Thursday, August 23, 2012

Will Terry

How did you become an illustrator?
I wasn't good at anything else. I did horribly in public school and crawled through the sewers to sneak into college. It was there that I found illustration classes and the good grades I got there kept me from getting kicked out a second time.

Did you go to art school?
I went to BYU which had a really good illustration program at the time - they seem to be a bit more focused on animation now. I had very dedicated teachers and they exposed us to everything illustration. I wouldn't be an illustrator without having attended there.

Was there anyone that was an influence in your becoming an illustrator or anyone that continues to influence your work?
I really fell in love with Mary Grandpre's work. Lane Smith hadn't started illustrating children's books yet but was very influential in his obvious design - Steve Johnson, Gary Kelly, Rob Colvin, Carter Goodrich, and the list goes on. Currently I keep a list of blogs on my blog of people that I really respect.

What inspires you now?
I'm inspired by art that has a soul. I used to be a render junkie - but that can only take you so far. I think it's similar to my taste in motion pictures. My kids are still fascinated by Transformers but after 10 min of CGI I'm ready for more story - 15 min of CGI and I start to squirm in my seat - 30 min and I'm looking for the exit. I love art of all forms. I appreciate the artistry of a surfer making a snapping cut back on a wave, the playful rhythms of musicians, the beautiful presentations of culinary artists, the art in some of the technology I find in the gadgets I use, and on and on. I try to find art in everything I experience - it's all around us - we just have to be open minded enough to see it. I find it interesting that sometimes people will pay big bucks to see a performing artist on stage and then scoff at the guy doing a blunt triple kickflip out to fakie on his skateboard outside the venue. 

Would you like to share anything about how you work?
Rather than share what I do in photoshop I'd rather talk about style in general. I really believe that if an artist works at drawing what they like - how they like - rendering it they way they like - eventually their personal fingerprint - or style - will shine through. You look at a lot of student work and it looks like just about any student could have done it. This is because the student is still struggling with medium, technique, craftsmanship, message, voice, intent, etc. With enough time devoted to the craft all of that stuff will become less and less of an issue and the underlying personality will be revealed in the work.
I painted in Acrylics for the first 17 years of my illustration career. Three years ago I made the leap to digital. My digital work looks like my acrylic work because I had already established my vision. The tools we use don't matter. If you took away the oil paints of a master oil painter he/she wouldn't cease to be an artist...the medium would change but the work would still look very similar.

What types of markets do you illustrate for?
I used to do a lot of editorial and advertising illustration for various clients all over the US. Now I do the occasional editorial and advertising gig but find most of my time spent working on children's books or story apps and teaching at University. To me it seems like my world has changed more in the last 4 years or so than it had in the previous 20 some odd years. Great things and horrible things are happening. Markets are emerging and shrinking. Illustrators are rising and falling. Publishers are struggling - yet some are thriving. Where there is great change there are great opportunities. I really believe that there is a huge opportunity growing for illustrators in digital media right now.

Do you have links to sites with your work you would like to share?
I have a web portfolio here:  and I update my blog regularly here: 

Are there other creative interests that you do like writing, music or teaching?
I mentioned it above but yes - this year I'll be teaching adjunct both at BYU and UVU. I love all three classes: Oil painting, Children's book illustration, and Illustration business. I also am heavily involved with an online video tutorial company that provides art classes online. I'll be traveling a lot this year to as I've been asked to speak at SCBWI conferences and some school visits as well....and my border collie takes me for daily walks in the hills above our house so a very full schedule this year for sure.
I used to play the cello in H.S. and I've always wanted to get back into playing an instrument but what I've found is that I spend so much time on running my illustration projects and teaching that what I really need is that time alone to reflect. My extra time is taken up with family and hiking and in the winter a little snowboarding here and there....and racquetball. 

Do you currently have products with your images on the market?
 Most of my children's books are still in print and a simple google search of my name or Amazon search will bring up most of them. Hopefully soon I'll have a few apps in Apple and Amazon's app store!

What do you love best about what you do?
I love the collision of technology and art in recent years. I really believe we're headed for the best years for artist/entrepreneurs. If you can dream it you can do it. Not that it will be easy - name something of great value that didn't take a load of hard work. I like the fact that I can dream something up and share it with thousands, tens of thousands - even millions...and I don't have to get anyone's permission

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tim Bowers

How did you become an illustrator?
Iʼve been drawing and making art since I was a young boy, growing up in Troy, Ohio. I didnʼt consider art as a career until high school. I struggled to stay focused in most of my high school classes but art was a class where I excelled. I enjoyed creating different types of art but cartooning and storytelling was a really big interest, even at that age. I was lucky enough to find a subject that I was passionate about and that led me in the direction of becoming a professional illustrator.
Did you go to art school?
I graduated from the Columbus College of Art & Design with a BFA degree. It was a great experience, surrounded by like-minded students (for the most part). In high school, I was a big fish in a little pond. At CCAD, I became a little fish in a big pond... a lot of seriously talented peers. It was a good atmosphere for growing as an artist and it created some healthy competition. Dave Groff (an earlier interview) and John Jude Palencar were two roommates who kept me sharp and made the college years some of my best memories. Both are hugely talented artists. Another talented classmate was  Patti Gay... a familiar name on this blog. 
Were there 1or more individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator? Is  there any other artist or person that continues to influence your work?
Classmates from CCAD were a big influence. Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle and Maxfield Parrish have been influences since my college days. As a junior and senior in college, some of the contemporary professional illustrators were big influences, including Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, Bob Peak, Robert Heindel and others. I create a lot of animal characters and have always been a big fan of Wallace Trippʼs animal illustrations.
 What inspires you?
The internet has been a great tool for discovering artists from around the world and talent that is inspirational and often overlooked. Other things that inspire me include:
- Our property, where white tailed deer, wild turkey, red fox, possum, skunk, raccoon, ground-hog, woodpecker and much more wildlife surrounds my studio.
- Music- big band, jazz, blues, gospel, acoustic, chill, etc. I almost always work with background music.
- Books, Illustrators Annuals, Spectrum annuals, wildlife art and artists, the childrenʼs book section at the library, books, realist painters of the present and past, books, art blogs, books, more books, etc. 
 Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work for instance what types of medium do you like to work in?
Most of my illustration is created with acrylic or oil paint, on canvas, Bristol board or watercolor board. When painting a realistic image, I sometimes start with a monochromatic under-painting in brown or blue. This establishes the values (lights and darks) and makes it a bit easier to lay in the color by adding additional layers of paint. I donʼt do anything fancy but each painting presents different challenges.
Some of my work is painted with acrylic paint on a textured (gessoed) surface. This art is usually less realistic and more stylized. Iʼve included step-by-step demos on my website and blog that show both techniques. 
 What types of markets do you do illustration for?
-Trade publishing- childrenʼs books. -Educational publishing- textbook and supporting materials. -Childrenʼs magazines. -Social Expression/paper products- greeting cards, gift bags, etc. 
 Are there links to your images you would like to share?
My website: My agent:
bio.cfm?IllustratorID=4 My blog: 
Do you do other things regarding art like teaching or classroom visits?
I taught a few classes at CCAD for several years, including classes in illustration, portfolio and technique. For the past twenty-four years, Iʼve visited (mostly elementary) schools and libraries to share my childrenʼs book illustration and the book making process. Itʼs also an opportunity to promote literacy and inspire students to be creative with their own ideas.
Are there other creative interests you pursue like writing or music?
I am working with my agents (Deborah Warren and Rubin Pfeffer at East West Literary Agency) to bring some of my own stories to the childrenʼs book market. I also create music in my spare time and would like to produce some music that could be packaged with my writing and childrenʼs book ideas.
Do you currently have product with your images on the market? Books, gift or home products?
Yes, childrenʼs books, greeting cards and gift bags (at Christmas time). Iʼve had other products that featured my artwork but the life of a licensed product can sometimes be fairly short.
What is the thing you love best about what you do?.
I feel like this is what I was meant to do. Iʼve often thought about what else I could or would do if I had the chance and the list is very short. It hasnʼt always been easy but I really canʼt complain. Where else could I sit and draw cute animals while listening to Western Swing music...and get paid.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wendy Edelson

How is it that you became an illustrator?
I was born six weeks early, the only child of parents who both showed extraordinary artistic talent but never pursued their own paths but were extraordinarily encouraging of mine
The Epiphany….or the Velveteen Artist….
It all began innocently enough when I was two, drawing my way across the unfolding landscape of America in the back of the family station-wagon, moving from Manhattan to Los Angeles. I arrived at our new home surrounded by Orange and Eucalyptus trees, forevermore in love with drawing, having made the decision to Be An Artist during my first road trip.
Fast forward a couple more years to me and my Mom at an ubiquitous shopping center. See me transfixed in front of the window of a small stationary and art supply store. I was transfixed, gazing rapt, in awe into what had become a Shrine. there, front and center was a complete set of Prismacolor Colored Pencils. Until this moment all I'd every drawn with was crayons and I'd painted with drippy poster paints...but these pencils were calling to my Soul. My Mom who had walked ahead of me, came back to where I stood and a hushed and reverent voice I whispered to her...."those are what REAL ARTISTS use!!!" How I knew about Prismacolors or knew that  “Real Artists” used them, I have no idea.  In a moment of Pure Parental Perfection my Mom grabbed my hand and bought them for me. My path was chosen……and I set out upon it.
In the the Velveteen Rabbit, a child's love forever transformed a stuffed toy into a Real Rabbit, likewise an early moment of pure faith and love opened wide a little girl's vision. Everyday my Dream and Desire is to create work that somewhow allows me to go to bed at night feeling like a "Real Artist".
 Did you go to art school?                                   
No...I am self taught. I was planning to go but life kind of got in the way. In my last year of Junior High School I met my   first full time working artist, the father of one of my friends. I spent as much time as I could in his studio. I was planning to apply to Cooper Union or RISD and mentioned that to him…and was astonished when he  passionately expressed his opinion about that…that I would spend 4 years learning what I would have to spend the rest of my life unlearning…and that I’d be better off learning on my own. That same year my art teacher had us weaving strips of colored construction paper into what looked like placemats…probably to show the relationship between complimentary colors but I was bored and drew on mine when I was finished and she gave me an F as a final grade…..that same year I won the Gold in the National Scholastic Art Award competition….it all seemed so crazy that I decided to follow  Henry Koerner’s advice and dropped out of school and left for New York with a big black portfolio at the age of 17.
Were there one or more  individuals that were an influence in your becoming an illustrator?  
   Besides Henry Koerner, the artist that I mentioned above, I was highly influenced by my father. He was a Philosophy Professor but dreamt of being a sculptor but never felt he could make a living at it, so it became what he did on weekends and evenings. While my father carved wood, his favorite medium, I would sit with him and draw. He was a fanatic for good draughtsmanship, for accurate anatomical drawing and would have me draw people and animals ( h/t to Muybridge!! ) over and over until they were right. Foreshortening was his favorite…..I can recall drawing foreshortened feet, a nightmare, for hours on end.
   I have also been influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters, their near obsessive attention to detail and by the drawings and paintings of Howard Pyle and NC Wyeth.
 What inspires you now?
Big lofty ideals that come with capital letters….that look  a little phony or trite on paper but nevertheless get me out of bed in the morning, excited to walk into my studio…and keep me there until 2 in the morning. Congruity, Commitment, Beauty, Perseverence, Truth and Faith…..and striving to learn something, to improve with each completed project.
Is there anything you would like to share regarding your technique or style of work, for instance what types of medium do you like to work in?
  My work always begins with drawing. I draw on vellum, creating a very detailed pencil drawing, figuring out all the shading, lighting, pattern… Years ago I used to have to transfer it all onto watercolor paper on a light-table and absolutely hated that step…tracing my own work. Now I scan my art and print it out onto hot press watercolor paper on my wide format Epson printer in a light sepia. I then go on to ink in the exterior contour lines of people, animals etc in the foreground. Then I staple the drawing onto a portable drawing board or piece of gatorboard and slop water all over it. When it dries I proceed to paint, mostly in watercolors with the occasional use of acrylics and colored pencil.
What types of markets do you do illustration for?

   Most of my work has been for book illustration, for children’s books. I have also illustrated  cook books, gardening books and a book about Gods, Goddess and Angels. I have created art for ad campaigns for banks and restaurants and hospitals, product illustration…food, camping equipment, woodstoves, toys and art for zoos, aquariums, ballet and theatre companies. I have also licensed my work for puzzles, decorative items and cards and in the past few years I have enjoyed creating fabric collections. Right now I am back to working on a series of children’s books.
Are there other creative interests you pursue? 
I enjoy writing and have written one children’s book, and created a dummy for it, about a dog in Mexico…but, so far, it remains a dummy. In the last few years I have been so busy painting that that remains something I’d like to spend more time doing…..someday…soon.
I, like many other artists, love love love gardening. I love gardens that are a beautiful mix of vegetables and flowers and I love  crescent shaped moon gardens…planted out with white flowers, usually night blooming and fragrant. I love antique roses and Angel’s Trumpets, Casa Blanca lilies and jasmine!

Do you currently have products with your images on the market? 
Yes, I have puzzles out and also a new Holiday fabric collection out now.
I also have 3 new books coming out and several more that are available.

Are there links where your products or images can be found?
Here are links to book titles:
Dogs A-Z

Pobble’s Way

Bartholomew’s Gift

The Baker’s Dozen

Saturn For My Birthday

Over The River and Through the Woods

My “Snow Magic” fabric group is under the name Stella Blue because I do two fabric lines for  South Sea Imports, one for the “Wilmington Prints” division under Wendy Edelson and the other for South Sea Imports under Stella Blue...hence the “nom de fabric” : )

Ontario, Canada

Here is a link for puzzles:
SummerKiss puzzle
What is the thing you love best about what you do?
I think that one of the things I love best is the sense of congruity….that who I am in my studio….at “work” is really no different than who I am in the garden or in the kitchen…whatever I’m doing. My life, is extraordinarily fortunate and blessed to be about creativity…and about doing, learning whatever I am feeling passionate about at the time. It’s also a blast to get a box of books, or puzzles or fabric with ones work on it. 
I am fairly certain that I feel like many artists do, that while I work extraordinarily hard and spend  most of my time alone, working…that it is sublimely rewarding and regardless of economic vagaries, wouldn’t do anything else, ever….and that I am supremely grateful.