Microraptor!

Yesterday morning I set off to my local (and awesome!) Tech Shop for a bit of recreational leather working. After a bit of frustration with the laser cutter, I finally had things all ready for my latest custom order, a field bag with everyones favorite quadra-winged raptor, Microraptor zhaoianus.

Specific tooling designs call for scribbles and notes. I prefer to do mine in as obnixous color as I can find.

I decided I wanted to keep the cracks in the slab as part of the design. This can be accomplished with tooling, but also picking a piece of leather that has some natural marks and scars.

The pale lines visible at this stage will take up dye differently than the other parts.

Then there’s the not so subtle approach where you just beat the texture into the leather with a pointy metal stick.

Once that is done, its off to adding depth and texture. Most people call this stage ‘beveling’. I call it the ugly stage. But it’s necessary, because in the final dyeing steps, those little checkerboard textures get filled with a deep stain, adding another layer of depth to the tooling.

Part of what makes these dinos so fascinating are how well the feather imprints get preserved. Grain size of the sediment that buried it millions of years ago is one factor that allows for this incredible preservation. I wanted to carry that into this design, but really was at a bit of a loss for how to do it. In the end, I grabbed some 80 grit sandpaper and a 4 lb deadblow mallet. The little pock marks in the image below are the result. It feels really cool, too. It actually feels a bit like limestone. I’m thinking it will look really great when the stain gets into those little divots.

At last, it was time to clean up the epic mess I made and go home.


(it’s not ALL my mess. Only about 7/8th of it…)

I still have a bit of the uglies to beat out of it, and the areas that I want super detail in still have some work that needs doing. A lot of the detail for the bones will be taken from the Hwang et al 2002 paper. And the feathers- I can’t wait to see how those will turn out. I have a feeling there are some really good images to work from for those.


For the record, I don’t really know what’s going on with that toe…

Some sketches


It’s ceder fever season here in Texas, and that means all sorts of polypharmicy hallucinations from all the decongestants and antihistimines!

Working on some unrelated leather tooled patches got me thinking, I need to make good quality varsity patches for like-minded people. Something along these lines, but more…..interesting.

So putting my pollen-and-drug-hazed brain to work I came up with a few full size sketches that I’ll be working into 4″ patches, ready to be sewn onto a varsity jacket or backpack! HopefullyI should be able to make a handfull in time and bring them with to the NecronomiCon

Now all I have to do is turn the sketches into an SVG drawing, and find a way to make them fit into a 4″ round patch!



How many can YOU spell without cheating? And yes, I realize
Beelzebub is not a bee, but if you can’t have fun with century-old
depictions of demon princes,I just don’t know what to say too you.


Do you think they could make the Harvard team?