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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Will Terry, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 17 of 17
1. An amazing way to learn illustration

So what is musician-performer-dancer-composer Lindsey Stirling doing on this blog about children’s book illustration? She’s an artist but she works in a different medium. She hasn’t published a children’s picture book. (Not yet, anyway, but give her time.) I’m sharing this video of her 2011 tune Shadows, because twenty-two million YouTube viewers are not wrong […]

2 Comments on An amazing way to learn illustration, last added: 6/6/2013
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2. Post-PiBoIdMo Day 1: Will Terry Acts Out the Backstory

willterryWow—what an honor to be included in this group, but let’s clear the air straight out: I ain’t no author. I’d like to be…could tell you all the close calls…but all of us have war stories.

I was the kid who did horribly in school. I was always doodling in the back of the class. My parents even had me tested to see what the heck was wrong with me. So I’m probably the least likely to succeed as an author. Writing is definitely a second language—but I’m working on it.

But perhaps I can help the illustrators in the room by sharing how I approach a picture book project—and maybe give authors an idea of the considerations illustrators make on their manuscripts.

I remember watching one of my favorite flicks years ago—Glengarry Glen Ross—starring the amazing lineup: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, and Kevin Spacey. It mostly takes place on one set, in one room, with no special effects and I was amazed that these actors owned their parts enough to carry the story. I tried to imagine what it would be like to play the part of a fictional character. I remember listening to an interview with Morgan Freeman (one of my all-time favorites) and he talked about getting into character and preparing to become another person with motivations that were foreign to him. It stuck with me.

It was about this time that I started illustrating some of my first picture books and I realized that the characters I would be illustrating had a life before and after the few pages I was going to be illustrating. They had a story…and if I was going to be able to capture them I was going to have to figure out who they were before page 1. What were they proud of? What were they afraid of? What did they want? What did they need? …etc…


I’ve tried concepting at home in my studio but there are usually too many distractions (three boys), so when I get a new manuscript I take it to my “board room”—what I’ve named the mountains that surround me out here in Utah. I’ve been an avid hiker/ backpacker for many years and if you’re a Facebook friend, you’re probably sick of all the photos I post from my walks. But it really is the place I go to be alone with my thoughts. If you really want a good laugh, hide behind a tree as I’m passing by and you’ll sometimes here me speaking in the voice of a character I’m working on. At first I felt like a freak but now I know I am, so I just go with it. You really can accomplish a lot if you’re willing to get up out of your chair, change your environment, and act out scenes in your book. Narration is about gesture and it’s hard to get good gestures sitting at the computer.


Like the rattlesnake from SENORITA GORDITA by Helen Ketteman—he was especially fun to imagine—the trick was to make him a little scary but not too scary. My theory on kids is that they like to be scared a little—just not frightened. You see it all the time. You’re in line at the bank and a two year old is hiding behind mom’s legs peeking out at you. I always make a little face. The kid hides again—but not for long—he/she wants that little uncertainty. Capturing little scary expressions in my characters has been a goal. How much can I get away with?


The lizard in SENORITA was another really fun character to concept. I figured he had to be opportunistic and subsequently lazy, resting under his bush and not wanting to become to easily roused. He’s not the type to act to hastily but would prefer to talk his prey into coming closer and doing most of the work.


Then there’s Macky the blue bird from ARMADILLY CHILI by Helen Ketteman. I thought Macky had to be somewhat sophisticated because he wasn’t that good at flying, so I dressed him up in a vest, bolo tie, and hat.


And the big-bottomed boar from THE THREE LITTLE GATORS by Helen Ketteman was a big bully. He was really easy because I had done my time in middle school. I knew the big-bottomed boar right off and couldn’t wait to illustrate those grill stripes in his butt at the end when he sears his back side going down the chimney! I had to edit from a very long list of bully smirks provided by my public school education. Butt again (pun intended) I had to make sure he didn’t cross over in to the “horrifying” realm. I didn’t want my audience to identify with him but I also wanted to keep him on the comical hillbilly, the “I don’t know any better” side of bullies.

So there you have it—not too complicated, but I do enjoy putting a little thought behind the characters I draw and paint. And speaking of painting, I’ve been illustrating in acrylics for the first 18 years of my career but switched over to Photoshop 2 years ago. I was so excited about working digitally because of control and speed that I made a video tutorial on my process! It’s available at folioacademy.com.


Will Terry has been illustrating for 20 years. He grew up just outside the beltway of Washington, D.C. wondering why the hell there were so many cars?! So he moved to Utah and the rocky mountains where he and his boys snowboard & hike. His work has appeared in publications such as: Time, Money, Wall Street Journal and ads for Sprint, Pizza Hut, M&M Mars, Fed Ex, and Master Card. He has illustrated over 25 children’s books for Random House, Simon Schuster, Scholastic, Dial, and Albert Whitman, plus 3 ebooks, 1 app, & co-founded a video tutorial company called folioacademy.com. He’s an avid blogger and currently teaches illustration at UVU.

10 Comments on Post-PiBoIdMo Day 1: Will Terry Acts Out the Backstory, last added: 12/1/2012
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3. Knitting and a good link

I've been knitting a lot lately, working on fleshing out my little etsy shop. I let it go for such a long time, and now that I've decided to get it going again, I'm overflowing with ideas!

I have Big Plans to do some drawings of knitting, and a genius licensing idea (I think - you know how those can be), all of which will take quite a bit of work, of course. But that's OK! I just have to figure out how to fit it in with the Children's Book art, and the Un-Still Lifes I've started with the "fine art" side of myself. The same old story we all have I guess - not enough hours in the day. 

Some day, in the future, when we CAN make clones of ourselves, we'll be saying "Remember back in the old days, when we only had ONE of ourselves, and had to do everything in just 24 hours a day? How on earth did we do it?" 

If that sounds far-fetched, just think back to not so long ago when we didn't have anything digital or cellular or even cordless, for that matter. Remember that first fax machine?! Lordy.

On the flip side - I started watching that new show "Revolution", where the world has gone 'dark' and there's no electricity or anything (except there IS - in secret), and everyone has to do everything the old-fashioned way. I like the way the little village looks - kind of old-timey but with left over modern stuff. I wish they'd focus more on the actual "this is how life really is now", the day-to-day, mundane, domestic side of things, rather than the hunting everything (and everyone) with a cross-bow side of life, but of course that's interesting too. I've always loved those shows on PBS where they go back in time to Pioneer days, or Edwardian or Victorian times, or WWII, and have people try to live that way for a few months, and slowly go mad (and love the part where they get to go back to real life, and head straight for the shower and some fast food and TV.)

Anyways. I'm pretty sure knitting will always be around, whether we have power or not, so I'm going to soldier on with my ideas.

And while we still DO have power and the internet and stuff, you might want to check out this cool website, if you haven't already: http://www.folioacademy.com

Will Terry and Wayne Andreasen have teamed up to create a website full of really cool art videos you can buy, to teach you how to do all kinds of art things. They've just updated it, so its cooler and even better than it was before! There's traditional drawing and painting, as well as a lot of digital art stuff, children's book tutorials and even 3D!

I have the Digital Painting in Photoshop Part I, and How to Illustrate Children's Books videos, and they're both great. I figured out how to do a digital version of my colored pencil look by watching the Digital Painting one, and the Children's Book one is a good refresher course in some basics even if you're already a children's book illustrator. So go check it out!

Hope you're enjoying Fall. I am, finally. Its been HOT here still, which is pretty annoying, but I think its starting to turn just a bit - hope so, anyway. I want to wear a sweater! And socks! :~)

2 Comments on Knitting and a good link, last added: 10/2/2012
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4. Folio Academy 2.0

Check out this great resource for online learning. Created by Will Terry and Wayne Andreason, the Folio Academy provides art lessons for every age group in just about every area of the visual arts. Here you will find a compilation of video lessons from professional artists helping you with your craft by teaching you their secrets and techniques. Awesome!!

0 Comments on Folio Academy 2.0 as of 9/25/2012 12:37:00 PM
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5. Are Ebook/Apps revolutionary? by Will Terry

"I get asked all the time if I think ebooks are a fad? If I think it's worth it to produce them? If I think making apps are better? How I found my programmers? Is it better to try to find an agent and get my book published traditionally? How I plan on marketing my apps? What should I do?

I'm flattered that so many would think I have the answers but the truth is that I'm just a dumb guy who fumbled his way into this industry and is now trying to figure out what my next moves will be.

But for what it's worth - here are my thoughts...."

Click HERE to read the rest of Will's article.

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6. Will Terry- Craft, Creativity and You

Here is yet another encouraging blog post  for illustrators via Will Terry. 
Be sure to check out the cool app that he shares.
Thanks, Will!

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7. Creating Banjo Pigs

Will Terry gave his media tech class at Utah Valley University the assignment of creating a banjo pig:

2 Comments on Creating Banjo Pigs, last added: 11/20/2011
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8. Will Terry- Photoshop Tutorial

More from Will Terry. Love watching these. Tempted to take one of his classes. =o)

4 Comments on Will Terry- Photoshop Tutorial, last added: 9/14/2011
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9. Will Terry: Banjo Pickin' in the Mud

Link: Will Terry's blog.

2 Comments on Will Terry: Banjo Pickin' in the Mud, last added: 5/8/2011
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10. Peaking in to say Hello and some Randomness

Right now I'm watching this painting class by Will Terry and I'm learning so much!!! Major revelation for me in the first 15 minutes of Part One. Check it out! I'm thinking of purchasing his How to Illustrate Children's Books title also. I absolutely love his artwork! He was also kind enough to answer a question of mine via a video podcast.

I am in love with these two paintings I picked up at HomeGoods yesterday. I've been on the lookout for a good poppy painting for years and at $50, this one was in my price range.

Today my friend Andi Butler shared a link to this post on Decor8 about the popularity of bike inspired art and fashion. Imagine that! I'm on trend.

I bought this plant last year. Loving it! I need to remember what the heck it is and get a few more.I'm still dreaming of overhauling my tired, overgrown landscaping, but with collapsing fences and other not so fun things to pay for, it'll have to wait for the time being. I may, however, rip out some ugly rose bushes and replace them with a vegetable garden for this year.

1 Comments on Peaking in to say Hello and some Randomness, last added: 4/14/2011
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11. E-Books with Will Terry Video

Happy Tuesday all. Ever think about making an e-book? Will Terry shares his thoughts, experience and suggestions. Will, as always, thanks for your generosity!

By the way, this is part 1 of 2. Will also shares, formatting the ebook. =o)

2 Comments on E-Books with Will Terry Video, last added: 4/14/2011
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12. Your “Epiphany Essay”

It should have something to do with children’s book illustration, or children’s book illustrators or drawing or painting or simply communicating to younger readers with your art.

American painter Aline Rhonie working on wall mural

Aline H Rhonie learned mural painting from Diego Rivera.  She painted the large aviation themed fresco mural in Hangar F at Roosevelt Field.

By it,  I do mean — your epiphany.

What epiphany, you ask.
The epiphany that you’re going to write and tell me about in your essay.

That high awareness moment you’ve had in the past 12 months, where something something seemed to break for you  (in a good way) in your art-making.

The aha insight that came from within  –  or you were keen enough to really see when someone showed it to you or you read, saw or heard it somewhere.

What essay?  I can almost hear you now.

Will  Terry's video course on children's book illustration

The essay to win the contest, remember?  The contest to win illustrator Will Terry’s eight video course, Children’s Book Illustration.

Keep it under 400 words and e-mail it to me at [email protected] Illustrator.com

Or leave a comment here on the blog.


Or, if you prefer, use the above form.  If you don’t want to write an essay to enter the contest, use the form to express just exactly where you think children’s publishing is going, or discuss your favorite book illustrators or what you would like to see in the way of  tech (or traditional art medium) trainings for visual artists.  Your comments will get you a soapbox here.

But they won’t get you the prize.  The prize will go to the composer of the best short essay ((300-400 words max, please) about his or her uniquely personal learning experience — pertaining to drawing, painting or children’s book illustration.  Let’s just keep it to those skill sets.

No,  the epiphany does not (at all) have to be a result of my courses or lessons.  In fact (as much as I’d appreciate the references to me) your essay probably will be scored higher if your epiphany is of your own inspiration or problem solution.

It is true that many good essays already have been turned in since the launching of the contest in late February. But I want to make this an open competition — to everyone, not just those caring, responsible souls who always get their homework done early.

There is a rea

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13. Digital Colored Pencil

For a long time now I've been lamenting about how long my colored pencil work takes to do, and how its not always practical for my commercial illustration work, especially children's books. I love love love how it looks, and love doing it, but it just takes too darned long. Also, as the demand for digital work keeps increasing, I've been feeling kind of stuck and depressed, thinking that the 'look' and technique I had developed was fast becoming obsolete. What's a colored pencil artist to do? I wondered.

Then I found Will Terry's Digital Painting in Photoshop course, and I had a Eureka! moment. I highly highly recommend getting this if you think you might want to learn how to paint digitally. He shows his process for painting digitally with texture, which I adapted to make a 'colored pencil look'.

Here's my first practice painting, an attempt at replicating the illustration below it, which is all colored pencil.

above -digital
below - real colored pencils

Its not too bad a start, for a first try. I didn't take it 'all the way', since I don't want to keep repainting an old piece forever, but did enough to feel comfortable knowing this is actually possible, and to have something to show you.

The first thing I did after I figured out how to make the texture I wanted was a sort of gray scale, to practice controlling values ~

Painting digitally like this is so much like doing it by hand - you work in layers, building up the color, just like you would with actual pencils. Its still not fast, but its also not as slow as 'real' pencils. Also, you can try a new color, change your mind, erase, etc. without a lot of fuss. This is key when doing illustration work - often changes need to be made, like "can you make the boys shirt blue instead of green" or "please add one more child on the left side" or "change that hairstyle" or whatever. Working digitally, those changes are soooooooooooo much easier.

Here's how that little snippet of illustration looks, broken down into layers (and you can see I painted some of the 'raspberry' layer on the 'blueberry' layer, but that's OK). So let's say I decided to turn the blueberries into kumquats or something, or wanted to change the background color - I could just delete that layer and make a new one, or erase and make changes, without affecting the rest of the illustration. Like magic!

5 Comments on Digital Colored Pencil, last added: 4/1/2011
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14. Drawing For Kids - 1 of 5 by Will Terry

Check out this series of five videos by the fun Will Terry.
Here he teaches Elementary Kids how to draw. Fun stuff!
I've posted 1 of 5 but you can find all 5 at Youtube.  =o)

1 Comments on Drawing For Kids - 1 of 5 by Will Terry, last added: 1/20/2011
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View a sample of Will Terry's video series "How to Illustrate Children's Books".

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16. More Will Terry

Here's another video from Will Terry hard at work. He always picks great music to accompany his videos!
If you missed the other one I posted, check it out here.

Me & the Giant (time lapse) from will terry on Vimeo.

1 Comments on More Will Terry, last added: 8/17/2010
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17. Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

We love having company drop by, and guest bloggers are no exception.  Illustrator Will Terry joins us to talk about digital painting, Photoshop, and hitting the undo button. (And no, we did not ask him to put in a good word for us — though we thank him for the shout-out.)

When I was a boy attending elementary school in Maryland my teachers used to say, “stop day dreaming, sit up straight, pay attention, and stop drawing!” That  was a time in my life when I thought drawing was bad. Were my teachers right? Would I really amount to nothing if I kept drawing all the time? How could something so fun cause so many of my teachers to freak out? I started to hide my drawings under my desk. I’d pretend to really be into the lesson so I could throw them off the scent of my almost finished fire dragon. I even remember one of them saying, “you’ll never earn a living drawing goofy characters.” Over thirty years later, 2000 freelance jobs, and 20 children’s books I think I’ve finally proved to myself that it’s possible to dream big, work hard, and find success and happiness drawing goofy pictures.

I began my illustration career in 1992 and at that time I used acrylic paint on paper to create all of my images. I found my style through much frustration with the medium. Half or more of the paintings I started were disastrous but 4-5 years later I had figured out how to turn most of my drawings in to successful paintings. For the next 14 years I was on auto-pilot with my acrylic paintings and I didn’t want to be bothered with the constant bombardment from friends, colleagues, students, and my audience to use the computer for my work rather than paintbrush and paper. The overwhelming chorus was, “Why don’t you paint on the computer?” or “When are you going to switch over to photoshop?” Don’t get me wrong — I knew there were many advantages to working digitally, but hey, I’m an old dog and those guys were wanting me to learn a new trick. My reply was always the same, “show me how to copy my style/texture and I would love to make the switch” — even though I was terrified of having to learn how to use photoshop. Saying this always put a halt to the conversation because nobody could show me how to mimic my style and this tactic worked until one of my former students took on the challenge.

Jed Henry said, “I don’t really think it will be too hard to get it right.” I was polite to his face but inside I was thinking, “MWAAA HAA HAA…yeah, sure.” And then he proceeded to show me exactly how I could get “my look.” It was almost scary how he had me pegged – figured out – deconstructed. So I started playing with my wacom tablet and photoshop and was amazed at all of the benefits working digitally provided. Here they are in order of importance:

1. Zoom: I can get a better finished piece because I can now zoom into my painting and work on the smallest of details. This might seem like a small detail (yuck yuck) but if you’ve ever tried to paint an expression on a face the size of a penny you’ll understand how significant it is. I used to avoid showing characters in the middle ground and if they were in the background I’d try to make them so small that their head was too sma

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