art doll

Fantasy Dimensional Illustrations by Ryan Friant

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Hello my fellow Nerdarchists, Ryan here.  Many of my contributions have been seen on Nerdarchy more than read.  I’ve been doing the “How’s to Speeks Goblin” comic strip for the last year, but I’ve decided to change directions and do something completely different for the website- dimensional illustration!  If you’re wondering what the heck that even means, I’ll explain it later- promise!


puppet, Jim Henson, puppetry, 80s, Brian Froud, Labryinth
Skesis from Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal”

Raised on Fantasy Art

Genre art, specifically fantasy art has always been a huge passion for me.  I grew-up on Jim Henson, specifically loving his collaborations with Brian Froud to create films such as Labryinth and the Dark Crystal.  Later on I got really into the art of Tony Diterlizzi, who’s art you might recognize from the Planescape box set of the 90’s and other Dungeons & Dragons products, Magic the Gathering cards, and his fantastic children’s books- there are countless other book cover, children’s book and RPG interior artists who’s work I enjoy.  Later I would come to also really love the work of Arthur Rackham (a fun bit of lore about Mr. Rackham is that his grandfather was the infamous pirate Calico Jack Rackham) and Rednose Studio.  If you’re not familiar with any of these great fantasy artists, do yourself a favor and Google their work.  There are many, many other artist’s whose work I admire, but when I think about the artists that most directly influences my art, that’s about my pantheon right there.

A fine example of Dimensional Illustration:

rednose studio, chris sickles, 3D, 3D illustration, doll, OOK doll, craft, illustrator, picture book
The work of Rednose Studio.


In the past, I’ve created dimensional illustrations, a process in which I craft handmade art dolls and other elements that I then do photography of, that have been in some publications such as Spectrum:  The Best in Contemporary Fantasy and Science Fiction Illustration and exhibited in several galleries.  I’ll be using my dimensional illustration techniques on folktales and other fantasy related imagery that will be posted here on the Nerdarchy website and I have future plans to create a companion process blog that documents the making of the art.  I may not be able to post a finished piece every week, but the weeks I don’t, I’ll post some in progress work to let you know where we’re at.  And finally, below you’ll see a couple of examples of my work.

Abe Sapian, Hellboy, Mike Mignola, comic book, puppet, sculpture, 3D, 3D illustration, illustration
My take on Abe Sapian from Hellboy.


folk tale, paul bunyan, ox, children, children's book, picture book, 3D, 3D illustration
Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox


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Ryan is one of the founding members of Nerdarchy. He enjoys all things genre related: art, RPGs, indie tabletop games, novels, film & television. When he is not creating art, brainstorming ideas for games, or tabletop games, Ryan enjoys the nightlife that his native Philadelphia, PA has to offer.

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