Terryl Whitlatch was born in Oakland, California, and started drawing at less than three years of age. Growing up in a family with a mother who was, and still is, a talented artist-illustrator, a father who taught biology, and grandparents who owned a horse ranch, her fascination with animals started early. Countless weekends were spent visiting zoos, aquariums, and museums, and her father was constantly bringing home mounted skeletons, creatures preserved in jars, and living animals as well - chicken hatchlings, bullfrogs, iguanas, and insects.
After studying illustration at the California College of Arts and the Academy of Art University, Terryl began a career that has spanned over 25 years. She has worked with many major studios and effects houses as a highly sought after creature and concept designer. Clients include Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm LTD., Pixar, Walt Disney Feature Animation, PDI, Entertainment Arts, LucasArts, Paramount Studios, Universal Studios, Chronicle Books, Design Studio Press, Titan Books, and various zoos and natural history museums.
Terryl acted as principal creature designer for Star Wars — the Phantom Menace. She designed most of the alien characters and creatures, from concept to fully realized anatomies and stylizations. Some of the significant characters include Jar-Jar Binx, Sebulba, the pod racers, the undersea monsters of Naboo, and the Naboo Swamp creatures. She also worked closely with George Lucas in the redesign of such pre-existing characters as Jabba the Hutt and the dewbacks.
For Disney Feature Animation’s Brother Bear, she designed bear, moose, and other animal characters, from highly realistic anatomical studies to fully branded characters.
Recent films to which she has contributed concept work include John Carter of Mars and Pixar’s Brave.
She also is the creator and illustrator of three books: The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide, The Katurran Odyssey, and Animals Real and Imagined. Three new titles are soon to be released, The Science of Creature Design and The Principles of Creature Design (both in October 2015) and Bestiary: The Natural History of Mythical Creatures (Summer 2016) respectively.
Terryl also is a contributor to the fantasy and science fiction illustration blog Muddy Colors, and a frequent guest lecturer and workshop instructor at many venues, including Creative Talent Network Animation Exposition, Spectrum Live, The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI), Industrial Light and Magic, Disney Feature Animation, Disney Interactive, Pocket Gems, Industry Giants Animation Convention, Anomaly, and many schools and universities, including the Academy of Art University, Art Center, Savannah School of Art and Design, Utah Valley University, The California State University at Monterey Bay, the San Diego Zoo, and the National Art Educators Association National Conference (NAEA). She most recently gave keynote presentations at the Anomaly 2015 Conference in Vancouver, BC, the Animal Gallery Show at Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Hollywood, CA, and at the FMX 2015 Conference of Animation, Effects, Games, and Transmedia in Stuttgart, Germany.
She gives international live workshops In creature design and animal anatomy via Schoolism Live, including Vancouver, BC, London, England, and Florence, Italy, and will shortly be teaching Creature Design online for Schoolism Online.
Her work also appears in ImagineFX and Aeon Magazines, and she has produced 4 DVDs in Creature Design for the Gnomon School of Visual Effects.
Partnering with CopicMarkers/Imagination International, Terryl is also the creator of a new cutting edge course in Creature Design, Tales of Amalthea, that teaches both real animal and imaginary creature designs simultaneously.
Imagine the Fantastic
by Terryl Whitlatch
Flights of fancy. Daydreams. Visions. Nightmares. But above all, visual storytelling. That is what fantastic art is all about—the sharing of one person’s glimpse of alternative reality with one another, in a way that we all can connect with and participate in. Fantastic art is surrealism at its core, and highly symbolic—it transcends reality into a hyper reality, and thus is never purely abstract—for abstract art is by definition entirely subjective, and can mean (or not mean) many things to many different people.
Throughout history, Fine Artists and Illustrators alike have immersed themselves in the phantasmagorical and created incredible worlds and characters. There is Salvador Dali, with his attenuated elephants and melting watches, Gustav Klimt, with his sloe-eyed shimmering goddesses, the exquisite pen and ink illustrations from the Dark Tales of Edgar Allen Poe, by Audrey Beardsley, and the Fairy Tale images created by Arthur Rackham. And the list goes on, Gustav Dore, John Tenniel, N.C. Wyeth, Giorgio de Chirico, Rene Magritte, Leonardo Da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch, Brughel, Iain Mc Caig, James Gurney, Beatrix Potter….
There are as many depictions of the world fantastic as there are imaginations of men and women.
This gallery show offers a capsule of these dreamscapes and the Back of the North Wind universes in both two and three dimensions. There is something for everyone. Welcome to these Hidden Worlds and Neverlands of dawn and gloaming, and of the mind and the imagination, and What lies Beyond.