Even though it's been finished and on-line for a while now I figured I'd post the final version of my velociraptor painting so I could explain it a bit further. :)
Description X-posted from Deviantart:
Male (background) and female (foreground) variations of Velociraptor mongoliensis. *waves her "artistic license" around*
I have been wanting to paint this since I read an article on feathers having possibly evolved for display, before flight. I liked the idea of a more fluffy crest plumage, rather than scraggly red sticks poking out of the head like they are commonly shown as having on TV. The male raptor would be able to hide his bright feathers and only flash them as a territorial display towards other males or a pick-up line with the ladies. I'm embarrassingly behind on my dinosaur learnin', so please don't beat me if I missed something. I wouldn't mind pointers however, so I don't make the same mistakes twice.
Photo reference of raptor skeletons were heavily utilized. I don't think I'll use this painting technique again. It took WAY too long and didn't leave me much control over the lighting. I kept zooming out and face-palming far too often.