Being a London based illustrator, cartoonist and lecturer; Richards has had clients from The Independent, The Big Tomato Company to Reader’s Digest Magazine and even Paul Smith Jeans and Playstation. As well as being an illustrator, he has taught the art to students at universities such as Bath Spa University and University of Westminster. He has been part of three published books that feature his artwork, with more on the way. His preferred medium to work with is pen, in order for the transfer from paper to digital formats to be quick and smooth; he rarely used pencil, only his initial drawings are in pencil, he moves to pen as soon as he has confidence in the under-drawing. He works in pen in his sketchbook and colours all his work digitally.
Looking at this one piece of his work, ‘Hermit’, I like the narrative effect it has on the viewer. There is a story behind the artwork and you can see the general outline of that story based only off the information you can see on the page and by the title. I think Hermit is, of a man living on his own with the exception of his pet dog; as a hermit, over a town below. He’s reading a book in the art and it seems as though he is leading a contented life without the desire to go and live in the town in the distance. The art style Richards uses, I like very much because of all the texture he creates with the use of such small markings and dot work, and creation of fine detail without the intention to make it seem like a highly detailed piece of artwork. The work was created by sketching out an idea in this cartoony style, in pencil and refining it using pen and transferring it into a digital version and colouring it online.
Eyes can be led around the page because of the orientation of it; I think because it’s orientation is portrait you see the man sitting on the ledge with his dog and then make your way towards the left hand side of the image, down the tree and follow the path towards the town below. Upon further inspection of the art I noticed the small metallic devil creature looking thing in the bottom right hand corner. The simplicity yet intricacy of the mark making creates and effect that makes the grass and other more heavily marked areas look almost 3D, jumping off the page; even though this is the case because of the marks made, there is still a flat look to the whole painting which is given some depth with the use of colour. The different shades in the painting of the art give it some dimension, which I quite like about this artwork, the fact that there are a range of colours but they do not blend together seamlessly, instead the changes are obvious and solid. This is a technique that appeals to me, I would be interested in using this style of art for my work, the line art done traditionally and on paper then scanning it and putting it through Photoshop and refining and adding the colour.
A second piece of artwork created by Barnaby Richards which I quite like is not a stand alone piece of art, but instead the first comic book that came of his final MA project at Falmouth University, it was published by Atlantic Press Books, called The Funeral. Richards used to find looking back at this piece ‘painful’ because of the style difference between then and now, however he has recently rediscovered a love for it because he can see his development from that piece to his most recent art. Richards says that the story can be open to interpretation; some people get it, others don’t. This one is darker than most of the more recent artwork, I like the cross-hatching to darken certain areas and leaving certain areas plain or only lightly cross-hatching to give depth.
As it is a comic book layout the eyes are led around the pages according to the positioning to the speech bubbles. In each window your eyes firstly read the speech bubble, if there is one, followed by looking over the image; because the images are all in black and white, eyes are drawn to patches of the pages white colour, for example on the image above the eyes are drawn to the people right in the centre rather than the surrounding cross-hatching and colour, I believe this is so because the brightness of the white against the black makes it jump off the page and stand out more than the different shades of grey. After the words which are on solid white backgrounds with outlines, the people are seen next and only in that order because of then slight shading on the sides of them, and there not being any shading on the title banners at all. Eyes then follow around the page looking for more white areas, such as the white around the edges of the clouds that have not been coloured in completely to the edges creating this almost 3D effect where the edges pop out more than the body of the cloud.