Our good friend Will Richards (@illwookie) played a massive part in our latest summer collection, helping us work up a bunch of graphic t-shirts & men's shirts that push our mantra of summer escapism.

We caught up with Will to check how he stayed creative in lockdown & to get his inspiration for the pieces he worked up.

Can you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?

My name is Will Richards and I’m an illustrator based in Brighton, UK. I’ve been working freelance full time now for about two years, designing mostly for independent clothing brands and bands. 

How did you develop your own art style, what got you started?

My first commission was 6 years ago for a friends band, I had to draw a mushroom and they gave me 4 beers as payment. Since then I hope it’s safe to say my work has improved.. 

Developing a style is just what happens over time, when you draw influence from many different sources. I’m always inspired by the work of other artists like Cleon Peterson, Sean Morris and Mercedes Bellido. But also from ancient paintings and iconography from all over the world, I find it incredibly interesting the ways in which people used to depict things and how that’s influenced the ways we draw today. 

Another thing that has shaped my drawing style is the equipment I use, I make all my work digitally using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop or using Procreate on an iPad. I also use texture brushes from True Grit Texture Supply, which really took my work to the next level.

Obviously with lockdown you’ve probably stayed within the same four walls, so what has your work environment looked like during isolation?

I have set up a little space on the dining room table to work from, but have mostly been working from my ipad so I can move around and not feel cooped up in one spot (AKA an excuse to work in my pyjamas in bed..).

How have you found life in lockdown? What do you miss and how have you stayed creative and inspired?

Luckily I was back at my parents at the start of the lockdown so I’ve had access to a garden and a dog! Which has definitely helped to keep spirits up. I have mostly just been sat in the garden under a pergola I built with my Dad, or going for a run in an attempt to stay active. I definitely feel lucky to have been around a private outdoor space in this time and really feel for those who have not had access to one. 

It’s been refreshing to have time to work on some personal projects and try to develop my style. To try and stay creative, I set myself a goal to colour my work in a different way, inspired by old pulp sci fi comic covers which has been a fun experiment. As nice as it has been working in the garden, I definitely do miss my studio, pubs and friends back in Brighton!

What inspired the pieces you drew up for our summer collection? Do you have one favourite graphic from those you sent over?

These designs are inspired by an 80’s American summer kind of vibe mixed with a traditional American tattoo style. I can’t pick one, so my two favourite pieces from this collection have to be Bitter Sweet Summer and Welcome To The Wild!

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