You say Skybax and I say Quetzalcoatlus

That fabulous dinosaur artist, James Gurney, has just posted a detailed description of the methods he used to produce his fantastic painting of a person flying on a “Skybax,” which is his version of the most gigantic creature to ever fly the skies of our planet, the mighty pterodactyl Quetzalcoatlus.
Gurney's QuetzyNow, I’m nowhere near the caliber of James Gurney when it comes to illustration, but with the completion of my short story, “Riding Quetzalcoatlus,” I had to come up with something. So there, below, you see the results of my humble effort.

Kit Daniels rides a QuetzyLet’s compare and contrast. In Gurney’s image, you see a serene experience, the glory of riding a beautiful creature through the pastel clouds of a late afternoon in Dinotopia. Inspiring. In my image, Kit Daniels is getting her chance to ride the mighty flyer but under less than ideal conditions, given that she’s got to deal with a nasty-tempered T rex that wants to have her friend Maddy Meyer for lunch.

Given that Gurney’s got it all over me as far as artistic skill, I had to come up with something else, so I went for drama. You’ve gotta admit, taking to the air on a huge flapping beast to try to save your best friend from getting crunched up and swallowed whole adds a bit of dimension I couldn’t otherwise have achieved. In the end, I suppose it’s a matter of personal preference whether you like serenity or the danger in a story. They both have their merits.

“Riding Quetzalcoatlus” should be available soon from, and other ebook sellers. Barnes and Noble takes a while longer to get their new books online, so don’t be frustrated if it’s not there yet. Check back later or try B&N’s author page for me and see if they have it yet. If not just wait a week or two.

Note added June 12: 2015: The short story version of “Riding Quetzalcoatlus” has been incorporated into the full length book, Dinosaur Tales.

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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2 Responses to You say Skybax and I say Quetzalcoatlus

  1. Inferdramon says:

    I have a couple questions regarding the picture.

    1. Does the tyrannosaurus have a mane of some kind, or do only one particular gender of tyrannosauruses have manes?

    2. I notice there is a strap that’s going into the wing. Does it go through the wing or is the saddle secure enough to not need to do that?

    • Tom Hopp says:

      The rex has a mane all right. More like a ridge of hackles though. As to gender, I’m not sure. Both genders, maybe?

      The Quetzy has small holes in its wings to allow the saddle straps to cinch up tight. I give a little more detail in the story.

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