Some Illustration is NOT Art

Some illustration is ART…some is NOT ART, Even if you frame it.

Our artwork is like our babies, Priceless?

Remember when you drew something back in Jr. High maybe, and it looked great, at the time? Or when you painted your first painting in High School. Perhaps you copied, (plagiarized) the cover of you favorite album, like Boston’s Don’t Look Back? (Yes, I’m that old) If you were like me, you planned on keeping it forever. Or if it was in the High School art show, the price tag was for about $1000.00 or “NOT FOR SALE!”

Hopefully you can look back at those pics, if you still have ’em and see that you weren’t that good. Not that you weren’t that good, but that you have improved… A LOT!

Keep Sketching… And DrawingAnd Painting.

I Guess what I’m trying to say is this. If you keep at it you will improve. You will find and hone in on your style, you will get better and better. So keep up the good work.

The first things you illustrate may feel like artwork too. I was in love with my first illustrations. I was a professional artist. How cool is that? My work was published, I was published. My friends and relatives would say “You’re going to be famous, like that one guy, what’s his name? He did all those paintings?”

I finally reached a point where I have no room for my early editorial and advertising NON-ART illustrations…so “BuBYE!!!”

art or trash?







PS. The garbage truck already came so you can’t rummage through my trash, past the old pizza boxes and dig out a bunch of my “Non Art” and sell it on E-Bay for more than it is worth. But I think a slice of pizza is still stuck in there that you can have. Just joking, my FolioAcademy biz partner Wayne already dug that out and ate it.

Boston, Don't Look Back album cover

Hey! we could copy this, paint it and sell it for like a thousand dollars. COOL!

A Little Art Assignment With PhotoShop

A Little Art Exercise with Photo Shop

Digital painting class –

Rules: Use Photoshop – add a cabin and appropriate lighting for the landscape – one brush – one layer – no tracing – no undo – no eraser – no eye dropper – no tools other than the brush – paint too dark? tough – paint light values over your mistakes.

Give yourself 3 hours… GO!

cabin assignment





-Cost: Free, just do it.

-Consequences: Learning……the groans and moans will be worth every penny! 

Making the transition to Digital Art

So you want to draw and paint digitally but don’t quite know how to make the transition.

Digital artwork after taking a few digital courses

After Taking a few courses
by Lisa Lavoie

Digital art is increasing in popularity but where do we learn how to do it.

 Most artists start our creating art on paper. We were all children drawing on walls and furniture and our good mothers and fathers put paper in front of us and encouraged us to create our masterpieces thereon. They later hung those treasures on the refrigerator for the world to see and admire. And that felt good.

As we develop our craft, we get more and more comfortable with the tools we use. Now days we see so much artwork being created digitally and if we want to joining in, we have a whole new learning curve. But the benefits of certain features make the switch well worth it in so many cases. Features like, Undo, Blur, Copy and Paste, Re-size, Distort, Transparency, Layers and much much more make it so desirable to work online.

There is no replacement for practice of stick-to-it-ive-ness. Getting out there and fooling around with the tools and layers, and features. Using the tutorials is also a good idea. Once you get comfortable with the whole digi process, you should explore new ideas and textures as well. And bounce ideas off your friends and other artists. Will Terry had help from some of his students at first.

Sometimes all you need is a little instruction from others who have developed a their technique in the digital world.

This is the kind of email we like to receive.  Creative Directrice Lisa Lavoie at, is one of our happy fans who had this to say.

Hi Will!

Just wanted to say thanks for your Folio Academy courses – I’ve gone through several, but the painting and color ones were the most helpful.

Attached a pic of what my digital art looked like before + two pieces I just finished after watching your courses. Obviously my illustration technique had already progressed substantially  – but was getting nowhere trying to convert to a digital workflow that didn’t look awkward and digital. And now my digital art is even better than my real media pieces!

Thanks again :)


Digital artwork before taking a few digital courses


Digital artwork after taking a few digital courses


Thank you Lisa for your kind words. You have a really cool and unique style.

For those of you who are still reading, these are the digital art course we presently offer at FolioAcademy.

Five Quick Photoshop Tips for Illustrators by Dani jones. Justin Cooks three courses, Digital Inking and Coloring in Adobe Illustrator, Digital Inking And Coloring in Corel Painter, and Learn To Draw Cartoon Zombies. And a few by Will Terry like, Digital Painting in Photoshop 1 and part 2, Painting on the iPad, and Beginning Photoshop for Digital Painting.


ArtRage, An Affordable Alternative to PhotoShop

Digital Art is becoming the Rage

A few people have asked me if there is a cheap, or rather, an inexpensive alternative to Photoshop to create images for children’s books, story apps etc. More and more artists, especially illustrators, are creating their work online or digitally, using programs like Photoshop, well almost exclusively PhotoShop. Infact, I teach a neat course or two on illustrating in PhotoShop and they are probably our most popular courses here at  Another big seller is our “Painting on the iPad“, another digital format. But PhotoShop is expensive.

Is there a less expensive way to create digital art?

That is a good question, now that PhotoShop is like a utility bill, a necessary evil,  running around $50 a month, you have to wonder if it is the only game in town. I have the answer you were hoping for…

Yes there is – it’s called ArtRage – but it’s a completely different program and not really comparable to PS. – However, I’m having a blast with it!

art rage 01

I did this in ArtRage

See what others are saying about ArtRage

I don’t know everything about ArtRage so I posted this pic (see above) and another  (see below) on FaceBook with the following caption,

“Late night playing with ArtRage… wishing I had a slice of choc cake…” 

I got a lot of comments. If you want to see what others had to say, read on.

~Leslie Ryan: I have loved art rage for years!

~Hazel G Mitchell: Yum!

~Robert James: That does look like a tasty cake!

~Steve Gray: Beautiful job on the cake! I want some too!

~Shawn Colloton: The cake makes me hungry. And, I don’t care for cake.

~Robert Wahl: forget the cake… WHAT’S in the bottle?

~Debasis Roy: I love Artrage.. post more work in Artrage if you can…

~Canada Goose: hey cool i have that same blue bottle on my window sill!! I dig them up on the old wagon trail dump sites, been meaning to do a watercolor of it..good job! ps send me the cake, too heehee

~Canada Goose: Robert Wahl, in those days it would have had medicine in it heavily laced with alcohol or opium..ahh the good ol days..

~Dyann J Callahan: cough cough I am sick..please pass it

~Ashley Aliko: Uh em. Testing, 1 – 2. (very small voice) What is “ArtRage”? (don’t throw tomatoes!)

~Will Terry: You can install it on desktops, laptops, and even iPads! – I like it for the oil painting engine – it’s pretty amazing…

~Dyann J Callahan painting: with your finger on it?

~Cora Lynn Deibler: Beautiful experiment! Given that cake, yer a regular Wayne Thiebaud!

art rage 02

Then I posted this one and these are the comments…

~Nor Sanavongsay: Wished I’d stayed as an Illustration major in college. Learned about Web Publishing instead. BUT I’m slowly getting back into illustrating thanks to your online courses and advices.

~Will Terry: Thanks Nor – but the web stuff can make for a deadly combination if combined with art…I’ll probably be the one wishing I had more skill in the end.
~Alicia VanNoy Call: I love ArtRage. That’s what I always use on the iPad.
So weird to see you doing still lifes.
~Angie Jones: Art rage is perfect for traditional media artists wanting to go digital.
~Dan Olivier-Argyle: p.s. really like the variety of colour in the yellows
~Steve James: Just have to chime in here- There is a great inexpensive software package that compares to photoshop. Manga Studio 5– Don’t let the name fool you it is solid software. I say we support anything that is not tied into adobe. It is heavily discounted right now on amazon.
~Will Terry: Dyann – I’m using my Cintiq and stylus…
~Dyann J Callahan: make it after xmas so we can get that paid haha

~Shawn Colloton: Nope, it’s Called the Gimp. I’ve edited the preferences so that Gimp works just like photoshop, including hot keys.

~Chris Ragan: Proof that it’s not the tool but rather the artist!
~Robert Wahl: This could be a lot of fun! Great tennis balls, Will!
~Jan Clifton Watford: I used to work in Art Rage and loved the way it was set up but had tremendous problems with the memory and saving images. I will have to try it out again on my new iPad Air which is the bomb BTW. I like Procreate and Sketchbook Pro on iPad a lot. The updates on Procreate are remarkable every time
~Jan Clifton Watford: On Mac Pixelmatr is a good alternative for sizing images and is cheap -$30
~Steve Gray: That stuff looks great Will!
~Bob McMahon: Great alternative to Corel Painter!
~Charlie Eve Ryan: I heart Manga Studio 5, too!
~Mary Flynn: Shetchbook pro is real reasonable and is similar to photoshop
~Ashley Aliko: I am loving your painterly expressions here. Are these printable at 300+ dpi or only for web?
~Marty Qatani: I picked this up a few months ago, based on numerous recommendations from Sherm Cohen Still getting used to it, but is a fun alternative.
~Nancy Hernandez-Kennedy: Cool impressionist look!
~Mike Cressy: I can see you doing your next book with ArtRage!
~Cora Lynn Deibler: I’m a Procreate (good app, unfortunate name) and Sketchbook Pro fan… can see I must try ArtRage!
~Will Terry: I like ArtRage better on my desktop than on my iPad…but that’s probably because I’m still rockin the iPad 2…it probably runs much better on iPad air.
~Ashley Aliko: I am thinking I WANT to do something (book-ish) with ArtRage.
~Cora Lynn Deibler: On the iPad 2 here as well (I noticed with a recent Procreate update that I need to do fewer layers due to memory/processor issues- yikes!). Still, the iPad is such a great portable studio. Will look into ArtRage for the laptop…
~Sarah Treu: I love that loose style! Beautiful!
~Nicole Goodfellow: I love art rage, but now considering using sketchbook instead… Not sure which one to buy.. Have you used sketchbook?
~Will Terry: I haven’t used sketchbook on my desktop but I did have it on my iPad – I wasn’t that impressed but I know a lot of people like it.
~Nancy Harrison: I’ve used ArtRage (a bit) on my desktop. At $30 for desktop versions, it may be the cheapest paint software…
~Debasis Roy: beautiful work.. the oil brush is very similar to natural oil…

Thank you for the comments everyone. I still want a piece of chocolate cake. A little ice-cream would be nice too.


Flying Fish Character Design

I am teaching a class soon, yes I do more than just blog for FolioAcademy.
This was one of my studies for an upcoming character design class.  – it’s been a blast preparing for it. I love taking time to develop personal exploratory work.  
I have said that you should always be working on something. A side project or just developing a character, well this is my latest character. He’s a flying fish.