How to become a digital artist- Artist Series: Terry Runyan

How to become a digital artist- Artist Series: Terry Runyan

In a fast pace, constantly demanding society, digital illustrator, Terry Runyan, shares her creative process on how to become a successful digital artist and turn art into a living- this includes what App she uses, how she finds inspiration for her art and how she overcame struggles in the very judgemental art world. 

Terry's work often contains whimsical adaptations of house pets and other animals and more recently she has been experimenting with YouTube videos and Instagram (all links below), going back to school at the age of 25 to study for a degree in Design/ Illustration lead her to the opportunity of working for Hallmark as an illustrator for 30 years and get her work out there.

Terry shares, "My background in art has been a rollercoaster ride.  I did a bit of art when I was young but didn’t do it often.  I was much more inclined to be outside playing with my dog or hiking, bike riding, swimming…something active.  I had somewhat of a love/hate relationship with my art.  Sometimes avoiding it for years. I took a few random art classes in high school and jr. college but it wasn’t until I was 24-25 that I found illustration as a career path.  I knew I had some “skill” with art and decided to go back to school and get my BS degree in Design, with an Illustration concentration.  I used to work realistically.  I was very focused on what I was seeing and I tried to represent it as best I could.  It wasn’t until I was hired by Hallmark that I started experimenting with quirky characters and more “made up” subject matter.  I worked for Hallmark as an in-house illustrator for 30 years and retired late 2016, to see where my creativity would take me! Over the past 10 years or so I’ve been experimenting and creating for myself for fun.  Lots of cat and animal art has happened over that time.  The last 5 years or so I’ve been creating personal work most every day.  This has been the biggest game-changer in my art! I show up to create something whether I think I want to or not, whether I feel inspired or not.  Most of the time the creative spark shows up after I start in and it always surprises me!"

Being recognised amongst artistic circles can encourage many challenges including criticism and snobbery, however, Terry has learned how to deal with it all as an experienced artist, and pass on some advice to new artists on starting out in the digital art scene;

"I used to have a lot of trouble comparing myself, and what I create, to what others were doing.  Or I'd worry about what others would think.  Now when I get some of that head chatter passing by I don’t take it seriously or do anything with it.  I know it will pass and I keep on creating.  If I end up with something that isn’t my favourite work I mostly share anyway because I know it is part of the creative process.  In my experience, we find our voice through the act of creating!"

Having impressive connections with big companies such as Hallmark and having a positive mentality towards critics are only skills that have been mastered from experiencing the most important element of art, the creative process. Terry kindly reveals what she uses to create digital art;

"Primarily I use the Procreate App on my iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.  I love working on my iPad with this app.  It is very versatile and I can be anywhere to use it.  I usually do my iPad illustration in the morning, sitting on the sofa with my two kitties, drinking coffee.  I often start with no idea of what I’m going to create.  I bring up Pinterest and start rifling through images while paying attention to sparks of inspiration.  It could be a colour palette or an animal that catches my eye.  Sometimes it is a story idea that I might incorporate into my creative process.  I use the Procreate instant replay feature to unfold my story.  It’s a very quirky way to animate but that's what I love about it!  You never know exactly what you’re going to get."

Check out more of Terry's work on her website: www.terryrunyan.com

Or visit her Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr

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