Dactyls are innately curious, adventurous, playful and peace-loving creatures.
In 1977, the dactyls first appeared in one of my drawings, titled: "Manna." The scene in Manna is quite domestic. Two huts, under the shade of a tree. A young dactyl is squatting, trying to lure into camp six dog-like (as well as dactyl-like) animals. Two adults are picking up stones, which will be used around their cooking fire. The manna is fruit, hanging from a small tree, and easily accessible for an agile, scampering dactyl. It's from this tranquil drawing that the dactyls began their long journey through so many of my works.
I distinctly recall "why" I created the dactyls. It was out of necessity. I was not happy with the human figures I was using in my drawings, and not really interested in continuing to use them. I still wanted a human element in the scenes I drew, just not the human. As a teenager, I drew in pencil only, and peopled my drawings with stick-figures. We drew a lot of WWII scenes, in elementary school, and you could create battalions of troops, in a hurry. Then came rocket ships and flying saucers, and the people, and the aliens. Stick-figures, all.
After Humans: I recalled those stick-figures from my childhood, and how they could take on a human look, yet not look human. I thought if I beefed up a stick-figure, and gave it a non-human head, it could become that human element that I was looking for. I wanted some "thing" that would be simple to draw, yet be more expressive than a plain old stick-figure. It was easy to beef up a stick-figure, but not so with creating a head. I don't recall what heads were rejected, or how many were tried, but the one that I settled on, was of a pterodactyl. Once the pterodactyl became the one, the name for this new creature was staring me right in the face.