Time: 9:00am – 10:00am
CEUs: 0.1 Art
Once one has a working knowledge of human and animal anatomy, how does one apply this skill in designing memorable characters that the audience can truly identify with? Internationally regarded Creature Designer Terryl Whitlatch shares her methods in how to do this, applicable whether the media is animation, print/publishing, games, toy design, scientific/natural history, paleontology, education, Virtual Reality, or beyond.
Terryl Whitlatch was born in Oakland, California, and started drawing at less than three years of age. Blessed with a mother who was, and still is, a talented artist-illustrator, and a father who taught biology, 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. Horses were always a part of her life, and her passion, as her grandfather had a horse ranch, and paid for years of riding lessons.
Most of Terryl’s formal education was in the sciences, rather than art—Vertebrate Zoology to be specific, but 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, Chronicle Books, and various zoos and natural history museums. She is currently Artist In Residence at Imagination International, Inc., in Eugene, Oregon.
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.
Feature films to which she has contributed concept work include John Carter of Mars, DragonHeart, Men in Black, Jumani, and Pixar’s Brave.
She also is the creator and illustrator of five books: The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide, The Katurran Odyssey, Animals Real and Imagined, Science of Creature Design, and Principles of Creature Design. She has also contributed illustrations to Lucasfilm’s The Jedi Path, and Book of Sith.
Terryl is currently working on new industry and intellectual properties, including Tales of Amalthea, that involve both real animal and imaginary creature designs simultaneously, and recently completed work on a project with Disney Imagineering.
Her passion is her love of animal life, and the portrayal of all species, as best she can, in her art.