Rhea finger claws + Star Wars flashback

I’m digging into my illustration vaults today…
as I try to dash out a blog while working on a more involved and serious piece that will appear here shortly.

Several decades ago
I had the all the excitement every novice feels while getting into a new line of interest, in this case, paleontology. To that end, I had a frozen rhea (Rhea americana) sent from a farm. I processed and mounted the skeleton. Along the way I was surprised to find the surgically sharp finger claw on manual digit 1. This comes as no surprise to ornithologists or paleontologists, but the image of the Rhea skeleton was used in a 1996 book I illustrated for author, Don Lessem, “Raptors – The Nastiest Dinosaurs.”

Figure 1. Partial skeleton of Velociraptor compared to similar bones in the living bird, Rhea americana, photographed from a skeleton I processed several decades ago. This illustration was originally published in Don Lessem's "Raptors, the Nastiest Dinosaurs."

Figure 1. Partial skeleton of Velociraptor compared to similar bones in the living bird, Rhea americana, photographed from a skeleton I processed several decades ago. This illustration was originally published in Don Lessem’s “Raptors, the Nastiest Dinosaurs.”

 

On a lighter note,
with the latest Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens) about to appear (Dec. 18), I’m dragging out an old illustration from 1982, when Time Magazine reported the third movie in the original trilogy from George Lucas would be called, “Revenge of the Jedi” (Fig. 2). As everyone knows, when the movie was released the title became “Return of the Jedi” (Fig. 3).

At one time the third Star Wars movie was going to be called, Revenge of the Jedi. This was one of my first illustrations, was never submitted, but was used as my calling card back in the day (circa 1982-1986), prior to GIANTS and the genesis of my interest in paleontology.

Figure 2. At one time the third Star Wars movie was going to be called, Revenge of the Jedi. This was one of my first illustrations, was never submitted, but was used as my calling card back in the day (circa 1982-1986), prior to GIANTS and the genesis of my interest in paleontology. Fuzziness comes from fingerprint on my phone lens.

Official poster for Return of the Jedi. If you look closely Darth Vader will appear in the deep indigo sky.

Figure 2. Official poster for Return of the Jedi. If you look closely Darth Vader will appear in the deep indigo sky.

As a novice illustrator
I was inspired to create a poster for ROTJ which I ultimately used on my business card to advertise my availability (while shamelessly glomming on to something larger and more magnificent). The type font is original. Luke is lit on his right by red light, representing the dark side, under the strong influence of Darth Vader. The light saber lights his left as he, in my naiveté, powerfully grabs the light saber.

Only several years later
did the idea for the book GIANTS cross my mind. The rest is pre-history.

Thank you
for putting up with this little indulgence.

 

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