Local author/illustrator working with Hollywood producer to combat bullying, develop cartoon series

By Edward Gehlert, Staff Writer
Posted 10/20/21

Local author and illustrator D.A. Terriah has joined the team of Hollywood producer Kristen Lucas of Goldilocks Productions to create works that inspire confidence in kids to be themselves and to …

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Local author/illustrator working with Hollywood producer to combat bullying, develop cartoon series

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Local author and illustrator D.A. Terriah has joined the team of Hollywood producer Kristen Lucas of Goldilocks Productions to create works that inspire confidence in kids to be themselves and to speak out against bullying.

Terriah, a 2000 graduate of Owensville High School and lifelong local area resident, is an author and illustrator who began working with Lucas in 2020 when the producer was looking for an illustrator to flesh out characters in the book, “Follow Your Voice.”

The book is based on the award-winning short film Snowflake, which was produced by Lucas and released on Oct. 6, 2017. The movie follows young middle-schooler Jesse who is determined to become a rap star. Jesse’s classmates bully her about her passion and even her on-screen dad shows little faith in his daughter’s dream.

Terriah became involved in the project after a mutual associate heard that Lucas was looking for an artist to work on a series of books about empowering kids.

“I heard about the opportunity through a friend and had to go check out the story and its message,” said Terriah. “It’s based on a short film that’s about being uniquely yourself, and embracing your talents, no matter what others think. As one of the former weird kids from school, I definitely love that message.”

The Hollywood producer was also delighted with the introduction and praised the work done by Terriah.

“She was recommended by a colleague who worked with her on other projects,” said Lucas. “I saw her sample art and was impressed, but when I showed her drawings to a friend’s child their reaction to them told me she was the one I needed to help bring the book to life.”

In addition to illustrating the book for Lucas, Terriah has also been involved in pitch sessions to a major network regarding a cartoon series based on the movie and book, an opportunity that Terriah had been waiting for all of her life.

“This was literally a childhood dream come true,” said Terriah. “I studied art and animation when I was a teenager specifically so I could work in the world of cartoons. I spent hours watching cartoons just to see if I could copy the specific art styles used in those cartoons. Suddenly I was presented with the opportunity to help with a cartoon pitch and I realized that, at some point, some kid in the future might draw cartoons based on an art style I submitted. It made me so happy to come full circle like that. Not to say it was easy. A large part of it was about communicating with a team for design work, translating other people’s vision, and some pretty tight deadlines, but I loved every minute of that.”

According to Lucas, having the illustrator of the book on hand to speak with executives was helpful during the pitch process.

Lucas said, “She did such an amazing job capturing the concept of the characters and bringing them to life on the page that I wanted her to be involved in the pitching process. She could handle all the art questions while the rest of the team focused on story development.”

Terriah is no stranger to the world of publishing. Her first novel, “As it Ends,” was released in 2018 and since then she has had several short stories published in various anthologies. She also isn’t a stranger to creating visual art and loved the opportunity to merge the two.

“There’s something magical about a book existing in the world today that didn’t exist last year,” said Terriah. “Everyone that was part of the process was so passionate about getting this project made and so very nice.”

Terriah is proud of her work on a project that helps teach kids it’s okay to be themselves, regardless of what other people think. She hopes that the book, and movie, give the audience the strength to stand up and to follow their voice.  

Terriah said, “Don’t let anyone erase your joy! There are a lot of people in the world that should learn to be more kind. Don’t give up on something that makes you happy and proud because someone else doesn’t like it. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has different joys and sorrows. Not everyone will understand what you like, or why you like it. That’s okay. They don’t have to. Just keep doing what you love because it makes you happy.”

“Follow Your Voice” is available at online retailers and Barnes & Noble. The award-winning short film can be watched for free at www.reveel.net.

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