In our latest blog article featuring our clients, we’ve spoken to freelance illustrator, Richard Smythe. We love Richard’s adorable drawings, in particular his dancing squirrels (which you can view on his website!)
When did you first discover your passion for illustration?
From a very young age I enjoyed to draw and create things. Eventually I realised art and design came more naturally to me than other subjects at school. I remember first being commended on a drawing I did at primary school. Probably the only time I was ever praised for school work, however!
Where do you get your inspiration from and what inspires you?
Inspiration for my illustration work comes from many sources. Usually just everyday life. Whenever I see something funny or an unusual circumstance.
How would you describe your style?
Quite loose and naive, but representational enough for young children to understand and recognise.
What makes you different from other illustrators?
It’s hard to say but it’s probably more down to how I interpret the subject matter in the author’s manuscript. Each illustrator comes at a project differently based on their own experiences I think.
What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to illustrating picture books?
Meeting a deadline. I normally schedule my time on a project before I start, but other things beyond my control get in the way which inevitably delay the project. If the picture book requires me to draw something unusual or complicated then this requires extra study or experimenting, which all has to be done under the time constraints of the deadline.
What would be your career dream? What project would you love to be able to do/complete?
I honestly don’t know. I really just love what I am fortunate enough to be doing now, which is illustrating picture books for kids. I suppose it would be nice to work on some of my own stories at some stage as I always have lots of ideas.
Did you have another career prior to this? If so, what was it?
I had a lot of other nondescript jobs to make ends meet before I was able to make a living as an illustrator. I worked with young adults with physical and mental disabilities for the longest time though.
Where would you like to see yourself in 10-15 years’ time?
To carry on with what I’m doing and perhaps to have had a few more awards under my belt would be lovely.
What is your typical day like?
Very long. I get up around 6am and finish up about 6pm. I split my time between client work and personal development. As well as exercise and dog walking!
What do you love the most about your job and what do you hate the most?
I think the most enjoyable part is creating something out of nothing. The opportunity to interpret an author’s story is a great privilege to me. Picture books (if they’re good ones) can be passed down from generation to generation of kids, being cherished and loved forever. That’s a great thing to be part of. I suppose the main thing I dislike is not being paid on time, which can happen unfortunately.
How do you relax after a long day?
I like to read and do exercise, and just hang about with my family.