Friday, 27 January 2023

The RETURN Of The NIGHTSTALKER!!

The Nightstalker is, as most readers will know, one of Dougal Dixon’s creations presented in his 1981 book 'After Man', a book that proved fundamental for speculative biology. In that book, he presented completely novel themes, such as penguin whales and terrestrial cephalopods or bats; for more on the 1981 setting, see an earlier post here.

Click to enlarge; copyright Dougal Dixon

The image of the nightstalker in the 1981 version of After Man was later changed by Dixon, who did not like the original one very much. The new version is shown above and is published in recent editions of 'After Man', such as the '40th anniversary edition' (which has new information too!).  

The nightstalker descended from bats that were among the first animals to arrive on the newly emerged volcanic Batavian Islands in the Pacific. Facing no serious terrestrial competition, the bats lost the ability to fly, became fully terrestrial and diversified. Once other mammals arrived as well, a bat species started to hunt them and evolved into the nightstalker, a formidable bipedal predator of one meter and a half in height, or as tall as an 11-year old child.

Nightstalkers are blind and use echolocation to find their prey in the night, ‘screaching and screaming through the Batavian forest’. This may mean that the nightstalker uses echolocation at sound frequencies we can hear too, although the text does not literally say so. The screeches might also be used for communication within the pack, leaving ultrasonic sound for echolocation. In either case I wondered whether its prey can hear the echolocation sounds too, which would make life more difficult for the nightstalker.  I have compared the relative merits of vision and echolocation in three posts (one, two, and three). It turned out that echolocation is like someone shouting at the top of their voice ‘WHERE ARE YOU!?’. Provided the prey can hear the sounds used in echolocation, echolocation is the opposite of stealth.

The nightstalker is bipedal, with the interesting twist of walking on its front legs. That makes sense in that the wings of bats are much larger and stronger than their hind legs. The animal uses claws on its hind legs to help overcome it prey, to which end the hind legs pass the front legs on the outside. In my 'review with hindsight' of After Man, posted in 2018, I wondered whether it would make more sense if the hind legs moved forwards between the front legs. I asked Dougal at the recent 2022 TetZooCon if he would mind me writing a blog post about this particular revision of the nightstalker. He did not, so here it is. I could not help myself thinking some more about terrestrial bats. I do not doubt that bats could evolve to walk efficiently again, as there are bats alive today that not only walk, but run too. 


Researchers managed to get vampire bats to run on a treadmill, and the animals obliged by using a unique hopping run. That is the video above. That odd gait must be due to the extreme difference in size between front and hind legs, which poses an unusual problem. During walking, legs that are on the ground at the same time must all propel the body over the same distance in the same time, or else the shoulder would walk faster or slower than the hip. From this it follows that the shorter leg will be on the ground for a shorter period than the longer leg, so the shorter leg only supports the body for a short time. That may be impractical, which suggests three different evolutionary solutions.


The first and weirdest solution is to have the hind legs move twice in the time the front legs move once. That is definitely possible, at least in theory. I know that because I was once requested to program such a gait to help visualise a terrestrial shark, posted here. The videos above show the result. This solution does not seem the most likely one though...

Click to enlarge; copyright Marc Boulay / Jean-Sébastien Steyer

 The second adaptation would involve quick enlargement of the hind legs, which appears altogether sensible and straightforward. the result would be very similar to the Steyer/Boulay terrestrial bat shown in ‘Demain. Les animaux du futur’ (and discussed on this blog here and here).
 
The third possibility means the animal no longer uses its hind legs for locomotion, so they can be used for something else, such as being weapons. If front limbs are liberated from their walking role, I would call that ‘centaurism’ (see here for the first mention of the principle). But the nightstalker freed its hind legs, so we probably need another name than centaurism; 'reverse centaurism'?


Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

Of the three, the second option seemed the most straightforward one, and I considered stopping alternate evolution right there. Then again, the result wouldn’t be a proper nightstalker! I suppose a bipedal animal can still evolve from the enlarged hind limb version, so there you are: a bipedal terrestrial erstwhile bat with reverse centaurism.

What else did I change?

  • I made the ears smaller than in the original. When animals species increase in size, organs do not necessarily scale linearly with body size. Eyes, for instance, are relatively small in large animals. Beyond a certain size an organ's function may not improve noticeably, so there is no point in making the organ larger than necessary to do its job. I am not certain this also holds for echolocating ears but assumed this to be the case.
  • The skull and face are less bat-like than the original, because I assumed that the larger size would require a sturdier build. Bats have many pointy needle-like teeth, useful to catch insects. But an animal the size of a large dog would need teeth that can handle larger stresses.   
  • I kept the leaf-based nose because it is part of the basic package of vampire bats. However, it seems very vulnerable.
  • The eyes are still there because eyes seemed much too useful to abolish altogether. They are still small though, but useful for unforeseen circumstances.
  • There are no fingers, just thumbs. Bats fold their fingers, that support a large part of the wing membrane, out of the way when roosting and walking. They use their big thumbs to hang from. What will happen to the fingers if the wing atrophies during evolution? I foresee the fingers disappearing completely, and not coming back as toes. The thumb has grown and now extends towards the midline to support the body underneath the centre of gravity. Normally animals place their feet close to the midline for that purpose, but the nightstalker needs room under the body for the hind legs. The thumb could help support the body directly under the centre of gravity by extending towards the midline. The two stubs you see on each hand do not have nails or claws, because they are not fingers! They are pseudo-fingers, supported by former wrist bones.                

So here we are: an alternate nightstalker with its hind legs between the front legs. When I look at the result, it looks much less like a bat then the original, which may not be good from a didactic point of view. The image serves to illustrate an evolved bat, so people who see it should immediately associate it with bats. My revised version probably does that less well than the original. Mind you, my first version had smaller ears, no leaf nose, a longer snout and sturdier teeth, so it looked even less like a bat than the one you see now. The version shown above was 'batified' on purpose, but it still doesn't shout 'bat'. That raises the interesting question of balance between  presumed biological underpinning and what the image is supposed to evoke. It is fun to play with both aspects, and adds another layer of speculation to speculative biology.

Epilogue

The above was all seen by Dougal. His response to reading the text was this:

"I claim it is an example of speciation in the Batavian archipelago! A new species on one of the newer volcanic islands in the "hot-spot" conveyor belt island chain. Shared ancestor with Manambulus perhorridus rafted across from the Big Island at a time of its early appearance along with its potential prey species."

And so it shall be; the new species deserves a new name though, and I think the differences are too large to use the same genus.  I therefore present Condylovador terriloquus! (from condylus: knuckle; vadere; to go or to walk;  terriloquus: uttering frightening words)

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Astrovitae: a magazine about speculative biology

Once upon a time there was so little material about speculative biology that I used to search the internet for speculative biology works. I was looking for works with a fair number of creations, a biology that made sense, and artwork that was a pleasure to look at. Sometimes I found nothing of interest, and at other times I found one or two projects. When I liked the project enough, I contacted the author which usually resulted in a blog post.

As time passed, speculative biology more or less exploded, and my searches began to reveal so many projects that I did not know which ones to pick. Later I gave up, or otherwise I would never get to work on Furaha.

But now, someone had the nice idea to produce a magazine about speculative biology. You will not find printed copies on your local newsstand, but it exists all the same, as an online pdf magazine. I am talking about 'Astrovitae'. The four issues that have been produced so far look very professional, and it wouldn’t hurt to see them in print. You can find those issues here, on the magazine's website. As mentioned on the website, the magazine aims to connect speculative biology artists around the globe. It is produced by the founder and chief editor of the magazine, Domenic Pennetta, whom I asked a few questions. 

Click to enlarge; from #1; Copyright John Meszaros

Because the magazine looked so good, I began by asking Domenic why it was free; I thought it was because you can download the issues without any bother from the site. Domenic was quick to correct me that hosting the site does cost money, and there is also his own time to consider. Right now, there are enough readers and contributors who care enough to help fund web hosting. Domenic points out that he wasn't initially sure how well the magazine would be received, and that played a role in deciding to ask for voluntary contributions only. 

Click to enlarge; from #2. copyright Lorenzo Battilani

My next question was also inspired by the professional look of the magazine: is Domenic a graphic designer by profession? He did not consider himself to be one at the time, but the project helped him hone his designing skills, and he eventually got a job as an assistant designer because Astrovitae looked so good! Domenic added that he hopes to help other artists by publishing their work in Astrovitae.      
    
I wondered whether publishing Astrovitae was just a hobby or the start of something bigger? Domenic wrote:

"I think this is a great question! It may help to briefly explain the origin of the magazine to fully answer this. When I first became involved in the genre and started my own speculative biology project, I quickly met other artists online who were interested in the same topics. We began forming small gatherings over social media, like Instagram groups or discord servers. All of us would periodically meet to discuss the genre, critique each other's art, and explain or explore scientific concepts with each other. I saw a lot of interaction going on, but despite so many like-minded artists in one space, no one was really collaborating to our fullest extent when it came to art. So, I had an idea to start some sort of publication, likely something small, that would feature work from all amateur artists interested in the genre. I felt that by doing this, I could inspire my fellow artists to work together more closely."

Click to enlarge; from #3. copyright ND Cebula

For Domenic, Astrovitae is a way to bridge a gap between different social media, hoping that artists from every corner of the internet could become familiar with each other’s work. He adds:

"I also have a background in scientific illustration. I love the natural world and learning about the biology of living organisms, depicting how they work or what drives them to behave, and also taking obscure organisms and bringing them alive through art. To me, even though speculative biology is heavily analytical and aligned with science, it is also associated with art. I think most scientific illustrators feel the same as me and believe art and science are indistinguishable from one another—they go hand in hand. Art is a form of communication that is useful in explaining complex ideas, like the concepts found in biology and other sciences. Starting a magazine would allow me to further influence the genre into an art-affiliated direction. This would allow the community to further explore and convey the speculative animals and biology we imagine.

So, in conclusion, I do believe that Astrovitae is something bigger. It is a tool to connect creative minds, facilitate collaboration, get artists published and seen, and better communicate speculative concepts we explore within the genre."

Click to enlarge; from #4. Copyright Paul Drenckhahn

Well said! As someone with a very similar interest in science and art I can only agree, and I hope that Astrovitae magazine will grow to become what Domenic envisioned. 

You can read Astrovitae magazine online here. Additionally , if you are interested in participating in the magazine, feel free to contact Domenic at astrovitae@gmail.com or see www.astrovitae.com/submissions for details.

I hope I whetted readers' appetites enough to go and have a look at the four issues available at present. To help you decide (and make this post more exciting) I used a double page spread from each of the four issues to illustrate this post. I will not discuss the creations on these pages at any length; that's what the magazine is for!

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Back from TetZooCon 2022

 TetZooCon is over. It lasted two whole days instead of one and could have lasted longer as far as I am concerned. From what I heard people say, they felt it was a big success.

There were interesting talks or events about a wide variety of subjects, covering zoology, palaeontology, palaeoart, and last, but not least, speculative evolution. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of TetZooCon is that hard science and art are received with equal enthusiasm and humour. For me, that is not only a defining characteristic of TetZooCon but also my main reason for going.

To give you an idea about the zoology content, we were treated to talks about platypuses ('the best animal ever') by Jack Ashby, and a talk by Jennifer Colbourne about tool use and intelligence in birds, touching on the question whether theropod dinosaurs might have been capable of tool use. Probably not.   

Palaeontology was of course well represented, with Dean Lomax showing examples of his book 'Locked in Time' and an excellent pterosaur session with items such as dealing with how to CT-scan a pterosaurs, how to describe a species scientifically, and an insightful roundtable discussion.

John Conway showing how Paolo Uccello painted dinosaurs around 1450

Palaeoart was very well represented, with a talk by Steve White on how to publish a palaeoart book and as well as an extra talk by John Conway about his new tongue-in-cheek book illustrating the history of Western art through selected dinosaur paintings by famous painters. Or at least how John imagined the old masters might have done if they had only bothered to paint the occasional dinosaur. It is a fun book; I showed it to my wife, who is much better at telling painters apart than dinosaurs, and she attributed most paintings correctly at once; recommended!

John, Darren Naish and Memo Kösemen also talked about their book 'All Yesterdays' on the occasion of its tenth birthday. In that book they had fun with the idea that someone (or something) in the far future would come upon remnants of present-day animals, without knowing that mammals had fur or that birds had wings. The resulting 'reconstructions' were deliberately wrong in many ways, making the reader wonder about the accuracy of our present-day reconstructions. That is of course a fair point; you only have to look at how much images of Tyrannosaurus changed over the years to realise how much guesswork they contain. 'All Yesterdays' had fun with exploring shaggy pelts or unexpected behaviour, such as Protoceratops climbing trees. Apparently, the book seems to have led people to conclude for a while that anything goes in reconstructing dinosaur appearance or behaviour.

Speculative biology was represented by a one-hour roundtable discussion, with Darren Naish, Jennifer Colbourne, Joschua Knüppe, Dougal Dixon, Adrian Tschaikovsky and me. I do not think the session was recorded, at least not officially. The discussion could easily have lasted another hour. 

Dougal showing a Greenworld model. Adrian and Joschua are looking on.


Here is Dougal, showing a model of 'Greenworld', still only available in Japanese. Read more about Greenworld here, here and here. There may be a new version of the book with higher production quality, but that one will still be available in Japanese only, I'm afraid.

I spoke with Adrian before the session. It turns out that he was present at the speculative biology sessions at LonCon3 in 2014. Actually, he said that those sessions made him include more speculative evolution in his science fiction novels. That makes me very happy, as I had proposed those sessions, in which Darren, Dougal, Memo, Lewis Dartnell and I spoke about speculative biology. If you do not yet know Adrian's work, but you do like SF with biology in it, have a look. In his 'Children of…' series you will find intelligent cephalopods and spiders. Their biology is not a simple prop to make them look nonhuman, but it shines through in their senses, thought patterns, and even in the way they are aware of self. The books are called Children of Time, Children of Ruin, and Children of Memory is just out.           

A few of my prints at the Art Exhibition

Finally, the Art Exhibition. Many artists participated, and I hope that an Art Exhibition will return in future TetZooCons. I had brought 12 prints of 40x60cm and sold five, even though they were not advertised as being for sale. I think people liked them and think I will bring more at next year's TetZooCon. 




Thursday, 17 November 2022

More on Furaha at TetZooCon 2022

As usual there are many other things going on (nice ones, I'm happy to say!) so I am behind with blogging. But I do have some nice subjects almost ready, of which the one that must take precedence is the upcoming 'TetZooCon'!    

There will finally be a real live Tetrapod Zoology Convention again: TetZooCon 2022, on 3 & 4 December 2022! Have a look at the programme, which looks to be as fascinating, if not more so, than previous versions. If you like your biology mixed with some art and are not afraid to visit the outer regions of  biological disciplines, have a look. I have very fond memories of my earlier visits.

The art in question is 'palaeoart', meaning 'Palaeontological Art'. I have never written about Palaeoart before (or 'Paleoart'; I'll stick to 'Palaeoart' because I've set my spelling checker to the version of English closest to me, which happens to be British English). The simple reason for me ignoring palaeoart is that this blog is about the part of speculative biology that deals with life elsewhere, as reflected in the title 'Furahan Biology and Allied Matters'. I guess I could stretch the 'Allied matters' some more, and in fact I did when I showed my attempt at dinosaur sculpture. That doesn't mean I do not like Palaeoart; far from it! I love it. Palaeoart is blossoming these days, thanks to an explosion of interesting new discoveries that need to be depicted, and to a parallel explosion of talent all over the world. If you want to have a look at what is happening, please take a look at the book 'Mesozoic Art: Dinosaurs and Other Ancient Animals in Art' by Steve White and Darren Naish.

 

Click to enlarge; copyright White and Naish

I just received my copy and think it is excellent. Mind you, the two earlier books by Steve White on a very similar there are also excellent, with a large format and high printing standards: Dinosaur Art (2012) and Dinosaur Art II (2017).

There will be a Palaeoart workshop at TetZooCon, run by John Conway, as well as a Palaeoart Exhibition. I will show some Furaha prints there for only the second time ever. Mind you, when I learned about this exhibition, I wasn't aware yet that it was about palaeoart, so I applied, and now I realise that I am a sort of intruder there, showing work that isn’t 'palaeo'. Perhaps I should call it 'AllothenArt' ('Elsewhere') or PlagioArt ('Sideways'), but I don’t think those words will catch on…

The prints in question will show works, or versions thereof, that I have never shown in public before, apart for the exhibition in the Netherlands two months ago. So, if you are curious, you know where to go.

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

Here is a painting for those who cannot come to London. It shows a tetrapter, with the common name 'Red Baron' ('Dicella Gampsonyx', meaning 'pitchfork with crooked claws'). As you can see, it is a highly derived Tetrapter with several predatory adaptations. The red wing spots tell you that this is a female: have a look at the illustration here. By the way, I am learning how to preparing to sell and send prints over the internet, in particular involving selling prints abroad and outside the EU.

Back to TetZooCon: there will be a roundtable discussion about 'Designing Aliens', chaired by Darren Naish and me, with Jennifer Colbourne, Joschua Knüppe, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Dougal Dixon. If you like biology, science fiction, speculative biology, or preferably all three, I think you are going to love this.

Se you there!

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Furaha at TetZooCon 2022

In my previous post I mentioned that there would probably be a TetZooCon again and that Furaha would probably be there, but now I can tell you that it's going to happen. 

TetZooCon 2022 will be on 3 and $ December, 2022, In London. 

For more news, have a look at the following sites:

https://tetzoo.com/blog/2022/9/13/tetzoocon-2022-is-go

https://tetzoo.com/convention

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/646899722011712

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Furaha at a Leiden Art Exhibition: 24 & 25 September 2022

 The following will mostly be of interest to Dutch readers: I have been asked to exhibit some paintings of Furahan lifeforms in an art gallery in Leiden, where I live.

The occasion is the 'Leiden Art Route', a yearly happening in which art galleries open their doors to present a variety of art. This year, the galleries open their doors on 24 and 25 September. I will be present in person to answer questions and to explain some of the background ideas during the afternoon of both days.

I was invited by Charlotte Lemmens, the owner of the Alien Art Gallery. That name tells you that my work should be right at home there. The gallery usually shows the work of Vincent Icke, an astronomer who uses his scientific knowledge to inspire his art. As I try to base my animal creations on biological science, our work has the combination of science with art in common. Personally, I think the two go well together, but I would think that, wouldn’t I, being a scientist.
       
The Leiden Art Route is organised by Museum De Lakenhal. Although the museum does have a website in English, the pages about the Art Route ('Kunstroute') are in Dutch only. Here is the page of the Art Route devoted to the Alien Art Gallery. Here is a specific page in the context of the Art Route about my work, in Dutch again.  

The Alien Art Gallery has its own page, also in Dutch, but you can see the work of Vincent Icke on its English page here.   

So there you are. The exposition represents a departure from my earlier stance on showing recent work. I had chosen to keep that mostly under wraps, wishing to keep the work fresh until the publication of The Book. However, perhaps a limited exposure will in fact help prepare the ground. I have produced high-quality prints of about 12 paintings; such prints will be for sale and can be ordered during the exhibition. There will also be a 36-page booklet, showing these paintings along with some of the additional illustrations and text written for The Book. This booklet is a much-abbreviated version of The Book, serving serves as a catalogue to the exhibition. It will also be for sale. But, as this is a local Dutch affair, 'The Booklet' is in Dutch, in contrast to The Book.     

Click to enlarge; copyright Gert van Dijk

As part of the PR process postcards were produced of four paintings. I added a text 'Greetings from Furaha', but in Dutch ('Groeten van Furaha'). You can see a stack of them above. The postcards are at present available free of charge in several book shops and at museum De Lakenhal in Leiden.   

Finally, to have something for speakers of English too, some other news. As things stand, there is a chance of a Furaha presence in London, next December. That would be the Tetrapod Zoology Convention (TetZooCon), but nothing is final yet! I will certainly announce any news about that here, but you may also read about it on the TetZoo blog

Sunday, 24 July 2022

The Dragons of Wales

Dragons have featured a few times on this blog already, even though I have no particularly strong interest in them; well, no more than in other fantastical or unusual animals. Earlier posts are here, here and also here. The last times 'dragons' popped up in this blog had to do with how the prototypical dragon has two wings as well as four legs, not exactly typical for Earth animals. The most common Earth 'wing plus legs' combinations must be 'six legs plus four wings' (insects) and 'two legs plus two wings' (vertebrates: birds, bats, pterosaurs). As dragons are typically large, let’s forget about insects as dragons; even 'dragonflies' are dragon-like 'flies', not fly-like dragons, so they don’t count. Adding extra limbs to vertebrates to form dragons is not at all likely to happen naturally. Of course, three pairs of limbs are the norm for large Furahan animals, so dragon-type flying animals merely requires turning one or two pairs of limbs into wings, which is exactly what happened on Furaha. 

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge
Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

Back to the dragons of today's post; they live on Earth, in Wales to be precise, and have two wings and two wings. They do therefore not need magic at all, or perhaps it is best to say they did not at first. Just read on… 

The 'Dragons of Wales' are called that because their creator lives in Wales, where dragons are part of national mythology: the Welsh flag even has a nice red dragon on it. I came across these Welsh dragons by accident and immediately liked them. I am surprised I had not seen them earlier, as Andy Frazer, their creator, does his best to make them visible. Andy has produced several books on dragons already, using Kickstarter to get the funds to do so. 

So, what kind of animal are these dragons? The book cover above provides a clue; the animal is small, covered with fuzz and has two wings and two legs. The skeleton drawing reveals that the wing is supported by just one finger, so it definitely a pterosaur. Andy confirmed that his dragons were from the start indeed small evolved pterosaurs, descendants of a group that luckily did not die out at the end of the Cretaceous. Andy speculates that their ancestors survived because of their small size and because their specialisation allowed them not to be outperformed by birds, and, much later, by bats. 

 

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

These two magnificent specimens show that Andy manages to produce very attractive and also realistic minidragons. Both sport interesting crests. Before you object that no flying animal should have such ridiculously large crests, have a look at some real-life pterosaurs, such as Nyctosaurus. Nyctosaurs are the kind of real animal that no designer of fantasy animals would dare produce because no-one would believe that such animals could exist. I like the way the colours are used to associate the animals with real animals. Here, the images evoke butterflies and bats. Parts of the animal are not standard pterosaur stock, though; the grasping tail is a nice original development, even though a flying animal might not need an anchor, as falling out of a tree won’t harm a flying animal much. 

 

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

Andy is definitely not afraid to use colour. The red-banded dragon looks like a poisonous snake, with its high-contrast bands shouting 'danger'. The green one uses colour in the exact opposite way, to hide itself. It probably does not do so to hide from its predators, but from its prey, making it a nice example of aggressive mimicry. I love its toad-like demeanour, and wonder whether it is filled with air, as a massive animal would have difficulty becoming airborne. 

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

These dragons look a bit menacing. They occur in the book 'Dragons of the Dark Woods'. The darker atmosphere is by design and is most obvious in the other example above. This dragon bears sticky worm-like tentacles on its face, something no pterosaur is likely to have ever had. It is here we see that Andy is abandoning the pterosaur ancestry to a degree. I asked him why, and he replied that the change was deliberate. He wished to increase appeal by producing darker designs. His project is, after all, not a pure artistic scientific endeavour but a commercial project too. In fact, quite a few of the dragons originated as suggestions by backers of the Kickstarter campaigns, which necessitated a degree of compromise. One day, Andy wrote, he would like to take things in the opposite direction and produce a book of wholly believable creatures with accurate pterosaur anatomy, probably based on Anurognathes (I'll buy it!). 

 

Copyright Andy Frazer; click to enlarge

Andy has recently started a new Kickstarter campaign: Dragons of Deep Time. The overall theme is again moving away from palaeontology, but in another, more mystical, direction: these dragons live so long that they gradually blend with rock and wood. 

The illustrations in these books are excellent. Andy told me he starts with a pencil drawing, which he then photographs. He draws over the photograph digitally, using Procreate for iPad. He adds photographic textures to add detail to key areas. The backgrounds are likewise produced using photographs. Many people, including well-known dinosaur illustrators, also mixing paintings with photographs. While that sounds easy, it really isn’t, as you often see a visual clash between the various parts of an image. Andy obviously manages to avoid such clashes. He uses a final layer of digital painting to bring the dragon and its environment together, including cast shadows etc. 

I hope that readers will like the Dragons of Wales as much as I do. Many images are readily visible on social media, so if you want to see more Dragons of Wales, simply copy and follow the various leads below. You will not be disappointed. 

https://twitter.com/dragonsofwales
https://www.patreon.com/dragonsofwales
https://www.instagram.com/dragonsofwales/
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dragonsofwales/dragons-of-deep-time?ref=project_link
https://www.facebook.com/dragonsofwales
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DragonsofWales
https://web.marcelforart.com/dragonsofwales/
https://www.artstation.com/dragonsofwales
https://www.behance.net/gallery/125113787/Portfolio 

------------------------------

 PS 1. I apologise for being late with this post. The reason is that I am preparing to move house, which takes a lot of time. 

PS 2. A selection of Furahan paintings will feature in the Art Route Leiden ('Kunstroute Leiden'), 24-25 September 2022, Leiden, The Netherlands. Many have never been seen outside my home. The plans include me being there to explain some of the ideas behind the work, and there will be a chance to buy high-quality prints for the first time too. More news is to follow.