In the world of creature design, Terryl Whitlatch is legendary, having credentials that include a significant portion of the design of Star Wars: Episode I. The daughter of an illustrator and a biologist, Terryl fell into the intersection of her parents’ professions and studied zoology and later illustration. In addition to working with Disney, Pixar, and LucasFilm, 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 simple pencil and acrylic, because she says they are the most forgiving. Nature, she says, is her model and teacher, and that the struggle to capture the most honest and true personality of the creature she is drawing—even if it is anthropomorphized—is the true challenge. Nature makes me feel very small, but full of yearning at the same time,” She says. “Sometimes this yearning is very painful, as if my heart is about to break.”