[Interview] Ryan Meinerding for STGCC 2018

As the Head of Visual Development at Marvel Studios, Ryan Meinerding’s job is to design the look and feel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Prior to his arrival as an invited guest at Singapore Toys, Games, and Comic Convention (STGCC), here’s a little bit of info about his background and working style.

Many aspiring artists can relate to how there’s always pressure to look for a stable job in the creative industry, but for Ryan it was always something he wanted to try since he was able to make small sums of money doing art in high school, and he had parental support for his passion.

“That led to a degree in Industrial Design which seemed like the most reasonable way to draw and still make a living,” he says. However, his talent was quickly noticed while he was in his final year as a student and he had an opportunity to work on a project with one of his heroes, Iain McCaig. It was ultimately because of this project that he met Jon Favreau.

It was Jon who hired Ryan to work on Iron Man as an illustrator, and the he stayed on to work on concepts for Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. The Visual Department was created specifically to allow Ryan to keep up with character design work, together with Charlie Wen and a team of artists.

Since then, he’s worked on character design for Avengers, Age of Ultron, as well as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Infinity War and Black Panther.

Ryan’s art exudes realism, which he cites Norman Rockwell, Dean Cornwell, and Iain McCaig as the biggest influences on his work. While his artwork has a very earthy, tactile feel, his works are actually 100% digital. According to Ryan, “I usually paint in Photoshop with very simple brushes. And I use Zbrush and 3D Studio Max for 3D.”

He begins his art by gathering references – including comic and photos – and figuring out the possible art directions that a design could use. “I’ll make a file with a background that is the average value of the light side of the face and I will paint with the average shadow value. I usually start in black and white.”

Like many artists, Ryan works while listening to music – “a lot of 90’s alternative rock” – plus, he also watches movies and TV shows. One wonders how he’s not distracted…

He is currently working on new Marvel Studios projects, so follow him on to find out more of his work on Artstation and Instagram. Catch Ryan Meinerding in person at STGCC 2018 at Marina Bay Sands Expo on 8 & 9 September 2018!