I haven't updated this blog for over a year, but I'm going to start try to do so regularly again. Here's the seventh book illustration. This is Sinosauropteryx, from the early Cretaceous of China's Liaoning. It is famous as being the first dinosaur found with fossilized feather impressions, and one of the most primitive. Its feathers were very simple, and would have been little more than furry down. It was thought that this animal's body covering may have been collagen fiber remains instead of feathers, but more recent analysis of its long tail - which shows an alternation of light and dark bands - shows that it was more likely to be primitive down.
Watercolor and Prismacolor pencil, September 2009.