Artists, Should do Art the RIGHT Way, or YOUR Way?

Artists Don’t Always do Art THE RIGHT WAY

Illustration/Sketch by Will Terry, of an ugly fat pig, playing a banjo.





The right way, or the WRONG way, or better yet, do art YOUR WAY. Remember when owning a home was a mandatory part of a healthy financial portfolio? I think this is the first time that financial planners are backing off and saying, “owning CAN also be a good addition to a financial portfolio.”

Do art right, or do art wrong.

I bring this up because when I’m teaching people to do art, I constantly hear students telling each other things like, “you’re supposed to do it this way” or “that’s not the way that so and so said to do it.” I believe in obeying the rules most of the time…wait – that sounded like a rule!…how bout: “Obey some of the rules some of the time but not all of the rules all of the time, unless you want to, but if you want to break all of the rules that might be good too, however that probably won’t work either so don’t listen to me. But you should listen to some people if you feel they’re giving good information. hmmmmmmm. How bout some examples”:

Bill Gates – laughed at by IBM executives for only wanting to license his operating system. In other words he was laughed at for “doing it the wrong way.”

John Lasseter – Fired from Disney for wanting to introduce computer animation to Disney productions – Started Pixar – Now chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is also currently the Principal Creative Adviser for Walt Disney Imagineering…pssssst – he did it the wrong way.

Steve Jobs – How many times do you think he was laughed at for all the innovative ideas he implemented. It’s easy to think, “why would I laugh at Jobs? – he created so many wonderful products.” Before he attained his unimaginable success he was often branded a nut for his strange decisions.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a search engine their way – a different way – they broke the rules. They were also late to the search engine party and couldn’t get anyone’s attention. All the big search engine companies showed them the door when they tried to sell their technology…. so they started Google.

The other night in my watercolor class I kept hearing students talking about using watercolors “the right way.”….


Monster App Artwork & Illustrations in Color

Monster App Artwork in Color

Finished Illustration of Monster Hiding in little boy's bedroomI am drained from working til 3 am so many nights in a row on this piece and even later last night. I thought I was done but when I looked at it again the next morning I realized there were quite a few more tweaks needed – I stopped having fun with it there for awhile. – Three hours at least and I think that’s when I was finally done. ..again! Success usually depends on what you do in your spare time.
I had to include several versions with various assets on different layers because there would be animations in this app.  I wanted to have animation but didn’t know how to do it or set up for it but hoped that someone would come into my life to help me. Well, it happened – I teamed up with a Disney animator and he is going to be teaching me and working with me to make this project happen! Kind of the, “If you build it they will come” model.

Don’t want any unnecessary animations

I am not interested in programming superfluous animations in my e-book.  One thing I’m constantly seeing in e-books and apps is animation and/or sounds that don’t move the story forward – in fact I’m guilty of that in my Monkey & Croc ipad app. On this one I wanted to create a story/interactive e-book that couldn’t exist in physical book format. Part of an on going exploration of this technology. It’s fun to think about the future and how I’ll feel about all of this ten years down the road, lessons learned, bumps, bruises, and hopefully a few smiles….ok, a lot of smiles!bedroom without monster or child for app

bedroom without monster or child but with cat for app

bedroom with monster without child for app

Is Your ART, work, when your having fun?

So you do art work, can you call it work, when your having fun?

sketch for picture book, and app of boy and his dog in the basement.

Because I’m “working” late and often responding to things on Facebook my friends, family, and students know I “work” late. Sometimes I get accused of being a workahalic, (I am addicted to workahal) but is it really work if I’m having this much fun? I love drawing. I love illustrating ideas – but most of all I love the satisfaction I get when I see how children and parents respond to my work. The ability to communicate with pictures is basically a part of who I am. I can’t imagine what life would be like without being able to create narrative images. I don’t want to know what it would be like….I think you know it’s not work when you’re doing something you would do regardless of the monetary compensation.

The Money is Irrelevant

So “working” on this monster app isn’t work at all – it’s therapy. I don’t feel any stress or anguish over it and that in and of it’s self is my payment. When I’m finished and it is formatted for Ipad / Iphone and perhaps the new kindle fire, the money I make, or don’t make is a distant by-product of my passion. I’m not going to be a phony and tell you I don’t want it to make money but the money is irrelevant to my joy and happiness in the creation process. I’m not going to worry about editing “this or that” in or out to please a certain demographic. All I’m going to do is make an app / ebook that I would want to buy and use with my kids – again, I’m going to be selfish.

Don’t forget, we teach workahal, I mean art and illustration and painting and stuff at

Did I mention, Art should be fun? I am having FUN

Did I mention how much fun I am having?

sketch, monster getting bit while trying to steel a pet rat

So anyway – working on this project is way more fun than getting hit by a car, twice. Wait, have I mentioned that I’ve been hit by a car? Twice? Well two different cars both while I was riding a bike? – not the same bike different bikes…and different cars – different years – and different drivers… I don’t think they knew each other… both times it was my fault. I did however learn two big lessons –

1) I am stupid

2) I want to be in the car the next time I get hit.

3) I don’t want there to be a next time.

Author’s not: There are three kinds of people, those who can count and those who can’t.

But wait – this is supposed to be about illustration, e-books, writing, apps, formatting, tablets, e-readers, illustratin, art wor doing, etc.

The story is about a monster

I am still working on the E-boo/ Monster app. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the story is about a monster that keeps steeling the household pets, and the boy just doesn’t notice.

The sketches are for an iPad / iPhone App

Ok, Status: All of these monster sketches are for an ipad / iphone app that I am making. It has a story, is interactive, in color, animal friendly, eco friendly, kid friendly, and car friendly…. It will have friends. but you know what? SPOILER ALERT! It might not be really successful. But will I learn something. Yes. Am I enjoying the precess? Yes. Does the little voice try to get me down? yes. Do I let it? NO! And HEY! Maybe it will be a HUGE success. Feel free to cross your fingers for me. 

And have fun, do some artwork.

Ebooks & Apps and Being a Selfish Artist

Ebooks, apps, and selfishness

sketch for app of a monster steeling the pet birdEbooks, Apps and Selfishness? Really? but we were always taught to be charitable, giving, and unselfish. Ok – I needed a provocative title but I’m going to defend it. How many times have you as an illustrator, graphic designer, author, artist, or creator allowed yourself to create under the umbrella of a studio, publisher, client, friend, spouse, parent etc.? In other words how often do you create for someone else? How often do you allow the parameters of the assignment dictate choice? How often are your choices influenced by what you think “they” want and not what you want? We all do it – even if you’re a gallery artist chances are you create “in step” with the body of work the gallery owner has accepted. Right?

Technology has give the POWER back to the artist

My message in this blog post is that the invention of computers, tablets, e-readers and the internet have given power back to the artist. It’s an amazing time my fellow artists. I now give you permission to be selfish – and it’s a good thing when it comes to your art. Never before in the history of the world have artists been given the ability to get their work to their audience so inexpensively. Because it’s so cheap it means we can do it on our own so we don’t necessarily need someone putting restrictions on our content. I’m not saying that it’s not good to get opinions from other professionals but now we can do what we want – the environment for complete creativity is autonomy. I’m embracing ebooks, apps, and whatever else develops in the future.

So be selfish – Have fun, your best art has yet to be created – what’s hiding in there?

Successful Artists have FUN while They Create

Have FUN while you create your artwork for more success

sketch, monster hiding behind the shower curtainI am a successful artist, Why? Because I enjoy what I do.

“Learn to love work and you will love life.” ~L Carl Andreason. “Find a way to make money doing what you love, and you will love work.” ~G. Ken Nuttall


Successful artist having a blast

I am having a blast working on this little project – I’m not sleeping much lately because I’m busy doing real stuff too, but I am having fun, or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. As I get older I realize that we only have a short window to make it happen – whatever “it” is. I love the challenge of developing good instruction for my college classes, pleasing my freelance clients, pleasing myself on personal projects and my continued involvement on the day to day workings of Folio Academy.

I found a programmer and animator to help me see this picture book become an app, and see this vision through – I’m having so much fun – at work!!!

I am calling this project, “Monster App”

Get Over it, You’re Just Another Artist

Get Over it, You’re Just Another Artist

zzz 016

Just Another ARTIST???!!! What kind of a statement is that?




Didn’t you “used to think” you were amazing amazing artist?

Remember back when you were in junior high and you started making really bad copies of spider man or (insert cool character or album cover here) and because it sort of resembled what you were going for you thought you were an amazing artist? Your friends who had quit trying to draw were now propping you up – “awww WICKED”…”dude that is totally bad”. Fast forward to high school and you were determined to draw in art class amongst the stoners. It didn’t take long for you to get their attention: “Dude that’s bad ass…. (I guess you’re allowed to say ass in high school) draw Eddie from Iron Maiden on my Jacket.”

Your head was completely filled with hot gasses and arrogance as you headed off to college. Even though your teachers bathed you in beautiful images from working professionals you weren’t that impressed. Caught up in the grandeur of your graduating portfolio you excitedly started marketing your work. When assignments didn’t actually flood in you got the first twinge of insecurity but you shrugged it off. After a few years of struggling to keep freelancing you gained a partial attitude overhaul. Humility was still in short supply but you started giving a few nods to other artists. Five years in and you put yourself near the top shelf of illustration talent. Seven years and you still grossly overestimated your skills. Ten years – the internet was bringing more and more amazing artists to your attention. Fifteen years you realized you’re just another set of hands. Eighteen years you start to feel lucky to be an illustrator. Twenty years and you know you’re lucky! Being able to do what you do while there are so many artists much more talented and capable than you roaming this little rock. Fear sets in when you realize…you might not be keeping up. Embarrassing, but this was me.
Become a “WHOLE” artist:
Work hard
Have heroes
Open mind

Status Update on Monster app

Monster App still on schedule (there’s no schedule so I’m right on time) Tee hee.

I’ll be Making my E-Book into an App too

I am going to make this E-book into an App too

monster pulling dog by the tail sketch for app

I’ve decided to make this e-book (see last blog) that I am working on into an iPad and iPhone app as well. Here is another sketch for the ipad/iphone app I did awhile ago.

I do not have a programer yet – have talked to a few but I want to find someone who believes in my project enough to go all in with me and share the loot we most certainly will rake in.

“We’re going to need a bigger rake!” This is certainly another leap of faith but I’ve found that if you have a dream and can see – really see the vision of it, you should go for it! I’ve been learning this over the past year and have enjoyed a fair amount of success with this method of working. I’m sure I’ll have my fair share of failures – wait – I’ve done that:

My Failed books: “The magical world Inside Abandoned Refrigerators”, “Daddy Drinks Because You Cry”, and “You Are Different and That’s Bad”…..ok ok – I lifted these from the internet but you get the picture. I’ve had failures and I’ll have more and you know what? That’s OK.

I will try to post my updates on this each week, thanks.

for more help with your art, visit us at

Illustrating a Picture Book: an e-book & an App

Sketch for my MONSTER book

Illustration black and white sketch, of a monster in a bedroom

Here I am, working on a new picture e-book and I thought I’d post one of the sketches – it’s a bit rough but they all start out rough and I’d like to post some work in progress as I get going on it. This will be another e-book that I will finish down the road. I say down the road because I know this one is going to take much longer than the other ones I’ve produced in the past. I’ve decided to gamble more time in order to produce a final product that I feel is worthy of long term recognition. Illustrating children’s books is still probably the funnest thing on earth next to sneezing nine times in a row (my personal best) and when I’m working on one like this -time seems to move x ten. Yes I have allergies and I am allergic to whatever we have going on around here.

iPad Painting on my iPad with the Artrage app

Digital sketching around on the iPad with the Artrage app.

iPad Painted Landscape

Having good times and a lot of fun with the “Artrage” app on my iPad. I like it for mimicking lush buttery oil paint without all the mess and clean up. I also like iPad painting for the ability to “dry” the painting so you can work on top of the thick paint you already put down. The wet into wet or alla prima simulation is almost unnerving in how real it feels.

An artist should constantly practice their trade.

When you have some free time, pick up your sketch book, iPad or what ever device works for you, and doodle, sketch, draw, paint. The world will be better place.

I used to love to get my feet wet, or maybe I should say, my hands dirty with PAINT. Oil painting was fun, and still is, water coloring is very rewarding and the finished product of real paint on canvas is more valuable. But, I am an illustrator and time is of the essence, so I usually work digitally now.