Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Virtual Art Show, Part One

Simosuchus clarki

"Clark's pug-nosed crocodile" is known from a single well-preserved skull from Madagascar. As a notosuchid, Simosuchus belongs to a group of small-to-medium sized crocodilians that reached the zenith of their diversity during the Late Cretaceous. The group ran the gamut of feeding ecologies. Simosuchus itself was probably an herbivore, given its leaf-shaped teeth and squared-off snout. It also would have been barely a meter long. Simosuchus would have been on the lookout for the dinosaurs it shared its habitat with. While one may think that such a small animal would be easy pickings for a carnivore, Simosuchus was probably adorned with the armor plating of its more modern relatives to protect it from harm.

Artist Notes

Simosuchus was one of the easier animals to restore for the show. Early on, I decided not to try and guess what kind of body it had, because the creature is only known from a single skull. So I did a headshot, and used a combination of crocodilian armor scutes and wonder gecko coloration for the general look. The actual painting took a long time, though, longer than any of the other pieces (except Effigia), because it was my second piece and I'd never painted before. Scott taught me how to do a "wash" by incorporating water into the acrylic paint. I used a wash for the lower jaw, although it seems pretty unsuccessful now. My pet wonder gecko, Big Boss, provided the splotch pattern. After coloring in the neck scutes, I decided they looked too flat, so I used my smallest brush and painted a white "apex" across each one. I think it looks nice. I don't especially care for the ventral scales, but by that point I was ready to move onto the next animal.

Fun Facts

Scott and I couldn't decide whether to do Simosuchus, Anatosuchus, or both. At one point, we were going to adorn each text board with sketches of related animals. I really wanted to get Chimaerasuchus in there, too, but I couldn't find its description. We did end up using a Simosuchus skull drawing I threw together one night. In the skull drawing, I emphasized Simosuchus' large palpebral bone, something that is not very apparant in the painting because of the spot pattern.

Note: The addition of more than one picture, plus both centered AND left-aligned text means that this post's format will be FAIL. It's not ugly on purpose--it's ugly because of eBlogger and my inability to read HTML fluently.


ScottE said...

"We did end up using a Simosuchus skull drawing I threw together one night instead of a Venn phylogeny"

What? All the animals, without exception, have venn disagrams for their phylogenies.

I sent it to you. What did you do with it?

Zach said...

I got it up there! Sorry!

ScottE said...


(I really need a nap.)

computer screen said...

What they show is great ... could you show me where I can get more pictures about Simosuchus and Anatosuchus