Creature Designer // CTN eXpo
Terryl Whitlatch is an internationally known animal artist and anatomist, creature designer, and paleozoological reconstructionist. She has worked as a concept artist and consultant for the animation industry for over three decades, and is the author of three books--The Wildlife of Star Wars, The Katurran Odyssey, and Animals Real and Imagined. Her next books, Principles of Creature Design will be released early 2015, and Bestiary: The Natural History of Mythical Creatures, will be released mid to late 2015.
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.
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, Lucas Film Ltd., Pixar, Walt Disney Feature Animation, PDI, Entertainment Arts, LucasArts, Chronicle 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. She also is the creator and illustrator of three books: The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide, The Katurran Odyssey, and the newly released Animals Real and Imagined. Soon to come in 2015 is Principles of Creature Design and Bestiary: the Natural History of Mythical Creatures.
Terryl has created a new cutting edge industry project, Tales of Amalthea (www.talesofamalthea.com), an online self-paced course in creature design that involves both real animal and imaginary creature designs simultaneously. She is also an instructor for Imaginism Studios Schoolism in creature design, www.schoolism.com. She teaches workshops in animal anatomy and creature design nationally and internationally.
CTN Talks with Terryl Whitlatch