I had a chance to meet Terry Naughton at the Children’s Book Festival in La Mesa back in May. He was there to help promote the book My Personal Panther by Jerry Cesak, who I featured in an Author Spotlight two weeks ago. I was so impressed by Terry’s art I thought it would be fun to feature him on the blog. So, today I will do my very first Illustrator Spotlight. I hope you enjoy it.
Terry is a former animator with Walt Disney Studios. Now he’s a freelance illustrator. He was with Disney for 17 years, and worked on almost every feature film produced from 1985 until 2002. Some of his credits include: “The Beast” in Beauty and the Beast, “The Genie” in Aladdin and “Zazu” in the Lion King to name a few. Terry worked on projects with the N.F.L. book illustrations, sculpted sports action figures, story boards and some motion picture work (Warner Brothers). He was also an official football artist for U.S.C. and U.C.L.A. When not doing art, he enjoys sports of all kinds. He coaches high school wrestling and is the strength coach for the football team. He was a competitive Olympic weightlifter back in the old days.
WOTS: Are you working on any new projects that you can tell us about?
TN: I am working on several new projects. First, Jerry Cesak and I have decided to start working on book 2 of the “My Personal Panther” series. Secondly, I have started to do some paintings that will be in a two man art show in a gallery in L.A. with Rich Arons. Also my Jungle Jocks series is being revitalized. These are a few new things I’m involved with.
WOTS: What artists do you look up to, and how have they inspired your work?
TN: My inspirations growing up and still today are: Darrell Millsap, Norman Rockwell, Frank Frazetta and for drawing Heinrich Kley. These masters taught me how to stay loose in my drawings. Norman and Frank were master story tellers in their art. Darrel Milsap taught me how to lose unnecessary edges in my paintings. All of these artists taught the world how to have passion for their art.
WOTS: Describe your studio or usual work space for us.
TN: My studio is a 12 ft. by 24 ft. space. In it I have an area for painting and drawing and I have a space for 2 computers for my digital work. Like most studios, it’s a little cluttered. I have many paintings on my walls and many works from my mentors. My work hangs on my walls as a reminder that I am a talented artist. This may sound narcissistic but, really it’s a way to build up my confidence when I feel untalented or uninspired during a difficult period of a painting. I will look at my previous successes and say “See you can do this!” My mentors work is there for inspiration to strive to do work worthy of them.
WOTS: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
TN: Professional football player. It was my dream all the way into college. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in God’s plan for me. So I paint the football as if I played. I also watch and coach as much football as possible.
WOTS: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
TN: Most people don’t know that “I” was the first man on the moon, not Neil Armstrong!!! Ok, Ok, not true. Most people don’t know that I was a competitive Olympic weightlifter and I attempted to get in to the Olympic Games in 1984 and 1988.
WOTS: What did you use for inspiration for the illustrations in My Personal Panther?
TN: The best inspiration was Jerry Cesak (the author of the book) himself. Jerry knew just what he wanted in both characters, a very rare occurrence. Also, I had a cat before myself and used that experience. For the main character Lucy, I thought about 2 Disney girls from the Rescuers and Oliver and Co. for inspiration.
WOTS: We here at Writing on the Sidewalk tend to procrastinate, where do you fit in Procrastinator or Proactive?
TN: Getting started on any project is always difficult for me, there is always so much thought that has to go into it. Once I start, I tend to plow hard all the way to the end. I Hate, Hate, Hate, to miss a deadline!!! It doesn’t happen very often to me, I’m proud to say.
Thank you Terry for taking the time to visit with us.
Writing on the Sidewalk