Folio Boys go to So Cal

I am lucky to be Will’s best friend

This video isn’t that great but it is cool to see Will Speaking to Millions of peeps.
Since the California Teachers Association (CTA) loves Will’s artwork for children so much, he has been able to represent the CTA two times so far. So they paid for him and his wife, or if she was too busy or not feeling well or what ever, He was able to take some significant brother. That’s me, Will’s best friend, Wayne. So we loaded up the truck and we went to Beverly, LA that is, swimming pools, movie stars.
Well the next thing you know, Old Will‘s on stage up there, over the weekend he was a celebrity, he got to represent the California Teachers Association again with his Armadilly Chili Book. He had a blast and he even got to say a few words in front of the group. That’s him up there.
I couldn’t believe how they crammed more than a million people in the ballroom.

We SOLD OUT on Saturday afternoon – We couldn’t believe it! Over 500 books! They even made a plush out of Tex the tarantula, – you may still be able to buy it here. Author’s note, Not Terry the tarantula who was slow roasted to death in a jar, but Tex, a character in Armadilly Chili. 

They took very good care of us – too good!

On Sunday we drove down to visit illustrator Steve Gray in Hermosa Beach. He’s a great guy and a decorated illustrator – he won the Grand Canyon Reader award last year for his Coyote book.

Steve uses one of those nifty Cintiq Tablets to render his illustrations. He used to do quite a bit of advertising illustration back in the day and his studio walls are decorated with many impressive and recognizable work.

Pick up a copy and enjoy his wacky drawing and wonderful color and Jennifer Ward’s great story.

You can’t go all the way to the beach without actually getting your feet wet right? I’m the short one on the right.


I guess we weren’t the only ones having a good weekend.

No this is not how we found Will’s wife’s car upon our return, they are still happily married. We saw this car outside of “The Mad Greek” Near Vegas, where we stopped for one last overdose of gluttony on our way home.


How Should I Protect My Artwork From Online Theft?

Can I Protect My Artwork, Illustrations and Ideas From Theft? Should I?

I am often asked about this BUT I don’t really worry about it.

Amanda asked, how to protect her artwork online since she would soon be publishing her portfolio. My answers may or may not surprise you but I’ve compiled my thoughts based on the examples of my illustration and animation friends and other artists that I know. There seems to be a shift from the way things used to be done.

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B&W Scratch Board Fish: Another Demo

Scratch Board Artwork of a Fish.

Another piece that never saw the lght light

So I did a demo, again, and I ended up, again, with a piece of artwork that gets no fame, no glory. Kinda like doing assignments for school or for yourself if you are self teaching. Those precious works of art that sit forever in your portfolio or in a flat file. Or maybe, just maybe, your mom still has room on her fridge for some of you little gems.

I’m posting this Demo I Did awhile ago, then back to storage

I’ve been busy plus I’ve been working with Folio Academy and with a few projects for hire. I’m not allowed to post the work from the projects because my clients don’t want them visible before their products release. So I decided to start from scratch. (pun intended) So I dug this out – a scratch board I did a few years ago for my R.O.P. art class in California. I liked the piece but it never saw the light of day – it was a demo. The class loved it. I am their favorite scratch board artist and I’m not even a scratch board artist. Plus, this little guy finally gets to rear his scratchy little face.
There there my little fishy friend, like my little wizard friend, you finally get your 15 minutes.

Black and White Art Work is a Good Place to Learn Good Design

A good illustration should work well in black and white if it is going to work well in color. So whether you are working in black and white, or color, you want to design your drawing, work out the details. Work out your value patterns, and design. Mark Summers is a master of black and white and when he colors one of his Illustrations, it still reads very well because it works so well in black and white first.

My Favorite Scratch Board Artist is Mark Summers. 

Composers ~mark summers
I find scratch board art kind of tedious, Scratching away so little at a time. But for those who enjoy it, it could be realy enjoyable. I would like to see how Mark Summers works. His stuff kicks my butt. I guess what I’m saying is that if you really want to go scratch board, you  should look to Mark Summers, the Illustrator not the game show host. I am not sure if his just looks better nest to mine or if it is really that good. Nope, I can tell, his is really that good. He is quite a craftsman and he has found his niche. Look how he has orchestrated each line rather than just scratching haphazardly like it did. Sweet! Way to go Mr. Summers.

Are Artists Respected for their Skill Like Other Professionals?


I Don’t think Illustrators get the Respect they Deserve. 

0005 Monster
What do doctors, lawyers, and CPA’s have in common aside from all that schooling? Probably the respect they get for their profession. Sure people often get a second opinion but they don’t go to the plumber – they go to another doctor, lawyer, or accountant.
I’ve wanted to write about this for a while because it irks me that in our profession we’re often not treated as the experts we’ve worked so hard to become. Let me begin by eliminating most of the children’s picture book editors from my upcoming rant. I’ve never been treated more like a professional than by my picture book editors. I’m talking about the clients we’ve had who don’t respect our schooling and work experience in freelance illustration. Do you ever feel trapped by your work? Hopefully this post will help you re-evaluate the people you choose to work for.

Death Design by Committee, Death of a good Illustration

art by Brett Helquist

I find it really troublesome that we are often asked to make arbitrary, superfluous, unnecessary, and downright stupid changes that ruin the design and composition by clients that have no art training. It’s the equivalent of me telling my surgeon where and how to cut – my attorney what motions to file and my CPA what strategies he should use to save me money. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about back and forth conversations about art direction and options to consider before beginning sketches – and I’m not talking about good feedback on sketches or final art. I’m talking about bone headed decisions like eliminating colors that the art director happens to personally dislike. I’m talking about cluttering up good design with extra elements that don’t enhance the story or eliminating elements that are important to visual literacy. I’m talking about making content changes based on fear and most importantly the all too familiar “design by committee approach”.

What is Design by Committee?

What is “design by committee” you ask? It’s when companies (often educational text book or software companies) have multiple team and management members that have to “sign off” or agree on all stages of the artwork before it can be approved and the artists are allowed to proceed. For instance, the illustrator receives the assignment and emails sketches to his/her art director. The one person who understands art and good design, the art director isn’t respected or trusted to make decisions and approvals either! The sketches must pass by each team members desk. This sets up a dicey situation for each team member as well. If a particular person in this chain likes everything he or she sees – he or she might feel that he or she isn’t doing his or her job by sending it through without changes. Since nobody in this donkey conga line wants to appear lazy they conjure up changes they often don’t believe in and punt to the next drone. Sometimes I find myself stifling the laughter listening to the poor art director trying to justify conflicting moronic changes that even he/she doesn’t believe in.
The result is a bunch of sketches sent back to the illustrator marked up like a failing high school research paper. I’ve gotten them back looking like college football play charts. It’s interesting to me that this hasn’t been my experience in the picture book world – and picture books cost tens of thousands of dollars more to produce than a few pages in a text book. With my picture book projects I get very thoughtful comments and requests that are sensitive to my intentions and desires. We work back and forth to find solutions that address concerns but it’s not dictatorial by nature and there certainly aren’t the sheer quantity of rage conjuring idiotic arbitrary “one for the gipper” comments.

Why Aren’t Artists Trusted for their abilities? 

What is it with art? Why aren’t our skills appreciated and trusted? Why do people think they can direct a painting when they don’t know how to design, draw, or paint? Why do people think they can publish without hiring skilled graphic designers? Graphic design is a science unto itself yet for some reason it seems to be a skill that is greatly under appreciated. I mean am I missing something? Do we hire college soccer coaches who have never played soccer? Do we hire conductors who have never studied music? Do customers go into the kitchen to tell the head chef how to cook the dish?
The answer can most likely be traced back to our schooling. Since it was never taught as a serious subject to all of us beginning in elementary school it is a discipline that is grossly misunderstood by the masses. “But Will, medicine, law, and accounting weren’t taught broadly either. Yes, but each of them have a level of mystery that are inherent to each discipline. Art on the other hand is very accessible. We see it for what it is. We can own it, touch it, commission it, clip it, steal it, share it, print it, etc. But does access devalue it’s creative process? Apparently so to some. (sarcasm intended)
Lately I have been listening to my client incompetence radar and turning down assignments that smell of the aforementioned disrespect. I love working on a good project with a great art director, editor, creative director, etc. – but life is too short to spend bitterly and angrily working with people who don’t value what I bring to the table.

What Can We Do?

If you’re serious about this business you can do a few things to help yourself and your fellow illustrators. If you find yourself in a situation like I’ve mentioned you can be respectful and politely challenge decisions if they are contrary to your artistic sensibilities. Don’t challenge for the sake of the challenge and when you do challenge – be solution oriented. Try to get what you want by offering another option that achieves what your art director wants while giving you more of a change you can live with. Agree to making some changes that you don’t agree with to help you win a few of the the more important battles. The better we are at communication – the better clients we will ultimately share.

Gallery artist vs Illustrator? Though I could be a Gallery Artist. LOL

Should I do fine art for a gallery, or Illustrate?

I painted this thinking I wanted to do Gallery work

South Western DInner


Oh the glamour and prestige of being a fine artist 

This was a painting I did when I thought it would be fun, exciting, Okay glamorous,  to sell fine art in a gallery… Don’t we all just want to just paint for fun and hang our stuff in galleries all over the world and just kick back and sign autographs and check the mail box for money every day.

Now accepting offers from galleries for my art- Lol

So I had this south western idea and my own little style. I was creating my niche. Don’t poke fun of the perspective, “I did that on purpose”. (art speak) I painted this and really enjoyed doing it. No deadline, no art director, just me and the paint, and my dog Poochy bugging my to scratch her neck and go for a walk.

walk with Poochy

Here’s Poochy, and me, in the boardroom.

Then I realized that finding a gallery that wanted my work was going to be a stretch… and I would have to frame everything on my dime… and then there’s shipping… and wearing an earring… and a black turtleneck sweater… and growing a ponytail… and pretending to be be tortured … and I would have to smoke peyote… and go vegan… and lose weight… plus I couldn’t think of anything else I really wanted to paint… then I was glad I had an illustration career… and I scratched Poochy’s neck and took a walk.

Life is wonderful :)

There Once was a Cowpoke who Swallowed an Ant: A Picture Book

Children’s Book Writer, Helen Ketteman & Artist, Will Terry Team Up Once again

Yet another wonderful picture book for all ages, especially children.

0002 Cow poke 1

I don’t care how many children’s books you’ve illustrated it’s always exciting to get that box of new books from the UPS guy – who I gave a BIG hug to – it was awkward.
This book is now available at many retailers and it’s the the fourth book I’ve illustrated by Helen Ketteman (Published by Albert Whitman) What a sweet lady! I had the opportunity to get into a car wreck with her in Houston. We were in the same car when her friend (who was driving) got into a crash. Everyone was fine but it was really nice to see how she comforted her friend who was quite frazzled. You can really tell a lot about someone’s character when they’re under stress.

School teacher turned author. 

0002 Cow poke 2Helen is one of those school teachers turned author – dangerous! I think that’s why she writes such fun books that kids really seem to love. This one is just pure fun. I think there’s been a shift towards books that teach a moral or celebrate a historical event. This book is just fun. Is it ok that we let kids just be kids sometimes and have fun? I’m still a kid and I like to have a little fun once and a while…ok all the time.

0002 Cow poke 3

Anyway if you’re looking for a fun book that doesn’t teach a darn thing your children might like this one!Buy There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed An Ant


Kid’s choice; favorite book to have read to them

Cow poke swallowing a texas long horn steerI keep hearing kids say this is their favorite book to have read to them in March you can find it at amazon, and read it to a kid. 
Favorite place to lean art? At home on the computer.

Not All Illustrations Get to be in the Show

Cow poke 5 All that work, and then ‘no’, this little illustration is a still borne. It doesn’t get to live and breath and be a part of the book.

Hmmm… Wonder what I should order? 

It seems to be a lot of problems accidentally swallowing critters in children’s publishing these days…
Wow, everyone likes this book. (Thanks to Photoshop)
Cow poke 6 Cow poke 7

Illustration Demo for BYU Art Students

Art Demonstration for an illustration Class at BYU

 I may offend them with a BYU alumni overweight, and smoking!

I was asked by Greg Newbold to do a demo in his illustration classes… so I racked my brain to come up with something that would be FUN but non-offensive to the students. Well not TOO offensive.

Behold! the sketch I came up with. Fun? Offensive? Art?

I really like this sketch and I’m going to paint it but I’m concerned that the student’s might not like that I’ve decided to portray a BYU alumni overweight. And as many of you know, they don’t smoke, so I am taking a little risk here. Not to worry, they may be Mormons but they aren’t that uptight.  :)

Finished, Acrylic paint over Photoshop printed background.

Six hours to paint it

BYU alumnusThis is the finish art demo: It was a lot of fun working on it and talking to students. I was happy that they thought it was funny… or at least, didn’t beat me up for poking fun. I worked on it in class for about 4 hours and spent an additional 2 at home with a few finishing touches.


Digital Stage, no lighter than 50% value.

This is the beginnings of my digital stage where I Scan in my sketch, take that into Photoshop and airbrush some smooth, basic colors and keep them kind of dark. My main concern is getting everything no lighter than about 50% value.

Using Photoshop I spent about 20 minutes laying in shadows and basic foundation colors. Then I printed it on watercolor paper. The next step in this method was to stipple a layer of acrylic gel medium over the print. I use a kind of short hair paint brush and a little Gel Medium at a time and stipple it onto the paper, giving it millions of little tiny peaks. Aka tooth. The gel drys clear so you can paint with acrylics right over it. Building up the lighter areas. And of course saving the highlights for last.


Painting Color and Light for illustrators and artists: contest part 2

Start with a good drawing.

There’s still time, to do the Coloring contest, see post

It seldom works to start with a bad design and then just fix it with color. Good light and color will look better with a well designed drawing.

It would be nice to give you all the answers but I think I’ll give you all the questions, that way you can come up with the answers.

Things to consider for your artwork

Light and Shadow What is value and how is it used?

What are gradients and how do they work in a drawing?

Can drawings work in mostly light values, dark values, both?

Lighting shapes, What direction should my light be coming from?

How does light fall on a sphere, cube, cylinder, & human form?

What is the relationship between the darkest dark and lightest light?

Why is reflected light important to show form?

What are cast shadows and what happens to their edges?

What direction do shadows go?

What are occlusion shadows?

Painting Color, What colors should I buy or use?

Are white and black colors?

Should you ever use black?

What happens when you mix various colors?

What are cold & warm colors?

What is a vibrating color?

What are color opposites?

What’s the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary colors?

What are tints, shades, and gradients?

What is a triad?

How can you neutralize two colors?

What’s is a complimentary color scheme and an analogous color scheme?

How can I get rich color in my painting?

Where can I learn to draw and paint better?

How can I enter the little coloring art contest for artists and illustrators everywhere?

Cover Art for Storywoks Magazine

Art (slash) Illustration for a Magazine Cover

Magic carpet ride over bookish buildings

magic carpet

Kids having fun with a reading theme

I was excited to take this job. I was happy to draw and illustrate this fun assignment: “Kids having fun with a reading theme”. It was a lot of fun to come up with the whimsical idea of a kid all freaking out on this wild magic carpet ride while his dog is hanging on like a pit bull and he little sister, or brother, not at all afraid of the potential danger all around, just curled up with a good book and having a great time.

My transition to digital phase

This was done during my “transition to digital” phase. I started my transition by saving time just going into Photoshop to crank out a quick back ground. Just spray in a gradient and print it out on good paper and vuala! Most of the boring part done. So this piece was a little painful because I produced it 100% in acrylics. Not because the client wanted it in acrylics. Not because I had more time to kill, but because my printer has finally given up trying to please me. We are no longer friends and I have banished it to the garage….And then we moved, and I hope that hateful printer is still in that garage thinking it will still have a life someday, and wondering why I haven’t come and apologized and plugged him back in. Sense any hostility?


So it was back to my old fashioned way of painting with acrylics. Tone the paper and painstakingly dry brush a gradient back ground and then finally get to the painting. Eventually, even that became too painstaking for me, and I have pretty well converted to 100% digi. (That is short for digital, I think) Ho the dread learning curve. Now I’m happy I made the switch. lol :)