Emily and i had a great weekend at Terryl’s workshop. (she’s starting to post some of her workshop stuff here) From a quantity perspective I actually didn’t do a ton of work at the workshop compared to some of the other people. But I really wanted to pick Terryl’s brain, talk to her about design, the industry, and watch her process. So from a qualitative perspective it was great. (and in Emily’s words, I definitely “fanboy-ed” out while talking to her)
I was surprised to hear that this three day workshop was the first time she’s taught anything this long. She’s done many interviews and presentations but this was a new experience for her. The class has range of artists at different skill levels but she treated everyone equally and had good advice for all of us. There were some really great discussions about canine, feline, and avian anatomy. Knowing the how and why of anatomy is so important, especially when coming up with your own designs. She was very insistent that believability, story, personality/charm, and clarity are what make good designs work.
After this weekend I feel like Terryl’s greatest strengths are her knowledge and her empathy. She’s a trained zoologist and paleo-reconstructionist, which means her knowledge of animal anatomy and behavior runs deep. She never claims to know everything (but she pretty much does) about animals, and she always defers to the amazing naturalist artists that came before her. Her empathy comes from, a true caring and love for animals. She told us in her lecture on the first day: “Animals live on their own terms, they don’t live for us.” She stressed that while it’s important to think of an animal as part of a Kingdom, order, phylum, class, etc. you should also think of the individual animal. They have inner lives. As someone that cares about animals and even chooses not to eat them, this was a breath of fresh air to hear from another artist. I do believe it’s why her art has more appeal than other creature designers. She also mentioned that so much of imaginative art goes for the dark and ugly, when nature shows us beauty at every turn. (though she isn’t naive to know that nature can be terrifying and brutal, she just chooses to celebrate the more wondrous aspects)
Unlike a lot of concept design that feels cold and cookie cutter her personality and feelings are there in every design. I encourage anyone interested in creature/character design to check out her free tutorials for Creatures of Amalthea and her upcoming Schoolsim course.
My favorite quote from her: “Nature is a treasure box”
P.S. She’s proud of designing Jar Jar, she says all the hardcore fans need to just deal with the fact that everything isn’t for them, and Star Wars has always been pretty corny. (huehuehuehue)
Can Self-assembler search for cards with Changeling?
Assembly-Worker is a creature type, and cards with Changeling have all creature types at all times in all zones, meaning you can use Self-Assembler’s trigger to search for a Game-Trail Changeling or another creature card with changeling.
Note that Self-Assembler does specify that it has to be a creature card, so you won’t be able to use it to grab a Nameless Inversion or Crib Swap out of your library.