Ryan Church
Issue: Volume: 28 Issue: 9 (September 2005)

Ryan Church

Felucia Forest
(From Episode III) Crafted with Corel Painter 6, this design is for a completely alien jungle. The heavy use of Painter’s Glow brush helped the artist.

Spacebattle (From Episode III) This concept art establishing the look of the opening space battle was created in Corel Painter 6.

Ubervolcano (From Episode III) As an early painting, created in Corel Painter 6, the image was intended to push the meaning of the concept “volcano planet.

When digital artist Ryan Church was a child, he liked dinosaurs and airplanes. So when his father, an industrial designer, taught him to draw “properly” at the age of 5 or so, he would make his own dinosaur books or would sketch things he had seen in films. Today, Church is still drawing airplanes and creatures, more so than dinosaurs, only now it is for Lucasfilm and its digital effects arm, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Furthermore, he is no longer the student, but rather the instructor, having recently taught an advanced entertainment design class at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Church, in fact, honed his skills at the Art Center himself years ago, learning industrial design and illustration. When the school offered entertainment design, “I knew I didn’t want to be a car designer,” he says. “My heart was more into airplanes and architecture.” Now a senior art director at ILM, Church describes himself as a designer who illustrates. “Painting is the best way I know of recording, actualizing, and sharing an idea.”

Trained as a traditional artist, Church applies those methods to the CG realm. “Digital work can be noncommittal and far more experimental, and allows you to take chances.” To create his work, he typically uses a PC running Windows XP Professional and a Wacom tablet, and on the software side, Corel Painter IX. Most of Church’s current pieces have been for Lucasfilm and its ILM branch, including the design of the alien tripod machines in War of the Worlds. Some of his more compelling art can be seen in the books, The Art of Star Wars: Episode II and Episode III, on which he was concept design supervisor.

A sampling of Church’s work is featured on these two pages.
- Karen Moltenbrey

Citychase (A personal image) In this piece, crafted in Corel Painter IX, Church wanted to depict speed within a vertical composition illustration that contained a heavy sense of depth.

(A personal image) The painting, created in Corel Painter IX, is meant to depict a mundane moment in an extraordinary place.

Utapau Scene
(From Episode III) Created in Corel Painter 6, this selection was early concept art of a unique architectural style for the film.