″x18″ poster print here:

Also, subscribe to the Alf Museum’s Youtube page for a video of the talk I gave at the museum on this art.

Oh! And Support the Utahraptor Project here:

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The Dinosaurs of Copper Ridge

Be sure to subscribe to my new paleoart youtube channel and I hope you’ll help make future videos possible by purchasing poster of my illustrations:

Copper Ridge Diplodocus

Copper Ridge Diplodocus

Copper Ridge Diplodocus

Purchase a 9″x18″ (22.86 x 45.72cm) poster print of my copper ridge DIPLODOCUS illustration. Posters are $20 each and the price includes shipping within the US. International orders will be contaced to arrange payment for additional shipping costs.

Copper Ridge Allosaurus
Not to spoil the reveal, but here is the other illustration I did for the Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracksite. It depicts an Allosaurus and it will be the focus of my next youtube video on the site.


Purchase a 9″x18″ (22.86 x 45.72cm) poster print of my copper ridge ALLOSAURUS illustration. Posters are $20 each and the price includes shipping within the US. International orders will be contaced to arrange payment for additional shipping costs.

Also, for a limited time I’m offering copies of my 2016 Paleoart Portfolio ONLY to Patreon supporters. Pledge $20 to receive a copy (you can edit or delete your pledge after your first month), and if you send me a message saying you’re willing to support me for 2 months or more at $20 I will draw your favourite prehistoric creature (heck, or living animal if you prefer) in the incover of your book.

Artbook CoverArtbookIncoverArtbookOpen2

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New Paleoart Youtube Page

In order to grow the audience and confuse Youtube’s algorithms less I have created a new youtube page specifically for paloeart, natural history and wildlife videos. Basically I just realized I have a TON of footage on my hard drives that I’ve shot of various plants and animals and environments which I frequently reference or draw inspiration from for paleoart and other projects. So I figured I’d put it to use to help communicate the science that went into my various paleoart pieces as well as promote my art etc. Here are the first two videos in what I intend on making a fairly regular thing. I hope you’ll subscribe to the page: http://www.youtube.com/DinosaursReanimated

These videos were made possible by support from my Patreon supporters. You can find my patreon page (stocked with a lot of top secret stuff you can’t see anywhere else) here:

Thanks for the support yall. Let me know what you think.


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2016 Director’s Reel

A long overdue update of my reel featuring some of my more recent projects…

The narrative is from an audio short story that supplements Gather Bones, and is available for download to my patreon supporters.

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Paleoart timelapses

I’m working on some art for some more interpretive trail signage in Utah commissioned by Rebecca Hunt-Foster and I’ve been shooting time lapses of the process for my patreon page.

If you enjoy my work and aren’t already supporting me on patreon, I hope you’ll consider it. For only $1 a month you get access to a raft of behind the scenes content, exclusive downloads and first looks, and I’ll be adding more in the coming months.

Big thanks to those of you who do support my art. Don’t hesitate to let me know what you think about the bonus conent I’ve been posting & if there’s anything else you’d like to see!!

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