Levi Ryken graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2000, studying art. He then completed a Bachelor of Arts at the Academy of Art University in 2004, majoring in computer art.
In March 2011, Ryken joined Double Fine Productions as a senior artist and created concept and materials art for Brütal Legend. He also contributed some materials for Costume Quest and has since created art for Stacking, Happy Action Theater, The Cave and Double Fine Adventure.
In the 2012 Amnesia Fortnight, Ryken pitched an idea about a hunter's daughter that traverses a forest to cleanse a darkness that has been feeding on dreams with a musical instrument. Dubbed The Black Lake, the pitch was the fifth-most voted for concept by the public and was announced during the first live stream as being added to the previously revealed top four titles to be made into a prototype.