For the past few months I've been working on-and-off on a side project with my friend, Taryn Johnson. I'm all wrapped up in the sheer weirdness that is the Cambrian sea. With Taryn's aid, I've been learning about all sorts of extinct species, my favorite of which is probably Hallucigenia, pictured above. Do a quick google search on this critter and you'll see what I mean. For awhile paleontologists weren't even sure which side was up, and they still don't agree on the front from the rear. Some even theorized it to be an appendage of a larger unknown organism! Anyway, I encourage you to read up—he (she?) is a fascinating little guy.
Here are some pencil sketches I did while reading a book by Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful life: The Burgess Shale and The Nature of History (link).
Here's a more specific study of an especially cool species, Anomalocaris. A fierce predator and a relative giant of its age, measuring a meter in length.
More studies of Hallucigenia, 0.5 to 3 centimeters long by comparison.
We've been planning a short animation that will basically take you through a continuous pan of the ocean bed‚ displaying all sorts of bizarre sea life from the Cambrian explosion.
The idea is to have objects in the foreground track at different speeds as you move along (for a multiplane parallax effect).
Even though she's been playing the role of chief Cambrian expert, Taryn is a great artist in her own right—check out this Jellyfish she painted! She'll be designing creatures as well and leading the animation effort in After Effects.
It's all very much a work in progress, and it has been fun to experiment in a slightly different style. I'll be sure to share the final product when it's completed.