Custom Illustration Show and Tell

Hey all, David here. Up in the higher reaches of the Mammoth is Mopey Indiegogo campaign, backers had the opportunity to purchase illustration commissions. After the books and buttons were shipped out, I sent out questionnaires to the handful of generous backers who opted for these perks and then set to work on the custom pieces. Now I can share them!

First up, Emily Willoughby asked for a piece inspired by the artwork in the book itself. Her favorite dinosaur is Deinonychus, and in keeping with her personality, she wanted it to be diligent. Many depictions of dromaeosaurs show them to be voracious predators, but Emily wanted hers to be a voracious reader.

Deinonychus is Diligent, an illustration by David Orr commissioned by Emily Willoughby

Michael Fleischmann gave me free rein to stretch out a bit from the Mammoth is Mopey style, and gave me a simple prompt: he wanted to see the strange Triassic reptile Longisquama. I really enjoy digging into the overall environment in which prehistoric animals lived – their paleoecological context, to be more jargony about it. In my research into the Madygen formation from which this splendid weirdo hails, I was especially interested in the insects that lived with Longisquama and I was determined to work them into the piece. In the foreground, the illustration’s subject watches a cupedoid beetle fly away. Silhouetted in the background, another Longisquama seems not to notice the enormous titanopteran insect Gigatitan approaching it from behind.


Moving out of the prehistoric realm, Sarah Yee asked me to create a portrait of her beloved dogs, Charlie and Ajax. Both are rescues, and Sarah was happy to relate all of their personality quirks and provide many photos for reference. As a dog person myself, I was thrilled to do my very first pet portrait, and I’d love to do more.

Charlie and Ajax, a pet portrait by David Orr, commissioned by Sarah Yee

Our last one for now was created for the digital avatar perk, claimed by Catherine Fowler. She decided she’d like to have an African Civet, and I gleefully provided one. Such a beautiful, charismatic animal, something like a raccoon mixed with wolverine.

African Civet by David Orr, commissioned by Catherine Fowler

We have one more backer at the custom illustration level who is still mulling over the perfect choice for the commission, but we’ll share that piece when it’s done as well. Creating these has been so rewarding, and both Jennie and I are grateful for the support these backers gave us – without these pledges, we would not have made our goal!