Ryan Pagelow is a comics artist who uses his dark humor to light up your day. He is the creator of Buni, a webcomic about a bunny with terrible luck which has more than 680,000 followers on Instagram. Ryan has been drawing comics for most of his life. The love for comics started since an early age when his grandpa read to him the Sunday comics in the newspaper before he could even read. Earthwonders reached out to Ryan to ask him more about his work.
” I started out by drawing a comic strip which appeared in university newspapers when I was in high school. While in college I interned at Mad magazine and then continued to write for the magazine as a freelancer for several years. I created Buni in 2009 for the Comic Strip Superstar contest and since then it has been featured on GoComics and Webtoon. I published a book of my favorite Buni comics in 2018,” said the artist for Earthwonders.
When he’s not drawing comics, Ryan is working as a full-time photographer and videographer for a university. “I enjoy photography and videography because you’re capturing the outside world, while comics is much more about illustrating your internal world. I enjoy both art-forms equally, so I’m glad that I’m able to do both.”
Ryan’s comics are quite special. Through images only he’s able to tell a twisted, sad and funny story all at the same time. The main character, Buni, doesn’t understand that the visually cute world he lives in is usually out to get him. Buni inhabits a surreal world populated by teddy bears, cupcakes, unicorns and zombies.
To create comics like these you’re going to need quite some inspiration to follow you during the process. The humor here comes from the unexpected, twisted endings. If a normal happy ending is expected, Ryan creates the opposite by giving the audience the dark and sad ending. “Although many people describe my comics as dark, I think of them as optimistic, because Buni wakes up happy everyday with good expectations despite everything that has happened in the past. “
“First and foremost when writing comics, I try to entertain myself. So if think a comic idea about a cupcake is funny, I’ll draw it. I don’t feel like I have to stick to only drawing a limited set of characters in a limited world. When I created Buni I wanted to create a world that was big enough to keep me entertained for years rather than be boxed in by a narrow set of perimeters,” said the artist.
Buni was his first comic strip that he created for the internet. Since the internet has no borders, Ryan wanted something that could be easily understood no matter what language the audience speaks, and that’s the reason he doesn’t use any words in his comics.
The artist tells us that as he’s writing, the motivation to make an even funnier comic next time keeps on growing. Since he’s been presented to comics from a very young age, he wants to keep on making comics for the rest of his life.
Ryan also told us about his working process and where he get’s his ideas from: “I get my ideas from just sitting down and thinking for about 30 minutes every day. I try to imagine if everyday objects had feelings, what would motivate them. What would make them happy, sad, jealous, angry, love… Also, creating a wordless comic is very difficult, especially in only three or four small panels. I find that relying on simple emotions and common things like food and animals is a fast way to communicate an idea to the reader. I try to imagine what everyday things like plants, hot dogs, cellphones and pasta noodles would do and think about if they were alive. For example, a comic involving anthropomorphic pizza doesn’t require the reader to have read previous comics and know the Buni character. They instantly understand pizza and what their world might look like. When I create comics with the Buni character, it’s funnier if you understand the character and the history of the character.”
The artist says he writes his comic ideas down with an actual pencil and paper. When he has a little pile of comic ideas, he goes through and sees which ones stand out as being funnier than the other ones. Out of 10 ideas maybe two or three are good enough to actually draw for real and post. He draws his comics on a Wacom Mobile Studio Pro tablet and use the program Clip Studio Paint. After penciling, inking and coloring the comic on his tablet, he formats it in Photoshop for social media and the websites he works with.
Scroll down below to see some adorable comics about a character who fights the reality and doesn’t back down.