Location: 2019 Lightbox Expo
Interview Date: 9/12/2019
Anime Herald: I’m particularly impressed with your “Raising Arizona” piece. Nice touch with the little cactus in front of it as a reminder.
Ryan Wood: Yep.
Anime Herald: What is your process? How do you create these pieces?
Ryan Wood: Some of these I’m just a big fan of. They swim around in your head and you want to recreate them. Other ones you just create them and want to take them from sketch to color and see how they end up?
Anime Herald: Is that how you work, always starting from a sketch and going from there?
Ryan Wood: I start out traditionally, that’s how I’ll learned. I try to have that translate to every step of the process. I’ll usually sketch it out with pencil, embellish it a bit or ink it. I’ll scan that in and take it into something like Photoshop and paint it up and add all the brushstrokes and textures. That’s a little bit of the process. I try to recreate how you would approach it with natural media.
Ryan Wood: It was kind of an experiment. I wanted to do a long format thing and eventually fill out the rest of them. I was looking for a fun project that might keep me busy for a while
Anime Herald: I see your gallery of rogues, do you prefer drawing bad guys?
Ryan Wood: Maybe it’s a reflection of me, but I’m like “Yeah, they’re just more interesting.” I end up making them more… ugly I guess. I’m drawn to it.
Anime Herald: When did you first realize you wanted to be a professional artist?
Ryan Wood: I don’t know. My dad is an art teacher. I went and did those things that I’d always liked to do. I was never good at anything else. That’s kind of what inspired me. When I saw Star Wars I was like “Whoa, there’s people who get to do that?” Anything that was in that creative field, I was drawn to. That’s the start of it.
Anime Herald: What was your professional path. Did you study art it in college?
Ryan Wood: I went to school to study illustration up in Utah State University in Logan, Utah. I learned traditionally with oils and everything there. It ended up that when I got out of school I met up with a game developer Sculptured Software in Salt Lake City. They would take games that had already been done and do a new version. That’s how I ended up at Avalanche, or what ended up becoming Avalanche Software later. That’s where I’ve been for the last nineteen years.
Anime Herald: What are you working on these days? Anything fun?
Ryan Wood: Yeah. I’m working on a project that hasn’t been announced yet. That’ll be rolling out with more info to follow.
Anime Herald: Fair enough. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Ryan Wood: The only thing I can say, and I know this sounds super simplistic, but keep drawing, keep painting. You’re always going to nitpick the last thing you’ve done. Learn from the previous version.
Anime Herald: Finally, anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Ryan Wood: Thanks for the opportunity to chat. It’s been fun.
You can find Ryan’s work here:
Thanks to Ryan Wood for speaking with us. Thanks to Lightbox Expo for making this interview possible.