Subscribe to Email Updates

Otherworldly Portraits by Terryl Whitlatch

Terryl Whitlatch | May 8, 2017

Our favorite creature designer, Terryl Whitlach, was intervied over at Muddy Colors, a fantasy art community. We've included an excerpt from her interview, along with the art featured in the full interview. 


"Towards the end of my tenure at JAK films (aka the Star Wars—the Phantom Menace Art Department), I started to work on other Lucasfilm related projects. One of these included pitching my idea for my book, The Wildlife of Star Wars, and another was art that would appear on the back covers of a new trilology of Star Wars novels written by Deborah Chester and published by Ace/Putnam-Berkeley, called The Alien Chronicles.

These were sci-fi tales that took place outside of the vast reaches of Federation or Imperial Space, depending upon what side you were on, during the same time frame of the events of The Phantom Menace. The wonderful and unique aspect about these novels was that there were no humans or humanoid characters involved—only very “creaturely” creatures, albeit very intelligent , with their own cultures, sophisticated technologies, and civilizations.

All three characters—two mammals and one reptile-- were of different species, and needed to be quite physically distinct from one another, plus their personalities had to shine through. The other, practical aspect was that the composition of these portraits had to be simple and easily readable, as their final reproduction size would average around 2 X 3 inches."


Learn more about these characters (Ampris, Elbrabin, and Israi) in the Terryl Whitlatch interview at Muddy Colors

Want to learn how to draw creatures with the instruction of Terryl Whitlatch? Free lessons are available through her Creatures of Amalthea online curriculum.

Take Me to Amalthea


Topics: Illustration

Terryl Whitlatch
Terryl Whitlatch on May 8, 2017

Terryl Whitlatch is a scientific and academically trained creature designer and concept artist. Combining in-depth knowledge of zoology and animal anatomy with incredible illustration skills, Terryl is celebrated as one of the top creature designers in the world. Terryl has worked with many studios, including Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic, and Walt Disney Feature Animation, on such films as Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Brother Bear, Jumanji 1 & 2, Men in Black and The Polar Express.