Today’s Prehistoric Beast is the ostrich-like, bipedal dinosaur, Struthiomimus. This animal was abundant during the late Cretaceous and is assumed to have been omnivorous, eating plant material and small mammals, lizards and invertebrates. It is speculated that this animal was capable of a 30 to 50 mph sprint, making its speed its prime defense against predators of the day.
Today’s Prehistoric Beast is the enigmatic temnospondyl, Koolasuchus. This animal lived in a relatively cool climate in what was to become present day Australia and reached a supposed length of 16 ft and 1,100 lbs., filling the niche of the modern crocodile. This giant of the Cretaceous is somewhat mysterious because the rest of it’s kind, a precursor of sorts to advanced amphibians which were some of the earliest terrestrial tetrapods on earth, died out many millions of years earlier.
So aside from the fun comic book sequentials and covers and the illustration projects I take on there’s the occasion when I am asked to do a logo or brand a corporate identity. I finished this project up a couple of months ago but hadn’t gotten around to posting it yest since I knew it would be a lengthy post requiring more time and focus than I’d been willing to sink in up until just now haha. Anyway, this project started out as one of those occasions where the project seemed exciting enough to work on so I decided to take it on, but it then took on a life of its own and sprawled a little bit. Otherwise I was glad for learning some stuff I got to try out along the way. I’m going to post all parts of the process in which I worked with a restaurant owner from Long Island to come up with what he wanted for the logo of his restaurant which was his personal take on a Southwestern Fusion joint.
So the client had some ideas they had in mind for colors and some themes but didn’t have any background in design or vocabulary to really express their ideas so I started with some thumbnails that got refined into a starting point.
Because the client was having a hard time getting an idea of what a finished design could look like from my roughs I decided to work up a more finished level piece for them to work from. This would be the first of many versions of this guy which was refined down to a finish over the course of a few days and quite a few interactions in emails and phone calls.
The client really didn’t much care for the mustache and really wanted a face that they felt would be playful yet mischievous. Also decided to go with a big pepper to sell that Southwestern vibe.
Client wasn’t really into that face, he thought it felt a little evil with the red eyes and all, but this was shaping up to be more of a project where I had to show him what he didn’t like before he could articulate what the next step would be. We decided to leave behind a lot of the Arachnid features I had been trying to keep in order to sell the visuals of the scorpion.
So here I took the basic design we’d been working with all along and at the request of the client, changed out the scorpion pinchers for gloved cartoon hands and instead of the segmented face with the little non threatening mandibles it was now a goofier happy-go-lucky party smile. There were a few other variations in mouth and glasses arrangements, but this was the derivation that got to go onto the next round of changes along with the addition of a peace sign that was asked for.
The next bunch of changes here consisted of some apprehension by the client which sent the project back to the drawing board based on a lack of effective communication which really just turned into a wild goose chase with lots of variations on a theme and different heads and body positioning where in the end we went back to the original scorpion tail and layout anyway. Here’s a few of the surviving highpoints from that venture though, mostly hippie scorpion with cowboy boots throwing a peace sign.
All right now we were about to be getting somewhere and a decision was finally made and a concept that had been lost all along finally found its way into the right words which got results. The idea was forward facing. Up until this point I’d been working in a 3 quarters styled face, when the client really wanted it facing forward. So I tried out a few variations in eyes and mouths and face sizes before we came to a settlement.
So the wider face was chosen with the open mouth and sunglasses on. All that was left now was a type treatment and I’d had an idea for that since about halfway through the process.
At this point the clients apprehension was gone and he went from being wishy washy with the design we’d been back and forth so many times on to being excited that his logo was really something he was excited about. There was just a small font change left to do as a final change before shipping it off.
There were quite a few concessions made with design along the way but in the end I was excited with what ended up becoming the finished logo. I learned a bunch of work arounds and new ways to handle certain Adobe Illustrator commands while working on this project so for that I was happy as well as to have a client that was excited to get his logo exactly as he wanted it despite the challenge of a limited vocabulary for art and design.
Today’s Prehistoric Beast is the Repenomamus, which was the largest known Mesozoic mammal to date. This creature has disputed how paleontologists possibly view the role of mammals during the Cretaceous Period as not that of meek mouse sized prey that scurried through the shadows of the underbrush attempting to elude the hungry eyes of larger saurian predators, but that of a voracious 3 and a half foot badger-like dinosaur hunter. This mammal has even been found with the fossilized remains of young dinosaurs in its stomach cavity to prove it.
Today’s Prehistoric Beast is the herbivorous dicynodont, Placerias which roamed the Earth in the upper Triassic. This two-tusked therapsid was one of the largest and most widespread of its day using it’s beak to shear through tough planter material of the era. Although completely unrelated this animal’s respective size and lifestyle are presumably much like that of a modern day Hippopotamus.
Today’s Prehistoric Beast is the raven sized Archaeopteryx, an important late Jurassic transitional creature that helped to bridge the gap in understanding the relationship between modern birds and their avian ancestors, the dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx was discovered at a very crucial time in science and biology, it’s discovery being just two years after Darwin published On The Origin Of Species. The Archaeopteryx’ transitional form containing teeth, tail, and grasping fingers as well as flight feathers helped to visually validate many of those evolutionary theories.
Todays’s Prehistoric Beast is the marine invertebrate Kosmoceras, an extinct ammonite from the Middle Jurassic period. There are over a 100 known species all of which exhibit slight variations in size and shell design. Although the entire line of ammonites are now extinct, they are related to the Nautilus, Octopus, and Squids of today. The shell of this one reminds me of a French Cruller donut, and you can’t go wrong there.