This group is intended to show the great diversity of feathered dinosaurs that lived in the Mesozoic (of course, that excludes today's dinosaurs, the birds). Our goal is to erradicate the awful numeric supremacy of lizard-like depictions of dinosaurs, and to educate people about the most likely appearance of these dinosaurs.
Our rules are stricter than most groups, so please follow these guidelines carefully if you want your artwork to be considered here.
We accept only Mesozoic, feathered, and anatomically accurate dinosaurs. Accuracy will be based on a combination of the following factors.
Anatomy: Follow skeletals. If - for example - the limb proportions, skull shape, tooth number, pubic boot placement, tail shape, and limb placement deviate substantially from what can be inferred as random variation from an accepted skeletal reconstruction, it will be rejected. If no skeletal exists for the animal you're illustrating, or if you are illustrating an animal for which few elements are known, please use common sense and use the known proportions of closely-related animals.
Musculature: All illustrations submitted to this group must show the musculature fully accurate to what we currently know. This primarily means the shape of the muscles should follow those of up to date studies, and the size/mass of the muscles should follow a range acceptable for individual variation. Correct musculature also means no "shrink-wrapped" animals where every detail of the musculature is visible through the integument, Greg S. Paul style. For muscle mass reference, please see the external links section below.
Secondly, to be accepted, all dinosaurs must have a tail with the musculature sufficiently suggesting the presence of a large caudofemoralis muscle. This, along with further mass from other muscles such as the ilio-ischiocaudalis means that there should be no clear distinction between the hips, the thigh and the tail. I.e., the upper leg should be enveloped in the mass of the body. Further reference for this can also be found below.
Thirdly, the skull and jaw musculature of dinosaurs, especially theropods is quite substantial. It should almost completely obscure all the fenestrae in the skull. Additionally, the pterygoideus posterior muscle should be clearly visible at the back of the skull, as exampled in the musculature links below.
Feathers: By definition, all illustrations accepted to this group will include feathered animals. For maniraptorans, these animals should be fully-feathered unless you give a specific justification for leaving certain areas unfeathered. We will not accept oviraptorosaurs, deinonychosaurs or basal birds without the primaries clearly attaching to the second finger. For animals where the full extent of the feathering is known from fossils, we will be more nitpicky about feather placement.
However, feather placement goes both ways. We will also look critically on illustrations that involve unrealistically extensive integument. For example, Utahraptor with asymmetrical primaries would not be accepted. Common sense for feathering is a must!
Environment and interaction: All illustrated backgrounds must exhibit some basic knowledge of the kind of environments in which the animals lived. You don't need to look up every Mesozoic plant included in the formation, but some general rules apply: no flowing fields of grass in the Jurassic, no Archaeopteryx in a florid jungle, no clearly modern plants, etc. Likewise, no anachronistic species interacting will be accepted. Interacting animals must be known or inferred from the same formation.
Coloration: No unrealistically-colored or patterned animals will be accepted. Again, common sense is a must. For example, feather iridescence of any kind in taxa depicted without closed-vaned feathers are unlikely at best. For animals where the specific coloration has been studied and published, following these color schemes is a must. For animals where a huge number of specimens are known, like Microraptor, it is sometimes acceptable to deviate from the published coloration if you point out that the species is not intended to be the same species as the one whose pigmentation was studied, the depiction shows a speculative color morph, or if the afflicted individual has a condition such as albinism. However, such submissions would go into the "hypothetical" folder, and works of this kind that contradict known feather coloration principles will not be accepted at all.
Because use of carotenoid pigments (colors derived from eating certain foods) in bird feathers is a unique characteristic of the clade Neoaves, no images of non-neoavian feathered dinosaurs will be accepted if they feature pink, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, or bright green coloration. Dull reds, dull yellows, iridescent green, etc. coloration is acceptable if it is within the range of other pigments.
Artistic quality: The purpose of this group is to provide its watchers with the highest-quality selection of feathered dinosaur art on DA. For that reason, meeting every requirement on a simple accuracy checklist will not be enough to admit a piece of artwork. The artist must display a significant understanding of basic artistic principles, shading, texture and composition. Sketches will only be admitted if they are extraordinary in every other way. Colored images with no shading and/or extremely rough texture will likewise often be rejected unless they are otherwise outstanding. Poor scans, scans with wrinkles, bad photographs of artwork, and artwork on lined paper will probably be rejected.
In a similar vein, art may also be rejected if it does not convey a certain sense of realism in body shape and position. For example, a textbook-accurate tyrannosaur may be rejected if it is an awkward, unrealistic-looking pose. For further example, a textbook-accurate dromaeosaur may be rejected if its body shape is clearly "reptilian" and conveys no sense of avian grace. We understand that this is something of a subjective criterion and is difficult to qualify, but it is a hallmark of excellent paleoart and we seek to include only the best. Please be aware before submitting artwork that the group has high standards; there are many other paleo-themed DA groups with more lenient requirements that may be worth looking into.
Humor folder rules: This folder is for cartoons, caricatures, PSAs, comics and general humorous artwork involving feathered dinosaurs. While this folder isn't intended to be strict paleoart, submissions must still be reasonably accurate. Correct feather placement and avoidance of common mistakes is a must, though leniency may be afforded to anachronisms and reasonable degrees of anthropomorphism.
External links: Please utilize this reference material!