HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – For as long as he can remember, 26-year-old Josh Ryhal from Hubbard has been passionate about the fantasy genre.
This especially comes to life through his artwork, which is all done in ballpoint pen.
“In art, what makes a face a face is the shadows, it’s the form,” said Ryhal.
Ryhal has been drawing since a young age, but it only recently took precedence in his life.
Most of his work is inspired by characters in pop culture, including “Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings.”
Ryhal has been an avid fan of the “Lord of the Rings” franchise since his father introduced him to it in third or fourth grade.
“Once I started taking art seriously, about a year or year and a half ago, I thought ‘I should do the entire Fellowship,’” he said.
Jonathan Ruple, a friend and fellow artist who was already involved in comic-con conventions, reached out to Ryhal over the summer, encouraging him to bring his artwork to Steel City Con in Monroeville, Pennsylvania earlier this month.
“He goes, “This would be a great opportunity for you because some of the actors from ‘Lord of the Rings’ will be there and you’ll probably get some good traction,” Ryhal said.
Ryhal’s art was on display at the convention center on December 6 and 7, capturing the attention of guests with his hand-drawn photo-realistic portraits.
He considers a drawing of Lagertha from the TV series “Vikings” his greatest creation to date, which took him over 100 hours to complete.
“There are striking features in her face, but I knew that this drawing, specifically, was going to be very difficult and very time consuming,” Ryhal said. “When I saw the picture, I knew I wanted to draw this queen from ‘Vikings.’ and I knew I wanted to give it my full effort.”
During the convention, Ryhal stood in line to meet Billy Boyd, who played Pippin from the “Lord of the Rings” franchise.
Boyd was really impressed by Ryhal’s work, which meant a lot coming from someone that he’s been a fan of for so long.
“As I was walking away, someone came up and was like, ‘What is that?’ and I heard him in his very thick accent say, ‘That was Josh Ryhal,” because he just read my name when I signed it.”
Ryhal said there was positive feedback from both guests and other artists at the convention, and he was impressed by how welcoming the artist community was.
“The two people next to me, left and right, and the two people across from me, all four of those people who had booths came up to me and talked to me. They gave me advice. They were very encouraging,” Ryhal said. “When they found out this was my first Con, they were like, “Wow, you should do more of these, this is cool that you’re here.”‘
Ryhal said he learned from some rookie mistakes and looks forward to running a booth at the next Steel City Con in April.
“Take your art serious. Take pride in what you do. Don’t give it half effort, you know, really give your artwork the effort and if you love your art, absolutely get a booth… I would highly recommend it, it was a really cool experience,” he said.
To check out Ryhal’s work, visit his Facebook page.