Brontosaurus < Apatosaurus

Every member of every generation has one of those events that rock them to their very core. For some people, it was the the JFK assassination. For others, the Martin Luther King, Jr, assassination. For my generation, at least the early part of it, it was the morning the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on live television. The latter part, of course, and probably for the generation after mine, it simple became known as 911.

There are many smaller events though, that don’t hit with the same impact, but that still stick with you.

For example, a mere 20 years ago in college, we were taught in our Astrophysics class that there were nine planets in our solar system. Then, suddenly, in 2002, Pluto got the boot. Downgraded by the scientific community to a mere “icy rock that’s also orbiting our sun but not really a planet sorry KTHXbai” and suddenly we’re down to eight. Our entire lives, nay, the entire history of the modern school system has taught that Pluto was a planet. Hell, it even had a Disney dog named after it…and now, from woof to poof! It’s off the list.

Another one of those moments where I learned that the scientific community was probably just trolling us was when they informed the world that “Hey, guys what? Probably the most famous dinosaur of them all didn’t really exist, Brontosaurus was really just another version of the Apatosaurus that kind of looked like the other one so yeah, sorry you got so attached to it. You still have the Triceratops though, so quit complaining or we’ll take that away too.”

The little boy nerd in me was crushed. Who am I kidding…I was crushed. Dinosaurs fueled the my imagination my entire life…and with a nickname like “Thunder Lizard?” It’s not like I lost sleep or anything over it, but still, you can’t just take that away from me. Come on!

Fast forward to 2017, when we have flying cars, and robots that do our bidding and, wait, never mind.

Anyway, and the second season of Netflix’ runaway show Stranger Things had just come out, and during one of several binge sessions, what’s this I see? One of the main characters is wearing a purple sweatshirt from the Science Museum of Minnesota, and it has a giant Brontosaurs on the front, in all its 2-dimensional glory, lumbering over its true name, set in some ugly-yet-period-specific font. I feel a twinge of sadness – it’s just one more nod to something that existed in the 80s, and now it doesn’t.

Like Kodak film. Or DeLoreans.

On a whim, I did a Google search for “brontosaurus sweatshirt” and what do I see?


Yeah, it’s an obvious money grab, but hey, credit where it’s due. They saw an opportunity and ran with it, and their gamble paid off.

In a big way.

In addition to the one I bought, apparently there are more than a few Brontosaurus supporters like myself around the world willing to shell out $40 a pop for the opportunity to ironically thumb their nose in the general direction of the scientific community, even if it was in “Ultra Violet.” The SMOM we hoping for 10-15,000 t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other swag when they opened up the shop, but got blown away by the response of 30,000 order at last check.

It shouldn’t be a surprise.

Nobody likes the name “Apatosaurus.” I have a feeling most people don’t even know if they’re saying it right.

And you can bet it doesn’t have a cool nickname.

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Dinosaur Hunting

DinosaurInTheWoods_large A while back, I saw a cool illustration of a Tyrannosaur following a truck (probably one of the Ford Explorers from Jurassic Park) through a dense forest. Unfortunately, I forgot where I saw the image and haven’t been able to find it online. This weekend, I decided to make my own.

Drawing in the crash-tastic ProCreate for iPad application, I sketched it out as best I could remember, then colorized it. The original I saw was predominantly red, I believe, and while I liked the urgency that created in the image, I went with the early morning cooler tones of the purples and blues…this could be the part of the scene where the occupants of the car don’t realize they’re being hunted yet, although I’m sure that will come soon enough.

Even though I lightened the image up in Photoshop prior to posting, it’s still way too dark. The top of the image contains fronds and vines hanging from the trees, and the bottom third has plants and reflections caused by the illumination of the trucks headlights. Sadly, on the iPad, it really has a nice balance of light and dark.

The “making of” video:

Arizona · Illustration · Life

Phoenix DinoCon

Today I’m volunteering at the 2014 Phoenix DinoCon, a fan convention for folks who like dinosaurs, and yeah…I’m a little bit excited.




Having never really been into ComiCon or any of the other myriad of conventions out there, this will be my first time into that arena. I’ll be working the registration table, so I’ll get a chance to see everyone who comes through the door face-to-face, which should be fun. I suppose people will be there in costume, so that will be something to see, although with the temperature upwards of 100° and humid, and not to mention the chance of the seasonal monsoon storm, I doubt there will be many people dressed up. Either way, I’m looking forward to it.

I may post the behind the scenes video of the “today” image above but it would be pretty short, and not to mention dark, so it might not make for a great clip. 

Sunday edit – I was right…this doesn’t make for very compelling footage. But since it’s available, why not. You can see at the end where I experimented with getting more text on the image before finally deciding to leave it alone. No sense overcomplicating an image that was only going into a tweet, anyway.


Bill Watterson, we miss you. Love, Spaceman Spiff

Sometimes when you start sketching you have no idea where it’s going to end up.

The sudden appearance of the ground and addition details is the result of the ProCreate app continually crashing while editing the layer. Apparently the “record” function just ignored what I was doing and jumps ahead of the glitch. To the app developers credit, the app doesn’t lose the picture itself when these crashes happen, and even though ProCreate doesn’t bill itself as an animation tool, the crashing and subsequent hiccups in the playback sequence drive me nuts. The rest of the app is so polished that it really highlights the problems when they occur.

And the final art, with Spaceman Spiff breaking up a little dino-rumble:

Spaceman Spiff and dinosaurs


Jurassic Park Lite


After completing my Stegosaurus sculpture, I decided that I wanted to try another dinosaur sculpture…kind of a companion piece. I knew I wanted this one to be much, much larger, and give me the opportunity to have some more fun with the construction and the treatment of the metal.

I figured a Brachiosaurus would be large enough.

Because I was under a time crunch, I purchased the piece of rebar that would become the spine from a pretty limited selection of rebar at the Home Depot. The shop where I usually get my meta for my projects, Industrial Metal Supply, has more options and better prices, but are clear across town and I didn’t have time to make the trip before my the lab, so I ended up with 10 feet of half-inch rebar strapped to the top of the car.

The problem, I discovered with half-inch rebar, is that it’s too thick to shape using the bender we had in the lab. I could either get slight bends or really drastic folds in the bar, but nothing like the sloping curves I was looking for. I decided to try heating it with a torch and bending that way.


While it did technically work, I was really unhappy with he result, and in the end, had to change the sculpture into a smaller dinosaur, simply because I couldn’t get the bends in the rebar right to give me the correct proportions I was looking for. While the finished project is a fine Apatosaur, it’s not the monster I wanted to end up with, so I may work up another one with smaller gauge bar, or figure out a different method of construction.

One of the best parts was that the instructor in the class liked it so much he made me set it outside in the hallway while he went around and gathered up instructors from other classes to show it off.

The jewelry-making instructor snaps some pictures while the welding instructor looks on.
The jewelry-making instructor snaps some pictures while the welding instructor looks on.