Artist Ray Dillon -
I’m an illustrator and painter in comic books, gaming, film, and trading cards, and would like to paint for children’s books. I also write novels and children’s books.
In 2002, I co-founded the online entertainment arts studio and production company, Golden Goat Studios, Inc.
Recent project: THE LAST UNICORN, Rogue Angel and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s presents: Music Box for IDW Publishing; Nightmare World for Image Comics; TURTLES: DAWN OF THE NINJA (www.DawnoftheNinja.com)
In 2009 I married comic artist, Renae De Liz, at San Diego Comic-con 2009! We have a 6 year old son, Tycen, and a new baby boy, Drake, and have moved to Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
I am now an artist and writer, making my way in the industries of comic books, film, and children’s literature. But, that doesn’t tell ya a whole lot about who I really am, and I like it when creators do that. So, here’s how I got there:
Birth: Since my parents lived in a very small Kansas town at the time I was due, and there wasn’t a hospital around for miles that was adequate for child birth, I was nearly born in the backseat of a ’67 Chevelle.
Thankfully, though, they made it to Phillipsburg, KS in time and on June 28, 1982, my mother, Judy, and father, Dale, welcomed into the world a healthy (and adorable if I do say so myself … and I do), bouncing baby squid … er — I mean, boy.
Childhood: I had a bit of a rough childhood in the small rural town of Smith Center, KS. Being the poor, fat, giggly, naîve kid that I was, and youngest member of a family that was not dysfunctional, because obvious we functioned, but more like oddfunctional. Needless to say, my “peers” were a bit critical of me (if you can call torture a form of criticism). When I wasn’t dodging barrages of rocks, I spent my time creating worlds of graphite and colors, lost in books, games, cartoons, movies, trekking across the small town on my Huffy, adventuring through “the woods,” or masquerading as a ninja (with green sweatpants on). So, lots of time alone in my head, where I still spend a lot of my time.
However, the experiences in youth are what form the “adult” you will one day become, so I’ve moved on (sorta … stupid-dumb kids! I will have my revenge! Mu-haha!)
… ahem …
Moving On: After begging my parents for years to move to a new land, nearing the end of my sixth grade year, they finally obliged. We hitched up our wagon and trekked across the dusty plains … for about three hours … to the slightly bigger “metropolis” of Salina, KS.
Salina proved to be a much more accepting town that has helped me “allowed me to be and discover who I am” and all that jazz. Going from a town of around 3,000 to a city of nearly 50,000 was a shock, but in a good way. It was bigger and had amazing things (like a mall, multiple story buildings, more than one school, and other races), but was also small enough to feel personal (I could still ride my bike — if my mom hadn’t hocked it to help pay for the move) from one side of town to the other, though it took a few more hours). It was basically a big, exciting adventure.
Adolescent Adventure: Of course, the first people to accept me and take me under their wings were what are commonly known as the “wrong crowd.” So, for many years, I spent my time pushing authority and boundaries to the point of nearly wrecking my police and school records. Thankfully, I got out of that phase of my life before it got me into any serious trouble (physically or criminally).
Waking Up: Towards the end of my sophomore year of high school, my mom had a stroke … while we were in a big fight before school. Her left side, the side she used, was paralyzed, and it put her in the hospital and eventually a nursing home for about a year. That hit hard on me, but especially my dad. Kinda opened up my eyes a bit. But, then, a few months later, my dad nearly died from a bleeding ulcer. That woke me up completely. I had to do some growing up and fast.
Making the Change: Luckily my dad recovered pretty quickly, and the surgery put him in better health than ever before. We bonded together during that time and we pulled ourselves up to start making improvements. During that summer, I got into physical fitness and nutrition, dropping 70 pounds and decreasing from the high 30′s (maybe 40′s) of body fat percentage to 7% (thank you very much), and put on 20 lbs of lean muscle. That made a great impact on my life. Setting a goal like that and achieving it. At the same time, I started taking a career as an artist seriously, practicing eight hours a day. I got a “real” job at the time, too, to help pay for bills. And, most importantly, our family started to get on track.
The Rest … : The final stage of improving things was to get my education back on track. During my senior year, I worked my butt off (literally; it’s somewhere along I-135); I was going to high school, taking classes at the tech school, working a part-time job, developing my portfolio to (hopefully) get accepted to go to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. I managed to bring my GPA from a 1.2 (or some ridiculously low number like that) to a 3.0 by graduation. I had even taken a trip out to NJ to visit the Joe Kubert School and was all set to move out there right after my senior year.
The Detour: And it was about this time that John Robert Johnson and Jeremy K. Fiest screwed everything up. ;o) Kidding guys. They were starting pre-production on a film and needed an Art Director. John and I went way back to 8th grade when he would try to get me to draw superheroes for him, and I’d agree to, then never would (HAHA!). He asked if I’d be up for it, and the rest, as they say, is history. We started working on that and all hit it off really well. Our ambition, aspirations, and inspirations all ignited and formed a band the likes of which had never been seen!! And they called themselves, Tenacious D … wait. That’s someone else’s story.
The Goat: After a couple of years working together trying to get our comics and film careers off the ground, we started up Golden Goat Studios as a way to help advance our careers, and hopefully help a few along the way. The Goat has been good to us. We’ve had and continue to have some amazing adventures (that maybe I’ll write about someday); making those few breaks, traveling the country, starting families, and making our way into our chosen vocations. My brothers from other mothers. So, sometimes detours can be great things.
The Future?: Working in comics and film (mainly in concept art). Well, one thing I didn’t really talk about up there is my love of writing. In fact, before all this art stuff, when I was just a “little feller” (as my mom likes to put it), I planned on being an archeologist … which has nothing to do with anything, but after that, I was going to be a writer and move to Maine to hang out with Stephen King. For years, I worked on that more than art, even starting a few novels. Well, somewhere along the line, I left writing behind, but now I’ve gotten back into it.
MY WIFE, MY KIDS, MY FUTURE:
Renae De Liz. She was born in Alaska, lived in California and Oregon. I was born in Kansas and lived in Kansas. We met online at DigitalWebbing.com, then met in person at San Diego Comic-Con 6 years ago. Every year since my life has been more enriched than I could have ever hoped for (hope she feels similar… but I certainly married up! :o)
In 2009, we were married at the San Diego Comic-Con by Tony Lee, writer of Doctor Who, and Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies for IDW. Half the people seeing it thought we were in costume, the other half probably thought we were nuts. We have a 7 year old named Tycen and our Son Drake Asher is now 4 months old.
Since starting production on The Last Unicorn we started buying a house in Kansas, got pregnant, got married at San Diego Comic-Con, lost the house in Kansas (long story), moved to Maine to start fresh, had our baby boy, and many other crazy events. All the while trying to make LU something special. I mean, Renae was literally drawing the day our son was born, and we’ve done our best to stick to a monthly schedule despite having a newborn and all that other stuff.
We’re continuing to develop our careers together (I generally ink and color her work on top of the full-illustration and painting that I do). I’ll be doing a lot more work in comics, film, video games, and look forward to getting back on my writing soon.
It has been a roller-coaster ride over the last decade. I look forward to many more decades in the entertainment arts industries and hope you’ll all follow along. I also look forward to meeting every one of you reading this at some point. This is the first years we HAVEN’T attended just about every major comic book convention, but typically you can find us at Heroes Con in NC, San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic-Con, Planet Comic-Con in KC, and now that we live on the East Coast we’ll be at all the shows in Maine, Boston, and everywhere else we can find.
Thanks so much for reading!
(please call afternoon Central time; text anytime)
Graphic Artist & Illustrator Ray Dillon Official Website – www.RayDillon.com
Graphic Artist & Illustrator Renae De Liz Official Website – www.RenaeDeLiz.com
Artist Ray Dillon on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RayDillon
Artist Ray Dillon on MySpace – http://www.myspace.com/raydillon
Follow Artist Ray Dillon on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/raydillon
Art of Day is maintained by dedicated NetSys Interactive Inc. owners & employees who generously contribute their time to maintenance & editing, web design, custom programming, & website hosting for Art of Day.