Richard graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Illustration from the University of Central England in 1998. Over the past 10 years Richard has worked as a commercial illustrator for a variety of clients such as The Sunday Times, the Guardian & the Virgin group.
In his own time Richard experiments with more personal compositions & subject matter producing exquisite original artworks. The compositions are hand rendered in graphite onto primed board, a method that brings about many 'happy accidents' in the texture of any particular piece, and brings a random element into play.
Richard has exhibited with the Brighton Fringe Festival's Show Below for the last two years, and in 2008 was awarded second place in the visual arts prize.
We asked Richard a few questions!
BB: When did you first realise you were pretty good at this drawing stuff?
RB: I've always been a bit of a scribbler, as far back as I can remember. The act of making marks is endlessly fascinating. The feeling of occasional frustration at translating what's in the head onto the page remains, as it should, but there are always more happy accidents waiting just around the corner.
BB: Did you enjoy studying illustration?
RB: The best thing about studying illustration was being surrounded by so many other people who'd actively chosen the same subject. You can't help but be inspired when you're surrounded by creativity on all sides, with seismic shifts in your way of thinking happening all the time. It was like getting the keys to the kingdom!
BB: Is there any particular artist that you admire?
RB: An all time favourite is the painter R.B Kitaj. Apart from being a superb draftsman, he managed to weave together many seemingly disparate ideas to make complex, emotionally rich compositions. An illustrator that I particularly admire is Jillian Tamaki, who makes really sumptuous drawings, full of amazing line work.
BB: Your work often has very unique subject matter, where do you get your inspiration?
RB: Wherever I find it! Sometimes it's a result of bouncing ideas off friends and other people in daily conversation & sometimes it's just a notion that bubbles to the surface. Occasionally, a particularly vivid dream will hang around for a while after waking up, leading to some very unusual ideas...
BB: Has there been a defining moment in your career?
RB:The most defining moment for me professionally so far would have to be a project I worked on for the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, providing 6 separate illustrations that when placed in sequence formed a large panoramic installation about a typical Welsh coal mine just before the turn of the 20th Century. The illustrations were transferred to glass & back lit, providing a terrifically stark level of contrast that perfectly suited the subject matter. My family come from Wales, with a mining background in the same timeframe, so it was a very special project for me. I even managed to sneak one of my ancestors into the first frame!
BB: If you could live and work anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
RB: That's a tricky one. London is seen as the creative ‘hub' of this country, but Brighton also has a vibrant artistic community (and it has a great seafront, which doesn't hurt!). Then again, there are some beautiful places in the south of France that would inspire a very different kind of creative energy. So, France it is then.
BB: Are there any mediums that you would like to try out?
RB:A medium I'd like to experiment further with one day would be charcoal & pastel on Ingres paper. I've previously used this for life drawing & found it to be a really flexible combination, with the Ingres paper providing a wonderfully unpredictable textural background.
BB: What would your best piece of advice be to a recent graduate who is about to jump into the freelance illustration world?
RB: Be persistent, research your market, keep in mind the balance you'll need to find between enjoying your work and making a good living. Be prepared, it may take quite a while.
BB: What is your favorite website?
RB: Well, there's one called Boxbird, which is pretty handy! ‘Gallery of the absurd' is always worth a look too - lovely illustrations with a pithy and skewed look at the cult of celebrity today. Basically it's lots of funny drawings of celebs being silly.
Shop for & buy work by Richard at Boxbird.co.uk