ROCHESTER, Mich. – Ryan Byer started drawing when he was about 4-years-old.
“I usually like to draw fun cartoon things,” he said.
Now a student at Macomb Community College, he’s focused on making a career out of it and already getting a head start by working with a local toy company in Rochester, the Choose Friendship Factory.
“I ended up putting an ad into the Macomb college paper,” said David Crorey, owner and inventor of Choose Friendship Co.
Crorey found Byer after interviewing professional talent all around the country to draw illustrations for these toy fidgets called Skeezix.
“And I got the job. I was really surprised. I didn’t think I’d be getting a job like this so soon in my life,” said Byer.
But Byer’s artistic career path wasn’t always this clear.
His mom was saying that he couldn’t even hold a pencil when he started school.
He was diagnosed with Asperger as a toddler.
“When I was younger it gave me difficulties talking, making friends, living a normal life,” he said.
But drawing helped him overcome those challenges.
“Its definitely something that brings me a lot of happiness,” he said.
Once Byer is done with his drawings they’re then sent to a printer, printed out and placed on little fidgets.
Now there’s a whole store filled with them from tigers to monkeys to pandas.
“He’s just a wonderful employee and like I said it was a match made in heaven,” said Crorey.
Byer and Crorey have worked together for two years. Now they’re working on more than just the Skeezix fidgets.
That includes videos, toys and a variety of other things.
He has a whole portfolio of his work that one day could take him very far.
But for now he is happy helping create toys for the Choose Friendship Company.
“It is a whole lot of fun. I really enjoy working for Dave,” said Byer.