Painting & Illustrating; Making the Switch to Digital Art & Loving it

What do you think of my digital art?

Went digi just four years ago and loving it 

early digi Illustration

Up until about January 2010, I only fooled around with painting in Photoshop. I started out by painting backgrounds for my paintings in Photoshop due to the advice of Jim Madsen  but never really tried to fully render a sketch or an Illustration. I remember the day after Christmas that year was a day for putting together toys, searching for more batteries, playing Acquire, watching Avatar, and squeezing in a little time to experiment with Photoshop. This is what I came up with.

I made this sketch for a book that got canceled (bummer) but since I liked it I decided it would be the guinea pig.
So, I’m looking for you to exercise your critiquing abilities – what do you guys think I could have done to make this a better piece? Not the following, but the boy, or is that a girl? by the tree.
A few day later, more digital artwork

A Love affair is born

Here is an excerpt from my journal shortly after my first date with Photoshop:
“I have a new secret love affair and I’m pretty sure my wife will be down with it… until I spend too much time with her. Her name is Photoshop and she’s so cute! The way she responds to gentle clicking – her color – and those deep dark shadows! Her pixels drive me wild!” ~Will Terry

in the end I’m so happy with the process
Mexican Dinner
I wish I could take the credit but I must send a shout out to Jed Henry who wet nursed me through the process. Oh there were a few choice words at first – a tear here and there but in the end I’m so happy with the process he helped me with. Thanks Jed!
This was an old sketch I dug out to fool around with – he was originally sketched for a Rosa’s restaurant painting I did 6 or 7 years ago. El Senior Monteban – quite dapper and oozing with confidence.

I Used to Struggle as an Illustrator & I Still STRUGGLE with My Art

If You only knew How Much I Used To Struggle!

 In fact, I still STRUGGLE with my art.

Fish King

To this day I still have a problem drawing in front of people. I have no problem painting in front of a group but I’m so unsure about my drawings I get really self conscious.
This fish for instance goes through a really rough loose stage that changes form many times before I start to see things I like. Often I don’t like where it’s going and have to start over from scratch – that would make a really fun demo wouldn’t it? (sarcasm intended)… and the fear of that happening is paralyzing – so I don’t often draw in front of my classes.
A lot of our artist friends that are realy good at what they do, don’t want to do a course for folioacademy because they are afraid of the camera, they don’t want the world to see them struggle.

Developing Your Art Skill Takes Time

I know I’ve talked about this before but I really want you to know two things:

1. This art thing that you want to get good at takes a long time – a lifetime really.

2. It’s really fun when you start to put all the pieces together and start creating images that gather an audience!

Assignment: Create a “Fish King Character”

King Fish line artI gave an assignment to create a “Fish King” character in my Imagination and Visual Literacy class at UVU and invited my students to send me images to post – some of them took me up on this invitation. I hope they realize that they draw better than I did when I was going to college. In fact, I was put on “probation” as a provisional student for being such a horrible artist. I was one of the few that didn’t get a studio space my junior year and I was on probation, I had to improve or I wouldn’t be in “the Program” my senior year. So I spent my Junior year being a lesser student. Yes that was stressful and depressing. And scary, to spend three years in University just to be told that “I can’t be an artist”.

Here are some preliminary sketches.

Oh yeah – it was my son Aaron’s idea to put fish hooks in his lips – credit where credit’s due!

Evolution of a Fish King.

King Fish line art c







Here’s What My Students are Drawing

King Fish line art d

I love the diversity you can see in their work. By nature artists want to be different. Artists want to show the world something they’ve never seen. Check out Dallin Orr’s and Todd wilson’s work.

I don’t mind admitting it, some of my students are a lot better artists than I was at their stage in the game.

 Here are a few warm up sketches I did.

King Fish line art b


New Photoshop Tool Makes Painting TOO Easy to Believe

Christmas Card

I know we don’t usually post on a Tuesday but this is a special occasion that can’t wait. This new plugin is SO usefool, You would have to be a fool not to look at this new Photoshop tool. Some wonder if computers are going to make it too easy. We will have to compete with every fool out there that can afford a PC and Photoshop.

Watch this short Demo video while Mr. Folio Academy, Will Terry shows you how easily he just painted this beautiful digital creation of Santa Claus on a snow board.



You probably want to know where you can get this cool plug in and how much it’s going to cost. They say that the right tools don’t make you an artist but I am starting to think that this is all I need. I am so greatfool for this new plug in. The cool thing is, the company that created this affordable plug in is working on another one that is equally helpfool. It does most of the drawing for you. It will be released 04/01/2015 a year from today. Happy april fool’s day.

Comments welcome.

Billy Goats & a Troll, Three Blind (Pew) Mice, Illustration wit a Twist

 Put a new twist on an old idea

Why not make the troll HUGE!

Troll SketchThis is an image for a fun little book project I was doing awhile ago and unless you just arrived on this planet you already know what the story is.
I had done another book project that was for a fractured fairy tale called The Three BULLY Goats. A cute little story where the goats were the bullies and the troll was kind and gentle.
I guess that led to me wanting to

illustrate another troll under a bridge with a goats story. I wanted to make an image that would bring a slight twist on the classic BILLY Goats Gruff tale and I thought that playing with the scale of the troll might make my piece more unique. I’ve always been puzzled when musicians re-make a well-known song yet fail to put their own artistry into the performance. I hope I can give this book freshness so that both adults and children can appreciate it.


Part of my process has always been to work from a warm tone over the entire surface – and then I add tone to the shadow areas. Weather I used acrylics, oils or an iPad or other digital devices, I would still go from a toned canvas, to toned shadows to to the finished piece.

I combined two different sketches to get it right. 

I combined two sketches because I was having a hard time drawing the Troll where I wanted him in one sketch. I used Photoshop to get it right…and the painting was also done in Photoshop. – Brushes that never run out of paint! Undo! Copy Paste! Endless Adjustments! Speed! No Shipping Costs!

A new look at an old illustration

3 blind (pew) mice. A  new take on an old favorite by NC Wyeth called the Blind Pew.

0003 Jim M. 3 blind mice. A new take on an old favorite painting from NC Wyeth called the Blind Pew.
Artist Jim Madsen, (Wayne Andreason is his best friend) copied “Blind Pew” with a twist. He took an old favorite by NC Wyeth, the Blind Pew and put it to Three Blind Mice.

The Blind Pew ~NC Wyeth

NC Wyeth's illustration, the Blind Pew
Compare the mouse on the left and the house in the background. And the color pallet and painting technique. Although Jim’s is a digital painting. Way to go Jim.

FREE WEBINAR! 10 Step Digital Painting

FREE STEP BY STEP Digital Painting Webinar

 March 1, 2014 7:PM MST (mt. standard time)

Dragon Rider

You know that feeling you got when you were 5 and you got to run downstairs on Christmas morning to open presents? Not to diss on past memories but WOW – I have that feeling again! I’m so excited to be able to create a lesson and share it with people all over the world! Our last webanar “How To Draw Everything” by Jake Parker gathered 879 people from countries on just about every continent – I even saw someone named “Penguin7493″ so… (Okay, maybe that wasn’t his, or her, real name… but then again, maybe it was)

How to, Step by step, Digital Painting Process FREE!

My ten step, how to paint, digital painting course webinar is absolutely free. And the video we make of the webinar is not free, but you can get a $10 discount if you act smart, I mean fast. Anyway, we have another webinar coming up on March 1st at 7:00PM MST and this time it’s my turn to share my digital painting process. I’ve broken it down into 10 steps. You know that old saying? The one that I’m about to butcher – “eating an elephant is hard unless you eat him one step or spoonful at a time…” or whatever but you get the point. If you learn to do something methodically it can not only make the task seem easier but also give you results you can replicate, and really, that’s what’s important right?

You can also purchase the video with added perks. 

Dragon Rider 02
For those who decide to purchase the video recording of the webinar we’ve decided to throw in some extras this time (we’re learning). You’ll get 3 things: A PDF study guide with a verbal description of each of the 10 steps. A bonus video explaining in detail how to set up Photoshop to use the texture settings in the brush pallet and my FULL Photoshop painting with over 30 layers from sketch to finishing touches. This is a high res file over 300 mb  – my working file so you can deconstruct the Dragon Rider and see what she’s really made of. Don’t be dissapointed if you don’t find any bones or entrails. Use it as your own working file to replicate my layers if you want to. This is a great way to actually see how someone paints in Photoshop.
DragonRider 03I realize that many people will think I’m crazy for letting my artwork get out there to be used by anyone for any purpose. I think most artists get a little too attached to their work and subsequent self importance. In the end it was 25 hours having a blast doing exactly what I wanted. If someone makes T-shirts out of it in some other country good luck – send me a picture of all the cash – that’ll put a smile on my face! And send me a T-shirt while your at it. I take a size “pretty freaking big”.
Pre-Order the Video & save $10 – The Webinar is FREE
It is absolutely FREE to attend the webinar, but if you would like to pre-order the video, PDF, Bonus Video, and Dragon Rider Photoshop file, you’ll get a $10 discount using coupon code “10step10” – but this will expire the end of the day of March 1 – check out the details in our store.
DragonRider 04
So you need to get registered for this event in order to be sent your individual joining link from GoToWebanar – simply click here and follow the instructions! See you soon!

How to Make a Story App, step 9, fix it.

Gary’s Place Now Available For Android

In this post I’m going to write about what we’ve been doing with Gary’s place and some of the mistakes we’ve made along the way – and give information on how to contact my son Aaron for help with your app.

Now Playing at Google Play and Amazon app stores near you.

First: Gary’s Place can now be found in the Google Play and Amazon app stores for Android devices – YAY! We are charging a dollar less since it’s optimized for iPad and stretched a bit on many of the android phones and tablets.

Still not a best seller. 

Second: I’m not sharing sales data yet because we really haven’t gotten off the ground yet – I’ve been holding back because of all the problems we’ve had – ARRRRG! Sales data coming after we start advertising. Naturally I hope it sales like “Where the Wild Things Are” but I am also realistic. So don’t hate me if it flops. I already know that it might. That’s the beauty of free enterprise. We are lucky to have the freedom to buy, the freedom to sell, the freedom to try AND the freedom to fail.

So lets talk about the problems and subsequent updates:


When we first uploaded to iTunes and waited and waited for the approval we were horrified when we downloaded the app and saw that it was called “Build 17” on my iPad in the title below the icon. NOOOOOO!!!!! Let me just say, that while Apple is “user friendly” for consumers they are 180 degrees from that for developers (User UNFRIENDLY). It really feels as if they don’t care about helping you AT ALL! Or even like they want you to fail, give up, eat worms and kill yourself. When we uploaded the app file, Apple asked for the title of the app – which we filled in with “Gary’s Place”. But they don’t use that to put under your app icon – instead – they use the file name -BUT THEY DON’T TELL YOU THAT.

Now available, an awesome children’s story App, “Build 17”. No, it’s not sci fi. 

Therefor, update number one, change the name to something a little more appealing, like “Gary’s Place”.

Update #2: fix the ending and reducing the overall size

The story of Gary’s Place is about a small fur bearing animal that lives with mom and dad, and eventually moves out into a place of his own. Hence the name. Gary’s Place.
Well one of my online friends – Elizabeth – informed me that at first she interpreted the ending as Gary moving back in with his parents at the end. “Hmmm”,  I thought, “that’s not good.” So I asked Jan Watford who had reviewed Gary’s Place on her blog if she read it that way as well – and she said, “Yes, isn’t that what you intended?” …..Crap!
So…Update # 2 was to fix the ending and reducing the overall size of the app…and that update just went live for iPad. Yay!

Update #3: add a navigation bar

Then my app builder guy, AKA my son Aaron (who’s been working really hard on all of this) thought we needed navigation to make it easier to pick a specific page in the app and go directly there. (It will disappear after a few seconds so it’s not in the way.) That was a GOOD CALL. I’ve been so busy with a large freelance assignment that I haven’t been able to give it as much attention as it deserves. So luckily I have him around, and yes, I compensate him for his brilliance and work. He went ahead and did added the navigation, and it makes using the app Sooo much easier, and user friendly. Take that Apple. Below is a screen shot of what update #3 will look like. So Update #3 will add a navigation bar to quickly jump to any page and reduce the size even further.

UPDATE #4: TBA and in the mean time, Start my next App 

My writer/partner, Rick Walton has now written the next story and I’m starting to layout the entire app – and loving it! Gary’s has Worms.

My son Aaron has decided to help other people with their apps as long as they’re using Kwik. He’s spent the last 3 months working with Kwik and has gotten pretty good at it. He’s offering to coach you or build your app – you can visit his site right here: or copy and paste or click this>>> and here’s a gratuitous link to where you will find art lessons online.

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day

P.S. Happy Valentines Day. Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to customize a candy heart pic for my wife and valentine RuthAnn.

I will post step 10 on Feb, 21, 2014, put it on your calendar, and put that on your fridge. See you then.

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.


links to previous steps are at the end of this post. 

Add sound effects to your story app.

Adding the sound effects was one of the funnest parts of the creation process. I was amazed at how the sound can “sell” the animation or idea – it’s pure magic. Watching your little animations is great but they are silent by themselves – adding the right sound brings them to life.

A few tips for finding and applying sound effects to your apps.

I used for a bunch of the sounds in my app. The sounds are free to use as long as you give credit to the artists in your project. I only used “public domain” sounds and “creative commons” licensed sounds. The agreements can be easily viewed and read on their site.

I also created some sounds using tinyvox on my iPad and then altered them in Audacity. I couldn’t find a good digging sound for Gary but I knew what I wanted – so I scratched my pant leg  – I know – weird right? But it made a pretty good sound and I could kill tow birds with one stone. (don’t really kill birds) I could get that sound I wanted and scratch that itch on my leg at the same time. Then I doubled it up in Audacity, changed the pitch, and cleaned up the front and back end and it was perfect!

Kwik allows you to use both mp3 and wave files which you can create in Audacity. My total learning time in Audacity was about one hour from fooling around with the program and watching youtube videos produced by 8 year olds.

One of the most important things you can do with your sound files is to chop off the dead space at the front and end of the clips. You don’t want the users of your app to hear hiss or crackle before the actual sound is about to play.

Stay tuned for more Steps. Coming soon.

Cover Picture of Gary's Place







I’ll keep sharing my progress on “Gary’s Place” which I plan to submit to Apple, In fact, It is NOW only available on IOS But – we’ll have it up on Amazon for android very soon!…did I mention – IT’S DONE!!!!, Google, Amazon, etc. in a few weeks. Just in time for Christmas (Next Year) I’ll continue to blog about this process even sharing my sales stats when it hits the various app stores!

A few reviews already:

“My Kids adore Gary.” ~Sabrina Chamberlain-Parks

“Great job Will! I loved the page/scene transition especially.” ~Jan Clifton Watford

I bought the app for myself, I don’t even have kids and I loved it. Gary pulls you in and you can’t wait to turn the page to see what he’s up to next. Great job Will, I’ll pass it on to my parenting friends! ~Zulu Zulu

See how to make a story app from the beginning.

If you’re wondering where the first steps are I started this project back in September 2013 – check these links: And if you just want to brush up on your nun-chuck skills, or rather, your art skills, take a course at, art lessons online.

Now available, Step 8. The final step, till we add more, are you ever realy finished?

Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 5.5Step 6


Color Studies 

Here are a few color studies I did in preparation for a Photoshop class I am teaching soon. I like having everything ready to go long before I get into the classroom so I can pack as much information into my lesson portion of the day and not waste time.
Having some color ideas worked out ahead of time takes some of the decisions away so I can focus on the techniques I’ll be teaching. Working digitally has made it much easier to make these experiments in just a few minutes…I have about 20 minutes into these studies but being able to move forward with confidence is invaluable.
Also, I teach a “How to Use Color” course as well as a PhotoShop course here at folioacademy that you may want to check out.