In the world of creature design, Terryl Whitlatch is legendary, contributing significantly to the design of Star Wars: Episode I. The daughter of an illustrator and a biologist, Terryl fell into the intersection of her parents’ professions, studying zoology and later illustration. In addition to working with Disney, Pixar and LucasFilms, Terryl is an international speaker and has taught extensively in the realms of animal anatomy and creature design. Terryl describes art as a combination of knowledge and emotion and says its ability to pierce through to the soul of the viewer is the reason art can bring such a range of emotions. Her favorite mediums are pencil and acrylic, because they are the most forgiving. Nature is her model and teacher and the struggle to capture the most honest and true personality of the creature she is drawing is the true challenge.
Here are Terryl’s wonderful contributions to In Danger:
“When we think of antelopes, most of the time we envision a graceful, deer-like animal. But one of my most favorite antelopes is the odd, even bizarre, White-tailed Gnu (sometimes called the Black Wildebeest). It is actually quite small, no taller than a Shetland pony, and so funny to behold, with its bristle brush forehead, whiskers, and jutting horns, so proportionally out of whack compared to its skinny little body. Indeed, it’s only claim to beauty is its flowing white tail, which it swishes to great abandon as it bucks and prances across the South African veldt. They are a great deal of fun to watch as they play, and if you have a chance to see them, whether protected in their homeland or conservation parks like the San Diego Safari Park, you won’t be sorry.” — Terryl Whitlatch
“My favorite animals of all time and eternity are horses and anything vaguely equine, so naturally, I chose to portray one of the founding species of the domestic horse, the Mongolian, or Przewalski’s, Wild Horse (the other founding species being the Tarpan). No other animal has been so vital to the human imagination and civilization, and nations have risen and fallen on and from the back of the horse. Horses are the true, living Dream Machines, and we owe so much to them, not the least to protecting the seed from which they sprang.” — Terryl Whitlatch
“The Tasmanian wolf (Thylacine) is a creature that exists in the shadowlands of extinction and possible survival. There have been increasing eye witness reports as to its viability, and the most recent footage I’ve seen shows a striped swift running creature with not only the characteristic stiff rod-like tail, but more significantly, the correct heel to toe ratio of the hind foot—which distinguishes it from canines, such as the foxes with mange depicted in older videos. Animals which have been severely hunted by mankind by necessity become historically secretive, go underground, so to speak. But, perhaps enough time has gone by for the most recent generation of Thylacine to ‘forget’, and become a bit less timid in showing themselves. And that is great hope indeed.” — Terryl Whitlatch