Photoshop tutorial for artists and illustrators

Digital Painting in Photoshop is still a best seller

Photoshop E Painting finished When switched over to Photoshop 5 I thought it might be nice to offer another tutorial.

This is a little sketch I did on my ipad with my finger – I’ve gone paperless by the way – I never intended to go green but when technology makes it easier to use than paper…

I’m calling this painting “Class System”. I find it ironic that often it’s the working class/poor who are much happier in life than the rich who control everything but still turn to drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Oh no – I actually have something to say? This is weird.

Digital Painting in Photoshop Tutorial


It was a lot of fun making the video course for  Digital Painting in Photoshop and it has been very successful but it was good to do the sequel. I call it Part 2. Part two was a lot of fun too, and it is very informative for illustrators learning to illustrate in Photoshop.

Photoshop E Painting in progress, almost done.

Getting the colors right

Just trying to get the colors right – this piece was a challenge because there isn’t a lot of warm light which means almost everything needs to be on the cool side. I usually like to light things with a warm light and then use cool shadows and cool reflected light. Very traditional I know.

Photoshop E Painting in progress, adding some warm colors

It takes patience even when you know the process

Here it was pretty slow going but I’ll get there. Here I am just starting to add lighter values and colors and trying to figure out my color scheme as I go. One of the advantages of working digitally  is testing colors on “throw-a-way” layers.

Photoshop E Painting in progress, under painting in cool colors

a Multiply layer

I’ve now added a “multiply” layer and started to work color into the background using the airbrush with the “texture” turned on in the brush pallet. The texture is a scanned texture I made with acrylic heavy gel medium and black and white acrylic paint.

Photoshop E Painting in progress, black and whit, values added

I added the value on the ipad using the airbrush tool.

I want to try to figure out where all the dark and light areas are going to be before I start adding color. This is crucial because once you get deep into the color process it’s hard to fix value problems.

Photoshop E Painting in just starting, line drawing

Starting out with a good line drawing and a composition

Fix all your problems in the design, not as you go. You will be glad you did.


Art Lessons OnLine – for 5 years

FolioAcademy opened it’s virtual doors in 2011

Old SiteWe were so proud and excited to announce our new creation – Folio Academy – online art lessons for everyone. You can check it out here.

Back in 2010, I was driving home from a long day teaching at UVU here in Utah and he heard a woman being interviewed by Dave Ramsey on the radio. He was talking back skeptically and sarcastically to the radio. The woman was saying that EVERYONE has something they do in their spare time or professional life that they could use to earn extra income. I was thinking, “I’m an illustrator and a teacher…what else could I possibly have time for??!!!” It bugged me for about a week when a thought popped into my head – I teach…why not teach to the video camera and then sell the videos on my website???…I love teaching and video editing has been a little hobbie – so I did.

And then I heard the voices – “this is a waste of time”…”who do you think you are anyway?”…”you could be watching Flintstones re-runs.” But I silenced the voices and forged ahead. In between a book project and some text book covers I grabbed 10 days where I basically didn’t sleep. At the end of that torture session I emerged gleaming with my finished product: “How To Illustrate Children’s Books“. I was so proud. It was a labor of love indeed. I should probably back up a bit – I was lucky in that I had a programmer living at my house – my brother in law – and he assured me that he was up to the task of programming my website so that we could sell streaming videos. He would take care of the tech end and I would take care of making the videos.

Because I had to jump right back into illustrator mode I was only able to spend one day marketing my little video series. I contacted a few illustration bloggers like Angela Matteson – Angelato and children’s book blogs like Mark Mitchell’s How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator and invited them to do a blog post and give-a-way of my video series. They accepted as did about 4 other bloggers and from there I started selling my videos. Every now and then someone who purchased my videos liked them enough to do a blog post on them like Paula Pertile who used the photoshop concepts I put in my videos to achieve an unbelievable digital version of her colored pencil drawings. I know I’m leaving a lot of wonderful people out but there are too many to mention…but Sue from Moab was a great supporter!

Fast forward through a few more video series and I started getting asked by fellow artists about how my videos were selling and if I thought it was worth doing. Of course I told them I did but the problem most artists have is the programming side of selling videos from their own site. I put my head together with a few artist friends and together we decided to make a site available to artists of every kind. One of my illustrator friends said, “Can you imagine what it would have been like to have a resource like this when we were going to school?”


So our goal is to find the best artists from around the world and see what they have to teach. We’ve partnered with several local video studios like Amber Media Pro and Provo Creative and are inviting artists to come into the studio for a day and do their thang in front of the cameras. Of course not every artist can get to us so we’ll also offer their videos if they can produce them themselves. We are still kida small but we plan to change that here in the near future when we start releasing more courses and start growing this like we should have a long time ago.

So, woman on the radio talking about monetizing your hobbie whoever you are – thank you! – and my apologies for doubting you.

Illustrators and Artists need to practice, at least I do

Oil Study, Practice for next Fall

Oil Study/SketchI can’t believe school is already out, again! This means school is just a few months away.

I teach at UVU here in Utah and I thought I’d get a little practice before I start again this fall. I’m really looking forward to learning right along with my class –  I like to think of it like we’re a bunch of mad scientists in our laboratory (pron: La-bore-a-tree) tinkering, combining, creating…basically making a mess and calling it work.

It has been so long since I’ve used real live oil paint. I don’t think I am too happy with the way this one turned out but oh well. Practice makes perfect. It may do me some good to look at a few of our own lessons at folio academy. Maybe Beginning Oil Painting by Emily Gordon, or  Portrait Painting by Kirk Richards. Either way, we all need to practice. Well, most of us do.

I hope you have a wonderful summer. Practice practice practice.

Follow your dream to be an Artist/Illustrator

Should You Follow Your Dream?


Young artist, dreaming of being a pro

When I grow up, I’m gonna be an artist.

What kind of question is that? Of course you should follow your dream… I mean, of course you shouldn’t follow your dream. I guess it depends on who you ask. Or what your dreams are. I’m often asked questions like this by my students, and others. They often want to know if it’s possible to follow their dreams of becoming a professional artist/illustrator and can they make enough money to support themselves.

Yes, it is possible to succeed.

This is an impossible question to answer in a few short sentences. It’s also probably impossible to answer with a simple yes or no. But Yes, it is possible, is it likely? Or will it be easy? Is it right for you? That is the real question. So I can’t answer Yes, or No. What I can do is offer my insights and, I would also council students, beginners and wanna be professional artists/illustrators to get opinions from other sources (until someone tells them what they want to hear. lol Or rather), until they hear enough of the answer that resonates with them.

How bad do you want it?

 First, I believe that most successful artists have an internal drive to create. A need. A burning from within to draw, paint, sculpt, write, play, or whatever. I also see that this desire is stronger in some than others – think of it like “the force”. And then there’s that need to make money for survival. These two needs are often at odds with one another. Parents send their kids to school to prepare them for careers and everybody knows you can’t make a living as an artist…or that the odds of making a living as an artist are pretty slim.

Statistics can be misleading

 If you only look at the figures it’s totally impractical to choose art as a career – score one for parents, my aunt Georgia, those negative school teachers and all the other naysayers, but statistics can be misleading.

Lets go off on a tangent…

small garter snake

When I grow up, I’m gonna bite a 16-24 year old moron.

In the United states there are approximately 8,000 poisonous snake bites each year. So if you live here you have a one in 43,000 chance of being bitten by a poisonous snake. However what if you’re a home body – couch potato – a slug who lives in the city and never goes out? Are your chances the same? “yeah but my friend got bit by a rattle snake once.” Also, would your chances go down if you never pick up snakes? Included in the 8,000 statistic are all of the 16-24 year old boys/men who “feel the need” to pick up snakes. In fact more than half of the 8,000 people bitten each year are morons who picked up poisonous snakes. So are your personal chances of being bitten really 1 out of 43,000? You have a much lower chance, taking these additional facts into consideration – Because you, or most of you, don’t pick up poisonous snakes. I may run a little greater risk as I do a lot of hiking in the foot hills around hear with Will Terry. We call it the Board Room. And there are a few rattlesnakes, out here. And we have seen a few. “Yeah and my dad got bit by one once up on Mount Nebo.”

Does this apply to your chances of “making it” as a professional artist?

I think you need to take a hard look at yourself because in the end only you can answer the questions that can get you past the statistics.Are you always creating? Drawing, painting, etc? Is it the most important thing in your life? Or at least, one of the most important things. Are you happy with the idea of yourself doing something other than an art career? Do you give up other activities to pursue art? Do you identify yourself as an artist? Do you treat socializing on weekends as a sacred ritual or can you give it up to perfect your art projects? Do you have artist role models? Are you motivated to pursue entrepreneurial projects? Do you believe you can “make money” if you have a good product and are willing to work hard? Do you feel free to do what you want in life without the blessing of your parents, friends, or Aunt Georgia? Do you like to improvise and experiment or feel the need to follow instructions on projects to a fault? Do you over-estimate your artistic abilities?

Is it something you LOVE? And will you continue to love it eight hours a day?

artist loving his arting

When I grow up, nah, I’m an artist, I don’t have to grow up.

These are just a few questions I think you need to be able to answer in order to know if your odds are better or worse for being able to “make it” as a professional artist. I believe that some have a much better chance simply because of their life style, habits, and choices, while others have a horrible shot at it because it’s just not that important to them.

In the end one thing’s for sure: There are a lot of people who regret not following their dreams and there are a lot of people who have regrets about following their dreams. Each probably feel they should have taken a different path.

Most people change paths several times in their life any way, so maybe you should give it a shot. You will have a better chance if you really dedicate yourself to it, rather than just give it a shot.
I say, If you want to be an Artist, DO IT. It isn’t skill so much as it’s sticking with it, and doing it, and never giving up. Art is an acquired skill that can be learned and improved upon. So if your willing to learn and improve and keep on doing it, you can succeed.

So, Yes it IS possible

Should you follow your dreams? I don’t know. Can you become a professional artist, YES YOU CAN. Is it likely that YOU will succeed? Will it be stressful? Will it all be fun? Will it be hard? Will it be easy? It will be worth it. 

Off the record

Wayne holding a great basin gofer snake

When I grow up, I won’t feel the need to pick up snakes. PS this is Not a poisonous snake. I hope.

I was a 16-24 year old boy/men/moron who “felt the need” to pick up snakes and I had a pet rattlesnake for awhile. I did handle him a few times til I took her back to Mount Benlomand where I caught him and let her go. Statistically, that month, I had a lot higher chance of being bitten by a poisonous snake. And oh yeah, I don’t really know if he was a girl or if she was a boy.

How to: Painting with Acrylics Video Course

Learn How to start Painting with Acrylics, using my Dry Brush Technique

acrylic painting painted with the Will Terry dry brush technique

There are many ways to create a painting with acrylics. The way that I do that is, I use a technique called a dry brush technique. I paint with a very dry paint brush with acrylic paint. Little by little, I build up layers of acrylic paint on a textured surface, to create my Acrylic Paint look.


It is so hard to explain my Acrylic Painting  Drybrush style without video.

close up, Acrylic painting

I’m still amazed at how amazing the internet is – I almost think that it’s a blessing to have grown up without it. I don’t think my kids can appreciate it as much as I do.
The internet has made it possible for illustrators and artists to show and teach our students our techniques. Instead of the frustrations of trying to explain how to dry brush, I can now show it. In the how to paint videos I take the painting you see above from start to finish in real time. I didn’t speed this one up so anyone viewing it can see exactly how you can dry brush with acrylic paint. I start it with a sketch, transfer to paper, add acrylic texture, under-painting (or Grisaille), and finally the finished painting using wet paint, glazes, and dry brushing. I talk about everything from materials to design.

Acrylic Paint won’t do what it won’t do

Pencil sketch to be produced as an acrylic painting

I often hear my students complain about how much they HATE painting with acrylics– I tell them, “It’s because you want them to do something that they aren’t good for.” In these videos I show you why acrylics have been the workhorse medium for illustrators world wide.

Bonus Videos

Acrylic painting dry brush technique picture

I also included two bonus videos – two different approaches on how to paint using acrylics: Painterly and cross hatching. I really hope these videos are helpful to anyone trying to learn how to paint with acrylics! Click here for more information




And of course, see Folio Academy for all your art lessons on line.


iPad painting, with my Finger

iPad Painting; Finger Painting on the iPad

finished pic of a strange fish ipad painting by Will Terry

Complete with color.

iPad Painting is too fun. I’m having way too much fun with the “brushes” app fro painting on the ipad. I painted this at a doctors office and in the car waiting for my son and a little while watching old episodes of “The Office” on NetFlix with the fam. My favorite Michael Scott line: “Would I rather be feared or loved?…I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”


iPad Painting & the lack of Pressure Sensitivity

ipad painting/sketch of the strange fish by Will Terry finger painting

Black and white finger painted on the iPad

But back to ipad painting – while the touch screen leaves many to complain about the lack of pressure sensitivity I find that an easy work around is just lowering the opacity to almost zero and making lots of little strokes. I love the portability and the fact that I can use it with or without a stylus. Like the title of this post suggests – I never used my stylus to paint this image – only my finger. I was surprised that after a while my finger did actually get a little tender but was fine the next day. My goal was to see how far I could take a digital painting using only my finger. I guess you could say I gave my ipad the finger :)…in a good way. I think I still like it better with the stylus.  With the ability to zoom in and out so quickly – fixing and smoothing line work was a snap.

The iPads are still wonderful fo digital painting

I still enjoy digital iPad painting however I feel that the perfect tablet for me would be about half again bigger than the this ipad size. And pressure sensitivity would be nice too. I think there are better ways to paint digitally but this works. As more and more artists and especially illustrators are switching to digital painting, there are more and more devices and apps and programs to make it even easier. I love it.

For art lessons online, be sure to visit  :)