Terry Wong is greatly inspired by his early love for Saturday morning cartoons. A fan of commercial illustrators from the 40s, 50’s, and 60’s, anything retro, and comic books, Wong depicts characters that delight, amuse, and posture. Terry graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design (now the Alberta University of the Arts) and the Vancouver Film School, afterwards he landed a series of jobs at a number of web design firms. He now works freelance. Wong’s illustrations are sought by publishers, magazines, news outlets, and performers across the globe.
Cirque Du’ Soleil, Sky Katz, Scholastic Books, Wall Street Journal, Owl Magazine, Cossette, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, National Geographic, BrandeverRead more
Retail, Editorial, Children’s illustration, AdvertisingRead more
First printed illustration was very exciting for me. As well as the first time my work was showcased on a campaign that was national, for a long time I had friends and relatives contacting me saying they say my illustrations the different cities they were in.Read more
Illustrating the future
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How do you define your identity? Do you identify with (or advocate for) any marginalized communities?
Where is home?
Describe your illustration style in one sentence
Fun, personable and relatable with a sense of whimsy.
What lights your soul on fire?
Ol’ school Rock n’ Roll
What themes do you enjoy exploring in your illustrations?
I really enjoy drawing anything that has some sense of drama and emotion,
What techniques do you use?
I love working in vector and exploring new ways to make vector more textureal.
How much of yourself and your own story can we see in your work?
Every once in a while I like to use people I know as reference, like Easter eggs in movies.
Is there an unmistakable thread in your creative work?
What do you want to be known for?
One day I would like to create a character that has a longevity and a life of its own that live on after I’m gone.
Which projects excite you most?
Every project has something that is exciting. The best part is every project is that it has something new and exciting that’s different from the last one.
What is your dream gig?
I would love to work on a project with Elvis Presley Enterprises and Graceland.
Where, when and how do you best create?
I work best after I’ve had my coffee.
How has your style evolved since you started?
When I first started my style was more simplified. Now my people have become more grounded in reality and realistic.
What do you find most challenging in your practice or in the industry?
It can be a challenge to keep yourself motivated to evolve your own work.
How as being an illustrator changed your life?
Being a creative and drawing has been something I’ve done almost everyday for my entire life. So getting to a professional creative has really just been a natural extension of the type of person I’ve always been.
Name a tool you can’t live without!
Tell us about a project you worked on that was meaningful to you as an artist.
During the pandemic, when the upswing of attacks on the asian community started, I took the opportunity to do some self directed work to address the racism I was seeing. I generally enjoy creating work that is a bit more escapist and happy. But I felt that I had to create something to address the ugliness that was happening around me. I creating pieces that had such pain in them wasn’t easy for me but the positive responses that I received by addressing the attacks and really reminded me the power that art can have.
What influences or inspires your art?
I learned a while ago to be open all the time when it comes to inspiration. Sometimes just random things on the street can spark an idea. That being said the internet has really made it easy for everyone anywhere to share ideas so looking a what other artists are up to amazes me.
What would you tell your younger self?
The more you are like yourself the less you are like anybody else. As a creative person that’s what makes you stand out, because it’s your unique way of seeing the world that will draw people to you and your work.
Why do you think art speaks louder than words?
Everyone interprets art differently commercial art has a goal to convey a message, however being that it’s art once the main message has effectively communicated it can be layered with other things that makes it transcend being just an image but way for the viewer to connect and bring something of their own every time they look at it.