Here are a selection of the 20 Change Makers cover illustrations for Corporate Meetings & Incentives Magazine, published by Informa (formerly Penton Media, Inc.), I’ve created over the years.  I’ve been fortunate to have a long, working relationship with the art director where the initial commission has become an annual article or project. The challenge is coming up with a creative, fresh perspective each year while adhering to design guidelines for the magazine. The best part is the trust, confidence and collaboration that develops over a series of projects.






Growing In Knowledge

Not everything makes it to my portfolio.

As a working illustrator, I work on a lot of commissions that are very specific to a project. Although I make every effort to create a killer image, I don’t always feel they will show well on my site.

The phenology charts have been a great challenge! For each, I was commissioned to illustrate a set number of growth stages. My task was to educated myself to the specifics  of each plant at every stage – each a landmark in the growth cycle.


I’ve joined DRIPBOOK.

The world has become a small community thanks to the internet and social media. Art directors and buyers can easily hire talent from anywhere in the world. In a recent conversation with a colleague of mine, the US based art director recounted her story of how she’d discovered a Russian artist who’s style was perfect for an article she was working on. She contacted him, hired him and the rest is history.

As geographical barriers have crumbled and access to the worlds best talent is accessible with a push of a button, competition for creatives has increased exponentially. As such, it is increasingly paramount for artists, illustrators, designers and photographers to actively work to increase their visibility.

I’ve joined DRIPBOOK, posting several galleries of work. I like the format, and that it is run by a small group of people who are passionate about what they do. I have high hopes this will give me broader exposure.



The Future of Digital Payments – Illustration for the Wall Street Journal 

Buzzing Around the Red Planet

I had the opportunity to create a new image for UPFRONT magazine. The story covers NASA’s mission to explore the Red Planet with tiny winged robots.


My initial illustration is a very realistic render of the rover and robots on the planet surface. It was decided that we should have a little more fun with this image. The new illustration is more appropriate for the UPFRONT audience.


Original rendering

Follow this link to read the NASA article – https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/niac/2018_Phase_I_Phase_II/Marsbee_Swarm_of_Flapping_Wing_Flyers_for_Enhanced_Mars_Exploration


Spacewreck – My Path To Illustration

In 1979 when I was 14 years old, I stumbled upon Spacewreck – Ghostships and Derelicts of Space. Created by Stewart Cowley, the book is written as a historical account of lost ships within the Terran Trade Authority universe.


That same year, Star Wars turned two and Star Trek the Motion Picture was set for release which left fans hungry for space! Spacewreck helped to satisfy that hunger for me and was pivotal to my decision to become an artist.

I took that passion with me as I pursued a degree in fine art. Having worked as an artist and graphic designer in college, I hit the streets after graduating and landed a series of positions with ad and design agencies, never forgetting the impact that science fiction art still had on me. Most notably the art in Spacewreck.

Eventually, I started moonlighting as an illustrator, and hung my shingle in 2000. As fate would have it, I connected with one of the original Spacewreck artists who has become a trusted friend and mentor for more than sixteen years.

I’ve worked on hundreds of projects since, and although I’ve not worked as a sci-fi artist specifically, I have created illustrations that I’m very proud of and owe a debt to the creativity of others who have inspired me on my journey.


Clockwise from top: Fred Gambino; Colin Hay; Fred Gambino

Two more time capsule books from my library that are noteworthy.

Space Wars by Steven Eisler and foreword by Chris Foss.
Great Space Battles by Stewart Cowley and Charles Herridge


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All images ©2016 – Ryan Etter Illustration, LLC


Occasionally I get involved with a project that isn’t commissioned, just because I like it. Jag-wires is a case in point.

Jag-wires is a robotics team made up of kids and parent-sponsors who compete locally each year. The kids make strategy and design decisions based on the challenges they will face in a two day competition. They work together to construct the bots. Their sponsors are there to advise and mentor. It’s a great program that helps the kids learn about team-building, setting goals and sportsmanship.

At one of the champion events I decided to get involved and to create their mascot. I started as I always do by putting pencil to paper – trying to visualize what the robot would look like. I decided that it needed to be menacing, but with a cool factor so that we can forgive any aggression. Once I had a cat sketch in hand, I worked up several quick concepts to translate the Jaguar into a robotic version.


With solid direction, I moved to my 3D app to build the model. For the Jag-wires title I pulled in design elements from various robotic parts that are used. All teams use the same parts so it is up to creativity and design to build a superior bot. My hope, was that the art I created would measure up to the high standard the kids set for themselves.





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Signum: The Internet of Things

Brief:  Create a 2-part visual that illustrates the role of technology for delivering high performance computing.

The Internet of Things is a theme for the latest project for a long standing client. After reading the story, I realized that the scope of the chip technology is so far reaching that it would be easy to fall into the trap of giving too much attention to one industry. Suggested industries were medical, automotive, social and the smart house which connects consumers to day to day activities. In these two illustrations you can see that I give a nod to a variety of existing and potential technologies.

Let me know what you think. It is a great project that brings into focus the possibilities that are just around the corner.