The illustration incorporates a lot of research. The iridescent color of the animal is modeled after the Li 2012 color study on a Microraptor specimen, which detected fossilized melanosomes consistent with the iridescent black in some modern birds. The two long tail feathers were not preserved in this specimen, so were left off by request of the authors. The manner with which the Microraptor is grasping the fish is based on the Fowler 2011 study on dromaeosaur prey restraint, which analyzed the pes and leg proportions of deinonychosaurs and found them to be extremely similar to those of modern birds of prey, indicating that the animals likely grasped smaller prey with its feet while tearing at it with its mouth. The plant life in the background is modeled entirely after known plant fossils from the Jiufotang and Yixian formations, including the aquatic seed plant Archaefructus and the eudicot Leefructus, as well as the ever-present Ginkgo apodes. The nearby pond sports an algae bloom, a phenomenon that was probably quite common in early Cretaceous ponds, as blooms are often caused by falling volcanic ash.
As often is the case, Jon provided a tremendous amount of help via critiques and suggestions, especially with shading. Much <3.
100% zoom detail shot
Anyway, you got the difficult parts done right, that's for sure. Love the water's texture, just rad stuff all over. I can really believe this animal existed because of your art.
There is one thing I have thought a lot about with your microraptors ... I think you are going a bit overboard with the iridescent feathers. If we look at magpies, whose wings are iridescent like WHOA, then they appear blue almost all over. But the shafts of the feathers are still black, and so is their body as well as some of the feathers where they overlap. Maybe you could work a bit with the colour? I think that maybe moving the highlights a bit more towards the cyan would make it look even more striking, and less blue.
The background is so pretty, and the light on the moss is one of my favourite things. And man, all these details, you must be a patient soul! And then it features my all-time favourite dinawsawr, so what's not to love?
If what you're saying is that people who draw Microraptor based on the color study should branch out a little more with how they depict the dark feathers with their iridescence, then I don't disagree! But I don't think there's anything in the actual study to indicate that my depiction is specifically wrong - the study was a lot less precise than a lot of people seem to realize.
I do think it would be very interesting to see more grackle- and magpie-like reconstructions of Microraptor, where the gloss isn't a single color, but varies in hue from purple, green to blue all over the body. There's nothing in the study to indicate this wasn't the case!
Now that you mention it, a Microraptor with different shades of iridescense would be awesome. Maybe I should try to draw a green one ...
I do have a tiny critique though (literally). It isn't noticeable until I full-view the digital painting, but when I do, my eyes keep getting drawn to the bright white sheen on the Microraptor's eye. I think it's because it's so bright white compared to anything in the immediate surrounding, and seems a bit distracting for that reason? Or maybe just slightly out of place. It's not a big deal by far, but I'd like to know if you agree or if my eyes are just weird. XD
This is just gorgeous! The reflections in the water look so real. Beautiful.
Microraptors are such charming creatures, and you have definantly captured their charms.
I think you know how much I love this, which includes insane flailing and happy noises
Just one question: how did it catch fish? I mean, there are several ways of fishing (as modern avian dinosaurs show us); can we guess which was Microraptor's method?