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Freelance Illustrator Paul Ryding

Since graduating from the Glasgow School of Art in 2003, Paul Ryding worked primarily as a freelance illustrator for a number of international clients such as Creative Review, The Guardian, Kesselskramer, M&C Saatchi and Taschen.

‘My main interest has always been drawing the human figure which has never ceased to bore me. I cannot help but study peoples faces that I see in the street or meet in person and just imagine how I would capture their left cheekbone, ear-lobe or philtrum to best effect. There is a strong narrative to be found in the contours, wrinkles and marks on a face. It acts like a map of a person’s life, best conveyed by George Orwell who said “at 50, everyone has the face they deserve”. For example, the security guard at my local Tesco looks like a Vulture in a man costume with a quiff and a David Crosby moustache. I’d give anything for him to sit for me, but he has this million-mile stare as though he is staring into the abyss, so have yet to pluck up the courage.’

‘I moved to London in 2008 and worked at the Association of Illustrators as the Membership Advisor for 4 years: the front line of the organisation in offering pricing and ethical advice to members over the phone. This meant that I was submerged in illustrators portfolios daily and exposed to literally hundreds of Illustrator’s personal working lives in intimate detail. It was such an education and provided me with an almost expert knowledge of the industry, it’s trends and inner workings. I was exposed to some of the biggest names who would just casually just call up or drop in, such as Quentin Blake or Ralph Steadman.’

‘Last year, I became a father for the first time and this sparked a new rush of creativity that I never expected. Myself and my wife moved to Belfast, where there was mercifully more time and disposable income at hand that just wouldn’t have been possible in London. I now work in my studio with an international client base whilst simultaneously meeting the needs of my most unreasonable and demanding Client, my 19 month old son.’

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Website | @paulryding