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December 20, 2012
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Microraptor Takeoff by EWilloughby Microraptor Takeoff by EWilloughby
This is a complete remake of an old picture of mine, and is hopefully the last full picture for this creation/evolution book, though I know I've been saying that for a while. It's very interesting how much the scope of the project has, well, evolved since 2008.

This painting is, obviously, a depiction of Microraptor gui gliding down from a rock. It is a rock and not a tree branch because (in my opinion, at least) there is not yet enough evidence for the idea that Microraptor was arboreal, so it's possible that it didn't spend very much time in trees at all. Here it is chasing Pompiloperus, a species of early Cretaceous Jehol digger wasp. Insect-chasing was unlikely to be something that Microraptor did often, but as we can learn from All Yesterdays, animals commonly do things they don't do commonly, if you know what I mean.

This is old news at this point, but the main impetus for deciding to redo the old drawing was the Microraptor color study, which revealed a few finer points of the animal: that its long-assumed headcrest was more likely to be an artifact of smushed feathers in fossilization, that at least some Microraptor had a pair of long tail ribbons extending back from the fan, and most notably, that the animal's feathers were iridescent, perhaps shiny blue-black like a crow.

There seems to be some debate at present about whether Microraptor's legwings were typically held perpendicular to the metatarsals or more in parallel when gliding, so I painted them somewhat intermediate - a likely position for takeoff, I think.

This represents probably over 100 hour of work and is entirely hand-painted in Photoshop CS4. As always, a huge thanks to ~Agahnim for endless support, critiques and suggestions.

Be sure to buy the book if you want to see this in high-res! ;)

This will be my last upload for 2012 (perhaps my last ever, if the Mayans are right ;)). May 2013 be full of many featheries!
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:iconriver-rex:
River-rex Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Student Artist
Did you know Microraptor may have been capable of powered flight.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
The jury's still out on that one, but the most recent analysis of aerodynamic performance in Microraptor indicates that it was probably a generalized glider rather than a specialized flyer. 
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:iconriver-rex:
River-rex Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Student Artist
Well, the orientation and position of the arms may have halted a flapping motion, though others think it was capable of an upwards stroke, but I like to think of it as being capable of powered flight with sturdy reinforcement, though not a very efficient one.  
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:iconornitholestes1:
Ornitholestes1 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Do you mind if I use this piece as a stencil for a metals project in an art class? It won't wind up on the internet or anything; at the most it may be on display at my school.
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2014  Professional General Artist
Sure, that's fine. I'd be interested to see the final product if you feel like sharing, though!
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:iconornitholestes1:
Ornitholestes1 Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Many thanks! Will do.
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:iconthink-like-the-wolf:
Think-Like-the-Wolf Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Professional Interface Designer
what species of Ginko is that?
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:iconewilloughby:
EWilloughby Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Professional General Artist
It's based off Ginkgo apodes.
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:iconlunarflames456:
LunarFlames456 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
O_o soo pretty
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:iconnovablue:
novablue Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful, as all your artwork is - love looking through your gallery! :)
Microraptor's feet are neat for sure. You do have to wonder what it looked like when it moved on the ground, too! My mom keeps various breeds of chicken, including one called Belgian dúccle (example [link] ), which have feathered feet, not just fuzzy feet like many chickens do, but the roosters at least have proper, large feathers, she has one in particular with long purdy feathers... They look hilarious when they run because they lift their feet really high and at a high speed run it almost looks like they have to struggle to remain on the ground lol. Wonder if Microraptor would have something similar going on while on the ground...
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