Ok, people, welcome to the first day of Grymm’s Dinosaur Drawing class. Mind you that I am not actually a professional paleoartist nor am I affiliated with any organization except my brain. This is only my advice and tips to you. You do not have to abide by these, but these are meant to be more of a general guideline for how to draw dinosaurs. I also will say that I too make mistakes and some parts will be off or inaccurate or whatever. But the thing is, y’all came here to recieve help, and that is what I am offering.
Today, we will be starting with my personal favorite dinosaur, Dilophosaurus wetherilli. Now, we all know that Jurassic Park’s Dilophosaurus is a severe deviation from the fossil record (to it’s benefit or detriment), and I am here today to show you how to draw a more scientifically accurate Dilophosaurus, according to the discoveries from 2020.
First, some background information. Dilophosaurus is a mid-sized theropod dinosaur from the early Jurassic period in what is now the Southwestern US. Originally, it’s skull determined that it had very weak jaw strength, and was quite smaller than what we know now, leaving scientists to believe that it was a piscivore or a scavenger. Today, Dilophosaurus is known as an apex predator, among the first dinosaurs to claim the title; it hunted sauropodomorphs like Sarahsaurus, early ornithiscians, and perhaps small theropods as well. It is also known that Dilophosaurus reached lengths of 6 meters, or roughly 20 feet, making it much larger than the dog-sized gremlin from the films. It was also much taller, around 6-7 feet tall, with terrifyingly strong jaws built for tearing into flesh.
Now, onto the drawing. We will start out with basic shapes and lines first. But even before that, we must take a look at the creature’s skeleton to determine said shapes and lines.
Here is what I used as reference. Now, look at the way the spine/backbone is curved and fluid, especially around the tail. And look at how you can just draw a line basic line as the vertebrae. Now, keep that pencil or pen light, as you will only use this as a foundation.
[take note on the lil scribbles on there as well] Look at how I took the limbs, neck, tail, hips, and tail, and converted it into the most basic steps. Now, keep in mind, following proportion is important, and that is why I say use skeletals or skeletons as reference. That way you can organize body parts much easier.
AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DONT BEND THE WRISTS. That’s dinosaur abuse right there!!
Ok, one of Dilophosaurus’ most boggling parts for me is its skull.
This is not the traditional Dilo skull. This is what people tend to expect when they think of the facial structure of a Dilophosaurus:
Notice the differences, namely the much more robust form on the current skull. Also, the crests are much more different:
Instead of just being placed on top of its head like common depictions, the crests are actually more like those of allosauroids and tyrannosaurs, being connected to the antoribital.
[Note: A lot of dinosaurs, especially theropods, are drawn with deep holes in their faces where the antoribital is. This is what we call shrink-wrapping, basically mummification. You see a dinosaur with that, it is malnourished and starving. No wonder the JP theropods are maniacs.]
Next step: musculature. These are important in making the creature feel alive.
These are the underlying parts to give the animal some beef. This is probably the easiest part, as you’re putting in the filling in this dino pastry. I use models from real animals (namely other archosaurs like birds and crocs), but also what I consider accurate dinosaur musculatures like this Saurian T.rex:
Now, dinosaurs, even the smaller ones, had thighs like track runners. This was to ensure they had support at the base, and theropods were no exception.
try using this for the musculature for the Dilo. Note the sinewy and graceful curves of the neck and tail. Nothing like that skinny lizard…
Lastly, skin, keratin, filaments, and all that good jazz.
Now, again, back to shrink-wrapping. Don’t draw em skinny. Dinosaurs are like other animals, they had extra folds and fat around their bodies. Filaments like hair, feathers, spikes, and other keratinous protrustions are generally down to speculation, but use real life as inspiration. Perhaps Dilophosaurus had a coat of pycnofibers or protofeathers due to its ancestry and descendants. We don’t know. Go as crazy as nature does, but here’s the thing. It has to match the enivornment its in. Can’t just add whatever for wherever. Dilophosaurus lived in a seasonal climate, with both desert and scrub forest. Therefore it would stand that it probably didn’t have a lot of thick bushy feathers, maybe some fuzz?
Here is one made by Mario Lanzas. Notice the more conservative take and see the specific parts I named before, namely the folds, skin, and overall structure.
And with that, you should have yourself a good Dilo!!! Hope you enjoy this, and I will be posting a finished AND colored version of my Dilophosaurus soon. (Btw I’m basing it off a knobbed hornbill)
If you all are still here and read to the end whilst following instructions, congratulations for reading Grymm rant about hating Jurassic Park’s inaccuracies yet again, and taking your steps towards a better bandwidth of dinosaur media as a whole. You are all dismissed.