ArtStation Masterclass Instructor Spotlight: Ryan Meinerding

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If you’ve seen any of the recent Marvel movies (Black Panther, Spiderman: Homecoming, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor), you’ll know Ryan Meinerding – the Head of Visual Development. He has been with Marvel Studios since the early days of Iron Man, helping to design the look and feel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Masterclass – Creating Heroes: Narrative Character Design

Ryan will work through a series of rough character designs showing how he develops ideas for visuals based on narrative. The class will focus on creating a hero and a villain for a story and show the main characters visual journey through the narrative.

Tell us about one of your most valuable learning experiences.

The experience of spending hours in figure drawing workshops at Art Center was very valuable to me. The amount of focus and dedication required to make visible progress in that arena is pretty significant, so I find the time that I was able to spend there pretty worthwhile.

Who was your favourite superhero or villain growing up and why?

Spider-man was definitely my favorite hero growing up. He is just so darn relatable–he had struggles as Peter Parker that I had in my life, and then the stuff he had to go through on the superhero end of things just amplified his personal conflicts. And of course his powers were pretty awesome too. And he definitely is the most iconic visually. Ok, he kinda does have it all.

What is one thing you’ll be showing your students in your course?

The main ideas I’m focusing on have to do with finding ways to tell the story with your character designs. To me that’s about understanding the main character’s journey and the relationships he or she has with other characters and finding iconic visuals to represent those concepts. In terms of technique, its about starting with story concepts and letting those drive your visuals.

What was one of your biggest challenges you’ve faced working in the industry?

Time. Its always time. I’m very fortunate at Marvel Studios that we are given a good amount of time to figure out the designs for the characters, but in most cases there are many characters to work on or another project getting started. I’ve found myself stretched thin and have tried to figure out new ways of working that can save time in the long run.

Find out more about ArtStation MasterClasses.

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About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.