Meet Ryan Berkley Illustrations

If you’re a faithful ModLife blog follower, you might remember Emily’s Etsy Post about Ryan Berkley Illustrations last fall. Emily discovered this artist’s charming animal collection, and now we’re carrying some of his most-loved pieces!

Ryan Berkley Illustrations is a husband and wife team based in Oregon. Ryan creates the illustrations, while Lucy maintains their blog and writes wonderful descriptions for the animal prints at their etsy shop.

Read on to meet Ryan & Lucy, and learn how they feel about real animals in suits…

Crystal: How did you two meet?

Ryan & Lucy: We met while working together at the University of Oregon Bookstore back in the previous century. We wish we had a more exciting “meeting” story. We worked in the art department, though. Does that add an element of foreshadowing?

Crystal: Haha, yeah! Also, I read in a previous interview that you two were working full-time, then coming home at night and working on everything etsy. (whoa!) Have you been able to work at the business full-time yet?

Ryan & Lucy: Alas no, not yet. Perhaps it will be easier if we can get some of that universal health care action…

Crystal: Man, how do you guys do it?

Ryan & Lucy: Basically we just work all the time. Even doing that, it’s amazing how many projects we just can’t get to in a timely manner…even the ones we are really excited about. But we don’t like to complain about staying busy!

Crystal: Ryan’s illustrations (especially the animals) have a vintage feel. Are you guys into other vintage- like furniture, clothing, etc?

Ryan & Lucy: We do like things with vintage feelings. We tend to mix up our furniture and clothes with vintage and modern pieces. We wish we had more time to hunt down vintage treasures in both departments! We’re probably have a lot more vintage in our lives if we had the time to track down the good stuff.

Crystal: What inspired Ryan’s animal series (and his other art, too)?

Ryan & Lucy: A few years ago Ryan did an old-timey portrait for Lucy’s dad as a birthday present. He got to liking the portrait style and for some reason he just switched it over to animals.

The first one he did was a tiny little koala in a black suit (which was extremely primitive by today’s Berkley Illustration standards). As far as general influence on his art, though, comic books and children’s books have probably had the most influence on his style. He is entirely self-taught.

Ryan and Lucy

Crystal: If both you could be any animals that Ryan has drawn, who would you be?

Ryan: The turtle because he’ll outlive everybody, he is laid back, and he eats vegetables all day.

Lucy: I’d go with the goose. Not just because of the name-rhyming action, but geese seem pretty smart, they can fly, and I really like his story. Ryan needs to draw more lady animals, though!

Crystal: Do you have any pets?

Ryan & Lucy: We don’t, but Lucy has been cruising the Humane Society web page lately…

Crystal: Have you ever considered making actual suits and ties for animals?

Ryan & Lucy: Ha ha. Another good question! Ryan is neutral on the subject but Lucy isn’t a big fan of living animals in clothes. Although, we did see some goats at the state fair in some cute nightgowns recently. Maybe a necktie on a horse would be okay.

Crystal: What’s next for ya?

Ryan & Lucy: We have a few ideas in the works. We’d like to create a greeting card line- something a little different from the animal portrait prints. There is murmuring of a book, or books. We also want to expand upon Ryan’s superhero creation, Kenny, and possible do a web comic with him. We have lots of ideas!

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  1. Tiffany 10/14/2009 at 10:50 pm #

    I bought one of their prints last year for my boyfriend’s father, who has an abnormal relationship with squirrels. He lives in a cabin in Big Bear and basically has a group of squirrels, all named with individual personalities, who visit him several times a day for peanuts. I bought him the print, because his kids constantly pick on him for being a cabin hermit weirdo.

    Now, basically, I am his favorite person ever. Thank you, Ryan and Lucy!

  2. Alex 10/14/2009 at 10:59 pm #

    I bought a pack of buttons about a year ago and have had them on one of my purses since. lets just say I get a LOT of compliments on them. Thanks to Ryan and Lucy for the conversation pieces!

  3. Anna 10/15/2009 at 10:48 am #

    Neat! I’d love to see more fashion-related art pieces up on ModCloth!

  4. melly 10/15/2009 at 1:34 pm #

    I love Ryan Berkley’s work, I have two prints of theirs. Pretty amazing that they keep on churning out great stuff despite holding a full-time job. Deserves a lot of respect and admiration.

  5. Susan 10/19/2009 at 10:50 pm #

    Ryan & Lucy – you guys are incredible. Great interview Crystal!

  6. angy 10/21/2009 at 1:58 pm #

    you are great!!!! my respect and admiration.

  7. Allison 10/22/2009 at 11:10 am #

    Big love to the Berkleys! S

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