Ryan Ottley: A Creative Monolith in American Comics
Updated: May 27, 2022
Ryan Ottley is an American comic artist with an incredibly recognizable, grizzly illustration style that puts a dangerous twist on every project he has his pen on.
Ottley, is likely most known for his collaboration with Walking Dead Author Robert Kirkman on their 144 chapter epic “INVINCIBLE” - which made major headlines on Amazon Prime in 2021. He’s also had a hand in a few other landmark series such as the 2018 run of The Amazing Spiderman and Rick Grimes 2000.
So, why is Ryan Ottley an artist worth falling in love with?
You know that saying about train wrecks and not being able to look away when they happen? That’s the same feeling you get with Ryan’s work - in a fantastic way. The emotion, depth, gore and impact Ottley manages to squeeze into his illustrations is tough to peel your eyes away from.
Ryan Ottley takes American comics to a stylistic level that can be appreciated by diehard comic fans and graphic novel casuals alike. His work is soft and bright in some places but incredibly gritty and bloody in others. And his artwork really shines alongside colorists like Bill Crabtree, John Rauch and Jean-Francois Beaulieu - all of which were featured during Invincible's run.
Another thing to appreciate about this artist is how open Ryan is about sharing his thought process and illustration workflow. This is mainly done through Ryan’s social media presence on platforms like Instagram, DeviantArt and TikTok. But in depth BTS of his process can also be found in the back of larger volumes of his published works - where he breaks down character designs, illustration prompts, thumbnailing challenges and his favorite parts of each volume.
With that being said, finishing a volume of Invincible, and not devouring the 15 pages of BTS in the back of the book, is like watching a Marvel movie without waiting for the end credit scene. If you don’t do it, you’re missing out.
Ryan Ottley is very quickly becoming a landmark name in comic books and the best time to dive into his work is right after you finish this article. If you’re looking for a great, but lengthy introduction to his work (one that will rip your heart in half and STILL leave you wanting more) pick up Invincible - a bloody, alien coming of age story (I’ll leave it at that).
Ryan, if you’re reading this. Great work, and can’t wait to see what you do with HULK.