Class Year


Current Hometown:

Kittery, Maine

Job and Employer

Self-employed author & illustrator


I make picture books for young children. I like creating things. I get to create little worlds, which is an amazing dream come true. I invent characters and stories and have wanted to do that since I was a little kid myself.

Community work & family

My wife and I have three kids – seven-year-old son, five-year-old daughter, and a little boy born five weeks ago – they are certainly most important to me. I used to do work with animal rescue – and I’m still very interested in that – but I’ve been really, really busy with kids and work.

Senior project:

I wrote and illustrated a black and white graphic novel – one of the characters became a prototype for a character in my Bruce books.


My internship was an apprenticeship with a cartoonist named Steve Levine, he was one of the original folks working on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That internship was a real pivotal moment in solidifying my career path.

Human ecology in action:

In my family, we certainly try to live as sustainably as possible. The book stuff is going really well and, because of that, we’re renovating our house. We have gone fossil fuel free in our home, which is really exciting.

My books aren’t terribly scientifically accurate, as they’re about talking animals, but I took loads of science classes and I’m fascinated with animals and that’s why I draw them. I always use my biological and animal science background for my work.

A COA experience that was particularly significant or memorable:

This is an easy question. I was a third-year student. I always wanted to be a cartoonist, but I didn’t think it was really an appropriate “career.” I also loved science and thought field biology would be a good “back up.” During my third year, I met with my advisor, John Anderson. He said, “You know, Ryan, I love reading your research papers, but such papers – typically – aren’t supposed to be funny. “

He suggested I follow my real passion, which was drawing and doing cartoons. He nudged me into the arts and I’m forever thankful for him telling me to follow my passion for art and writing.

Considerations for prospective students:

What drew me to COA was the self-guided nature to the education. Upon reflection, I cannot express just how much it meant to my current career that I had the time and the encouragement to figure out who I was and what I liked to do. COA gave me the opportunity to study my interests. I didn’t come out like a cookie cutter mold.