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Nov. 16, 2011

How to Color a Pterosaur

by francie

Click to enlarge images

Update: John Sibbick sent me some of the sketches and models he made before creating final illustrations of pterosaurs and dinosaurs. Check them out below! -FD, 11/16/11

In September, we talked with David Attenborough about Flying Monsters 3D, his documentary on flying reptiles called pterosaurs. The documentary showed how researchers analyze fossils to reconstruct the way pterosaurs walked and flew. But how did the movie makers choose the pterosaurs’ colors? Fossil evidence for coloring is rare and for the vast majority of extinct animals, we’ll never really know.

A Dimorphodon, as rendered in Flying Monsters 3D. Image courtesy Atlantic Productions/Atlantic Productions

I talked with a consultant for Flying Monsters 3D, artist John Sibbick, about what it takes to draw pterosaurs, dinosaurs and other extinct animals. Sibbick made skeleton and musculature drawings for the modeling team at Flying Monsters, and coached the crew on which colors to consider for the pterosaurs. He has made illustrations for natural history museums, including the dinosaur gallery in London’s Museum of Natural History; National Geographic magazine; and his own illustrated encyclopedias. Read more

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About francie

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.
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