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The Visual Narrative Thesis Projects: Ryan Ansel

Ryan Ansel (Class of 2015) is a workhorse. He’s prolific, fast and talented. We asked him about his experience with MFAVN, his mentor and his budding thesis project!


Where are you from?

Lake Orion, Michigan

Why did you choose MFAVN?

I chose the MFAVN program because I’ve always considered myself a storyteller, and I wanted to learn the ins and outs of pursuing this as a profession. The program invited people from all walks of life to study all forms of storytelling, and I haven’t had just one medium that I wanted to focus on, so the flexibility to write/create for any or all of them was very exciting.


How has it been working for your mentor, Justin Thompson (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Samurai Jack, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1& 2)?

Fantastic. He’s given me great insights into tricks of the trade. He’s gone over my sketches and offered critiques and other ways to approach character development. On top of that, he’s assigned me movies to watch, books to read, and techniques to practice. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.



Where can we find you online?

My current website is, although I haven’t updated in quite a while. I can be found on Instagram and Twitter @raygunjunction (or by searching Ryan Ansel) I post regularly on Instagram and you’ll see anything from sketches to pics of my kids being their crazy selves.

Where do you picture your thesis taking you as a storyteller?

I’m not sure where my thesis will take me. I hope to create a story that people of all ages will enjoy. Although my primary target is older children (8-12 or so), the subject matter is slightly more mature disguised as an imaginary world.

Here are some snaps of some studies for his thesis project:

 mother Keegan_1 Gracie_01 environment_02 Ryan Ansel








Show us some other work you’ve done at MFAVN!

You can read Hello Star on the MFAVN site.


And here’s a piece titled Fifty Grand. The story was for the final in Jim Rugg’s class (Story 1) last fall.









Ansel is hoping to get around to screen printing them soon! 

And we leave you with a pic of the end of Ryan’s typical day at MFAVN…


Yes, he is prolific.


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