Ryan Michael Paxton
In 2002, I found a website, deviantART, and made an account. It really birthed my interest into doing art for people to see. I began to write my own comics in high school and experiment with the computer as an art tool. It wasn’t until taking art classes in high school that I really began to learn what it took to be an artist. I got my hands on my first set of paints, canvas, art pencils, and really started to get my feet wet in the art world.
I graduated from Wyoming High School in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2007. In high school, I focused in music and arts, being a part of the philharmonic orchestra as lead chair on the double bass. I took as many art and media classes as I could – Drawing & Painting, Video, Computer Graphics, two years of Art Elective, and finally ending with college courses in Drawing and 2D Design. It was here where I versed myself in Photoshop and began making 2D illustrations of outer space and other science-fiction related works. I entered many shows – Scholastic, Governor’s, etc., and even though I never won anything or placed in a competition, my senior portfolio received a 5/4 from the AP board. On the side I performed for the city at municipal fests and get-togethers with my twin brother. We had started a celtic-fiddle group – myself on guitar, my brother on violin. I knew I wanted to be an artist and decided to focus on visuals rather than music for my career. I also dabbled a bit in the church, being a devout Christian for most of my life. For 4 years I worked as a youth leader with both Young Life (a social youth group outside of any specific church) and at my local Wyoming Baptist Church.
My college choices were the University of Cincinnati – DAAP for Industrial Design, Indiana University / Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) for New Media, and Huntington University for Digital Media Arts – Animation. I was accepted at all three and chose to go to DAAP as it was considered the best program in the country with Co-op and other opportunities. It guaranteed me a job upon graduation and had other perks like the ability to commute and have in-state tuition prices. I spent a year there going through the foundation courses in color theory, space, form, and drawing. It was very hands-on and it made me realize that I was not cut-out for the more 3-Dimensional/hand-crafted art forms. I wanted to tell story, go into games, make drawings move, and so I transferred to Huntington University in the fall of 2008. Huntington University is much different, mostly since it is heavily a Christian university. Not only did it help foster my creativity, but it helped keep me rooted in my faith. When transferring to Huntington, I stopped leading the youth I had grown so attached to over the years. I hope to eventually go back to youth leadership at some point or at least help kids with my career. Maybe children’s book illustration or educational video games?
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts – Animation at Huntington. It was such a rewarding experience. I received a taste of 3D animation and found that it is not where my skills lie. I have tried out traditional hand-drawn animation and loved it, After Effects for particles and puppet animation and loved it, and finally, Toon-Boom Animate Pro. Personally, I prefer this program to Flash, but to each their own. In the Summer of 2010 I took an internship at Kinetic Concepts, Inc. in San Antonio, Texas. I was technically an intern for the Concept Management Team, however, my job was virtually a 2D Animator using Toon-Boom. In three months I created a short, three-minute long cartoon from scratch. I went through pre-visualization, concept art, storyboards, keys, in-betweens, color, and sound design by myself. It was all hand-drawn and it was a total blast!
Before summer 2011, I finished my Senior Project. It was a six-minute long music video about an astronaut who can’t find earth. It was animated in After Effects using particles and the puppet tool on Adobe Illustrator vector illustrations. It was submitted to the senior showcase back in May. It didn’t place, but I think the overall reception was good. It was nerve-racking to show it to over 300 people at once, but when the applause came I don’t think I’d ever been so relieved and proud of myself! Original sound was created post-showcase and then added to the film. I attempted to submit it to Ottawa IFF, but it didn’t make it in either. Oh well! Haha, you may view it in the animation area of my website or below:
After school ended, I placed an internship with Motion Capture NYC doing motion graphics and 2D animation work in their studio. I went out to NYC for a month and then fled when the hurricane hit. I continued work remotely as an independent contractor and continue until this day. It’s been fantastic, and led me to nab a 2D animation position with start-up game studio, Misfits Attic, in San Francisco. I worked for both companies remotely from my home in Cincinnati. The work was awesome. I am definitely cut out for video games. Let’s hope that 2D never dies out! This is the game we finally finished:
Now I am searching for my next big thing. Whether it’s moving out to the West Coast to work for a game studio, finding something near home here in the Midwest, or even working for a church, I’m basically up for anything. I’m trying to keep my mind open and not close any doors on possible career opportunities. If you’re an employer and reading this, I’d love to connect with you on any possible endeavors you might want to collaborate on. Feel free to contact me using the contact page of my website (check the tabs at the top of this page) or just click the button below.