Josh Ryba


Josh Ryba is a writer, director and animator from South Africa currently a freelancer based in Bali. Josh graduated with an honors degree in Fine Arts from the university of the Witwatersrand. He has worked as a professional story development artist for the last 10 years working on projects such as Ridleys Scott's, 'Raised by Wolves' Netflix's adaptation of Elichiro Oda's Manga, 'One Piece'. When Josh is not at his computer, writing or drawing on his wacom, you will probably find him in the gym or on a long hike, exploring the jungle to discover hidden waterfalls.

Q: Tell us about yourself and your journey as an animator (How did you get started? What inspired you to get into the animation space? Etc.)

I have wanted to direct and write for film and animation since I was eight-years-old.

From what I can recall my inspirations came from disney films, Saturday morning cartoons; such as X-men and even earlier shows like, Thundercats and He-man. Later on, live action movies like 'Blade' and 'The Crow' had a powerful impression on me.

After finishing an honors degree in Fine Arts from Wits University (majoring in oil painting and animation) I moved to Cape Town to start my professional career in the film and animation industry. After many years of grinding in small freelance positions I found myself working closely with top Hollywood directors and producers as a story development artist; specializing in storyboarding.

Some of the films and series I have worked on include, 'Tomb Raider' where I worked closely with Assistant Director G.R. Aguilar who is known for his work with film legend Martin Scorsese. Following that I worked as a story development artist on two seasons of Ridley Scott's series 'Raised by Wolves'. In 2022, I had the privilege and pleasure of storyboarding - with all four accomplished Directors - on Netflix's adaptation of Elichiro Oda's Manga, 'One Piece'. Later that year, I was honored when YouTube sensation Alan Becker reached out and asked me to direct/storyboard several of Alan's upcoming episodes.

Storytelling has become an obsession of mine and I have dedicated my life to improving both my visual and writing skills.

In the last year I have stepped away from my role as a development artist and focused on directing and improving my animation skills. I have an idea for an animated high-science-fiction show that I have been developing in my spare time and have ambitions to animate a short pilot in 2024.

I was thrilled when the guys at Storiaverse contacted me and offered me the opportunity to animate John M. Floyd's, 'A night at the Park'. I'm very excited for people to read this awesome short story and watch the selected parts I have animated.

The possibilities of the Storiaverse platform are endless. I am very excited and honored to be a part of it!

Q: What animation style/s do you animate in? How has your style evolved over time?

I animate using 2D frame by frame drawn animation. I love the sketchy feel of the end result as well as the challenge that comes with this style of animation. It requires one to be a true student of movement, and expression. I'm very much still finding my style, I have glimpses here and there. One day I hope to find it.

Q: Are there any animators, films or art movements that inspire your style?

I'm currently watching the Warner Bros. Batman series and reading a lot of Sean Gordan Murphy's comics -- I think both have had an influence on my style for ‘A Night at the Park’.I am a huge fan of Peter Chung, Alberto Mieglo and Robert Valley - all unique animation legends and masters of storytelling.

Q: What genre do you find most fulfilling or enjoyable to animate?

I think all genres have unique potentials that are exciting. I am open to them all, it's a matter of finding something fulfilling within the genres that interest me.

Q: What tools and software do you use?

I use photoshop and after effects to animate ,and Da Vici Resolve to edit.

Q: What does your creative process look like? What comes first?

I doodle little storyboard scamps (Thumbnails) first; usually in a small quiet coffee shop early in the morning. Once I've had my caffeine hit, I head back home and spend the rest of the day at my computer, drawing and pulling out what little hair I have left on my head.

Q: Which part of the animation process is your favorite? (character design, storyboarding, animatics, etc.)

My favorite part is editing and sound design. This is the part where all my hard work and labor comes to life.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring animators based on personal experience and industry insights?

My advice would be to place value in having patience and doing the hard work to grow their skills. The better us animators get at the craft of telling stories the more opportunities in the industry will present themselves.

Q: How do you navigate periods of creative block?

I work through those periods. I believe animating is as much a sport as it is creative. Even if I'm not feeling creative I find something to practice; be it writing or drawing, or studying films I like.

Q: What did you enjoy the most about the latest story you animated for Storiaverse? What was the most challenging?

John M. Floyd's,  'A night at the park' is an action packed and very exciting short story. The characters are rich and vibrant and I have loved bringing them to life. The most challenging aspect was being realistic about how many shots I can tell the story with. I'd love to have all the time and energy in the world, but I need to be realistic and make sure I deliver on the project.

Q: What motivated your decision to collaborate with Storiaverse?

I think it's such an exciting platform. I am very grateful that they contacted me and have given me the opportunity to test my visual storytelling skills from character development to animating to editing and even sound design. This is a dream job for me.

Q: What do you love most about the animation space and what draws you to adult animation specifically?

For me the animation space is all about potential. Animation is the combination of so many art forms; design, music, sound, movement, etc. One's imagination and persistence are the only limiting factors. This understanding of animation's potential means anything is possible if you can imagine it and are willing to put in the work.With the launch -  and huge success of Netflix's 'Love, Death and Robots' anthology series we've seen how there is a large market for adult animation. I believe the sky's the limit; if an animator can tell a mature and complex story in an exciting and compelling way.

Q: Where do you think the animation industry is heading?

Today, with such affordable software and AI programs that are being released, I believe there is unprecedented opportunity for smaller, more independent storytellers to be able to tell their stories.