Illustration: Dinosaur Bones 🦕

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Hel­lo friends!

Man, Sea­son 13 is fig­u­ra­tive­ly kick­ing my butt!
It feels like only yes­ter­day that I post­ed my art­work ​“The Grad­u­a­tion”, and now I already fin­ished my next draw­ing for Sea­son 13 Episode 17.

Embed­ded con­tent: https://​twit​ter​.com/​J​o​e​r​n​D​r​a​w​s​/​s​t​a​t​u​s​/​1​1​8​0​0​7​7​8​4​7​1​1​9​1​06054

As usu­al, before I start talk­ing about how this piece came to be, let me start off by show­ing you my artwork!

NoSleep - Dinosaur Bones

Under Jol­ly Roger

I was out of town for a work trip to Berlin, our won­der­ful cap­i­tal, when I received my work assign­ment, so I had the plea­sure of read­ing this week’s awe­some sto­ries while sit­ting in an uncom­fort­able seat, wait­ing for my plane.

“Dinosaur Bones”, by author Robert Jack­son, imme­di­ate­ly caught my eye. The sto­ry revolves around a teacher pay­ing a vis­it to a father whose child brought an actu­al, hon­est-to-god dinosaur bone to show and tell.

Fur­ther mys­ter­ies in the sto­ry, which I won’t spoil here, include a not-quite-ordi­nary plas­tic shov­el. And this is what made the idea for the illus­tra­tion pop up in my head! I was going to go for a skull and cross­bones type illus­tra­tion, as you can often see on the ships of Hol­ly­wood pirates (oth­er­wise known as Jol­ly Roger).

While the sto­ry itself sad­ly fea­tures no pirates, I decid­ed the iconog­ra­phy is icon­ic enough to stand on its own. All that was left to do for my sketch was replace one of the bones with a plas­tic shov­el, and voilĂ ! An idea was born.

Dig­ging for ref­er­ences — get it?

The first step, as usu­al, was dig­ging for ref­er­ences! For paint­ings to stand out as believ­able, a good ref­er­ence to work off is paramount.

First of all, I reached into my tool­box and pulled out the fan­tas­tic Skull Sketch­er!

Embed­ded con­tent: https://​anato​my360​.info/​s​k​u​l​l​-​s​k​e​t​c​h​e​r-v2/

This free tool lets you pose a real­is­tic ren­der­ing of a human skull, adjust the light­ing, and export the result as a high-res JPEG! Since I dis­cov­ered it, Skull Sketch­er is a very stan­dard tool in my repertoire.

I found the ref­er­ence for the dinosaur bone on the web­site of a British muse­um. Let me just say, muse­um cura­tors are doing god’s work. High res­o­lu­tion ref­er­ence images in good lighting…an artist’s dream!

Last­ly, the ref­er­ence image for the plas­tic shov­el was a quick web search. Believe me, there are tons of images of children’s toys!

Craft­ing a sigil

Warn­ing: Spoil­ers ahead!

When I was done with the paint­ing, I ran into the prob­lem that the space of the skull’s fore­head looked a bit…empty. Noth­ing quite like a glow­ing mag­ic sig­il to spice up an illus­tra­tion for a super­nat­ur­al story!

To cre­ate a sig­il that looked like more than ran­dom scrib­bles, I fol­lowed along this won­der­ful arti­cle: Sig­ils and Seals.

As a goal state­ment, I chose ​“My Goal — Return To Life”. After I fol­lowed along to the arti­cle, I had a short­ened goal state­ment (MYWUNOF!) and a sig­il I was very hap­py with!


After draw­ing it on the skull, at that was left to do is add some soil tex­ture to the back­ground for con­trast and add the glow­ing blue halo to give the image that last visu­al pop I think it needed.

“Dinosaur Bones” was a blast to draw, and I real­ly hope you check out the sto­ry. I enjoyed it a lot.

Until next time, my lovelies,