I currently work as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and web designer, balancing my business hours with my personal "Little Monsters" sculpting project and an obsession with watercolor painting. I also work part time as both the Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director for Gam3rCon. Some of my most recent work as been in the re-branding of the convention and the re-design of our new website. Below are copies of both my Traditional and Design Resume, and I can be contacted anytime via email at: Ryan@Thegrav.com. My normal business hours are 8am to 5pm(PST) Monday, Wednesday & Thursday, on Fridays I am in the office 10am to 3pm(PST).
It started off with turtles: just a circle for the shell, some legs and a head. Soon I was sketching their castles and worlds, then came: dinosaurs, monsters, owls, robots... all the things a kid sketches. In 3rd grade I figured out the basics of GI Joe and Barbie anatomy, and my sketches started to have the apprioate number of limbs and heads. Later came cars, the airplans and space ships. Then sometime in middle school I became fascinated with comic book illustration. By High School I was sketching Spawn, X-Force, Tank Girl, Witchblade, Luke Skywalker... only branching out and doing something original every once in awhile. It was later during high school that the creative side was truly fostered though. My first formal art classes, an old worn copy of Gray's Anatomy, a hand me down from one of my parents, and my first personal computer. Access to Photoshop 5, a quick course in how to use it, and a huge network of art centered forums and I started to flex my digital art muscles as well.
However, being a kid that grew up on the crest of the technology and Internet wave, by the time I was a senior my path was set for a degree in Computer Science. As a huge PC gamer I had decided that I wanted to work on games, and it was conventional wisdom that suggested "Artists don't work on games, Programmers do". So I entered college with my mind set on Computer Science, and for the next few years art became a hobby, one that I engaged in less and less often. That was up until my third year of college, it was 2003 and I was in a program taught by Ed Magnin, one of the designers and programmers for Virgin Games back when Prince of Persia was released for the Gameboy, it was this program that showed me illustration and art had a place in the video game industry. By the end of that school year I had made up my mind, just a semester or so shy of completing my Computer Science program I shifted gears into illustration and graphic design.
But what do you do with an Illustration degree? Start a t-shirt company of course! After years of working as a ranch hand and horse trainer or a retail and food service drone, I needed to do something new. I had been in college and working full time when the Dotcom Crash happened, and a friend and I had watched the industry start to recover. We where deep into Internet and Gaming Culture and as E commerce started to emerge in a much healthier and more stable way the two of us started to kick around the idea of a Video Game and Internet Centered apparel company. In 2005 Ravenhorde Studios was formed and in true Internet company fashion it was run out a of a garage in Southern California! Our entire business ran out of a one car garage in Escondido for a little over a year. The entire garage was the dark room, design studio, and production floor when we needed it, and we had our office computer on top of a mini-fridge! We learned fast, that in order to have enough funds to make a lasting apparel company we first had to be a business to business company. By 2006 we had moved to an industrial warehouse, with an actual office, and expanded our business to business services to include wide format printing, signage solutions, and web design. Our goal of becoming an apparel company quickly fell to the wayside, as we focused on being the one stop printing solution for emerging businesses in Southern California.
Even as the house market started to fall apart, Ravenhorde stayed strong, our services able to meet the demands of any customer who walked through the door. But then the market started to change, and by 2009 our manual printing presses and slower Wide Format "photo quality" printer where no longer perks, they started to be burdens. The economic bubble finally hit the creative industry, lots of the companies that we had known for years started to move to cheaper locations or close there doors. By December 2009 we made the same call and closed our doors. Our friendship made stronger for it the two of us moved in new directions, the lessons learned and money spent a hard earned milestone. The 16 hour days, and 7 day weeks punctuated by 24 hour warehouse parties and what felt like the Rock and Roll life style, becoming an amazing foundation and experience I am glad I had. Oddly enough I found myself working for one of my old clients, however instead of providing them with printing solutions, I was now on the inside as a Graphic Designer.
From the punk lifestyle of a screen printer with a warehouse to party in, to a cog in the Southern California Real Estate industry, 2010 was a weird year. The company I moved to, in a weird twist, was Realty Experts. Although I originally started as just a graphic designer it wasn't long until I was also working as a project manager and lead web designer on a full website overhaul and company branding reboot. By 2013 my team had remade and re-branded the company, bringing it out of the late 90s and kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. We had also begun to build a back-end CMS that was designed to help real estate agents quickly and easily build their own web-pages. Originally designed to be much like Myspace or Facebook for Realtors, it slowly became something closer to Squarespace. Inside Realty Experts I had been tasked with helping to audit a signage company owned and operated by the firm. Originally working only a few hours a week to help the sign company by late 2014 I had taken over as the Manager and Operating Officer for EZ Signs USA. This was a return to my roots with Ravenhorde Studios and over the next year I enjoyed working as both the Lead Graphic Designer and Fabricator as well as managing and running the business.
I began freelancing in college, first it was a few logos, maybe a flier layout and website to go with it, but it grew. In away it was a lot of my freelance work that helped Ravenhorde exist as both an apparel company and a business to business solutions provider. It was the jobs that where somewhere that were outside of the bounds of a printing and apparel company, but not outside the realm of an illustrator and artist, that allowed me to continue as a freelancer. In 2007 I worked as a concept designer on a line of prosthetics, eventually helping in the mold making and sculpting. It was actually this experience that led me to pursue a few classes and workshops in sculpting. Between the ages of 9 to the age of 16 I apprenticed with a saddle maker, being raised around horses in Southern California, and I did leather repair for saddles and motorcycle gear up until about six years ago, when I shifted my skill set to designing custom leather apparel.
I have never really lost that drive, that passion which leads to founding and running a business. That independent streak of a good contractor and entrepreneur, ready to work alone but just as fast at integrating into a team to accomplish a goal. It allows me to bring an outside perspective, eye for outside design; to re-branding, marketing a product, the design of a creature or the design of a new piece of apparel or website. My free-time and Zen moments filled with projects that require me to work with my heads. During my time at the Real Estate firm I spent nights working on designing monsters and weapons for video games, learning to sculpt and basic woodworking. While I ran EZ Signs I spent weekends and evenings developing leather belt and leather holster designs. I even worked as an illustrator and layout designer for a children's book. Through it all I have continued to work on limited number of client and personal web design projects. Then early in 2016 I found myself working with Gam3rCon, as a Creative Director. Helping to design and plan a gaming convention by gamers for gamers, utilizing all of my skills!