New information on the integumentary ornamentation of Aquilops americanus (that I have on my shoulder)

June 14, 2015

Aquilops tattoo

My 40th birthday present from Vicki. I commissioned the art from Brian Engh. I bow to no one in my love for his original Aquilops head reconstruction:

Life restoration of Aquilops by Brian Engh. Farke et al. (2014: fig. 6C). CC-BY.

Life restoration of Aquilops by Brian Engh. Farke et al. (2014: fig. 6C). CC-BY.

BUT it’s waaay too detailed for a tattoo unless I wanted a full back piece. I sent Brian this sketch to convey what I wanted – to emphasize the strong lines of the piece, punch up the spines and spikes, basically shift it toward a comic book style without devolving into caricature:

Aquilops tattoo - Matt sketch raw

Originally I was going to have Aquilops‘ name and year of discovery in the tat. I decided to drop the lettering, for several reasons. One, it won’t hold up as well over the next few decades. Two, if someone is close enough to read it, we’ll probably be talking about the tattoo already. Third, the tattoo is a better conversation starter without a caption. First I get to tell people what Aquilops is, then I get to explain what ‘fourth author‘ means. ;-)

As he did for the original Aquilops head recon, Brian sent a selection of possible color schemes, mostly based on those of extant lizards. I couldn’t decide which I liked best, so I talked it over with my tattoo artist, Tanin McCoe at Birch Avenue Tattoo in Flagstaff, Arizona. I wasn’t just interested in what looks good on paper, but what would work well with my skin tone and still look good 20 years from now. Tanin really liked the earth-tone color scheme with the dark stripe across the eye, so that’s how we went. The tattoo Aquilops is facing left instead of right because it’s on my left shoulder – my right deltoid was already occupied.

They do good work at Birch Avenue – Vicki’s gotten three pieces there, including this skeleton key that was also done by Tanin:

Vicki skeleton key tattoo - 1200

Yes, the key’s bit is a human sphenoid – that was my idea.

Anyway, I’m super-happy with the tattoo, and I’m glad it’s healed enough to show off. Thanks, Brian and Tanin!

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6 Responses to “New information on the integumentary ornamentation of Aquilops americanus (that I have on my shoulder)”

  1. codyvburkett Says:

    This is entirely unrelated to tattoos, but next time you’re in Flag, I’d love to buy you a drink. I’m only an hour south.

  2. Matt Wedel Says:

    That’s a date!

  3. Chase Says:

    Happy Birthday sir! May your year be filled with processes and centra!

  4. Zach Miller Says:

    That’s a bitchin’ tat, bro.

    So often I’ve come close to getting a tattoo (I even have the design picked out) but chickened out due to the cost and/or not being thrilled with having a needle repeatedly jammed into my arm. I’ve got CF–I deal with enough of that.

    Maybe someday.

  5. codyvburkett Says:

    Excellent, Matt!

    (Also, now I know where I can go for the third tattoo I want, when it’s designed. Muah haha.)


  6. […] I made a beer for Aquilops; my buddy Matt got a tattoo. Read that story at Matt’s blog post here. […]


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