SCBWI Springmingle Blog Tour with Will Terry

We are thrilled to have Will Terry speak at our 2013 SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators' Day this year on Friday, February 22nd in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with being a respected and established illustrator, Will gives great advice to new and working illustrators on his blog and keeps on the cutting edge of new innovations. He's an illustrator with a teacher's heart and I know our attendees will learn so much from him.
     Illustrators' Day is a great place for beginning and working illustrators to learn more about the children's publishing industry, have their work evaluated, and learn how they might break into the biz.
     Today I have the pleasure of hosting Will on my blog and asking him some questions.

Q. Hi Will, We're thrilled you'll be speaking at our 2013 SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators' Day! Your topic is "Embracing Technology and Change." Can you give us a quick glimpse into your background with this quickly changing industry?
A. This is such a huge and important question. I feel I could write a few pages on this topic. So many different angles.
     1. I was getting tired of painting the same gradual blends in my backgrounds...they were taking me hours and in my mind I would often think, "I've done this before - I know how it turns out - if only there was a way to speed up this process - but if I rush I'll mess it up and then it will take even longer.
     2. My wife contracted an auto-immune disease and could no longer teach Jr. High - with that loss of income I had to get faster so I could make more money.
     3. Barnes & Noble opened up their doors to digital publishing at the end of 2010 allowing anyone to produce and upload their own ebooks.
     4. My brother in law, a programmer, was living with us - back from his world travels for a while. He made it possible for me to set up an online video tutorial page on my website.
     5. I read Linchpin by Seth Godin - it changed my life.
     6. I began teaching at UVU in 2009 and was exposed to many forward thinking teachers and students.
     Each one of these carries it's own story - I hope to be able to discuss some of these at the upcoming Southern Breeze SCBWI conference!

Q. But we also embrace the physical book! Can you tell us some of your titles?
A. Pizza Pat, Armadilly Chili, The Frog with the Big Mouth, The Three Little Gators, Senorita Gordita, Nasty Bugs, The Treasure of Ghostwood Gully, Little Rooster's Diamond Button.

Q. What is your illustration medium?
A. Digital

Q. How do you feel about traditional vs. digital?
A. I don't think they should be thought of as either - or...All children's illustration images end up in a digital form so how it gets into that form becomes irrelevant as far as the end result. The image is important. The look the artist wants each of his/her images to have is important. I think for the sake of time, ease, and making alterations - working digitally makes the most sense. However, if the artist cannot achieve the look they want or can't differentiate themselves digitally - working traditionally makes sense too. I do believe that any "look" can be achieved by working digitally or a hybrid of the two.

Q. Light plays such a strong role in your work. How do you approach light in your work?
A. I'm drawn in by moody pieces. To have mood you need light. I love interesting lighting situations. Sometimes I've made the mistake of placing a higher value on some of the beautification I try to put in my illustrations - so it's important to ask yourself what kind of light will help illustrate the context and message of the text. I'm also more literal I suppose in my artistic vision. Sometimes I get jealous of those who choose to ignore academic lighting rules in favor of making simple statements. In the end I think there is much room for all kinds of interpretations concerning lighting.

Q. How did you first break into children's books? (I love sharing path to publication stories.)
A. I never wanted to be a children's book illustrator. I was afraid of cute. I'm a guy what can I say? Guys are supposed to draw skulls and swords - dungeons and dragons - not cute little fluffy animals. Then I got married. And we had our first kid. You tend to come face to face with cute when you have a little "cute" of your own. Soon we were buying children's books and I started to look at them in a whole new light. After turning down Pizza Pat twice - the editor at Random House said, "what if we gave you a year and three months?" How could I say no to that after using lack of time as an excuse. I was flamboozled. "OK, I'll do it." - the fateful words that became my entrance into the children's book world.
      What I wasn't prepared for was the prestige that came with working on children's books that working on editorial pieces didn't bring. Everyone knows what it means to illustrate a children's book but many didn't know what I meant when I told them I was an editorial illustrator. (magazines & newspapers)

Thanks so much Will and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Know who else will be at Illustrators' Day and Springmingle 2013? Check out this list, follow the blog tour to meet them, then register to see them in person at

Jan. 21: Will Terry, illustrator, at Elizabeth O. Dulemba's blog
Jan. 22: Beck McDowell, author, at Bonnie Herold's Tenacious Teller of Tales
Jan. 23: Nikki Grimes, author, at Gail Handler's Write From the Soul
Jan. 24: Jill Corcoran, agent, at Donny Seagraves' blog
Jan. 25: Chad Beckerman, creative director, at Laura Golden's blog
Jan. 28: Katherine Jacobs, editor, at Cathy C. Hall's blog
Jan. 29: Mark Braught, illustrator, at Vicky Alvear Shecter's History with a Twist
Jan. 30: Carmen Agra Deedy, author, at Ramey Channell's "The Moonlight Ridge Series" The Painted Possum


Ginger Garrett Arias said...

Great interview! And thanks for the tip on the book Linchpin. See you at Springmingle1

Shanda McCloskey said...

Caint wait to hear more at Spring Mingle! Great interview! I really relate to having a little cute of my own :)

Shanda McCloskey said...

I "can't" spell apparently!