Ryan Smallman on how to craft vibrant and dynamic illustrations in 2024

Dive into the world of illustration with Ryan Smallman and discover how to turn your artwork into captivating, dynamic masterpieces. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, Ryan's expertise will guide you through creating illustrations that pop.
Ryan Smallman

Image credits: Ryan Smallman.


In the realm of illustration, few names resonate as vibrantly as Ryan Smallman. Known for his dynamic and organic approach to art, Ryan’s illustrations are a testament to his ability to make drawings leap off the page.

In this blog post, we’ll explore Ryan Smallman’s philosophy on creating vibrant, dynamic illustrations that capture the imagination. Join us as we delve into the creative process of a master illustrator and learn how to infuse your own artwork with life and energy.


How to craft vibrant and dynamic illustrations

Crafting vibrant, dynamic illustrations requires more than just skill; it demands a deep understanding of color, movement, and composition. Ryan Smallman emphasizes the importance of using organic strokes and a bold color palette to create a sense of movement and vitality in your work.

He guides aspiring artists through the process of pushing the boundaries of perspective, enabling illustrations to transcend the 2D plane and come to life. Through mastering these techniques, artists can create captivating artwork that not only attracts the viewer’s eye but also holds their imagination.

batman by ryan smallman
joker by ryan smallman

Illustrations by Ryan Smallman.


Ryan Smallman is also a renowned teacher on Domestika, with his comprehensive journey from the foundational steps to the finishing touches of creating vibrant art. Ryan begins with an introduction to his work, sharing his influences and the essence of his artistic presentation. He guides you through the critical phase of preparation, teaching you to visualize your art in 3D, understand the importance of point of view, scale, and the pivotal principle of silhouette.

Moving to the realization of your ideas, Ryan covers the themes, semantic panels, and the art of composition, including the creation of photographic references to bring your visions to life. The course progresses to the intricate process of completing your artwork, from refining details with pencil to the multi-stage colorization process, culminating in a polished final piece.

Ryan doesn’t stop there; he also teaches you how to export and share your work, including creating a GIF to showcase your process. The final project challenges you to apply all these skills to create dynamic compositions for comics, ensuring that by the end of the course, you’re well-equipped to inject life and movement into your illustrations, just like Ryan does.


About Ryan Smallman

As we can read on his personal website, Ryan Smallman is a versatile artist with roots in Michigan but who has spent much of his life in São Paulo, Brazil, brings a rich blend of cultural influences to his work. His deep-seated love for music and pop culture has informed his artistic journey, leading him to work with some of the most iconic entertainment studios globally.

Ryan’s portfolio includes diverse projects, from creating captivating illustrations for Fortnite, Marvel, DC, UFC, and FIFA to crafting officially licensed posters for blockbuster movies like The Batman, Dune, and Avatar. He also holds the position of Lead Artist for the original comic book series, ARCBOUND, a collaboration with Tom Hardy and penned by Scott Snyder & Frank Tieri.

Ryan’s artistry is marked by his distinctive use of expressive lines and a dynamic approach to perspective, resulting in original and impactful artwork that has led to partnerships across different sectors of the entertainment industry.


Dynamic illustrations: Drawings that pop out of the paper

In his course, “Dynamic Illustrations: Drawings that Pop Out of the Paper,” Ryan Smallman invites artists to embark on a creative journey unlike any other. This course is designed to challenge and inspire artists to create three-dimensional illustrations of their favorite pop culture characters, applying Ryan’s techniques to bring their visions to life. Ideal for artists at any skill level, the course emphasizes the joy of creating vibrant, lively characters and the satisfaction of seeing one’s art transcend traditional limits.

With Ryan’s guidance, you’ll learn to harness the energy and vitality needed to make your illustrations truly dynamic. Whether you’re using digital tools like Photoshop and a graphic tablet or sticking to analog methods, this course is your gateway to exploring the fascinating world of illustration with one of the industry’s best.

john wick by ryan smallman
mandalorian by ryan smallman
avatar by ryan smallman

Illustrations by Ryan Smallman.



Unleash your creativity with a captivating project that lies at the heart of the “Dynamic illustrations: Drawings that pop out of the paper” Domestika course. You’re invited to reimagine your favorite pop culture character, transforming them into a vibrant, three-dimensional illustration. Under the guidance of Ryan Smallman, you’ll dive deep into the core principles of dynamic illustration, applying each lesson to breathe life into your artwork.

Whether you’re just dipping your toes into the colorful world of illustration or you’re an experienced artist looking to add new dimensions to your work, this course is tailored for you. Ryan Smallman’s expert insights are designed to resonate with artists of all backgrounds and skill levels. The focus here isn’t on technical prowess but on your passion for crafting lively, energetic characters. If you’re eager to infuse your illustrations with a new sense of vitality, this course promises to be a thrilling step in your artistic journey.

Embarking on this creative adventure requires a foundational understanding of perspective—a key element in bringing your illustrations to life. While Ryan employs digital tools like Photoshop and a graphic tablet in his demonstrations, don’t let the lack of specific equipment deter you.

The essence of this course is about your willingness to learn and experiment, whether through digital means or traditional, analog techniques. So, gather your artistic tools, be they pencils, pens, or pixels, and prepare for an inspiring journey into the world of dynamic illustration with one of the industry’s most passionate and skilled artists.

Dynamic illustrations: Drawings that pop out of the paper
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Unleash your creativity with a captivating project that lies at the heart of this Domestika course. You're invited to reimagine your favorite pop culture character, transforming them into a vibrant, three-dimensional illustration.

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Wrap Up

In the vibrant realm of illustration, Ryan Smallman stands as a master for both budding and seasoned artists, guiding them through the intricate process of creating dynamic, lifelike artworks. His course is a masterclass in not just enhancing technical skills, but in breathing soul and energy into every stroke and color choice. This journey with Ryan is more than learning to draw; it’s about evolving your artistic voice and vision, pushing the boundaries of flat canvases to produce illustrations that leap into the realm of the extraordinary.

The centerpiece of this course is a hands-on project that challenges you to reimagine a beloved pop culture character. This isn’t just an exercise; it’s a deep dive into applying the nuanced techniques of dynamic illustration to bring a two-dimensional figure into vivid three-dimensionality. It’s about personal growth, creativity, and the mastery of skills that will serve you well beyond the course.

This course offers a unique opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a celebrated illustrator and to translate that vision into your own vibrant, dynamic illustrations. Whether your toolkit includes digital brushes or traditional pencils, this course is your invitation to a world where art leaps off the page and into the imagination. So, prepare your tools, open your mind, and step into Ryan Smallman’s world of dynamic illustration—a journey that promises to transform not only your art but also your perspective on what it means to illustrate.

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