been fascinated by dinosaurs. I can't remember a time where
dinosaurs were not a favorite subject. But my love affair with
the "raptor" family began in the fifth grade, when
I bought the book "Dinosaur Mysteries" by Troll Associates
through my elementary school's book fair.
is mentioned many times in this book, saying their anatomy is
evidence for dinosaurian warm bloodedness (a theory that was
still unheard of in the general populace at the time this book
was published). I became hooked on the speedy, wicked taloned
dinos. Since then, dromaeosaurs had been a popular subject on
many of my school notebooks, and still carries over into my
is a compilation of all the latest info I have on my favorite
dinosaur family. It is presented in an artist-friendly format,
showing images that illustrate what we know about dromaeosaur
anatomy, and short explanations on why they are that way. If
you want to read more on the technical anatomical stuff, I highly
recommend reading Gregory S. Paul's "Dinosaurs of the Air."
This tutorial is only basic in the fact that it only covers
general raptor anatomy. Examples may not cover particular anatomy
from every angle. Finding reference online or in books is recommended.
what is a dromaeosaurid any way? Well, many people became aware
of these guys through the Jurassic Park movies. The JP raptors
are very cool as movie monsters, but are not good representations
of how a dromaeosaurid would have been like in real life. In
fact, it is because of these movies that many people make the
anatomical mistakes that they do when drawing these animals.
family contains the popular species Deinonychus, Velociraptor
and Utahraptor, and are thought to be the brainiest of dinosaurs.
Dromaeosaurids are theropod dinosaurs (meaning that they are
bipedal - they walk on two legs only). Theropods are very bird-like
as opposed to mammal or reptile-like. Raptors have long, stiffened
tails that act as balancing rods, hinge-like ankles, tightly
folding arms, large eyes, and slightly S-curved necks. They
can be quite tricky to draw if you are used to only drawing
mammals. Dromaeosaurid should be drawn with bristle-like feathered
covering, as latest theories suggest the whole family is descended
from feathered, flying dinosaur ancestors.
basic dromaeosaurid anatomy:
reconstruction of Deinonychus antirrhopus is a good, basic representation
of raptor anatomy. All raptors have the same basic body plan,
with only slight variations on proportion (head to body, leg
to body, arm to body) and skull features (eye size, snout curvature,
skull length/width). Before attempting to draw ANY dinosaur,
do research on their skeletons. Just type the specie name into
the Google.com image search and you should pull up a few good
examples. Many books on dinosaurs supply skeletal reconstructions.
Make sure the reconstruction is as up-to-date as possible.
As you look
at the above skeleton, notice where things are located. You'll
notice there are some big differences between this skeleton
and a human skeleton, or a skeleton of a dog. The shoulder blades
are nearly horizontal and are extremely narrow. The fingers
are very long, ending in curved talons, as are the toes. The
pelvis has a long extension, called the "boot." The
tail retains flexibility where the vertebras spines are visible,
then turning into a stiffened rod-like appendage. Notice the
ribs that run along the belly, the dew claws, and how the second
toe has upturned into a retractable weapon. These are all basic
Raptor features that must be understood in order to draw them