Drawing Flesh On The Bones Of Prehistoric Creatures

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Styracoraurus illustration
Illustration by Melody Brooke Safken

Melody Brooke Safken's mission is to illustrate the past by putting flesh on the bones of ancient beasts. She is a paleontological illustrator who has been drawing dinosaurs since she was a toddler growing up on the fossil-rich Western Slope. At 25, Safken has already had success creating dinosaur likenesses for promotion of the Jurassic World movie, for Jurassic-themed businesses, for museums, for book authors and for private collectors.

Safken teaches digital illustration at Colorado Mesa University and is currently the Artist in Residence at the Mesa County Library. She tells Colorado Matters her work as being a bit like trying to draw dragons. But paleontological illustrating is based on much more than imagination. She delves into paleontological study and a deep understanding of the bone structures, environment, diet and other factors related to ancient beasts. Then she digitally adds flesh to the fossilized bones that are the known part of dinosaurs.