Drawing Triceratops 

 December 10, 2020

Before drawing the next character for my children's book, I wanted to try and draw an accurate Triceratops. After doing quite a bit of research on the Internet, I found that over the years our understanding of Triceratops has changed quite a bit. From the way it walked to the shape of its horns, there have been many new discoveries.

So I spent some time sketching and drawing a Triceratops before I make an anthropomorphic version for my children's book.

Sketch of triceratops

Drawing triceratops - sketch
One of the most interesting parts was working on the feet and toes. There has been a lot of research done on how Triceratops walked and stood. Many older pictures show that Triceratops had feet similar to an elephant, but after examining the tracks left behind we see it stood on its toes, without fleshy pads on the back of the feet.


Ink Outline

Drawing triceratops - ink outline

Next I used a ink brush to outline the shape of the Triceratops. At this point I didn't spot any blacks (other than its mouth) and instead focused on the form of the body and line weights.

While drawing the horns, I found some interesting research showing the shape of the horns could me much more than just the fossilized bones discovered, due to the keratin sheaths that can grow beyond the bony structure of the horns.

Spotted Blacks

Drawing triceratops - spotted blacks

Next I blocked in areas in deep shadow. Since I decided to do a basic illustrated style, I filled in the shadow areas with black to texture and color in the next steps. 

Texture inking

Drawing triceratops - texture inking

My next step was to add some texture to the shadowed areas to make them less abrupt and to create tonal variety. This primarily consisted of hatching out of the dark shadows. I also added some hatching to the far legs to show they are in shadow.

Colors

Drawing triceratops- final

Finally, I added some flat colors and blended in shadows and highlights. 

While it's a simple drawing, it has provided me with some interesting insights into the science and more recent developments regarding the body structure of the ceratopsid family of dinosaurs. While my goal is to create a fun story for children, having a deeper understanding of the dinosaurs that I'm drawing can help make the entire endeavor to be more educational for all involved.

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