You can see my painting of Titanoboa, the largest snake on Earth in the April 2012 edition of Smithsonsian Magazine. The biggest, at least as far as we know: it lived a safe 58 million years ago.
When the editor from Smithsonian Magazine contacted me with a rush job, they had tried photography of a scale model of the largest snake in the world. But it just did not look real or threatening enough. A tropical snake, related to modern boas and anacondas, Titanoboa was large enough to first crush, then swallow the giant crocodiles of the day, only a couple million years after the disappearance of the Dinosaurs, 60 million years ago.
Their layout called for a close-up to avoid any scientific controversy about the details of this prehistoric snake, reconstructed from a few fossilized bones in a fossil-rich coal mine in Columbia. They wanted to focus on the eye, and the emotion generated by the image of a snake as long as a bus.
I decided to add menace by placing the Titanoboa in the water, it’s probable environment. The close-up direction seemed to only enhance it’s mystery and horror. I used reference material of boas and anacondas, but since so little was known for sure about this giant snake, I was free to engage in a little informed fantasizing.
Here is the final printed spread, just in the news stands.
Smithsonian scientists enjoyed a little informed fantasy of their own in this 3d animated clip Titanoboa Meets T-rex.